@EyeDentist and @BrickHead
Look at what I said about her limitations, and the ways in which I would not apply her philosophy. If you recall, this came up because I made a crack about wearing a Who is John Galt? t-shirt while riding Jewbacca's hypothetical gearless bike up the hill. Take that as a statement about achievement, and the impossibility of equality, nothing deeper. My willingness to pump that thing up the hill, does not prevent you from doing the same. It crushes no one.
Let's assume that Thomas Edison's main motive in inventing the incandescent light bulb was his own internal satisfaction in scientific achievement. He is motivated by the joy he feels in exercising his own brilliant mind. Is his work less valuable if his motive was not to light up orphanages? We've all still benefited from his work, regardless of his motive, right? We're all lifted up by this exceptional individual. That is one of the themes of her fiction, with regards to the topic of this thread. Is it ethical to tie Edison to his lab stool? To coerce him? Do we all own Edison, because he's more brilliant? Should we call him evil if he isn't thinking of the orphans who sit in the dark? Note, I don't know anything about Edison's motives. I'm just making this up to make a point.
Remember, Rand was a product of the former USSR, and a system that took successful and thriving farmers and sent them to die in Siberia. Millions of Ukrainians died as a direct result. Those successful people are the heroes of her books, in a way. You have to see her work through that lens, as a product of her time. Many lefties of the 1950's were very threatened by her ideas, because she condemned communism. No wonder so many progressives of her time condemned her so thoroughly.
Yes, she has a love affair with America, and with freedom. She is in part making a statement about the evils of coercion, and of those crabs who would pull the exceptional one back into the bucket. That is how Rand applies to the topic of this thread. As I said before, she has her limitations. You can decide if you like her ideas, or her politics, or her ideas about religion. I'm not going to take the time to argue these things here. What I might think about it, and how I think it applies or doesn't apply to my life, is less important than that you might think, right? Her ideas on religion don't resemble mine at all, except I think she does understand some aspects of evil. Truth is truth, and I see some true things in her fiction. I put an extremely high value on freedom, and I see that in Christ. With him it's always a personal choice. He doesn't want obedience out of coercion or fear, or for any other reason than what's in my heart. You can decide for yourselves if she sees something profound, and if her heroes are beautiful to you.