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Rand or Thatcher?


Peter, Like Andrew, I think Rand is a symbol rather than a movement philosopher. Very few of those who mention Adam Smith favorably have read his moral philosophy or considered its implications and Rand is clearly in a similar position. In fact, I wonder whether when people refer to Rand they are thinking more of another great female thinker, Margaret Thatcher, when she said, “They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.” That’s an individualist view, but it’s also a profoundly conservative view.

On Rand herself, before the 9/12 Tea Party, CEI and the Ayn Rand Center held an Intellectual Ammunition Summit where the compatibility of Randian views with mainstream conservatism became a subject of some contention. You can see the panel where things came to a head here. We must follow that up and host that discussion on libertarianism and altruism we promised.


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