He's No Rand Disciple
By Alex Epstein (Published in American Banker, May 20, 2009)
In a recent story about former BB&T CEO John Allison’s support of Ayn Rand’s laissez-faire ideas, including a gold standard, (“Allison Shrugs”) American Banker repeats an unfortunate misconception about Rand, one that is often used to undermine anyone who agrees with her: “Even former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, Rand’s most famous student, has backed away from her ideas as the financial crisis has deepened.”
But Greenspan can’t “back away” from something he hasn’t believed or supported for decades. Remember, this is a man who for two decades reveled in wielding the manipulative power granted to him as Fed Chairman--a job he once (rightly) argued should not exist. The New York Times called him “the infallible maestro of the financial system.” Free markets don’t have “infallible maestros”; they liberate us from such “maestros”--the central planners who have time and again falsely claimed the ability and the right to orchestrate (dictate) millions of economic lives.
Greenspan long ago degenerated into another central planner--and a particularly bad one, both because of his highly inflationary policies (a fundamental cause of the crisis) and because he implemented them under the banner of laissez-faire. If one wishes to understand or argue with the laissez-faire ideas of Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan is the last person to look to. He stands for free markets about as much as a Chinese censor stands for free speech.