When you study the works of legendary Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand and then compare her ideas to that of many libertarians, Austrians and perhaps even Milton Friedman in some cases, you have to wonder why exactly she disliked them so much.
Her interviews tended to reveal that she believed that her philosophies were plagiarized by libertarians. She also suggested that Austrian economists, like Ludwig von Mises, had no philosophical premises.
Rand was a great woman and you can be in awe reading her work or listening to her interviews, but… (we’ll leave it at that).
Here are three quotes from Rand:
On Milton Friedman:
“I saw five minutes of it [Free to Choose]; that was enough for me, because I know [Milton] Friedman’s ideas. He is not for capitalism; he’s a miserable eclectic. He’s an enemy of Objectivism, and his objection is that I bring morality into economists, which he thinks should be amoral. I don’t always like what public television puts on, but they have better programs than ‘Free to Choose’ – the circus, for instance.”
“They’re not defenders of capitalism. They’re a group of publicity seekers who rush into politics prematurely, because they allegedly want to educate people through a political campaign, which can’t be done. Further, their leadership consists of men of every persuasion, from religious conservatives to anarchists. Most of them are my enemies: they spend their time denouncing me, while plagiarizing my ideas. Now it’s a bad sign for an allegedly pro-capitalist party [Libertarian Party] to start by stealing ideas.
“I don’t think plagiarists are effective. I’ve read nothing by libertarians (when I read them, in the early years) that wasn’t my ideas badly mishandled – that is, the teeth pulled out of them – with no credit given. I didn’t know whether to be glad that no credit was given, or disgusted. I felt both. They are perhaps the worst political group today, because they can do the most harm to capitalism, by making it disreputable. I’ll take Jane Fonda over them.”
On the Austrian School of Economics:
“I think they are a school that has a great deal of truth and proper arguments to offer about capitalism – especially [Ludwig] von Mises – but I certainly don’t agree with them in every detail, and particularly not in their alleged philosophical premises. They don’t have any, actually. They attempt – von Mises particularly – to substitute economics for philosophy. That cannot be done.”
If you don’t feel like reading 1,000 pages of “Altas Shrugged” or peruse her numerous non-fiction books and essays then you should certainly check out “Ayn Rand Answers – the Best of her Q&A” by Robert Mayhew to gain superb insight on an array of issues, including U.S. politics of the 1960s and 1970s.