1) Tell us who you are? What’s the couple of sentence summary of what you do and what you’ve done?
I run American for Tax Reform, the group that shares the Taxpayer Protection Pledge with all candidates. We ask them to commit in writing that they will oppose and vote against any and all net tax hikes.
I also serve on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. I chair the center-right coalition of groups and individuals who simply wish to be left alone by the government. There are 40 similar meetings in state capitals.
2) When did you first become familiar with Ayn Rand and her works?
In high school I had a friend who read all the Ayn Rand novels as part of a project where you were to read everything an author had written. I read Mark Twain. I didn’t pay attention to her presentation, so I missed the point, but did remember the name.
In college I got tired of being told that I had read Atlas Shrugged or was a Randian . . . so I went out and began reading Rand’s novels and other writings.
3) What most interested you or hit you with an “Ah hah!” about her thinking?
The bad guys in Rand’s novels who wanted to mess with folks. I recognized the personality/character flaw that showed up in those who wanted to run the lives of others rather than run their own lives well. I have met many John Galts but I have met bunches of Ellsworth Tooheys. Those are real and those I know to fight.
4) How does her work help or inform you today?
Just a day-to-day recognition that our fight is on principle, that everyone should be free to pursue their understanding of the virtuous life limited only by the prohibition of using force against others. If you have read Rand, you are well prepared to have your freedom attacked by those who wish to control the lives of others . . . "selfishness" is a name the statists call those who wish to run their own lives. It is up there with heretic, infidel, and businessman . . . used by those who would demonize their prey before striking.
5) Rand wanted us to aspire to a world as it can be and should be. Can you tell us something optimistic you see in the world today or in the future?
Freedom is advancing around, over, and through the barriers erected by statists. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb are all “extra-legal” and popular and crashing through the guild’s defenses. Everyone knows Prohibition was stupid, destructive, and wrong in the 1920s. Growing numbers of Americans are questioning today’s Prohibition. State by state, laws legalize what is illegal at the national level—starting with the battle against the FDA led by the Goldwater Institute where 30 states have enacted "Right to Try" laws that legalize the use of experimental drugs when the FDA had certified them as safe, but not yet effective, for terminal patients. So now, those who die waiting for the FDA to decide a drug is "effective" are the victims of FDA sloth and hubris. This will change the FDA.
The guild system of professional licensing is under well-deserved attack with hair-braiders, dog walkers, and interior decorators, etc. Unions are losing their power to demand forced union dues from workers . . . as in Wisconsin’s victory for workers.