Imagine that you see a young child being regularly poisoned. Whenever the child gets sick, regretting not having poisoned him enough, his parents see to it that he gets enough. The child grows up despite the poison weakening his mind, body and soul. You find his parents leave no chance for him to know the truth as it is. Suppose a person walks up to him & tells the truth in a way no one has ever done before. What if you find that the child gets for him the latest gadgets and toys, but fail hear that voice? If the child were this world, his parents the “intellectuals”, food the free market and poison statism, what would you call that person?
Several years back, I stumbled upon a book in a roadside book stall. When I first tried reading, it struck me as the most boring and pompous book I have ever read. One day, when I started out for a long journey, I took the book too with me promising myself to finish it. After I read it for a while, I felt as if lightning had just struck me-as if a shiver had just gone up my spine. I suddenly realized that I was reading one of the greatest minds ever lived. I read it several times over since then. I can say without any doubt that it was the book which taught me to think in a way I have never done before. It was the book which taught me to argue, to break any issue into fundamentals and attack it from there. It made me see the world through a new eye. That book was Ayn Rand’s Capitalism.
If I were asked who the greatest of all men of the previous century was, I would have answered that it was ‘Ludwig Von Mises’. Yet, Mises comes nowhere near Ayn Rand in popularizing free market ideas. Her Atlas Shrugged is said to have prevented a Socialist America. Mises called her the most courageous man in the United States. It is said that if there was one man in United States with a backbone, it was Ayn Rand. It is said that if there was any novelist whose all novels are read by all Senators in the United States, it was Ayn Rand. It is also said that even God can’t write better than Ayn Rand.I have heard of couples reading out from ‘Atlas Shrugged’, at the time of marriage instead of Bible. In a survey conducted by the Modern Library in New York, her Atlas Shrugged was ranked as the most influential of books, second only to Bible. In Iran, youngsters who had never known what freedom means, spread those books by typing out five copies & handing it out to friends on the condition that they would be doing the same. They stake their lives for its sake.
Am I being too worshipful? I would put my answer this way. I wouldn’t mind worshipping someone as sharp and penetrating as Ayn Rand. I would say that her greatest contribution was that she taught us to think-to break any issue into fundamentals and attack it from there. Isn’t that big enough a contribution in a world where most men come around as utterly confused and muddleheaded? If there are anyone who are so dull and unintelligent that they don’t even have enough wits to learn , value, or even get that, nothing I would say here would be enough to convince them.