Neil: "For example, wouldn't an Objectivist have to consider it immoral to take care of a relative with Alzheimer's disease?"
Clearly not, since Rand took care of her husband, who appears to have had Alzheimer's, for many years. What she would object to is the idea that she was morally required to take the same care of someone for whom she felt nothing.
However, you are correct when you say that there are no statements in her writings indicating that she thought charity or benevolence were good. Her own charitable giving -- to a friend overseas during wartime, to her niece, to the Hollywood Studio Club -- was infinitesimal when her income is considered. .
Jason: "Given the context our government's commitment and involvement in many endeavors, one doesnít single out, first and foremost, worthy actions†for reform."
I agree, and I'm relieved that someone at ARI had the sense finally to realize this.
Clarence: "it was the "this is how it is" attitude that made me attracted to objectivism in the first place."
Me, too. But as Rand would say, context is everything. I believe that religion is a great evil, but I don't barge into churches to announce this.