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2022 Ayn Rand Story Contest Winner #2: Brian Barsotti

2022 Ayn Rand Story Contest Winner #2: Brian Barsotti

Brian Barsotti

September 13, 2022

The Meaning of Liberty 

The word “liberty” means different things to different people. For some, it’s just a word. For some, it means the repression of individual freedoms. But for me, it means a way of life; liberty is the power to chase joy, whether you choose to or not. 

My brother Johnny is seven years older than me. Johnny is a man’s man, in every sense of the phrase. He’s strong, he’s brave, and he’s proud to fight for liberty. I looked up to him ever since I could crawl. When Johnny turned 18, he did what every good American is expected to do: join the military. This was the path I assumed I would travel. I was well on my way, until one fateful day in my local library. 

“Put that book down!” screeched a tyrannical, triggered woman with blue hair. I had picked up what I thought was an ordinary book, but I saw a librarian pointing her finger at me. “That book is for fascists!” she cried. Skeptical, and never one to obey authority blindly, I ran out of the library with what I would learn is a copy of Atlas Shrugged. I read the whole thing in the course of a week. In that week, Ayn Rand taught me what I had known in my heart: that pure, objective reason is the way forward; that you are the only person you can help; that every man is an island. 

I was elated to share my newfound knowledge with Johnny. When I explained Objectivism to him, his face conveyed a sudden sense of horror. This was the first time Johnny ever found me disagreeable. He asked how I could possibly believe selfishness to be a virtue. After all, it went against everything a good soldier should believe. I explained to him that there would be no war if everybody just fought for themselves. I explained that by fighting for other people, he was being unreasonable. He was as offended by my ability to reason as that unattractive librarian. 

That is when I realized that my brother’s definition of liberty is different from mine. His is corrupted; it is not based on objective reality. He believes liberty means the American flag, and the stars and stripes, and all sorts of symbolism that swindles people into believing they can help others by sacrificing themselves. The objective definition is quite the opposite. Liberty is not about the pursuit of others’ happiness at the expense of your own; it is about the pursuit of your own happiness, regardless of how it may or may not affect others. 

My path was not one of being told what to do. My true path is being my own leader. Capitalism is the antidote to the authoritarianism that plagues my country—on both the left and the right. 

It has been six years since that epiphany changed my life. In that time, I’ve forged my own path to become a multi-millionaire before the age of 30. I work with influencers to sell NFTs. I have my own crypto, from which I profited greatly after a rug-pull. I even have an army of impoverished Venezuelans farming gold for me in Runescape. 

I’m proud to fight for liberty.

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