Bartholemewfromthesun, I won’t express my opposition to the “politics” of Ayn Rand beyond saying that I go with Bernard Crick’s take on politics as limited in scope, and requiring engagement in a social conversation. The position that one is superior makes such engagement moot. It is activity in spite of the other actors in a polity. True politics is activity in the context of other such actors.
In terms of behavioural reciprocity, I think this is desperately limited and limiting. It is a metaphor of tit-for-tat exchange elevated beyond its scope, since one can pick other examples that would suggest follows a general economy model. Anyway, the link is more about that. John Gray nuances the argument by invoking European history, which I obviously have sympathy for. Even if Rand “works” for the U.S.A., it doesn’t necessarily translate to Ireland, the U.K., France, Japan, China… etc.
I consider the former the “is”, and the latter is the “ought”, and I don’t think either support Rand. Sure, there is merit to behavioural reciprocity, but Rand as the spokesperson? Really? She wasn’t a philosopher, and she was a fourth rate author. I think she needs to be seen as the peddler of reactionary period pieces. Time spent reading her is time spent not reading those who have gone to the effort of being rigorous in their work.