From Atlasphere member Greg Feirman:
I’ve been reading Clarence Thomas’s autobiograpy and he seems to be a big Rand fan.
I read Sowell’s Atlasphere review of the book.
But Thomas also explicitly references Rand in his book:
“It was around this time that I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Rand preached a philosophy of radical individualism that she called Objectivism. While I didn’t fully accept its tenets, her vision of the world made more sense to me than that of my left wing friends.”
- pg. 62, when Thomas was approximately the summer before his senior year of college at Holy Cross
“… I also reread The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, whose scathing criticisms of the dangers of centralized government impressed me even more after working in Washington.”
- pg. 187, late 1985 (37 years old), when Thomas was heading up the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Unbelievable story. Great book.
UPDATE: More from Greg:
Also, if you haven’t seen the 60 Minutes episode with Thomas, I recommend watching it.
Clarence Thomas has such a great presence. You can feel it in his writing too. One book about him it titled Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul Of Clarence Thomas.
But the impression given from reading his book and seeing him is the complete opposite: a man of such pure integrity and clear conscience that you can almost feel that his words are perfect expressions of his inner principles and conviction.
In the interview, one of the quotes that really stood out for me was:
“It is always worth it to stand on principle no matter what the ultimate goal is. Wrong is wrong, even if it’s over a penny.”
It reminds me of the great scene in The Fountainhead:
“Everybody would say you’re a fool….. Everybody would say I’m getting everything….”
“You’ll get everything society can give a man. You’ll keep all the money. You’ll take any fame or honor anyone might want to grant. You’ll accept such gratitude as the tenants might feel. And I – I’ll take what nobody can give a man, except himself. I will have built Cortlandt.”
Clarence Thomas is a modern day Roark in public life.
He is truly a great American.
I would have to agree.