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.
FWIW, my opinions towards socialism are grounded more in the writings of Ayn Rand (an atheist) than they are from any religion. I doubt that would shed much light to aid my position, and I don't agree with Rand wholesale (there are some points she makes, or rather doesn't make, about the "worth" of an average "joe guy" individual that don't make sense to me), but from a purely political POV I think she sums the matter up quite well. It is not in my interest to speak ill of existing political systems, but I think recent history does that well enough in many cases, while a few exceptions do seem to hold on. As with any patriotic propaganda, sometimes it can be difficult to see beyond the nationalist sentiment...and that includes myself and my country.