Ayn Rand was born in Russia and educated at the Russian universities while Bolshevism was flourishing. She witnessed her entire family being murdered by the Bolsheviks when she was age thirteen. She managed to flee Stalin’s reign of terror and defect to the United States through some family connections here. She fell in love with America and began writing literary pieces and plays. Her most famous book was “Atlas Shrugged,” a fictional work about a world where altruism was the prime mover of the government, and the heads of states disallowed any form of personal profit or financial gain by the individual.
She was a rabid opponent of any form of self-sacrifice. Under her model, the individual was supreme and everyone should kneel at the altar of the self. During the 1950s the American universities considered her ideas and writings buffoonery. She was a joke that no one took very seriously. However, at the exchange of the decade and into the 1960s she began to gain traction, then faded, and became a little known shadowy figure in the 1970s. The 1980s ushered in a new era and Ayn Rand began to swell in politics. Some of her chief admirers were Ronald Reagan (Rand may have influenced Reaganomics?), Paul Ryan, Glen Beck, and a number of other prominent political figures.
I find it interesting that her disciples keep hidden a number of well documented facts about her. One of her biggest fans is Anton Leve’, head of the church of Satan in America. I don’t consider this much of a recommendation when one of your biggest admirers is the devil himself. Never the less, her followers are loyal. Apparently they don’t care about the devil and his beliefs. They also do not tell anyone that she is the Goddess they turn to when political decisions have to be made. Scholars and I mean the real ones, not the ones who appear of FOX news, NBC, MSNBC, CBS or any of the other networks, consider her political system to be Totalitarian Anarchism .At her funeral, Allan Greenspan laid a reef in the form of a dollar bill on her casket. Probably her most famous supporters that surged on a reactionary front, was The Tea Party movement.
I believe we are in a cross fire between a Randian political system and a Bolshevik revolution. It is my sincere hope that Donald Trump can generate a cessation of the political hemorrhaging. On the one side, there are those, who like the devil, have no compassion for their fellow human beings, and on the other, there are those who take pity and make it a passion, very much the bulwark of communism. C.S. Lewis once wrote that if we take pity and isolate it from the other virtues like justice, love, ect., that virtue is transformed into a vice and we become a cruel and treacherous people. If one looks closely he/she sees her hand of influence in post modern America. There are a number of states that have laws against giving a hungry person something to eat and fines associated with feeding homeless people. Rand would cheer at such a law.
Rand believed that the individual didn’t need anyone but himself. In other words, all failures are the fault of the individual and there are no other controls that can preclude success. I suppose the Good Samaritan should have told the injured person he found on the side of the road to pull himself up by his boot straps, and then walk away. This Samaritan not only helped the man to a place of care, but paid his emergency room visit as well. Solomon didn’t seem to think that individualism was a panacea, “men are trapped by evil times, and the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong nor does wealth come to the brilliant or food to the wise, but timing and chance happens to them all” (NASV). Rand’s selfish manifesto will lead us into absolute chaos and deride our constitution. I admonish the reader to look a little closer at her writings. I was once trapped by her allure. Even if Rand’s twisted world view were true, what kind of world would it be without compassion or connection to our fellow human beings? C. S. Lewis puts it into perspective, “Your neighbor, next to Christ, is the holiest object that will ever be presented before your eyes.”
Her influence on Religion is subtle, but ever present. Today’s churches will throw a loaf of bread at you, something that Rand would greatly disapprove; however, they no longer visit people and develop strong bonds with each other. This would come into Rand’s radar of rigorous individualism. John Dewey, the most prolific American philosopher, once differentiated between “doing for, and doing with.” There is plenty of “doing for” but low on the measurement scale is “doing with.” I don’t know what it will take to change the minds of Americans, but I do know it will require a collective effort. The hyper individualism will not replenish the bonding, social capital so desperately needed in America.