Rand's insistence on the freedom of the individual to make the most of himself (or herself) in the world is surely the most attractive feature of her thinking, and one for which many "progressives," including myself, will have a spontaneous sympathy. Still, progressives insist that a complete expression of human possibility cannot be restricted to the rational pursuit of self-interest, but must include a more expansive impulse to help meet the needs of other people. This broader conception is made possible, at bottom, by an instinct deeper than ego-based reason, which expresses itself in intuitive insight, empathy, human community, and creativity inspired not by material self-interest but universal values. Combined with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enshrined in America's Declaration of Independence -- and often invoked by Rand herself -- , these qualities are essential to building a society where everyone, not only members of a privileged elite, can be a "producer." These producers, however, will have a purpose governed by more than material self-interest. They will seek to adapt their creativity, processes, and products to the broader objective of adding value to the world that not only satisfies the needs of customers, but meets the interests of the common good.
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