Ayn Rand, very interesting, I have only skimmed shallowly through her ideas previously and they make me a bit afraid. I have not judged her and her points of view out of principle, since I have hardly read anything at all, but I don't think I can move past some of these things to actually give her a chance. It is most unfortunate that I can seriously study the thoughts at oppose my own, it will only limit my horizon, but there is a level of pain and there are other paths to widen my gaze.
I fully agree that cultural bias clouds things, but it's interesting that you mention 'patriotic' since here there has long been a counter reaction to this and is seen as something ugly in the general public. Waving our country flag, singing the anthem and celebrating the national day isn't practices much at all compared to neighbouring countries, and nowhere near the pride Americans have. This crisis of identity is fertile ground for the racism that is sweeping though Europe.