What would Ayn Rand do?

Published 11:57 am Saturday, June 22, 2013

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.’ ”
—Francisco d’Anconia

I admit when I first heard the news weeks ago of Smithfield Foods intending to sell ownership, my initial reaction was, “Anyone but the Chinese.”

Further, I’ll bet I’m safe in saying that many people were echoing that sentiment or even asking “Why sell at all?”

Then I remembered I had recently reread “Atlas Shrugged” for the third or fourth time, and wondered why I was even asking such a question. OK, maybe I skimmed the book some, but that dog-eared paperback copy of mine bought in the summer of 1980 is otherwise testament that I was under the author’s spell for some time.

So when it comes to the question of whether or not Smithfield Foods should sell, that leads me to ask, “What would Ayn Rand do?”

You can’t ask “What Would Jesus Do?” He was all about spiritual matters. Remember in the Bible how righteous He got with the money changers in the Temple? No, no. He’s the wrong person to ask such a question. At best, Christ might remind us to give to Caesar what’s his, and to God what’s His.

So the likely answer from Ayn (rhymes with pine) is that she’d do nothing to prevent a sale.

In fact, that self-appointed champion of capitalism would probably cheer on the company for seeking to expand its market and therefore profitability.

But this same high priestess of the Almighty Dollar might balk at the choice of buyers.

The novelist philosopher grew up in pre-Revolutionary Russia and witnessed how Communism ruined her family. She spoke out and wrote against that evil form of government all her life.

But can China still really be considered truly Communist? Not by a long shot, especially since they want their hands on this little piggy and that little piggy crying “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way to market, to market.

Should the stakeholders indeed approve the sale, then it’s pretty much a done deal. After that, consumers have a choice whether or not to continue buying Smithfield Foods oh-so-delicious pork products.

Me? I’ll be at the grocery selecting the company’s Black Forest sliced ham. Yum-yumm.

STEPHEN H. COWLES is a staff writer at The Tidewater News. He can be contacted at either 562-3187 or