|Brant Gaede wrote about Ayn Rand:|
It isn't just her ideas. It was never just her ideas. A powerful intellectual and moral force vested in one person has always been inspirational to the comprenders of what is really going on in a world of collectivistic intellectual and social nonsense. Two forces destroyed the moral, intellectual force of socialism: it's bloody hands and Ayn Rand's Objectivism as explicated in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. She bitch-slapped the left with the truth.Indeed. But she gave the right a grand bonk on the head, too, with her electrifying essays during the 60s. In particular, I might not have become the person I am today, if I had not read her essay "Conservatism: An Obituary." Delivered as a lecture in 1960, it was published in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, which I read in the fall of 1967, just after helping to set up a campus conservative group (Iowa State Conservatives for Constitutional Action). Once I realized that conservatives were trying to justify capitalism by depravity, tradition, and faith, my brief stint as a Young American for Freedom ended abruptly. I became, at Rand's suggestion, a radical for capitalism, which in those days, to many of us, meant: Libertarian. (Not long after that, YAF split, largely over Vietnam and the draft, along traditionalist and libertarian lines, the latter splitting off to later form the Libertarian Party.)
Here is the passage that pushed me over the edge:
So long as the "conservatives" evade the issue of altruism, all of their pleas and arguments amount, ihn essence, to this: Why can't we just go back to the nineteenth century when capitalism and altruism seemed somehow to co-exist? Why do we have to go to extremes and think of surgery, when the early stages of the cancer were painless?There have certainly been other times when Rand took aim at conservatives, but this was the clincher for me. And now we have able spokesmen such as Yaron Brook, taking on the Neo-Conservatives. (His recent talk was really outstanding.) The battle for men's minds goes on...
The answer is that the facts of reality--which includes history and philosophy--are not to be evaded. Capitalism was destroyed by the morality of altruism. Capitalism is based on individual rights--not on the sacrifice of the individual to the "public good" of the collective. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible. It's one or the other. It's too late for compromises, for platitudes, and for aspirin tablets. There is no way to save capitalism--or freedom, or civilization, or America--except by intellectual surgery, that is: by destroying the source of the destruction, by rejecting the morality of altruism...
Capitalism is not the system of the past; it is the system of the future--if mankind is to have a future. Those who wish to fight for it, must discard the title of "conservatives."
...Those who reject all the basic premises of collectivism are radicals in the proper sense of the word: "radical" means "fundamental." Today, the fighters for capitalism have to be, not bankrupt "conservatives," but new radicals, new intellectuals and, above all, new, dedicated moralists. [pp. 200-201, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal]