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Rallying 'round the fountainhead for MS

A capitalist site launches a campaign to fight what it calls the "persecution" of Bill Gates and Microsoft.

The Justice Department has "special master" Lawrence Lessig on its side in its antitrust case against Microsoft, but who can Bill Gates call? How about Ayn Rand?

A Web site devoted to the über-capitalist philosophy of Rand--the writer famous for the novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged--has launched a campaign to fight what it calls the "persecution" of Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Invoking the spirit of Rand, who called businessmen "America's persecuted minority" and who preached the morality of self-interest over altruism, the site has gathered pro-Microsoft articles and links as well as contact information for congressional leaders, in an effort to rally support for the beleaguered software giant.

The site's creator, Mark Da Cunha, also has posted a petition that blasts not just the DOJ's case against Microsoft, but all antitrust law.

"The Justice Department's based on envy for the productive ability of Microsoft and its founder, Bill Gates," the petition states. "The result of this suit, if successful, will be to deprive Mr. Gates of his right to control his own company, and to deprive the company of its ownership and control of its own products.

"The Justice Department's case--and indeed the entire edifice of antitrust law--is based on the bizarrely inverted notion that the productive actions of individuals in the free market can somehow constitute 'force,' while the coercive actions of government regulators can somehow secure 'freedom.'"

The petition's cowriter, Robert W. Tracinski, plans to hand-deliver the petition to Judge Thomas Jackson's office and to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee next year. The petition has been posted less than a month, with approximately 500 signatures coming in the first week, Tracinski said.

Tracinski and Da Cunha also are looking to raise funds to place ads in major newspapers.

Ayn Rand died in 1982.