The Washington Post suggests he is, and that he is filling his cabinet with fellow attendees of the August-in-Colorado annual retreat.
Donald Trump has decided to risk a confirmation fight, officially nominating ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state this morning. Tillerson and Trump had no previous relationship, but the Texas oilman and the New York developer hit it off when they met face to face. One of the things that they have in common is their shared affection for the works of Ayn Rand, the libertarian heroine who celebrated laissez-faire capitalism.
The president-elect said this spring that heâ€™s a fan of Rand and identifies with Howard Roark, the main character in â€œThe Fountainhead.â€ Roark, played by Gary Cooper in the film adaptation, is an architect who dynamites a housing project he designed because the builders did not precisely follow his blueprints. â€œIt relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions. That book relates to … everything,â€ Trump told Kirsten Powers for a piece in USA Today.
— Tillerson prefers â€œAtlas Shrugged,â€ Randâ€™s novel about John Galt secretly organizing a strike of the creative class to hasten the collapse of the bureaucratic society. The CEO listed it as his favorite book in a 2008 feature for Scouting Magazine, according to biographer Steve Coll.
— This has now officially become a trend. Trump is turning not just to billionaires but Randians to fill the cabinet:
Andy Puzder, tapped by Trump last week to be secretary of labor, is an avid and outspoken fan of Randâ€™s books. One profiler last week asked what he does in his free time, and a friend replied that he reads Ayn Rand. He is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which is owned by Roark Capital Group, a private equity fund named after Howard Roark. Puzder, who opposes increases in the minimum wage and wants to automate fast food jobs, was quoted just last month saying that he encouraged his six children to read â€œFountainheadâ€ first and â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€ later.
Mike Pompeo, who will have the now-very-difficult job of directing the Central Intelligence Agency for Trump, has often said that Randâ€™s works inspired him. â€œOne of the very first serious books I read when I was growing up was Atlas Shrugged, and it really had an impact on me,â€ the Kansas congressman told Human Events in 2011.
— Trump has been huddling with and consulting several other Rand followers for advice as he fills out his cabinet. John A. Allison IV, for example, met with Trump for about 90 minutes the week before last. â€œAs chief executive of BB&T Corp., he distributed copies of â€˜Atlas Shruggedâ€™ to senior officers and influenced BB&Tâ€™s charitable arm to fund classes about the moral foundations of capitalism at a number of colleges,â€ the Journal noted in a piece about him. â€œMr. Allisonâ€™s worldview was shaped when he was a college student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and stumbled across a collection of essays by Ms. Rand.â€
— Ayn Rand was perhaps the leading literary voice in 20th century America for the notion that, in society, there are makers and takers, and that the takers are parasitic moochers who get in the way of the morally-superior innovators. Her books portray the federal government as an evil force, trying to stop hard-working men from accumulating the wealth that she believes they deserve. The author was also an outspoken atheist, something that oozes through in her writing. Rand explained that the essence of â€œobjectivism,â€ as she called her ideology, is that â€œman exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.â€
Ragnar DanneskjÃ¶ld for Secretary of the Navy?