Ayn Rand did not advocate FORCE. Hence, her atheism, like private faith, is no one’s business. Those promoting faith in God should not equivocate between theocracy and religious freedom: do you aim to use force, i.e. government, to ram down your religion-based values?
Ayn Rand used reason and persuasion to advance INALIENABLE rights, the principle which sanctions unfettered self-interest. In freedom, the greed to pursue one’s own interests is limited only by the equal rights of others. Many have surrendered inalienable rights and have sanctioned the use of force. Consequently, the US has a mixed economy, not a free market.
Theocracy and collectivism employ FORCE. Capitalism employs reason and persuasion. Neither the rich nor the selfish have the power to coerce. Only the government has the power to use force. When the government enters the realm of production and trade, of science, of religion, or of education: it dishonors its noble mandate to secure rights – it becomes a tyrant because it uses force against innocents.
The enemies of freedom decry the greed of creators in generating wealth and jobs. Yet these destroyers celebrate the greed for coercive power and the greed for the unearned.
John Mackey of Whole Foods, a critic of Obamacare, says in this article, “I was very inspired by Ayn Rand’s novels… However, … I don’t think selfishness is a virtue and I don’t believe that business primarily exists to make a profit… Renee and I didn’t begin Whole Foods Market to maximize profits for our shareholders. We began it for three main reasons: we thought it would be fun to create a business; we needed to earn a living; and we wanted to contribute to the well-being of other people....”
Mr. Mackey evades that having fun and earning a living are selfish. As to “contributing to the well-being of other people” – he must mean charity, not trade. Mr. Mackey advocates that the primary purpose of a business is to serve moochers. Self-respecting individuals would reject Mr. Mackey’s charity. Howard Roarks would tell him, “Hands off!” John Galts would say, “Do not live for my sake.”
Some say Mr. Mackey is a Libertarian. Libertarians claim they are for freedom and that they reject government because it is force. They evade that without the proper function of government, unfettered force would reign and might would trump rights.
From Royal Serf:
To value is a function of the self – it is selfish to care for loved ones; their well-being or happiness is not divorced from the valuer’s. That good people live and prosper is in one’s own self-interest. One benefits from the advantages of social existence: exchange of knowledge, trade, division of labor, and defense from force. One wants to live in freedom and in peace – therefore, to cherish a society that respects individual rights is selfish.
The virtue involved in caring for loved ones and doing the right thing is integrity: you love, so you care; you think it is right, so you do it.
Individualists do not need sacrificial lambs. Men with self-esteem, i.e. selfish men, take pride in independence. One cannot achieve happiness without self-esteem. Without self-respect, life is not worth living. This explains why men of integrity do the right thing no matter the cost. No matter how difficult, they cannot do otherwise - they cannot sacrifice their sacred honor. Doing the right thing is not sacrifice – it is upholding the precious, not renouncing nor destroying it.