In 1961 I met the American high priestess of Rugged Individualism, Ayn Rand, at a social gathering after her general lecture sponsored by the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania.
This Rugged Individualist, to judge from her comportment, was a monarchist, who apparently knew, every time Nathaniel Brandon or retinue lit one of her cigarettes and placed it into a holder for her, just who would be best suited to receive the obeisance of all the other Rugged Indivualists of the world.
She was pure Theatre – which the adulating masses of Rugged Invidualists who attended her lecture took to be Philosophy. She rattled off slogans and pronouncements, articulated with a – supposedly – heavy Russian accent that decades of living in our Citadel of Rugged Individualism seemed not to have diminished.
She feigned engagement with a specialist in Russian history when he attempted to discuss some events in the struggle between Red and White Russians that he thought she had gotten wrong. Her response to his comments, “Vas you dere, Charlie?” (His name was not Charlie.) “Titter, titter” arose from the Ruggedly Individualistic plebs.
American media pundits, straining, each one of them, to stand out from the crowd of talking heads who toss around vague and ambiguous terms such as believer, atheist, conservative, liberal, socialism, capitalism, etc., are more than just wasting our time. They are distractions from real issues.
One real issue is this: is there anyone speaking to our concerns as citizens who doesn’t believe he or she has been specially anointed to lead us into the Promised Land? Or is vision just another cover term for ambition?
To examine these issues further, see LEADERSHIP AS USURPATION:
the Grand Inquisitor Syndrome and Morality in Rank-Based Organizations