For those wishing to feel good about and rationalize their wealth, or some simply aspiring to great wealth, Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is their salvation — you know, what the Paul Ryans and Donald Trumps of the world seek above all else. Ms. Rand pushed a philosophy of life that she coined objectivism as expressed in two of her most famous novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Boiled down to its essence Rand theorized that greed is good and that the moral purpose of life is one’s own happiness and individual rights as expressed in laisssez-faire capitalism
Actual she is partly right, but as with any purist economic or political ideology, it always ends up a brutal disaster as embodied in the thinking and deeds of our own President Donald J. Trump, a misfit of a human being if ever there were one. Indeed, it is impossible to protect the rights of the many without somewhat impinging on the rights of a few, otherwise societies become nothing more than a Darwinian food fight with a few eating like kings and the rest starving to death.
In economic terms a fine balance of socialism and capitalism is far better than a pure version of either. And that highlights the flaw in Ms. Rands’s philosophy of life and the conservative ideal built upon her philosophy. Now this is not a blanket indictment of great wealth. There are many generous hearted creators of wealth who don’t see themselves as more deserving or better than others. Of course the first to come to mind along these lines is Warren Buffett, a mild mannered and kindhearted man who expects to have pushed his entire real wealth, not the fake Trump kind, to good causes before he permanently checks out of his consciousness.
For those caught up in Ms. Rand’s theories of pure self-interest, the idea of giving away wealth is absolute heresy, a moral outrage. This is why that whenever conservative Republicans manage to gain political leverage their first, and basically only objective, is to find ways to push government money their way and not the people’s way. This is because, as Ms. Rand’s ideology preaches, greed is not only good it is a sacred endeavor. They are doing God’s work by grabbing all they can at the expense of others. Jesus apparently had other ideas. But then, look what that got him — oh, well!