I've been an Objectivist for about 35 years, so this is not the first time I've come across a piece written by someone who read Atlas Shrugged when they were 18 years old and then proceed to make all kinds of claims about Objectivism of which I am totally ignorant.

Or maybe they just got it wrong.

If you read Atlas Shrugged and then became a jerk because of it, that just may be because you internalized the viewpoint of the moochers:

Man in Need: Hey, you have to give me some of your money because I really, really need it.
Me: No.
MiN: What? You're such a jerk!

Anyone who can make the claim that Objectivism "is based on the idea that selfishness should be the guiding virtue for all mankind," has either not read "The Virtue of Selfishness" or is deliberately lying or, again, identifies with the moocher crowd.

One need read nothing more than the introduction to TVoS to see that Rand was not using the popular meaning of the word as a synonym for "stingy" or "self-interest to the exclusion of everyone else."

It is "concern with one's own interests" but her strong defense of rights show that she absolutely rejects the idea that one is able to ruthlessly crawl over the bleeding bodies of anyone who gets in the way. She just wanted a word that was the antithesis of "sacrifice of one's own interest for the sake of others."

Or, as John Galt put it, "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine."

How is this being a jerk?

You also claimed that Rand's message is "that we earned every piece of wealth that we inherited."

Not quite. You did not earn, in the everyday meaning that you worked for, your inheritance. But someone did. And, according to the Randian principle that those who create the wealth control that wealth, the one who created the wealth turned control of it to you in the form of an inheritance. So, even though you did not directly create the wealth, you now control it. (Meaning it is yours.)

If it's not yours, then who's is it? And by what right do they have a claim to it?

In a society living according to Rand's ethics, voluntary cooperation is the only interaction allowed between people.

If Rand's philosophy falls apart "with the application of a little bit of empathy and life experience," then is it asking too much for, you know, an example or two?

In the meantime, you may want to do a little more research into government/private actions during Covid19. Your claims show you have not read much past the headlines.

A retired software engineer who hates retirement with a passion. My hobbies are economics, philosophy and futurism.

A retired software engineer who hates retirement with a passion. My hobbies are economics, philosophy and futurism.