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How is elitist Ayn Rand a tea party hero? The contradiction should concern America.

Tea partiers praise Ayn Rand's 'pure capitalism.' But they ignore her oligarchic, elitist views – ideals that are fundamentally antiAmerican and deeply at odds with the tea party's own cause.

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The tea party is the most influential movement in American politics today. But what does it really stand for – and how will it affect American society and politics?

Tea party leaders themselves talk about restoring America to the vision of the founding founders. That’s hardly a revealing insight; almost every political movement claims to carry on the founders’ legacy. We can learn much more about the tea party’s identity by looking to its heroes.

At tea party rallies, posters and praise single out the usual suspects: Thomas Jefferson, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck. But there’s another person who figures prominently at these rallies, one who serves as the intellectual fountainhead ... Ayn Rand. And that should concern all Americans.

Ignoring Rand's real philosophy

Tea partiers portray themselves as ordinary Americans fed up with an out-of-control, deeply indebted welfare state. Many no doubt see Ms. Rand – the 20th-century writer and philosopher who railed against state power and collectivist thinking in such novels as “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” – as a posthumous compatriot.

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