I did not succumb, as a kid, to being enthused by Ayn Rand, and that sense of power, as every kid was at one time until they outgrew it.
Her family's wealth had supposedly been acquired by virtue of the serf system, which was one of the more substantial precipitators of communism in Russia in the first place.
Some claim the family achieved their wealth legitimately, via her father's pharmacy; it's difficult to trace whether or not they benefited directly from serfdom.
..with the one-liner "To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem." Detractors feel that Rand considered all those properties to be perfectly expressed in herself.
Whatever the case may be, Objectivism is essentially libertarianism with hangups, usually disguised as pseudologic.
She eventually rustled up a visa to leave the country, but was unable to convince her family to leave with her.
To reiterate, Rand was not assailed by the belief that social programs are evil on her way home from the grocer one day; the USSR's inhuman treatment of human beings in the name of the proletariat revolution probably had something to do with it.
Philosophical aspirations, novels, and a manifesto of sorts (For The New Intellectual) soon followed.
Her work champions a pseudo-philosophy she labels "Objectivism," glorifies the preeminence of the individual's self-serving whim, condemns inhabitants of Africa and Asia as "savages", derides the failure of the modern "intellectual" to wholeheartedly endorse laissez-faire capitalism, disastrously misunderstands the meaning of the term "altruism", and, what is more, paints in dripping shades of unintended irony a portrait of an envisaged utopia not far removed from the authoritarian dystopia she fled in her youth.
She is the author of vast doorstop-sized tomes like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, among other thick, boring books espousing libertarian themes and ideology.
She empowered herself by trying to set the Women's movement back 50 years.