Return to Home Page

1957 - Ayn Rand

Well known as the author of *Atlas Shrugged* and *Fountain Head*, Ayn Rand led a small "collective" with Alan Greenspan as a member. Her influence is marked by a U.S. stamp.

from Wikipedia:

"Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights. .... academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades.... She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives...."


By The Editors Of Playboy from the March 1964 issue.

"I never describe my position in terms of negatives. I am an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, of individual rights --- there are no others --- of individual freedom. It is on this ground that I oppose any doctrine which proposes the sacrifice of the individual to the collective, such as communism, socialism, the welfare state, fascism, Nazism and modern liberalism.

I oppose the conservatives on the same ground. The conservatives are advocates of a mixed economy and of a welfare state. Their difference from the liberals is only one of degree, not of principle."

"My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."

Like Franklin D Roosevelt, Ayn Rand was a stamp collector. Her stamp collection numbered to 50,000.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) remembered and respected for his strong yet compassionate leadership during the Great Depression and World War II.

FDR sketched the original designs for several United States stamps issued during his time in office.

Rand's Influence on Alan Greenspan

In *The Age of Turbulence*, Alan Greenspan describes the influence that Ayn Rand had on his intellectual development.

"Ayn Rand became a stabilizing force in my life. It hadn't taken long for us to have a meeting of the minds -- mostly my mind meeting hers -- and in the fifties and early sixties I became a regular at the weekly gatherings at her apartment.

Exploring ideas with her was a remarkable course in logic and epistemology. I was able to keep up with her most of the time. Rand's Collective became my first social circle outside the university and the economics profession.

According to objectivist precepts, taxation was immoral because it allowed for government appropriation of private property by force. Yet if taxation was wrong, how could you reliably finance the essential functions of government, including the protection of individuals' rights through police power?

I still found the broader philosophy of unfettered market competition compelling, as I do to this day, .... I'm grateful for the influence she had on my life. I was intellectually limited until I met her."

From *The Age of Turbulence* by Alan Greenspan, pp. 51-53.

1987 - Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank - 2006

Greenspan was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Presidents George H.W.Bush and George W. Bush.

The Prime Argument for Conservatism -- difficult to make

It was the purpose of this book to present the essental reason, the raison d´être, for conservatism. This proved too difficult. I could find no way to do this. The book was a failure, but an elegant failure.

Let me try a bit here:

People need, just have, a motivation. Historically, the hunter-gatherer motivation was the prospect of starvation. Everyone worked. Everyone had a job. There was no such thing as unemployment. Charity, compassion for the unable, was a development that waited increased efficiency in hunting, in gathering, and in growing: the invention of agriculture. With a surplus came that charity along with the pleasure of waging war and building empires, small then large.

When charity became governmental function called the "welfare state," there came loss of motivation to a part or all of the population. The welfare state expanded in some nations to the "managed state" of which invention of the centrally-governed economies, commonly called "communist."

A notable example was East Germany from 1949 to 1990. In Wikipeida we read:

No worker could be sacked, unless for serious misconduct or incompetence; even in such cases, alternative work would be offered. The GDR had no system of unemployment benefit because the concept of unemployment did not exist.

With a very low birth rate and a high rate of exodus, East Germany was losing workers. As the goal of socialism is the elimination of capitalist economics, the GDR strove to reduce wealth disparity between individuals through the elimination of private property, businesses and stores. While enforcement of this ideal led to a more economically even society, it prompted many with economic ambition or those who did not agree with its enforcement to escape -- ypically those with higher education: doctors, scientists, engineers, and skilled workers. This growing loss of skilled personnel was intended to be curtailed with the building of the wall

An East German psychiatrist asserted on a TV interview that it take a generation for the East German workers to adapt to the rigors of life in a "free society" where workers could be fired for low production (or, one might add, for working under the influence of vodka).

But I have not been able to document this and even to suggest it draws charges of racism, nationalism, prejudice, and other sins. Hence the failure of this book.

Perhaps a reader will help me. My e-mail address can be found on my website.