Thanks for the link, Peter. Discussing a review of a book rather than the book itself opens an even more distant narrative. Overall, and in line with the actual topic here, being "influenced by Ayn Rand" can be like being influenced by Thoreau's Walden. You do not have to live in the woods, study ants, and protest taxes to consider the advantages of simplifying your life, appreciating Nature, or - well, why not? - protesting taxes and the unjust wars they support. In fact, just living in the woods is a theme that many "Rand fans" find appealing. Over on the Galt's Gulch Online forum, someone who kills deer for a living is held in high esteem just for that: the virtue of the rugged life. Over on MSK's Objectivist Living, it is also an easy assumption that urban life is squalor, suburbs are utopia, and farming is heaven. So, are the virtuously selfish acolytes of Ayn Rand or of Henry David Thoreau?
I think that the answer is that to whatever extent possible, each person makes the best use of whatever they inherit; and that "best use" depends on their personal values. I accept those values as intractable, perhaps even ineffable. In other words, you cannot get into someone else's head - not easily, anyway - and as if they were an automobile engine or a computer program, deconstruct and reconstruct them to explain everything that makes them who they are.
That being as it may, Eric Schmidt's public statements put him 180 degrees opposite T. J. Rodgers. Both may have been "influenced by Ayn Rand" but Rodgers seems to have taken her to heart, arguing against the impracticality of altruism and the injustice of taxation by regulation, whereas Schmidt is aligned with his father's enterprise, government control of other people.
We passed through the 1980s rather quickly, but the decade was labeled "The Me Generation" for the maturation of the "post-war baby boom." Hippies became yuppies. Silicon Valley in particular became a paradigm for deep cultural shifts. William Shockley found Bell Labs too restrictive for his genius. But his own vice presidents, the "Fairchildren," launched a new growth of enteprises that in turn spawned yet another each in the time frame of a "Moore generation." Ultimately, America passed from being a nation of farmers to being a nation of factory employees to being a nation of entrepreneurs.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 5/19, 4:09am)