Today at Political Animal, Ed Kilgore wrote, Atlas Whined. In it, he discusses “venture capitalist Tom Perkins much-mocked letter to The Wall Street Journal comparing people like him to the persecuted German Jews .” And he notes that Ayn Rand would be very disappointed with such “fearful titans.” He notes, “How could she worship the Creative Capitalist if he’s cowering in his mansion?”
This is not entirely correct. Rand was very angry at the “business leaders” of her day. They then, as they had for generations before, believed that in order to stay in good standing in polite society, it was necessary to give money back to good causes. A good analogy is the way that Hollywood stars now have particular charitable causes that they support. To Rand, this screamed, “Altruism!” She wanted them to get rid of what she saw as hypocrisy.
The business community of today would be a great improvement from her perspective. What’s more, half of the political spectrum now says that by pursuing their own self interest, business owners are doing a great service to the society as Job Creators. The depth of Ayn Rand’s economic knowledge was the same as her philosophical knowledge (shallow), so she saw this as a direct outcome of her philosophy.
The truth is that the Perkins whine about the 1% being vilified by the collectivists could be taken right out of one of her essays. She would agree with Perkins and say what he wrote was only self-defense. What, after all, is John Galt’s speech, but an eight hour whine about how all the “takers” don’t understand the beneficence that all the “makers” are bringing to them? And of course, in Atlas Shrugged, that is the case. In the real world, it simply isn’t. (See Property Right for a short introduction.)
The only thing that Ayn Rand would quibble over is that venture capitalists like Tom Perkins even make the case that they are Job Creators. She would prefer them to understand her philosophy that says that people should only look out for their own self-interest. (See Enlightened Self Interest for her all-purpose caveat.) But yelling at liberals and calling them Nazis? That was Ayn Rand’s stock-in-trade.