The Fountainhead

Cover of "The Fountainhead"

Cover of The Fountainhead

Many, probably most, of you are Christians, and many, like me, are serious about it. That’s good but, let’s think about something, one of the things that distinguishes us is our belief in our individual judgment by God, himself. We know we won’t pass muster because our cousin or next door neighbor lived a good life, it’s completely our responsibility as individuals to find our path, which is as it should be.

The economic system most like that in this world is capitalism. When properly structured, capitalism rewards, or punishes, you and you alone for your actions. If you invent something that is universally useful, you’ll most likely get rich, if not, you won’t. Has it been corrupted? Sure. So has Christianity.

This introduction for those of you you have been frightened off of Ayn Rand because she was an atheist. She was, and she meant it, I think  it had something to do with being raised in the Soviet Union but, it doesn’t matter. But capitalism has rarely had a better advocate.

Here’s an example from Howard Roark‘s defense in The Fountainhead.

The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks; the parasite copies. The creator produces; the parasite loots. The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men… The parasite seeks power. He wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery.

Look at history. Everything we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots… It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.

And because I like you, here is the scene, with Gary Cooper no less.

Now it’s time for you to do some critical thinking

  1. I want you to think about how many parallels this has with our individual faith in God.
  2. I also want you to think about how neatly this dovetails into what the United States was envisioned as, by the Founding Fathers.
  3. Now I want you to think about an economic system that complements both No. 1 and Number 2.

My conclusion is:

Liberty is a three legged stool: God, Individual Freedom, and Individual Economic Freedom; it can be summed up as the Sovereign Individual.

Our assignment, if we choose to accept it, and if you have reached the same conclusions I have, is

How do we get there from here?

Hattip to John Malcolm

Note that I am not an an Objectivist as Ms. Rand’s strict followers are called. That doesn’t prevent me from seeing the truth.


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17 Responses to The Fountainhead

  1. JessicaHof says:

    I didn’t know this – it is so moving – a marvellous distillation of the American way!


    • She was quite a woman, very intelligent, very dogmatic about the entire philosophy, including atheism, strangely when I saw this clip, I though of Coco who is forever using Rand character references.


      • JessicaHof says:

        It is certainly a spirit I can relate to 🙂


        • Of course you can. My only problem with her is the atheism, and she still believed in much the same morality as we do, although a bit less in charity, and her descriptions of capitalism, while often long winded, are beautiful.


        • JessicaHof says:

          Well, I’d rather an honest atheist than lukewarm Christian – I think.


        • I think I agree, Rand wasn’t too bad, the lot we’ve got in the public square now, you haven’t any idea of the difference between Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are a different matter though.

          Lukewarm Christians tend to be very treacherous allies though.


        • JessicaHof says:

          They do too. C’s aphorism (don’t know whether it is his, of course) is ‘they never saw a line that couldn’t be crossed or a principle than couldn’t be bartered.


        • Whether it’s his or not, sounds like him though, it’s exactly correct and well said.


        • JessicaHof says:

          I must ask him – it is very him – and I almost forgot to post his piece today!


        • Which means I’d be wise to go read it. The breakfast (for me) chats are quite wonderful, bu the way.


        • JessicaHof says:

          What is the time difference between us? Here it is not 1.40 and I am about to go cook some brunch – a word I had better not use in C’s company 🙂


        • 7:41 CDT (Daylight) time here. Incidentally if you’re in London (Greenwich, actually) there are exactly 100 degrees of longitude between us, the 100th meridian is about a half mile west of me.


        • JessicaHof says:

          Given that, I am amazed that there are only six hours difference!


        • Well, I’m on the western edge of Central, Conus (forgive the acronyn, military for continental US) of course has four. One of the other things that America (American railroads, actually) gave the world, time zones.

          Strange part is that my business partner has a fiancée in the Philippines, something like 12-13 hours behind us, we mostly run our business on ZULU, your time, translating as necessary.


  2. JessicaHof says:

    That’ mind-boggling 🙂


    • It sure can be!


  3. Pingback: Blowing Up History – Victor Davis Hanson « nebraskaenergyobserver

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