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Forrest Claypool [Hearts] Ayn Rand

In a 2001 Op-Ed in the Tribune titled "Liberty And The Permanent Congress," current Chicago Public Schools chief Forrest Claypool and then lawyer and former chief of the Chicago Parks District wrote:

"Novelist Ayn Rand said there is only America, meaning only one true exemplar of individual and economic freedom in a world given to regulating human activity."

A Cook County Democratic apparatchik citing libertarian hero Ayn Rand? Oh, it goes much deeper than that. Let's take a look.

Headline: Forrest Claypool: Contender To The Throne.
Publication: Windy City Times
Date: December 7, 2005
Excerpt: "Well, I think the thing that motivates me most is a fundamental belief in the individual. The individual, not the collective and not the state, is what matters. It's about protecting the rights, dignity and potential of every single human being. In my office, I have two photographs; one is of Martin Luther King and the other is of Ayn Rand. I have those because I believe that both were champions of power and the rights of individuals. I think too often that the state, in the name of religion or something else, tends to dehumanize or minimize or restrain the power of individuals."


Headline: Commissioner Takes On The Powerful - Again: Says County's $3 Billion Budget Full Of Waste, Bloat
Publication: Sun-Times
Date: March 6, 2006
Excerpt: "Forrest Claypool's office walls are not unlike his personality - there's nothing flashy or boastful.

"But featured prominently are two pictures - of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and of novelist Ayn Rand.

"'It reflects the power and importance of an individual,' said Claypool, a 48-year-old father of three and a first-term Cook County commissioner. 'It's about standing up to the abuses of power and the critical need to protect the civil rights and liberties of individuals.'"


Headline: Ex-Aide To Daley Forges Own Path; The Man Credited With Restructuring Chicago's Park District Hopes To Do The Same For Cook County As Board President
Publication: Tribune
Date: March 10, 2006
Excerpt: "It's a view influenced, at least in part, by the teachings of writer-philosopher Ayn Rand, whose picture Claypool keeps on the wall of his county office next to a poster of Martin Luther King Jr.

"'Ayn Rand was similar to Martin Luther King in the sense that she taught the power of an individual who stands up to popular convention . . . in order to advance a cause which is noble or purposeful,' Claypool said. 'And that individuals are the ones in society who tend to advance society - not groups, not the collective, not the state.'"


A reminder from John Nichols in the Nation:

"(King) died while supporting the right of public employees to organize labor unions and to fight for the preservation of public services."

Indeed, King was in Memphis that day to support the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike.


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 19, 2016

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