“Though she died in 1982, huge numbers of people still come to Ayn Rand through her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged—and their lives are changed as a result. No wonder. These novels assert the nobility of using your mind to reach your full potential.”
So begins a brief but remarkable article by Dr. Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute. He continues: “Rand’s heroes are individualists who live by their own creative talents—existing for no one else, nor asking others to exist for them.” They “stand by their own vision and truth: a vision built on their own values and a truth built on fact and reason, not on the false authority of others.”
Butler not only observes that Rand’s heroes are fundamentally rational, independent thinkers, he also highlights her principle that “minds cannot be forced to think”—and notes the power of this immense idea:
Creativity, and therefore human progress, depends on people being free to think and act in pursuit of their own values. That is a powerful case for liberty, values, mind, reason, creativity, entrepreneurship, capitalism, achievement, heroism, happiness, self-esteem and pride. And against the life-destroying consequences of coercion, extortion, regulation, self-sacrifice, altruism, wishful thinking and refusing to use one’s mind.
That is an eloquent portrayal of Rand’s ideas regarding man’s need of freedom and the consequent evil of coercion. Note on which side of this equation Butler places self-sacrifice, altruism, and the refusal to think. Spot on.
Butler also notes the increasing global popularity of Rand’s works, citing statistics about her book sales in various countries; Google searches for “Ayn Rand” (Sweden “leads the world” on this count); and various political figures from the United States, Sweden, Estonia, and Australia, who have been influenced by her ideas.
Read Butler’s full article here.
It’s great to see such a prominent thinker at such a renowned think tank recognizing the nature and importance of Rand’s ideas. I suspect that if Adam Smith and Ayn Rand were alive to see it, they would greatly appreciate this development.
Three cheers to Dr. Butler and the Adam Smith Institute for writing and publishing this important article.