Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Heroes don’t always fight wars for America and battle terrorists. Sometimes they walk among us daily. Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”, knew this when she would look out at an audience of powerful faces and say: “You are the true heroes!”
Ayn Rand frequently made a spellbinding point in her lectures to business leaders. Rand was a unique philosopher, ranked by many academics as the thinker who had the greatest impact on 20th century America. She would plant her feet and pose the question: Which groups in society contribute most to making the world a better place?
Following quickly, Rand would throw her business audience the next question: What human occupation is the most useful socially?
She would explain: man’s basic tool of survival is his mind, and the most crucially important occupation the discovery of knowledge, which is the occupation of scientists. But scientists essentially are loners, and not usually concerned with society or social issues. They pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge. And before the 20th century, many scientific and technological facts that could have affected human existence lived and died with the scientists who, for most of the last 2,000 years, had no real connection with the rest of mankind.
Now, Rand asked, suppose that a group of men and women decided to make it their job to bring the results of the achievements of science within the reach of mankind, to apply scientific knowledge to the improvements of life on earth. Wouldn’t such men be the greatest social benefactors? Shouldn’t the humanitarians (she would ask), those do-gooders who hold social usefulness as their highest value, regard such men as heroes?
Rand might then scowl at the audience and say: “Would you believe me if I say that, no, such men and women are not regarded as heroes today- they are the most hated, blamed, denounced men in the humanitarian’s society?” She would say that something is wrong– terribly wrong– in such a society.
The society about which Rand speaks is not fiction. It exists in the USA today. And the group of achieving men and women walk among us each day.
The heroes of today are the individuals who have devoted themselves to the world of business. Left to pursue their own ends, they automatically make the world a better place, even when they profit personally. Sometimes, they make the world a better place even as they may lose their own fortunes in the doing.
It is the businessperson- not government, not the clergy, not the humanitarians and not the professors – who has elevated mankind by bringing the medicines that conquer disease, the higher-yielding crops that combat starvation, the electricity that powers our tools and medical equipment, the refrigeration that keeps food from spoiling, the air-conditioning that lengthens lifespans and saves lives.
After the scientists discovered quantum mechanics, it was business people who brought mankind the fruits of that discovery, in the form of computer chips, lasers, and fiber-optics. It’s the business person who creates the jobs that bring security to the worker and the worker’s family to sustain existence and enjoy life, while the business person risks his/her own capital even as he provides the benefits.
Yet, the voices of the left say business is the predator. The voices say the capitalist demons “create wealth on the backs of the poor.” The left makes business pay dearly for the benefits business leaders bring to the world, both in the form of confiscatory taxation and smothering regulations, and in the form of contemptible condemnation that they spew as a poison throughout the land. An example of poisonous spin and disregard for truth is what the left has done to drug companies: these companies brought the AIDS drugs to market, yet are criticized for people dying. That’s truth turned inside out in a world turned upside down.
Go to a local city council meeting and watch how the “lowly” developer or builder is treated by the sanctimonious politicians, who regard him as a necessary evil whose only value is to pay the lion’s share of taxes. In truth, it is the builder who provides the second most basic need of humankind –shelter. Why should he have to slink into the council chambers, head bowed, and beg for the right to provide shelter to citizens? Why should he have to pay exorbitant fees and jump through 50 kinds of hoops for the privilege of jeopardizing his own capital? Politicians forget that business people drive the engine that makes this country go. Nothing happens until something gets built or some service is provided.
Business owners are the true heroes, essential players in creating America’s greatness.
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