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An Ayn Rand World?

March 30, 2013
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Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 11.04.01 PMStrange how libertarians view freedom.  They see it only from their own version of the world. For the libertarian and Randian, and now for their acolytes in the tea parties and the GOP, freedom is a strange animal. It is a one way street.  It exists only for them, and not for anyone else.   It’s all about them – and no one else.  If you dare cross them, they harass, insult, berate, and threaten you.

It’s called “freedom”?

Ayn Rand, the darling of the right, was a psychopath. She was not a sociopath.  A sociopath is someone who is basically that way because of an organic reason or a brain injury.  She had no brain injury.  (The Pink Flamingo’s first murder mystery features a psychopath, so I had to look into the differences between the two).  In fact, Rand worshiped a serial killing psychopath, but she loathed Christians and Christ.

“...One reason why most countries don’t find the time to embrace her thinking is that Ayn Rand is a textbook sociopath. Literally a sociopath: Ayn Rand, in her notebooks, worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of “ideal man” that Rand promoted in her more famous books — ideas which were later picked up on and put into play by major right-wing figures of the past half decade, including the key architects of America’s most recent economic catastrophe — former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and SEC Commissioner Chris Cox — along with other notable right-wing Republicans such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Paul Ryan, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford….”

The problem with Rand’s influence is that she has turned the GOP into what she was, a total and complete psychopath.

“...Well, that’s kind of easy. Who is the guiding light of conservatives (and Libertarians) all the way from corrupt CEOs down to easily manipulated Tea Party fanatics?

The answer? Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand’s specific worldview was that “The pursuit of his (man’s) own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”[i] This is in direct opposition to a functional humane society where the whole must be cohesive in order to provide for its weakest and most vulnerable. You’ll notice my inclusion of the word “humane.” You can have a perfectly functional society without a shred of humanity in it. Take, for example, the Industrial Age societies. They literally built the foundations for the world we know and yet they allowed or even encouraged child labor; essentially the slavery of children. Speaking of slavery, they had THAT, too, and no matter what Haley Barbour, Pat Buchanan and the other apologists revisionists would have you think, it was horrible and inhumane.

Ayn Rand’s ideal world is one where society has no say in your actions short of you physically assaulting another person: “The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force.”[ii] One is forced to wonder what she would make of Wall Street’s Epic Fail. Rand was a big champion of no regulation at all. Close your eyes and imagine what Wall Street could do with even less regulation than it had before. Think of all the possibilities. Taste the freedom….”

Salon

Salon

“...It’s also ironic given libertarians’ understanding of their project. Libertarians claim that freedom is their core value and that it’s maximized when the state refrains from interfering in the private choices of individuals. They also believe, however—as every sensible person should—that individual freedom can be curtailed by private action. In fact, the idea that private action can diminish individual freedom is central to their justification for the state, which is that some state coercion is required to stop people from dominating, enslaving, and generally harming others. We all do better on the metric of freedom, libertarians agree, if the state makes and enforces “traffic rules” for private persons.

Given this awareness that freedom can be diminished by private action, one might think libertarians would reject a state of affairs in which large portions of the population endure daily subjection to the commands of others. Especially when those issuing orders give their subjects detailed instructions on how to live their lives and are in a position to threaten them with severe negative consequences should they disobey. But one would be wrong….”

Funny thing about the Koch Funded group that found North Dakota the most free state in the nation is that there is NOT one single women’s issue involved in the study.  The Pink Flamingo has been telling you that the Kochs don’t give a rip about women.  Now, we appear to have some proof that their version of libertarian is not about women.  I wonder if they aren’t helping to promote the whole anti-woman atmosphere in the GOP?

“…The Mercatus Center, a libertarian-oriented — and Koch brothers-affiliated — think tank based out of George Mason University (a public university, for whatever that’s worth), regularly releases its ranking of American states in terms of “Freedom.” Their definition of “freedom” largely adheres to the standard American libertarian conception of “liberty,” which is to say it is oriented almost entirely around private property ownership and low taxation. As a result, America’s freest state this year turns out to be North Dakota.

North Dakota has also been in the news for another reason recently. What was it, again? Oh, right, it passed the most restrictive antiabortion laws in the country. Including a law specifically aimed at shutting down the state’s lone abortion provider. It passed this law knowing it was unconstitutional.

The data Mercatus used, as far as I can tell, are largely from 2011. But these laws wouldn’t do a thing to change’s North Dakota’s ranking, because Mercatus doesn’t take reproductive rights into account at all. In fact, no issues specifically related to women’s rights are taken into account. Same-sex marriage is included, but not housing employment anti-discrimination rules. They do weigh “‘smoker protection’ in employment,” though. (I think they are in favor of laws barring companies from firing smokers. Isn’t that the government interfering with the employer’s Freedoms?) There is also a list ranking the states in terms of friendliness to Bachelor Parties…”

National Memo

National Memo

According to the Koch Machine freedom from Tort Abuse is terribly important.  In other words, they like North Dakota because big business doesn’t get hit with those nasty little lawsuits from the little people who are having their lives destroyed.

“… Last July, political theorists Chris Bertram, Corey Robin and Alex Gourevitch wrote a hotly contested essay on “Libertarianism and the Workplace” in which they argued that libertarians have trouble accounting for workplace coercion as an infringement on personal freedom. They said the writers at the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians “believe that workplace coercion is not coercion (or at least not impermissible coercion).” The same seems to apply to the Mercatus Center, whose rankings recognize a freedom to not pay union dues (right-to-work states are ranked positively on the freedom index), but not a freedom to collective action in the workplace.

If you already subscribe to a libertarian view of rights, then the reasoning behind these rankings is impeccable. Maybe you would assign a different numerical value to “property right protection,” or rank “marijuana and salvia freedom” higher than “gun control freedom,” but the essential principles on which those numerical values are based hold firm. Freedom from government interference is the only relevant form of freedom. There is no positive liberty which entitles citizens to health care, education, or housing. Keeping the government out of people’s business is the main thing…”

MSNBC

MSNBC

Freedom for some is not exactly freedom for others.

“…It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential….”

Crooked Timber

Crooked Timber

 “...We see it today in that bastion of capitalism: America and its budding Oligarchy. As wealth and power becomes ever more concentrated, the rest of us suffer. Any attempts to remedy the situation by imposing restrictions on the rich and powerful to keep them from fleecing the country is met with howls of class warfare, Socialism and government overreach. Any attempts to remove even one of the sweetheart deals in place allowing those same rich and powerful anti-government types to pay less taxes (or no taxes at all) are also met with howls of “unfair treatment.”

Now that’s what I call the rich having their cake and eating it, too. And my cake. And yours. And his and hers and that guy over there. Hell, they’re eating all our cake and complaining that we took some of the crumbs!

These people are sociopaths, pure and simple. As long as they get what they “deserve”, it doesn’t matter what happens to anyone else. Homeless families are not their problem. Malnourished children are not their problem. Uninsured sick people are not their problem. The elderly reduced to abject poverty (as they were before the advent of Social Security) are not their problem.

Ayn Rand and her delusional rantings provide a rationalization for this immoral behavior. After the Enron scandal and again after the crash in 2008, CEOs started to reread Atlas Shrugged: “CEOs put the book down knowing in their hearts that they are not the greedy crooks they are portrayed to be in today’s business headlines but are heroes like the characters in Rand’s novel.”…”

The type of psychopathic ‘freedom’ and capitalism envisioned by Ayn Rand, and now embraced by numerous billionaires, the Koch Machine, Paul Ryan, the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, Alan Greenspan, Americans for Prosperity, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, the Cato Institute, Glenn Beck, FOX Tabloid News, the tea parties, and the like has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, or anything positive.  It is about a group of men who are so warped, selfish, and utterly depraved, they are willing to destroy this nation, in order to further enrich themselves.

Extreme capitalism is what they have in China.  It cannot exist in a free society.

“...Rand’s “thought,” such as it is, boils down to two propositions. One is that selfishness is the highest of moral virtues. The other is that the masses, above all resentful of success, are parasites living off the hard work of capitalists far superior to them in every way.

Self-interest is a useful concept, while selfishness is not. That, I believe, helps explain why Adam Smith is a first-rate thinker and Ayn Rand is an amateur.

Self-interest makes altruism possible: I can decide to help others, even if in doing so I may be set back financially, because other gains to my self-esteem are important to me. Self-interest requires a nuanced psychology, which is why economists now find themselves investigating all kinds of human behavior and are increasingly interested in how the mind works. Selfishness, by contrast, is not psychologically interesting; Rand’s understanding of human behavior has no room for the complex, the unexpected, or the paradoxical. It is one thing to say, as she frequently did, that altruism is evil; that is a normative position with which one might agree or, I hope, disagree. But to claim that altruism is impossible, an empirical question, is another matter entirely. Any social science, including economics, must be based on a realistic psychology. Rand does not offer one….”

Not only that, what she believed is completely incompatible with anything remotely resembling what Christ taught.  Anyone who claims to be a Christian and claims to be a Randian is lying to themselves.

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