The late Gore Vidal would not have been surprised by the former Republican vice-presidential candidate’s choice of a patron saint. After all, it was Vidal who observed, in a 1961 article for Esquire:She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the ‘welfare’ state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you’re dumb or incompetent that’s your lookout.
Vidal might be dismissed as a biased leftist. But the late William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of post-1945 conservatism who engaged in a famous televised spat with Vidal during the 1968 Democratic convention, shared Vidal’s contempt for Ayn Rand. After her death in 1982, Buckley wrote in the New York Daily News: “She was an eloquent and persuasive anti-statist, and if only she had left it at that, but no. She had to declare that God did not exist, that altruism was despicable, that only self-interest was good and noble.” In 2003, Buckley described his encounter with Rand’s interminable propaganda novel “Atlas Shrugged”: “I had to flog myself to read it.”
For once, conservatives going back to the "good ol' days" wouldn't be such a bad idea.