- NOTE: This article was first posted on my old site on April 26, 2010.
There’s no tinge of doubt that Ayn Rand’s influence lives on, as thousands of freedom-loving individuals bring posters and placards depicting her ideas at Tea Party rallies. Ayn Rand, the most controversial and most influential philosopher and intellectual figure of the 20th century, championed individual rights, limited government, and man’s pursuit of happiness. As the most passionate advocate of individualism, reason, and capitalism, Ayn Rand held that man is an end in himself and not the means to the ends of others. The individual, she said, is the standard of value in a truly free society.
“Ayn Rand was right”- “Read Atlas Shrugged”- “Who is John Galt”- “Where is John Galt”- “Is Atlas Shrugging”- “John Galt Was Right”– these are just some of the most visible messages at Tea Party rallies that depict Ayn Rand’s influence. John Galt is one of the main characters of Ayn Rand’s bestselling book, Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957. Many advocates of laissez-faire Capitalism claim that Atlas Shrugged offers the best defense of capitalism.
Ayn Rand’s resurgence is largely attributed to the collectivist policies of former President George W. Bush and his successor President Barack Obama who doubled the size of the American government in just a very short period of time through his bailout plans, stimulus packages, cronyism, and universal health care program. Under the socialist regime of Obama, the American government assumed the role of an omnipotent provider of what every American needs. This statist political action may sound good to some brainless socialists and idiotic supporters of communism yet it has a cornucopia of dangerous side effects. When a government provides almost everything that the people need, it has to steal the money and the goods from the people who work and produce. The inevitable result of Obama’s welfare state idiocy are higher taxes, less individual and economic freedom, more debts and budget deficit, more Obama cronies, and bigger, dictatorial government.
However, not all individuals, particularly those who absorbed lies, myths and stupid ideas from their liberal and leftist professor, understand the dangerous effect of the Obama-Biden-Pelosi plan. The American voters didn’t know they elected the first hardcore socialist to the White House. Former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter were the first semi-socialist and liberal commanders-in-chief of the American government. The ongoing Tea Party rallies are America’s response to Obama’s socialist regime, and it’s not surprising that Ayn Rand is the most visible intellectual icon at these pro-liberty, pro-individual rights gatherings.
“Many Americans are finding Rand’s predictions uncomfortably close to real-life events,” saidDr. Paul Hsieh, an Objectivist co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM).
“Another reason for Rand’s appeal is her emphasis on the moral dimension. One of her themes was that no country can survive when its government constantly punishes good men for their virtues and rewards bad men for their vices. Americans correctly recognize that it is unjust for the government to take money from those who have lived frugally to bail out those who have lived beyond their means. Honest men should not be forced to pay for the irresponsibility of others,” Dr. Hsieh said.
Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), a non-profit organization that advocates Ayn Rand’s philosophy and ideas, observed that “what’s needed today is not a tax revolt, but a revolt against today’s intellectual mainstream.”
Ayn Rand Institute states:
Today, thousands of Americans are joining modern day tea parties, named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773. They are protesting a government that, in the wake of today’s financial crisis, is rapidly strangling their freedom, with endless bailouts, mounting regulations, reckless spending, and the promise of a crippling tax burden. Correctly sensing that the American system is being discarded, they seek to battle this trend by taking to the streets to register their outrage.
But today’s statist onslaught is the result of a deeply entrenched set of ideas about the proper purpose of government. Virtually everyone today believes that unrestricted capitalism is immoral and dangerous, and that the government’s role is to actively intervene in the economy in order to achieve the “public good.” So long as these ideas remain unchallenged, and no positive alternative is offered, no protest will be able to change the country’s course.
It is indeed enlightening to see Ayn Rand’s influence on the Tea Party protests. However, in order for this ongoing revolt against dictatorship and tyranny to be successful it must be guided by rational intellectual leadership. The main objective of this intellectual struggle is to return to the Founding Father’s concept of the proper role of government. According to Ayn Rand, the only proper role of government is to protect individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Tea Party protesters need intellectual leadership in order to understand that the source of all crises is not Capitalism, but massive government intervention. Until and unless grasp the real concept of laissez-faire capitalism and the true nature of government, they would not be able to defeat the evil forces of tyranny or collectivism.