Who influenced the philosophy of Ayn Rands

Ayn Rand and the unleashed capitalism - idol of right-wing US Republicans

With the slogan "Ayn Rand was right!" parts of the Republican right protested in 2009 against the bank bailout of former US President Obama. While US capitalism slips into its worst crisis since 1929, the "Tea Party" is growing in strength - a protest movement that sees itself in the tradition of the "Sons of Liberty" who led the rebellion against the English crown in Boston in 1773. The sales of Ayn Rand's books rose abruptly.

The "Tea Bags" and the "Libertarians" see the financial crisis as a confirmation of Rand's gloomy prophecies of the tragic end of the welfare state. The notion of a two-class society has burned itself deeply into the collective consciousness of the United States. According to this conviction, a hard-working productive elite faces a passive majority, which deprives the productive of the fruits of their labor through taxes and social transfers. - But who was this pioneer of the republican right and what ideology do her books spread?

Marked by the war: a young migrant with an "American Dream"

Born in 1905 as Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg into a wealthy Jewish family, Ayn Rand experienced the abrupt destruction of her bourgeois existence at the age of thirteen. After their father was expropriated by the Red Army, the family fled to Crimea amid the chaos of the Russian civil war. At the age of 21, Ayn Rand emigrated to the USA alone - in exile she lost contact with her family.

Attracted by the glamor of Hollywood, Ayn Rand tries to gain a foothold as a screenwriter in the vicinity of the film studios. However, the reality of life looks different at first: she has to stay afloat for a long time with jobs in administration. Her texts go unnoticed - the story of her traumatic experiences with the Russian Revolution is at odds with the zeitgeist. In the cauldron of the California film industry with its abrupt career jumps, the radicalism of her thinking gradually develops.

I criticize the morality of charity. Above all, however, I am the creator of a new ethic that was previously not thought possible. A morality that is not based on belief, not on random whims, not on emotions, not on arbitrary commandments, but exclusively on reason: a morality that can be logically proven.

Revolutionary thought leader of pure capitalism

Ayn Rand develops her philosophy of pure capitalism primarily as a novelist. In 1943 she achieved her first breakthrough with her novel “The Fountainhead” (“The Eternal Spring”). This is followed in 1957 by her monumental work "Atlas Shrugged" ("Atlas throws the world off"). The book, which has over a thousand pages, has become the Bible of the "Liberitarians" in the USA.

I am in favor of an absolutely free economic system without regulations. I am in favor of the separation of state and economy. Just as the separation of church and state enables the peaceful coexistence of religions, the banishment of politics from the economy, the renunciation of regulation of production and trade will lead to peaceful cooperation, harmony and justice between people.

The pictures that Ayn Rand draws in her novels are highly provocative in their time, as they are today: they populate the absolutely free market. At the center of their ideas is the self-interest that arises from human nature. Every individual should pursue their economic interests unreservedly and selfishly. Charity and emotions must not play a role - reason and rationality form the core of all striving. Successful entrepreneurs and billionaires form "supermen" - a creative class of creative individuals. They establish the vitality of an economy. Without them, the world falls into poverty, chaos and civil war.

In 1959, Ayn Rand was self-confident in an interview with journalist Mike Wallace. At that time she wears a dollar sign on a chain around her neck - as a commitment to pure capitalism, which in her eyes is the only way to limitless vitality. "Now is the time to free the world," says Rand. Her philosophy is the perfect Enlightenment: an "objectivism" solely based on unchangeable facts and iron laws of nature. In America in the 1950s, which was shaped by the social reforms of the New Deal, Rand shocked her contemporaries with her uncompromising and tough stance.

Not a moment of weakness, not a human ailment or feeling. Rationality for 24 hours, no loophole, no rest, no escape!

And today? - America as a country of capitalism?

In addition to the Republicans, even the Democrats in the USA have developed into the interests of a wealthy and well-educated 10 percent elite in the eyes of the historian Thomas Frank in recent decades: “There is no party in the country that really supports the working class. ”Ever since Ronald Reagan's term in office (1981-1989), politics has been increasingly shaped by neoliberal ideas. Social welfare institutions were dismantled. A two-class society developed - many poor face a few rich.

The surprising success of the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can also be explained by the fact that many Americans no longer have a voice in the Washington political system. Ironically, one of the heroic characters Ayn Rand, a billionaire who is proud to refuse the state the income tax, pretends to represent the interests of the abandoned.

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