46 votes

Ayn Rand's first appearance on Johnny Carson: Hardly entertainment! Ha!

17 solid minutes of AR talking about "Objectivism", defense of Capitalism, Free Markets, Morality of Individual Rights, Right to Privacy, WAR...

Then there's Johnny Carson's attentive interest in the subject, as opposed to the person. That's rare. Hardly entertaining on a show that exists solely for entertainment—not serious idealogical types.

Notice the explosion of applause when she talks about undeclared wars, inscription, and the unconstitutionality of undeclared wars.

She also says her views, in the future, would be the norm. I think she was right. When Ayn came to this country we were already in the grips of communism which of course, she made a career of warning us about.


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Too bad she wound up on the public dole

after being so outspoken against it. She failed to live up to the philosophy she espoused and tried to hide it from public scrutiny.

Wait.. what? You find it a

Wait.. what?

You find it a flaw when someone has a portion of their money taken from them, w/o their consent, one day accepts the money back from the same people who took it from them in the first place?

I am opposed to the public dole...

Yet I see a day when I may have to take advantage of it. Why? Because I am paying approximately 40% of my yearly income in taxes of one kind or another, even though I am only modestly paid. That amounts to tens of thousands of dollars per year that I cannot save for hard times or for my fast approaching old age.

Harry Browne used to say that the government likes to break your legs (steal your money), then hand you a crutch (welfare) and tell you how lucky you are that they were there to help you.

They did that to Ayn Rand, too.

SteveMT's picture

Ron Paul collects his Social Security also. So what?

Jun 21, 2012 2:29pm
Ron Paul Collects Social Security
“Just as I use the Post office, too, I use government highways, you do that too, I use the banks,” Paul said. “I use the Federal Reserve system, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work to remove this. In the same way on Social Security, I am trying to make a transition. If I were 20 years old and was offered the chance, I’d jump at it, and the young people are jumping at it because they know this is not solvent.”

That begs the response: so

That begs the response: so what? Yes, she is not perfect. A hypocrite, but that does nto change the message. Even if she was a witch composed of part Obama, part Hitlary, part G.W., part Romney, it still does not make the message any more or less true.

It is the ad hominem fallacy of confusing mesage with messenger.
So if the messenger is imperfect that means all the message must be wrong?

If she is imperfect, so what? Big news break eilif, noone is perfect. Yes AR is full of human faults and frailties. So is everyone. If eilif is not perfect does that mean everything he says must be disregarded?

If an obese out of shape doctor says obesity and lack of fitness is not good, does that mean he must be wrong. Should everyone therefore embrace obesity and laziness because the doctor did live up to his message? And what of everything else the doctors says. Does it mean every word out of his mouth must aso be disregarded? Of course that would be moronic.

I too am a hypocrite on some level and so is eilif and so is everyone who has ever communicated a rational cohesive thought. I am against income taxes, yet I pay them. Oh what a hypocite am I. Does that now mean the income tax is good?

I am also against the premptive warfare and foreign occupations, and foreign aid (foreign welfare/foreign bribery). Yet I contribute to those items by paying income taxes. Does that now mean premptive warfare and foreign occupations and foreign aid are all therefore good things because of my hypcocritical behavior?

It is of course idiotic. It is the classic ad hominem fallacy. It is generally resorted to by those with ulterior motives. It is the retreat of those who cannot rationally address the message and therefore asttempts to distract by attacking the messenger instead.

Lastly I advocate that anyone that opposes such forced socialist programs should drain as much as they can from it, so as to bring it to an end more quickly. Bleed it dry until nothing is left of the system but an empty dessicated shell. To refuse to participate after being forced to fund such programs actually aids and abets and prolongs such foul programs. It would be hypocritical to be forced to pay into such systems and then act in a manner that would help prolong the existence of such.

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl

So how to look at this?

So she got lung cancer and her only income was the books.

The Excellence of Love

Don't be fooled, Selfishness is in opposition to Love.

1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge ; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous ; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly ; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth ; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails ; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away ; if there are tongues, they will cease ; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part ;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child ; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face ; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three ; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13 NAS http://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-corinthians/13.html

I knew my son had found love when he shared his candy with his brother without being asked to do so.

reedr3v's picture

bear, I know from your posts that you are a good

and sincere person who is growing rapidly as a Liberty advocate.

One gentle remonstrance on your posts in this thread: I think you contribute best when you have personal knowledge of a subject. Just reading about the flaws in a great person's personal life -- and the more minor flaws in the person's philosophy or art -- does not really prepare you to discuss a giant's work usefully, except as learning dialogue of course.

Take nearly any great of the past -- Einstein, Gandhi, MLK, the founding fathers, Ezra Pound, G.H. Wells, on and on and on. They all had massive personal flaws and often their works were deeply flawed too.

It is most advantageous for growth to be aware of the errors, but to gain from the immense contributions to peace and the arts made by many flawed major historic figures.

Hi reedr3v,

I appreciate your compliment in identifying me as a growing Friend of Liberty. Truly, there is much for me to learn.

I just want to make sure that you read both threads of exchange between SteveMT and me here in this post, as we corresponded in 2 separate conversations:

One starting here: http://www.dailypaul.com/comment/2768078

And another starting here: http://www.dailypaul.com/comment/2768060

I felt very satisfied that we had an equitable exchange whereby we both respected each other’s opinions. I appreciate SteveMT’s ability to speak with me on my ideas concerning Rand. The information I read and watched on Rand was not “negative information,” but just historical in nature.

You mention that many people have personal flaws. Don’t I know that! I have plenty of failings of my own, and I can only hope there will be no more major blunders. That being said, I find that I learn by such exchanges as SteveMT and I engaged.

You mentioned:

“Just reading about the flaws in a great person's personal life -- and the more minor flaws in the person's philosophy or art -- does not really prepare you to discuss a giant's work usefully, except as learning dialogue of course.”

The thing that I felt I was addressing with Rand was her philosophy of selfishness and how that philosophy manifested in her personal life as she destroyed a person that she loved because she was spurned. To me that is the epitome of selfishness, and I am an advocate of the opposite of selfishness which is embodied in love. So, my point was not to air any of her dirty laundry, but to highlight how selfishness is “not what makes the world go ‘round.”

In saying this, I do not know whether specific philosophies advocated or taught by “Einstein, Gandhi, MLK, the founding fathers, Ezra Pound, G.H. Wells,” played out in their personal lives in a negative fashion.

I’d be happy for you to tell me what you appreciate regarding her contributions. I am not here to argue, but to learn. But how can I learn from my Friends in Liberty if someone else does not know what I am thinking? And then again, I am always allowed to have and voice my own personal opinion, and I try to do so in a kind fashion.

You are correct. I am but a novice and am most likely in way over my head when it comes to many things, but I still think my singular point on selfishness maybe helpful such that others may decide to choose love over selfishness, and be better off for allowing love to be their guide.

Thank you for being gentle in your admonition instead of “unloading on me.”


reedr3v's picture

First, I'm tardy in expressing how very much

I admire you. Your intellectual courage, open mind, tenacity in truth seeking are admirable, and it is a joy to read most of your posts.

I objected to the few where I thought you strayed into complex territory without basic preparations. You made the mistake we all do from time to time, of relying on 2nd hand information only.

It may be difficult for recent Liberty people to appreciate the enormous contributions of Rand to the early awakening of so many libertarians. The movement has moved way beyond much of her work, but her novels and some of her insights are so profound, they are as responsible for the popular Liberty movement as those of any one individual IMO, despite her significant errors.

You misunderstand Rand's idea of "selfishness" entirely. Hers was a courageous and gallant stand against the overwhelming tide of propaganda against individual worthiness. Especially her fictional protagonists exemplify the value of human cooperation of honest individuals pursuing their own ends, be it in business, community, or relationships. Her Atlas Shrugged is wonderful in this portrayal.

It is tremendously sad that Rand did not find her way personally to achieve what she did in the abstract. Ron Paul has integrated his work and personal life far more successfully, with the reward that he is a happy warrior. Rand was an anguished hero breaking new ground with a vicious response from the culture, and it broke her spirit and turned her inward and ill at the end.

But her work endures and continues to lift the minds and spirits of so many. While newcomers now often attribute their awakenings to Ron Paul, a half century ago the most frequent awakenings came from Rand. There was a book at that time, "It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand," by Jerome Tuccille.

Thank you for awaiting my Tardy Reply!

(Earlier Reply: I just want to stop in and let you know that I have read and appreciate your welcome reply. I am swamped on the homefront, but am looking forward to returning here to respond. Thank you for your time on my behalf.)
Thank you for understanding that my goal is to be a Friend of Liberty, to have an open mind, and to seek the truth. You are very kind in saying so. I have spent some time this morning watching Mike Wallace and a Tom Snyder as well as watching her again with Johnny Carson so I could hear Rand herself and not only 2nd hand information. I understand that what she was able to provide were only sound bites of Objectivism.

I have been a Christian since age 7 when I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and relied on his death, burial and resurrection as my Savior from the penalty of sin. I grew up learning and memorizing the Bible. It is a rock and foundation to my life. I am by no means perfect and have strayed often. That being said, you will have to know that I read and interpret information thru my knowledge of God thru the Scriptures and a personal relationship. I never considered that the word selfishness could mean anything other than being self-absorbed.

I will say though, that true (as opposed to counterfeit) Christianity promotes individual worthiness. I personally am the “apple of God’s eye” and am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have great worth in knowing that I am created in the image of God and that God is intricately involved in my life as opposed to being an animal without a soul subject to random events. God in His Word says that not one sparrow falls from the sky without His knowledge and that the very hairs on my hair are numbered and known by Him. He says that I am worth more than many sparrows:
Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fallon the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered .31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
God has a purpose and plan for my life and loves me and I share that same love with others because they also are made in the image of God and have intrinsic worth as human life. That being said does not give a government the right to” make” me love or share my goods with anyone, to which is what I understand Rand to be opposed.

I realize though that “religion” or Christianity “in name only” has caused many people to be in bondage and injured or killed. And I see now though, that since I do not yet know enough about Ayn Rand that I should not make the same mistake others make when attributing evil to Christianity without realizing that it too has been used by the enemies of Liberty for evil purposes.

If Ayn Rand had ever been able to know how much God loved her, perhaps she would have been able to find that same personal freedom that Dr. Paul exhibits in his moral character. Then again, I am one to draw “logical” conclusions without having all the facts as my Friend Josf has helped me to see and as you have so well explained to me once again. I will try to keep these things in mind. So, in self-evaluation, I see that because Ayn Rand says some things to which I disagree that caused me to want to disagree with everything she said. I can understand her philosophy somewhat in a political or corporate or involuntary association sense, but have a difficult time relating it to a human to human or singular sense except that Jesus said to love others as you love yourself…So one must love oneself (have self-esteem) in order to truly love someone else. I think that agrees with Rand, but I fail to see only loving those “worthy” of love. Here is Jesus Christ on Love:
Luke 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said , A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment , and wounded him, and departed , leaving him half dead .31And by chance there came down a certain priest that *way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side .32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side .33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed , came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed , he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more , when I come again * , I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said , He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go , and do thou likewise.
Love, compassion, and mercy are not based upon the worth of the individual and that is because the individual has natural worth. Notice though that the “priest” and the “Levite/temple worker” (the “religious”) had no care or compassion for someone who had been unjustly injured, but rather the “Samaritan” who the Jews hated was the one who showed love.
I do not understand all of the Libertarian, Anarchism, Austrian, Voluntarism, (and now I suppose Selfishness/Objectivism) banks of thinking, but I know that I am alarmed at the Breech in Liberty here in these United States and I am deeply concerned and am thankful that I have found Dr. Paul and a group of people who are seeking Liberty thru Peaceful r3VOLution.

I wonder…perhaps as Ayn Rand spoke truth against collectivism, if perhaps her atheism drove a wedge between “religious” America and the truth she spoke against socialism? Certainly she had personal knowledge of the evils of soviet style societal structure. I have also seen recently somewhere that capitalism and communism have been used in the Hegelian dialect to bring about the sovietization of America. I am not sure how laissez-faire capitalism works into that conflict. There is a lot I am still trying to put together.

Thank you for sharing with me her important contributions to the Liberty movement half a century ago. You did a wonderful job of portraying that information. I imagine that I still need to read her works in order to really understand Objectivism. It concerns me that perhaps the baby was thrown out with the bathwater when Ayn threw God out with Objectivism.

Another goal that I have is for Friends of Liberty to be Friends IN Liberty, which would mean that we respect and help one another as we work toward the common goal of Liberty. I appreciate the time you have taken on my behalf to help me see and understand Ayn Rand. I hope that I may call you a Friend in Liberty. And please, feel free to call me out again as I want to be truthful and see correctly and do not want to lead anyone astray or hurt the efforts toward Liberty.


reedr3v's picture

thank you, friend in liberty


i appreciate this kind of

i appreciate this kind of post. and i agree.

RP is dangerous, so dangerous

SteveMT's picture

Your son shared his candy only after he had secured his share.

That is called 'The Virtue of Selfishness.' He took care of his own needs first. Only then did he share the rest with his brother. This is all explained in the book by the same name by Ayn Rand.

There were times when there

There were times when there was a single piece of candy that he received from his speech teacher and he would give it to his younger brother. That was shocking to me. I tend to be selfish and would have never given a single piece of candy to my sibling. He is a very generous person. Does Rand discuss generosity?

SteveMT's picture

Generosity is up to the individual if that is their goal,...

but only after their own needs have been met. Greed maybe the goal of others (as we well know with the bankers and such). For those individuals whose goal it is to help others, which I also believe to be the right thing to do, they will be able to care for more people if they see to their own needs first. Example: they need food to eat to be able to help others. If they gave away all of their food to the hungry, they would starve and not be able to help anyone. Maybe none of the people who received this food would want help others because they may have totally different goals. If these people gave away their homes to those homeless, they would not be able to take care of very many people without a roof over their heads. These "needs" can be taken to extremes no doubt. Does anyone need a Maserati first before they can better help the poor? Ayn Rand would argue that it's their right to do what they want with their own money. That is true, but that's what got Marie Antoinette into big trouble with the "let them eat cake" remark or billionaire Leona Helmsley saying that "only little people pay taxes." The extreme displays of in your face opulence I have a big problem with. The difference between wants and needs is great. I appreciated reading your honest answer above.

The other side of the coin

Thank you for taking the time to read my answer and for your kind reply. I do think self-sacrifice to the point of one's demise, must be sought out to whether it is the will of God. Certainly there have been many who have laid down their lives for a cause and great rewards were reaped for that cause. One must know and be sure of the calling on one’s life.

I think of Ron and Carol Paul who could have been home enjoying the fruit of their labor and instead invested countless hours for the cause of Liberty without due compensation. Think of the millions given to Obama and Romney and how hard Dr. Paul had to work on a pittance from his humble followers. He cast his earthly reward to the wind and sought something greater than money. He sought Liberty on behalf of the American people to be rewarded with lying, cheating, and stealing, and yet he continues to speak on behalf of Liberty and to pursue the Federal Reserve. I wonder, how many times did he have to pass on being bought off? That is the kind of selflessness I hope to practice, and yet it is hard to love anyone else as much as I love myself.

Certainly you have heard of the sacrifice of those who signed the Declaration of Independence. Many of them lost everything as they pledged their lives and their fortunes. Some of their families wondered and starved to death during the war. Many lost all of their earthly goods. I think we know very little about sacrifice as we live in affluence that most of the world knows nothing of. I know nothing of need. I have never been hungry. I really know nothing of sacrifice, so perhaps I live out Ayn Rand’s philosophy more than I live that of Christ’s who I call Lord.

I decided to check Ayn Rand

I decided to check Ayn Rand out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeVgNMqUY28&feature=relmfu

After hearing how she treated her follower and lover after he wanted to quit sleeping with her, I decided I really didn't care for her.

SteveMT's picture

Remember this?:

"I am an imperfect messenger. But the message is perfect." - Ron Paul

Consider that focusing on her intellect, not her personal life, is the high road to take.

The High Road of Selfishness

Howdy SteveMT,
As far as I can understand, her intellect espouses selfishness which caused her to destroy her lover who was also her follower who also started a whole group of Ojbectionalists which was subsequently and consequently destroyed by Ayn Rand. She destroyed the very thing that she espoused because of her personal selfishness. I do not believe I am looking at her personal life, but I am looking at the end product of selfishness.

I believe I am using reason as she would espouse to come to this conclusion, which according to Ayn is the moral high road.

As far as I can tell, while imperfect as we all are, Ron Paul does not espouse selfishness.

I would be happy to discuss further as I am not trying to pick a fight or argument. I am only saying what I can see so far.

SteveMT's picture

Why do you discuss everything else except her novels?

You and MaxK are of the same ilk. Both of you make personal attacks on dead people, then you say that they are not personal attacks. All the while that you are criticizing the lifestyle of dead authors, you avoid discussing their literary works.

Talk about the message of the Fountainhead or of Atlas Shrugged, something that matters, something more in line with being objective. Since you are more than willing to jump on Ayn Rand's imperfections, are you admitting or simply avoiding the perfection of her message?

Love is a beautiful word.

Look, I do not know MaxK, but someone told me to read Rand yesterday, so I looked her up on youTube. I was not impressed by the Atlas Shrugged quote or by Rand’s statements. I may be missing the big picture, but I figure before I read an author I would like to know a little bit about what they espouse.

In my opinion, perfection is found in the message of Jesus Christ: Love your neighbor as yourself. Everyone is my neighbor. I need to treat my neighbor as I would treat myself. To me the reality of a message is shown in the practical application of the message. If I love someone, I will not hurt them. If I love someone, I may even sacrifice myself for them. If I love someone, I will place their needs before mine because the measure of treatment is the treatment of myself. Love is not dependent upon return but is a virtue in itself. As far as I can tell, Ayn Rand’s message is in direct opposition to the message of Christ.

According to wiki, Selfishness is placing concern with oneself or one's own interests above the well-being or interests of others.

In my opinion it is the art of selfishness that the Legal Criminals practice as they steal the wealth of others for their own “egotistical needs.” It is the absence of love that allows humankind to turn on his neighbor for his own benefit. What would happen if we all practiced love instead of selfishness? There would be no need for selfishness if love was practiced.

Love is a beautiful word and is a beautiful action. I am not so sure about the beauty of selfishness...I may not understand the intent of the teaching of selfishness though.

You should read Patterson

If you have trouble integrating Rand's philosophy with your religious beliefs, you should pick up Isabel Patterson's "God of the Machine." To me, she is intellectually a heavier weight than Ayn Rand. In fact, Patterson was Rand's mentor when she came to the U.S., though they eventually parted ways. I had heard that question of theism was the primary cause of the separation.
Either way, I think what Rand was missing is that you need not deny the existence of a higher power to understand the morality of Objectivism (hard for someone to tell the creator of a philosophy that they don't know their own creation, I know). Ultimately, if reality is a given and we must use the faculty of reason to operate in this reality, does it matter who or what gave the reality?

Unlearning and self-teaching since 2008. Thanks, Dr. Paul!

Thanks for the info on Isabel.

Wiki info brings some other names into the picture.


Hear Hear!

What's Patterson's full name or do you have some titles?

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

Isabel Paterson

Author of "God of the Machine"

corporatist apologetics

A close reading of Rand's work finds a cleverly concealed apology for corporatism, tax farming and even feudalism. Her efforts to conflate post-modern problems with our classical liberal heritage do much to push readers to a false right-left paradigm. In addition, her novels are third rate pulp fiction and her attempts at philosophy are so shallow as to compel only those suffering from a total ignorance of the subject. Her cheap and jejeune treatment of Immanuel Kant is quite revealing: she certainly agrees with the neo-cons that the end justifies the means. Kantian ethics is far more subtle and logical than Rand can admit. The basic idea is that an action is morally acceptable only if said action can be performed universally without harm. For instance, tax farming is immoral because it only works when a privileged caste indulge in the practice. If everyone abandoned productivity and fell to extortion, society would immediately collapse. Obviously, persons who rely on state privilege would balk at Kant's thesis. In essence, Kantian ethics is the repudiation of feudal license and depredation. As the old saying goes: what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Our corporatist overlords would like to see themselves as John Galt type characters, but they are actually useless parasites. Without government subsidies and laws that force us to buy their useless products they would instantly fail. If only they could leave us for tax-farmers gulch. It is no accident that Paul "NDAA" Ryan is an Ayn Rand fan.

One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics, is to be governed by inferiors ~ Plato

Penalties, Pardons and Punishments

I see a fondness of Greek Philosophy, then you will know that ungoverned (free) markets are indeed the most efficient and 'fair', and that the application of PPPs (penalties, pardons and punishments) by groups or bodies immediately alters behavior and there no longer a undistorted free society.

Any governed body will suffer from PPP's, and human behavior is altered in response to governing law. But it is governing groups application of PPP's that alters behavior good or bad (unethically).

Ayn Rand is ultimately correct in that man will respond in his own self interest. Government's intentional or unintentional application of PPP's creates distortions that harm the efficient and fair nature of free society and individual self interest.

The 19th Century saw far fewer regulations (application of PPPs) and the markets moved with less distortion and we had a more prosperous and peaceful world as she points out.

I would move that the 'overlords' you refer to be directed to those governing bodies creating the PPP's, not specifically corporations which alter behavior based on misapplied government. Politicians operating in own self interest, create PPPs which in turn may benefit certain corporations/individuals. Therefore the 'corporate parasites' you describe are actually a product of governing bodies applying PPPs. Another example of a governing bodies distorting the free market -> corporations learn the benefits of manipulating governing bodies -> and become "evil".

Any body of humans wishing to live in a free society, would hope for as few (or smallest) governing bodies as possible, and for a market to operate efficiently and fair it should be as free of PPPs as possible. I think Rand's objectivism speaks to that accurately.

"This isn't what the govern meant"

"Win the crowd and you will win your freedom"

Feudal Overlords

Thanks for the courteous reply. I know many Liberty-minded people like Ayn Rand, and at one time I fell under her sway. The problem is that she is not entirely honest and seems to weave in ideas that are antithetical to western ethics and the public-spirited nature of the classical liberal tradition. Her emphasis on self interest and mockery of self sacrifice are very problematic. The corporatist/crony capitalist era is the apotheosis of this hedonistic and corrupt ideology. I agree that the state is ultimately responsible, but in reality, the corporatists are the state. The state has been captured by the corporatists. Consider the Romney-Bain example: is Romney a Galtian Titan upon whom the lesser men rely? Is borrowing money at artificial interest rates from Goldman-Sachs then buying up, loading debt upon, and selling off companies a noble capitalism? Hardly, in fact Romney and his ilk are more communist than capitalist; they live off the central bank and political money. They trade pieces of paper for the blood, sweat and tears of their countrymen.

Contrary to Rand's so called Objectivism, self-sacrifice is mankind's most noble and divine quality, followed by bravery and kindness. These are precisely the qualities we should cultivate to remedy this mess. These are the qualities which brought us the great victories of liberty from the ancient common law to the Magna Carta to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Randian narrative doesn't ring true because it cheapens the spirit of liberty and confuses villains with heroes.

One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics, is to be governed by inferiors ~ Plato

I get the sense

That you only have a very rudimentary understanding of Objectivism. Don't worry, you're not alone, most of its critics do, especially the ones who claim to be former of Objectivists. Usually the reason they found it contradictory is because they never understood it in the first place.

I doubt Ayn Rand ever cared about being antithetical to western ethics or the "classical liberal tradition." She cared about rational philosophy and ethics. In any case where she contradicted the western philosophers, her thoughts were certainly not intellectual dishonesty, but simply that she believed them to be incorrect on those particular issues. In general, though, she held the enlightenment in very high regard and praised in particular the American founding fathers for attempting to form a government which would remains mostly within its moral purposes.

Rand has very clearly opposed corporatism. If you have read Atlas Shrugged, you are of course aware of the characters that she called the looters (among them were Jim Taggart and Orren Boyle). These were people who acquired unearned wealth by using the arm of government. Mitt Romney is almost a dead ringer for the character Wesley Mouch, who was a Washington insider that aided the corporatists while simultaneously favoring socialism. Needless to say, Mouch is one of Atlas Shrugged's villains.

So about Romney, Ayn Rand would not have a considered him a Galtian hero. She would have pretty much agreed with you.

As for self-interest vs. self-sacrifice, I am a firm believer in rational self-interest. So is every free market economist ever. Adam Smith, the founder of economics and capitalism, wrote the following: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

We see clearly that the only way free market economics works is through everyone acting in their own interest.

Self-sacrifice is the greatest lie in the history of mankind. Consider what happens if you follow the philosophy to its moral end. You have obliterated properity and happiness from the world, because everyone sacrifices everything. Generally, self-sacrifice is espoused by those who have something to gain from your sacrifice. Consider that democrats are constantly talking about it, while liberty advocates denounce their plans to forcibly turn everyone into a sacrificial lamb.

Does this mean that you must never give anyone anything without expecting an equal material value in return? Of course not. I don't believe is, Ayn Rand didn't believe this. She made an important point that charity should not be seen as a requirement or as a virtue, but at the same time, she made it clear that if one wishes to give money or time to a charitable cause for their own, personal reasons, they should do it. While it is not an ethical requisite for anyone to donate to cancer research, a cancer survivor, or someone who had a relative die of cancer, may wish to do so, and if it is a choice they make freely, and not out of a sense of duty, that they should do it.

As far as heroes go, I do not see the heroism in destroying yourself for the sake of another person. There is clear virtue in someone who, in acting in their own self-interest, produces a useful invention or product. Someone who chases his or her dream to be an architect or a writer or an engineer and achieves it, in the process benefitting the rest of society, but without this a primary goal, is a hero. Someone who gives every penny to a homeless man in a gutter is not. And it is not necessary to say that someone who forces or tries to persuade someone to do the latter is a villain.