Dr. Michael Berliner, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, has a nice short and succinct bio of Ann Rand published in Capitalism Magazine on the occasion of her birthday entitled, “Ayn Rand: A Legacy of Reason and Freedom.” A couple of paragraphs covered her philosophy rather well:
Her philosophy–Objectivism–upholds objective reality (as opposed to supernaturalism), reason as man’s only means of knowledge (as opposed to faith or skepticism), free will (as opposed to determinism–by biology or environment), and an ethics of rational self-interest (as opposed to the sacrifice of oneself to others or others to self). The only moral political system, she maintained, is laissez-faire capitalism (as opposed to the collectivism of socialism, fascism, or the welfare state), because it recognizes the inalienable right of an individual to act on the judgment of his own mind. Your life, she held, belongs to you and not to your country, God or your neighbors.
Ayn Rand understood that to defend the individual she must penetrate to the root: his need to use reason to survive. “I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism,” she wrote in 1971, “but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.” This radical view put her at odds with conservatives, whom she vilified for their attempts to base capitalism on faith and altruism. Advocating a government to protect the individual’s right to his property, she was not a liberal (or an anarchist). Advocating the indispensability of philosophy, she was not a libertarian.
The longer I live and the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am an objectivist through and through; and wonder why I still accept the label libertarian or classical liberal. I suppose it is because so few people have even heard of objectivism. ◄Dave►