Almost 50 years ago I read Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.” These books changed my life and my political perspective (“Ayn Rand’s influence on Paul Ryan,” Letters, Aug. 21). They did not make me an atheist or a heartless conservative. They did, however, awaken in me the realization that there are giants among us, people who transform, through their individual force of personality and intellect, the world in which we live. They move the world while others merely stand, watch, and wait to receive the largess of their achievements. Think Edison, Ford, Jobs, and Gates. Walk down any street and count the iPhones, current examples of the transformative power of genius on the masses.
The downside of such beneficence is the dwindling need for the human worker. Rand would undoubtedly join with Joseph Schumpeter’s philosophy of creative destruction. We are being pulled inexorably toward a world in which a limited number of people actually move the world.
The world Rand depicted, with an upper echelon of makers and an underclass of takers, appears to be fast approaching. The current workplace seems to have little need for the unskilled and the weakly educated.
We are, perhaps, in some ways the victims of the world’s geniuses. And ironically, given the increasing demands to tax the achievers more heavily to support those displaced by innovation and creativity, we may soon find rebellion among those who achieve. In “Atlas Shrugged” the creators and innovators go on strike.