It has been said Ayn Rand probably suffered from Asperger syndrome, something that wasn't even given a name (until around 1944) when she was a young girl trying to make sense of the world around her, and something that wasn't formally recognized as a disorder and standardized as a diagnosis until after she died. In interviews she came across as somebody who tried hard to explain her philosophy and seemed to have put a great deal of thought into her ideas, but it was obvious to anybody but the most brainwashed of cultists that something was missing from her analysis. That missing piece was a complete inability to empathize with others, to be able to see issues from other viewpoints.
Rand had an excuse for having such a harebrained outlook, but the same cannot be said for her "followers," many of whom are now in positions of influence and are wrecking the country with idiotic ideas that have never worked in the past (after all, history bears this out) and would never work now.
The Gilded Age was a goddamned disaster and nearly destroyed the country economically. There should even be nostalgia for such a destructive time in our history.
Everything old is new again, I am afraid. These con artists are now trying to rebrand this radical cult as "populism." "Libertarianism" and populism are total opposites.
Ben Domenech, for example, tries to define libertarian populism by arguing that it takes “a few of its aims from the Rand Paul approach – a balanced budget amendment, flatter and simpler taxes, and more – but there is also a stronger focus on issues which cut across party lines, including reform of higher education, prison and justice systems, civil liberty protections, and an assault on D.C. cronyism from green energy to Big Banks.” But all of this is standard-issue libertarianism, including libertarian critiques of “prison and justice systems” and “civil liberty protections.” Nothing new here, folks, move along.
What Domenech and others mean by “populist” appears to be “popular.” They want a popular libertarianism, a libertarianism that majorities of Americans might vote for, not a movement that has anything to do with actual historic populism in the United States, which has generally been, to coin a phrase, illibertarian.
Of course the proponents know that. It's call about protecting the "rights" of the privileged to continue to live off of everybody else and not have to be held accountable for it.