People love to hate Ayn Rand. You are out to destroy almost every edifice in the contemporary American way of life. 60 years to the day after “Atlas Shrugged” was published, people STILL feel compelled to pan her. Ayn Rand became famous for her philosophy of objectivism which is a nice way of saying being a selfish asshole. Atlas Shrugged and Rand’s other books are about many such “self-interested people”. Mr. Rearden, you wouldn’t want it misunderstood that you work for nothing but your own profit? Indeed I want it understood clearly. And how does that benefit your fellow man? Thousands of jobs, billions in revenue, fueling our economy despite your efforts to destroy the very foundation of our existence. Rand argued that even if entrepreneurs and creators are “selfish” so what? They create opportunities for others. They never got that. But I’m glad these people do. They love Rand’s heroes. They had an idea, people told them “you can’t do that, that’s too selfish, that’s too out of the ordinary”, They did it anyways. And they’re successful. So being selfish themselves in the end helped out a lot of people. Through me wanting to make more money, I may create an invention that may improve the standard of living for millions and millions of people. These young people are part of an organization called “Turning Point USA”, a group that tries to get Atlas Shrugged read more on campuses. We’re on over 1100 college and high school campuses across the country. But the campuses are not listening to you or you’re a tiny fraction of the political discussion. You would be surprised at how big the following is and how much appetite there is actually for this. Atlas describes an America where government passes so many rules that most of the economy just shuts down. That idea horrified people who like regulation. I find it abhorrent. I really do. Why was the left so enraged by it? Because she was and is effective. She wasn’t talking about economics in terms of practical good. She was talking about your having a right to your own life. Jennifer Grossman of the Atlas Society loves seeing young people discover a new way to think about things. I’m a Peace Corps baby. I was raised in a community where I had never seen a conservative except in caricature. Libertarians were either stupid or evil. And when I went to Harvard, which was a bastion of liberalism, I actually found a couple of people who didn’t fit that stereotype. So I decided I needed to go back and do some thinking And some reading. She says she found the 12,000 page novel… a “spiritual experience”. Spiritual? It’s about business. I think it’s about overcoming odds. It’s about not allowing people to take advantage of you and feeling bad about pursuing your own interests. The consensus of the best metallurgical authorities are highly skeptical. I’m not interested in their opinions. Then whose do you go by? My own. In America, the social justice people are winning and people who wear dollar signs on their dress are vilified. They completely marginalized Ayn Rand. They completely took this stuff out of the classroom and now when they’re introduced to it, they freak out. In a good way, she means. People are surprised when they see how freedom-minded college students are. They’re socialists. They’re not socialists. Admittedly Bernie Sanders’ biggest portion of his support came from young people. But our generation is split in a really ironic way. 60% think socialism is a good idea and then 70% say they don’t want to pay higher taxes and they don’t trust the government. So they just don’t understand what socialism really is. The first day of class we had a student that walked in and opened his laptop and on that laptop there were a ton of Bernie bro stickers, and “I love socialism”. So the very next day I brought to class a ton of stickers, laptop stickers that said “This laptop was brought to you by capitalism.” Towards the end of the semester I had most of the class on my side. With the help of a book that’s 60 years old today. Fiction is more powerful than facts. Facts are more important, but maybe fiction does a better job teaching people what really matters.