Miss Rand, famously a believer in rugged individualism and personal responsibility, was a strong defender of self-interest. She was a staunch opponent of government programs from the New Deal and Social Security to the Great Society and Medicare.This is funny because it shows that Ayn Rand was consistent in her beliefs. She believed in self interest. If that meant that you sell the suckers a philosophy of "objectivism" to make it easier to pick their pockets, that is fine. If it means that you are a VIP-DIPer, that is fine. It is for small minds to be consistent. For demi-gods like Ayn Rand, the rules don't apply. They are simply rules to allow her to acquire great wealth worthy of her noble mind. Leave it to pettyfoggers and the impotent to quibble about consistency and the "principles" of libertarianism. Ayn Rand knew what she was doing. She was selling snake oil to line her pockets. Only fools would believe that snake oil is "medicine". It isn't. It is a vehicle for self aggrandizement by the "great minds" of history such as Ayn Rand.
A Library of Congress survey of the most influential books on American readers, "Atlas Shrugged" ranked second only to the Bible. Rand's influence is encyclopedic ranging from Alan Greenspan to Paul "I grew up on Ayn Rand" Ryan (R-Wis), a "Young Gun" who aims to cut or privatize Medicare and Social Security.
The Right should be commended politically for their ability to develop and stick to a unified message. But close inspection of this unified message reveals a disappointing secret identified by a student of the Godfather of Neo-conservatism, --- the University of Chicago's Leo Strauss. The student, Anne Norton ("Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire") identified what she called VIP-DIP meaning Venerated in Public, Disdained in Private. "Do as I say, not as I do." The list of vip-dipers on the Right runs from Harold Bloom to Newt Gingrich, but certainly not Ayn Rand. Right?
A heavy smoker who refused to believe that smoking causes cancer brings to mind those today who are equally certain there is no such thing as global warming. Unfortunately, Miss Rand was a fatal victim of lung cancer.
However, it was revealed in the recent "Oral History of Ayn Rand" by Scott McConnell (founder of the media department at the Ayn Rand Institute) that in the end Ayn was a vip-dipper as well. An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor).
As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help."
But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so. Apart from the strong implication that those who take the help are morally weak, it is also a philosophic point that such help dulls the will to work, to save and government assistance is said to dull the entrepreneurial spirit.
In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.
From the Wikipedia article on Libertarianism:
Modern libertarianism was influenced by Ayn Rand's international bestsellers The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) and her books about her philosophy of Objectivism Two other women also published influential pro-freedom books in 1943, Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom and Isabel Paterson's The God of the Machine.Admit it... you have to rank "libertarianism" up there with the other great "systems of thought" like Hitler's "nazism" and Mao Tse-tung's "little red book".
In the 1950s many with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as "libertarian." Academics as well as proponents of the free market perspectives note that free-market libertarianism has been successfully propagated beyond the US since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties and that libertarianism is increasingly viewed worldwide as a free market position. However, Libertarian socialists Noam Chomsky, Colin Ward and others say the term is still considered a synonym of anarchism in countries other than the US.
Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater's libertarian-oriented challenge to authority had a major impact on the libertarian movement, through his book The Conscience of a Conservative and his run for president in 1964. Goldwater's speech writer, Karl Hess, became a leading libertarian writer and activist.
The wonderful thing about Ayn Rand is that she helped the social system by making sure that those "little people" who would simply suck wealth out of the economy for their petty interests could be tricked into believing he confection called "libertarianism" which would allow the truly noble minds of their time -- like her -- to enjoy an even bigger share of the social wealth. She convinced them to disdain government. That left more for her. This is the secret of all great minds. Get people to throw away their lives in order to let you have more goodies to frolic with and waste. In short, treat humans an objects to be disposed of as fits your fancies.