…while there has always been a right-wing free-market strand in economic thought, the writings of Hayek and von Mises were never going to inspire a generation.
Rand’s influence has always been limited, too, but she speaks to idealistic young people in a way the Austrian School does not, making a rigid moral philosophy of individualism and the pursuit of profit, while denouncing altruism as not just ineffective but evil. (…) More generally, the archetypal Ayn Rand devotee has a lot in common with the archetypal Star Trek fan. (…)
For many of today’s self-styled anti-capitalists, it is not the exploitation of labour but the business of production itself that is the problem:
Heroic capitalists are not going to emerge from Galt’s Gulch to lift the malaise, while the increasingly illegitimate political class is more interested in posturing than acting decisively, even if our feckless politicians knew what to do. all that splitting, ripping and pounding, all that exploitation of the environment. (…)
That leaves the rest of us, individually and collectively, to transform our political culture in such a way as to make debates about the economy count for something. The eccentric philosophy of Ayn Rand has little to offer in this regard, but some of the thrusting agency and heroism demonstrated by her characters would not go amiss.