Ayn Rand is everywhere and her political opponents are growing nervous.

Rand of course is a champion of individual rights, including property rights, and an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism. Walk through any Tea Party gathering and you’ll see signs such as “Who is John Galt?,” “Rand was right” and “Read Atlas Shrugged.” Paul Ryan says of her, accurately in my view, that “Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.”

On this shift in the political landscape, Paul Krugman comments in “A Tale of Two Moralities” that gone are the days when policy disputes were about pragmatic differences in accomplishing the same goal. Today we see a difference in moral principle: one side considers the modern welfare state morally superior to capitalism and the other side considers capitalism morally superior to the welfare state.

What Krugman doesn’t say, however, is that to the extent there actually is a side today that thinks capitalism is morally superior to the welfare state, it’s thanks to “Atlas Shrugged,” “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” and Rand’s other works.

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