Free to fail

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Following your recent ­reference to Ayn Rand and the rather pointed comments of Gavin Fleming (Letters, 22  August), before anyone starts ­getting all gimlet-eyed about a doctrine that puts individuality and personal freedom at the front of the agenda, and certainly before we get all dewy-eyed about collectivism, might I just point out that collectivism was the biggest failure of the 20th century.

Far from creating wealth for all, it created moribund economies and poverty-stricken want wherever it was tried, just as Ayn Rand predicted it would.

Simply compare post-war East and West Germany for the clearest proof of this.

On one side: plenty and the Porsche. On the other side: bread queues and the Trabant… and the Stasi. In this worker’s paradise it was, of course, illegal to quit your job. Surely that makes you a slave, does it not?

The miners’ strike here might have had some ugly moments but the leaders didn’t end up getting shot or in the gulag.

We are all individuals. It is not wrong to suggest we should live in a society of individuals, where there is freedom of choice and the liberty to stand or fall on your own efforts, and take the risk and reward inherent in that as part of the deal.

Of course, there will be inequality of outcomes. But it is better to live free like that than live in a society that makes every­one the slave of everyone else and where the logical outcomes are always universal poverty and universal oppression.

Chris Morrison

Harley Terrace

Newcastle on Tyne