Two years ago, thanks to an algorithm for video recommendations that featured an old interview, I was introduced to Ayn Rand's ideas. One might think that this was luck but, in fact, it was my personality and character traits that led the platform to recommend that content, so it was not entirely luck.
The philosophical relation between Ayn Rand and me has been present since I was a young kid; only that I did not discover her until I was eighteen. My actions, thoughts, and principles were so similar that I even wrote articles in a newsletter before getting to know her with titles that were almost identical to those from The Virtue of Selfishness.
As a kid, I attended a Christian school in my country, Spain. Corridors, walls, and celebrations in the education center were full of animated quotes that I always criticized as a kid. For example, the most popular displayed in the school were:
"Love your brother as yourself" or "Give, without expecting anything back." All of these quotes were backgrounded with images featuring poor environments and mediocre cities.
I always thought that the goals of these quotes were, in one word, impossible, because I couldn't understand loving or giving away indiscriminately. Unfortunately, years later, I realized that not only corridors and walls were infected with these thoughts, the collectivist propaganda eventually infected teachers' and students' minds. As well as promoting collectivization, these phrases became needed for supposed new rights, because the propagators felt that sacrificing themselves for others implored others to sacrifice for them.
I had few—but very good—friends from school because I had always been aware of the opportunities that living in society can give us. Living among others can be beneficial unless we put ourselves into a system that destroys individualism, encouraging and even forcing us to live for others or others to live for us. In order to express one of the many ideals that I share with Ayn Rand, I will share a brief story that took place in the education center.
When in school, at one point, I used to sell shampoos and bath gel to my classmates that my father obtained in hotels when he traveled abroad. The school reaction was to punish me by not going to the playground in my spare time. They told me that earning money from other classmates was not moral, and that I should not do it. It was only free trade that my mates and I engaged in, as we were exchanging without using any kind of coercion. The same kind of people that share ideas from collectivist regimes worldwide stole, in little scale, my freedom.
Definitely, as I tried to explain in this brief essay, I wanted to express that Ayn Rand was more than a philosopher to me, as she expressed many ideas that were hidden in my personality, like a little match that struggles to keep lit in a gloomy environment. She gave me the confirmation and strength that made me understand that selling products in order to benefit myself was not anything bad, that putting myself and my closest people above anyone else is correct, that I should not expect anything from others nor others expect anything for me, and finally, that there is a moral hazard surrounding us worth fighting for.
Instead of inflating the collectivist pandemic, I am now encouraged to work hard and efficiently to expand the pandemic of individualism and freedom.