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John Allison

When John Allison, chairman of North Carolina’s BB&T Bank, gives a speech—a frequent occurrence these days—he opens by telling a story about a boy playing in a sandbox, said Andrew Martin in The New York Times. Another child steals the boy’s toy truck, “a fight ensues, and the boy’s mother tells him to stop being selfish and to share.” The mother, Allison says, is teaching “a horrible lesson”—that selfishness is a vice. In fact, he says, it’s the highest virtue.

Allison is a devotee of Ayn Rand, whose novels celebrate go-it-alone capitalists with contempt for government and bureaucrats. And he’s currently invoking her philosophy as he tours the country attacking the federal bank bailout, which he calls “a rip-off” and “a nightmare.” Still, he sees a silver lining in the financial crisis: The turmoil has reportedly helped boost sales of Rand’s books.

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