Understanding that the test of a philosophy’s truth is its relation to reality and life, Rand allowed readers to see what her ideas meant in practice.Through Howard Roark, the hero of The Fountainhead , Rand showed that individualism in the soul produces happiness in life, even when external success is elusive.
Very few thinkers joined Rand in basing an uncompromising defense of laissez-faire capitalism on a moral philosophy of personal freedom—a philosophy of individual rights to life, liberty, and property that harkened back to the Founding Fathers.And of her era, or any other era, provided the Enlightenment philosophy of individual rights with an Enlightenment moral foundation, one that did not rely on invoking God.As noted, other authors in her day were defending capitalism; a few were even defending pure laissez-faire capitalism.Of these last, however, most were economists who either avoided moral arguments entirely or relied upon utilitarianism.She, and only she, integrated rationality, self-interest, political freedom, and capitalism into a comprehensive, secular world-view.
purged Rand from the conservative movement—never mind that Rand never considered herself to be a conservative.
They saw families and small communities as the arenas in which moral virtues are exercised, and they opposed a large federal government with broad powers because they thought it likely to destroy those small-scale arenas.
But, for the same reason, they viewed Other thinkers, such as Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman, favored individual liberty and limited government at all levels, because they understood that government control destroys individual entrepreneurial initiative and thus social prosperity.
She declared that these wealth creators, exemplified especially by America’s industrialists, are giants who hold the world on their shoulders.
But though she depicted industrialists as benefactors to whom we owe our prosperity, Rand did not pronounce them heroes Perhaps the most famous of Rand’s innovations was her defense of self-interest.
But while these critics offered insights into the destructive nature of government and the wealth-creating power of free individuals, they missed the essential can be attributed in large part to the ways in which she differed from others on the Right.