"All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book 3, Chapter IV
"The moral purpose of a man’s life is the achievement of his own happiness. This does not mean that he is indifferent to all men, that human life is of no value to him and that he has no reason to help others in an emergency. But it does mean that he does not subordinate his life to the welfare of others, that he does not sacrifice himself to their needs, that the relief of their suffering is not his primary concern, that any help he gives is an exception, not a rule, an act of generosity, not of moral duty, that it is marginal and incidental—as disasters are marginal and incidental in the course of human existence—and that values, not disasters, are the goal, the first concern and the motive power of his life." - Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
Or if anyone wants the most succint evidence possible that Rand's absolutist ideology can used to rationalize just about anything, here's Rand answering a question about the displacement/elimination of Native Americans as a result of Old World colonization after an address at West Point, March 6, 1974.
[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using.... What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.And here's the modern Rand disciple explaining how darn thankful the American Indian should be.
Before Europeans arrived, the scattered tribes occupying North America lived in abject poverty, ignorance, and superstition--not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included). The transfer of Western civilization to this continent was one of the great cultural gifts in recorded history, affording Indians almost effortless access to centuries of European accomplishments in philosophy, science, technology, and government. As a result, today's Indians enjoy a capacity for generating health, wealth, and happiness that their Stone Age ancestors could never have conceived.If they'd been more resistant to European disease, I expect they would have ended up as slaves, and some Randian would be telling them - like Pat Buchanan did blacks - they should be thankful for it. Heck, maybe the wage slaves in Saipan should be thankful for all the civilization Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff brought them. Check out this dreamer from '05, right in the middle of it.
From a historical perspective, the proper response to such a gift is not resentment but gratitude. America's policies toward the Indians were generally benign, aimed at protecting them from undeserved harm while providing significant material support and encouragement to become civilized. When those policies erred, it was usually by treating Indians collectively, as "nations" entitled to permanent occupancy of semi-sovereign reservations. Instead, Indians should have been treated as individuals deserving full and equal American citizenship in exchange for embracing individual rights, including private ownership of land.
I harbor no crazy notions that the Commonwealth will embrace free markets in some Randesque rapture. But the CNMI has a lot of free market attributes nonetheless, and things are consequently far better in the Commonwealth than in most places in the world. As for Atlas Shrugged, I think it's Rand's best work, and, in fact, one of the best books, period.