ABC News on Obama, Ayn Rand, and Selfishness

 Posted by on 1 November 2008 at 3:00 pm  Activism, Politics
Nov 012008

Yesterday (October 31, 2008), ABC News posted a story on Barack Obama’s defense of higher taxes and his explicit attack against “selfishness”.

The news story also mentioned Ayn Rand and her book The Virtue of Selfishness, including hyperlinks to the book and the ARI.

Numerous non-Objectivist blogs have also linked to the ABC story, mostly in support. I think this is an excellent opportunity for Objectivists to add to the public discussion in defense of limited government, individual rights, and egoism.

It’s probably not worth adding a comment to the ABC story itself, because there are well over 1000 comments there already. But you can easily leave comments on blogs that are covering the story. For instance, using Google to search for “‘ayn rand’ selfish obama”, I found the following:

You can then click through to go to various blogs/websites, many of which allow comments.

I’ve left versions of the following comment on several of them:

The kind of selfishness that Ayn Rand advocated (and which Obama apparently opposes) is a completely noble and moral American virtue. This country was founded on the principle that men and women had the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” free from government interference and tyranny.

Many immigrants (such as my parents) came to this country precisely to be able to work hard, prosper, and give their children a chance for a better life. They came to this country with little more than the clothes on their back, but did well over the years, sent two children to college and medical school, and are now enjoying a well-earned and comfortable retirement. Their lives have been a real-life embodiment of the American dream.

If we want America to remain a beacon of hope to millions around the world, we should re-affirm our commitment to free markets and capitalism, and reject calls for more socialism and “redistribution of wealth”.

This country is great precisely because it allows people like my parents to attain selfish goals such as their lives and happiness. Americans should be proud of that fact, not condemn it.

If you’ve composed something on this topic that you like, then this is a good way to defend Ayn Rand and rational egoism with a minimum of additional effort.

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