Even Reason is a bit critical of Ayn Rand

It's the 100th anniversary of Ayn Rand's birth.

Yeah, well. With the exception of Daniel Drezner, Libertarians don't make much sense to me. To put it simply, I think we need the authority of the state. It protects minorities, takes charge of social welfare, and regulates business practices. In India, rampant statism did lead to corruption ("License Raj") and also a stagnant environment for business as well as the world of arts and ideas. But it also created the framework for a democratic, generally peaceful, modern society. To the extent that the Indian government is inefficient, that is true because the government is actually too weak (as in under-funded), rather than too strong.

I can understand why many Indians (especially those involved in the high tech industry) want to see less government involvement and regulation. But if the goal is to follow the model of the western democracies, then one can't ignore the fact that those societies are all welfare states with high income tax rates (and high enforcement of those taxes), as well as massive government bureaucracies. The skyline of New York City was built on Unionized Labor, property tax, and building codes and inspections. Capitalism too, but carefully regulated capitalism. It's capitalism checked by the concepts of social contracts, constitutional law, and civil rights.

Thus, I can't get excited about Ayn Rand's centenary, the way many Indian bloggers are (see AnarCapLib). Yazad links to a number of paeans to Rand that have come out in the past couple of days. Certainly, Rand's life story is intriguing -- she lived through the Bolshevik revolution personally, before she came to the U.S.

But I have to say that I prefer the NYT's critical version of Rand to the Cato Institute's.

And I'm pleasantly surprised that even an editor for the Libertarian magazine Reason has some critical things to say about Rand's legacy on today's Day to Day.