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Forum Post: "How Ayn Rand became the new right's version of Marx", by George Monbiot [The Guardian, UK]

Posted 12 years ago on March 8, 2012, 9:55 a.m. EST by shadz66 (19985)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats.

by George Monbiot.

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 (6th March), has never been more popular or influential.

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as "refuse" and "parasites", and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax.

Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, depicts a United States crippled by government intervention in which heroic millionaires struggle against a nation of spongers. The millionaires, whom she portrays as Atlas holding the world aloft, withdraw their labour, with the result that the nation collapses. It is rescued, through unregulated greed and selfishness, by one of the heroic plutocrats, John Galt.

The poor die like flies as a result of government programmes and their own sloth and fecklessness. Those who try to help them are gassed. In a notorious passage, she argues that all the passengers in a train filled with poisoned fumes deserved their fate. One, for instance, was a teacher who taught children to be team players; one was a mother married to a civil servant, who cared for her children; one was a housewife "who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing".

Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult. Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year.

Ignoring Rand's evangelical atheism, the Tea Party movement has taken her to its heart. No rally of theirs is complete without placards reading "Who is John Galt?" and "Rand was right". Rand, Weiss argues, provides the unifying ideology which has "distilled vague anger and unhappiness into a sense of purpose". She is energetically promoted by the broadcasters Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli. She is the guiding spirit of the Republicans in Congress.

Like all philosophies, Objectivism is absorbed, secondhand, by people who have never read it. I believe it is making itself felt on this side of the Atlantic: in the clamorous new demands to remove the 50p tax band for the very rich, for instance; or among the sneering, jeering bloggers who write for the Telegraph and the Spectator, mocking compassion and empathy, attacking efforts to make the word a kinder place.

It is not hard to see why Rand appeals to billionaires. She offers them something that is crucial to every successful political movement: a sense of victimhood. She tells them that they are parasitised by the ungrateful poor and oppressed by intrusive, controlling governments.

It is harder to see what it gives the ordinary teabaggers, who would suffer grievously from a withdrawal of government. But such is the degree of misinformation which saturates this movement and so prevalent in the US is Willy Loman syndrome (the gulf between reality and expectations) that millions blithely volunteer themselves as billionaires' doormats. I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security. She had railed furiously against both programmes, as they represented everything she despised about the intrusive state. Her belief system was no match for the realities of age and ill health.

But they have a still more powerful reason to reject her philosophy: as Adam Curtis's BBC documentary showed last year, the most devoted member of her inner circle was Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve. Among the essays he wrote for Rand were those published in a book he co-edited with her called Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal. Here, starkly explained, you'll find the philosophy he brought into government. There is no need for the regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as "the 'greed' of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking … is the unexcelled protector of the consumer". As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a "superlatively moral system".

Once in government, Greenspan applied his guru's philosophy to the letter, cutting taxes for the rich, repealing the laws constraining banks, refusing to regulate the predatory lending and the derivatives trading which eventually brought the system down. Much of this is already documented, but Weiss shows that in the US, Greenspan has successfully airbrushed history.

Despite the many years he spent at her side, despite his previous admission that it was Rand who persuaded him that "capitalism is not only efficient and practical but also moral", he mentioned her in his memoirs only to suggest that it was a youthful indiscretion – and this, it seems, is now the official version. Weiss presents powerful evidence that even today Greenspan remains her loyal disciple, having renounced his partial admission of failure to Congress.

Saturated in her philosophy, the new right on both sides of the Atlantic continues to demand the rollback of the state, even as the wreckage of that policy lies all around. The poor go down, the ultra-rich survive and prosper. Ayn Rand would have approved.


veritas vos liberabit ...


{ http://twitter.com/#!/GeorgeMonbiot & http://www.monbiot.com/ }

[Article copied verbatim under "Fair Use" from : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/05/new-right-ayn-rand-marx & a fully referenced version of this article can be found at http://www.monbiot.com/2012/03/05/a-manifesto-for-psychopaths/ ]



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[-] 6 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

I remember reading "Atlas Shrugged" when I was 19 or 20 and not getting it at all. LOL! I couldn't relate to anything she said.

[-] 5 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 12 years ago

In other words: You're a decent human being.

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Thanks. Nice thing to say. It took a long time after reading it, because there was no internet then and I had nobody to ask, before I figured out why I didn't get that book. So funny.

[-] 3 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

It's kind of like reading Machiavelli, or Nietzsche. You get it but you really don't want to get it. Like Ayn Rand they are nihilists, and most useful as an example of humanity at it's lowest rather than people to be emulated.

Compare Charles Dickens:

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

'GK' : Thanx for your true and timely comment and quote re Charles Dickens, whose early life experiences ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens ), very much informed his later writings. Many of Dickens' books were written with a journalist's keen eye and serially released chapter by chapter for a public keen to read about the unseen underbelly of Victorian Britain.

Further, for a tune and an article that 'CD' would've liked (imho!) but that would've definitely made Ayn Rand choke (I hope!), please see :

amor vincit omnia ...

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

Re-reading "Bleak House;" God, what a fine novel!

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

'GK' : Respect !!! Re-reading is its own joy and a re-reader is a dedicated reader !! Further, your comment reminded me of a Guardian article of a couple of years ago & indeed I found it ! Thus :

verb. sat. sap. ;-)

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

Wow! Thanks!

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Great examples.

[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

'bw' : Ditto and re. a historical American 'Randian Anti-Heroine', who is antithetical to her misanthropy - namely "Lucy Parsons", please see :

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Thanks! Rand can't hold a candle to Parsons as a human being.

[+] -4 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Yeah, nice to love communists who want to steal property they didn't earn.

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Right. Like the wealthy and corporations haven't been stealing from the American people, ripping them off with low wages and benefits, while they run off with all the profits they earned on their backs. Give me a break.

[-] -3 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

That isn't theft. Kind of like saying "my book on eBay only sold for $8, I deserved $12, so you stole from me". People are paid what they are worth in a free market.

Go ahead. Open a store and pay your employees $25 an hour. You'll go out of business in a heart beat. Easy to complain about....

[-] 3 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

Are you actually implying the we have a free market! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

No. Corporate profits are at an all time high, while wages have been decreasing over the past 30 years. Free markets maintain power with the capitalists. The employees have little power to set their wage.

Take Wal-Mart. Many Wal-Mart employees work full time and yet still qualify for food stamps. But, 6 members of the Walton family have net worth equal to the bottom 30% of all Americans. You mean to tell me they could not spread that profit out a bit more fairly by paying their employees at least a wage to keep them off food stamps?

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

Beware Brand 'Ayn Rand'!!!

dux femina facti!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23779) 1 year ago

MSM should use the word fascism when describing Trumpism says Robert Reich and I'd have to agree.

"Maybe US mainstream media should begin using the term ‘fascism’" by Robert Reich


And, never forget when Ayn Rand died she was living off of social security and Medicare, socialist policies she supposedly despised.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

NB "Historian of Radical Right - Biden Is Correct; Trump Poses Existential Threat to Future of Democracy"!

"In a primetime address Thursday - Pres. Biden warned Donald Trump and his radical supporters are threatening the foundations of the republic. Biden said, "Too much of what's happening in our country today is not normal," & that MAGA Republicans present a "clear & present danger to our democracy," referring to Trump's campaign slogan of "Make America Great Again."

"We speak with Nancy MacLean, author & Duke University historian who says Biden's speech was a "wake-up call" for the nation and mainstream media. "He was absolutely right, in my opinion, that the Trump wing of the party and the MAGA Republicans .. have now jumped all the rails of constitutional democracy, of the factual universe and of representative democracy."

omnia causa fiunt!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23779) 1 year ago

Fascism is a growing threat in America.

Biden was right to speak about it and call it out for what it is.


"The turn toward fascist politics in the United States has a long history rooted deeply in acts of genocide against Native Americans, the scourge of slavery, Jim Crow violence, the erasure of historical memory, and updated forms of systemic racism buttressed by a merging of white supremacy, the rise of the punishing state, staggering inequality, unchecked political corruption, and a pervasive culture of fear and insecurity. As history is blindsided by the Republican Party, an intentional erasure of political and social memory rule the U.S., unleashing a dreadful plague on civic life and proving that fascism lives in every culture, and that it only takes a spark to ignite it. The Republican Party elite now views historical memory as too threatening to invoke and learn from.

The GOP goal is to disable memory to incapacitate forms of critical agency and the connection between what we know and how we act. The far right’s attempt to erase history presents itself as a form of patriotism whose actual purpose is to control historical knowledge in order to normalize white supremacy and legitimate the poisonous furies of authoritarianism." Henry Giroux, Truthout

[-] -2 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Not true, it is simply a demand/supply equation. I remember back in 1997 when employers were begging to get employees and offering very high salaries. We happen to be in a recession so the market favors employers right now.

Walmart workers are free to work elsewhere if they don't like the wages. If they are worth more, companies will pay them accordingly.

Not our business to tell the Walton family how much they should earn. And I question this "all time" high in corporate profits, where do you get your numbers from? I know many corporations that are going bankrupt.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

You believe in the "free" market. I do not. I do not think it allows the economy to benefit the majority of people. Where exactly are the hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees supposed to go for better wages? And, I have no problem with making as much money as you want, as long as you're not greedy and ripping off your employees.

[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Why "free" in quotes? I think you refer to the market we have today, which isn't free and full of crony capitalism.

The free market does provide the maximum growth because it is based on the transactions of people freely trading.

Think about it. There is no person or entity in the world that can determine the correct price or wage for any job or good. So, if you have government control the markets what happens?

In Greece they decided that medicine was too expensive. So they mandated a price decrease. This was below the level of what the market would support so....they ran out of a lot of medicine, including aspirin.

In WWII the government decided to freeze wages for the good of the country. That is why your health insurance is provided by employers (they couldn't offer higher wages, so they increased benefits). Health insurance via employment is very inefficient and raises costs significantly.

Why is health care so expensive? Because when you are insured you don't care about price. When is the last time somebody asked for an itemized hospital bill and reviewed it? Ever see what is charged in there? If we went back to the 1940's with coverage just for catastrophic conditions we wouldn't be in this mess.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Yes. "Free" is in quotes because I'm aware it's not really a free market. I also don't think a truly free market would be good for anyone but those who have the most capital going in. Think back to the conditions of the Industrial Revolution. A truly free-wheeling capitalist system with no checks and balances would lead to a great divide between the rich and the poor. It would be quite devastating for most people. That is why we don't have "free" market capitalism in its purest form.

I actually agree with you to a certain degree about health insurance, but I think we should have catastrophic care only, provided by the government, and then folks could purchase further insurance for the "reimbursement" type items or pay themselves. This would alleviate the great risk everyone has of going bankrupt from bills should they get a catastrophic illness or injury.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

That video is total crap. Czar Obama. Give me a break. The people who are the most oppressed by conservatism are conservatives themselves. Why aren't they in the video, the poor souls?

[-] 0 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

hahaha! I knew you'd like that lol!

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

I did actually laugh out loud at the video, so thanks for the laugh, at any rate.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

"Atlas Shrieked" !!! (Copyright 'shooz', OWS forum 21st Aug. '12) & a not quite random bumpage !!

pax et lux ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23779) 11 years ago

OMG! I love these old threads. Thanks, Shadz. : )

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

Sometimes we've got to go backwards to go forwards in this 'bw' !

Onwards and Upwards .... even when it's occasionally sideways !!

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 11 years ago


[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

Thanx & 4 U : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZGcNx8nV8U&feature=related ... cos u r !!

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23779) 11 years ago

Thanks. Shux.

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

Re. your reply above : LOL !!!

pax, nunc et semper ...

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

"How Economics Became a Cult"! . . . by Professor Steve Keen:

“What an education in economics does is make you into a zealot"!!

And: "Watch Steve Keen discuss how mainstream economics acts more like a cult than a science, how mathematics has been misused by the economic discipline, and how with the right tools a grad student can make a better economic model than a central bank"!!!

So "If you are confronted with two evils, thus the argument runs, it is your duty to opt for the lesser one, whereas it is irresponsible to refuse to choose altogether ... The weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil."[by Hannah Arendt]

et veritas vos liberabit!!!!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23779) 1 year ago

The economy is man made. It is not a force of nature. It doesn't grow up from the soil when you pour water and shine the sun on it.

It is fully in the control of human beings! Nothing in economics is inevitable! These are myths.


"The marketplace in which most commerce takes place today is not a pre-existing condition of the universe. It's not nature. It's a game, with very particular rules, set in motion by real people with real purposes. That's why it's so amazing to me that scientists, and people calling themselves scientists, would propose to study the market as if it were some natural system — like the weather, or a coral reef.

It's not. It's a product not of nature but of engineering. And to treat the market as nature, as some product of purely evolutionary forces, is to deny ourselves access to its ongoing redesign."

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

Consider: "The Laws of Capitalism" as "All things can be coded as capital, with the right legal coding"!

So "In this series, Katharina Pistor; Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law, Columbia Law School .. breaks down the history, process, institutions, and participants - involved in the legal coding of capital.

& "She shows us how private actors, have harnessed social resources to accumulate wealth, generating not only economic inequality .. but also inequality in law. Enabling them to opt out of jurisdictions, restrict governmental policy and erode democracy.

"The laws of capitalism have elevated the interests of the few, above that of the many but we can rewrite the code and ... restore balance to society."

There are Four Videos here ^ with a 5th to follow on 23rd November, and they are all Essential Viewing imo - especially after your comment and link above .. and I can't recommend them enough to any and all readers ... who are still here to try to learn.

fiat lux et fiat justitia!

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

Note "Capitalism Has Ended the Issue of Scarcity But Worsened the Crisis of Inequality"! by C.J. Polychroniou:

Which succinctly ends with ... "No one thinks it’s going to be easy, but time is running out for capitalism"!

per ardua ad iudicium!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23779) 1 year ago

We need a new economic system that goes beyond the black and whites of capitalism vs. socialism and while social democratic societies have managed to succeed to a certain extent at equalizing wealth, they still fall short.

"In the 21st century, the problem of human poverty is one of distribution, not scarcity. The capitalist era has provided the material abundance required for a free human society, but capitalism cannot deliver the freedom its productive capacity makes possible. It’s time to move on to an economic structure that can deliver that freedom."

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

"The Laws of Capitalism Episode 5" ...

And NB:"In this episode Prof. Katharina Pistor explains the role of private lawyers in coding capital (&) explains how Private Attorneys are the Masters of The Code.Despite the fact that the State and juridical precedent establishes the law; it is private attorneys who find the flaws, loopholes or inaccuracies in the legal code &, she goes through the history of private lawyers in Prussia, France, and their emergence in the American legal system.We find the importance of 'Private Lawyers' in shaping and molding the legal code over time. She ends the episode by reflecting on the vast amounts of wealth private law firms, and lawyers accumulate today. With a specific reference to the delicate relationship between the UK’s Magic Circle of Firms and Russian Oligarchs." Fascinating insights & essential viewing .. imo.

radix omnium malorum - est cupiditas!

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

"Tax-Free Day For The Ultra-Wealthy"! -- by A Perez, M Cunningham-Cook & Rebecca Burns:

"New data show the wealthiest Americans have stashed $2 trillion in offshore tax havens, as the government relaxes efforts to combat tax evasion."

radix omnium malorum - est cupiditas x 2!!

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 year ago

Consider - "Harvard Has Become a Tax Shelter for Billionaires as Public Education Languishes"!

"Massachusetts needs to reevaluate - the tax-exempt status of its private universities, with endowments over $1 billion."

fiat lux et justitia!

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 8 months ago

Consider: "Inequality is reaching feudal proportions, where very few own almost everything - and everyone else is crushed under the wheel of engineered destitution"! - FROM:

"Conservatives cast Chile as a success story in which the Neoliberal economists known as the “Chicago Boys”, reversed socialist experimentation. This whitewashes the horrific crimes of Augusto Pinochet and the precarity his policies normalized." ... FROM:

respice; adspice; prospice!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23779) 8 months ago

Even Fox news admits Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.


"The share of low-income consumers — those earning less than $50,000 annually — living paycheck to paycheck increased the most, rising from 74% in July 2022 to 78% in July 2023.

Among consumers earning between $50,000 to $100,000 annually, 65% lived paycheck to paycheck as of July 2023, compared to 63% in July 2022.

Meanwhile, the share of high-income consumers — those earning more than $100,000 annually — living paycheck to paycheck increased the least, just 1 percentage point from 43% in July 2022 to 44% this year."

So, tell us again, free market apologists, how capitalism is working so well?

[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

"Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one's own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value – and so long as that beneficiary is anybody than oneself, anything goes."

[-] 3 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

Altruism declares no such thing; but simply stipulates that we take into account other motives than SIMPLY one's own benefit. The next sentence is a complete logical non-sequitor, and from that non-sequitor, you draw a conclusion that is simply a brilliant example of utter nonsense!

At that rate, I'm surprised you can fingure out which shoe goes on which foot in the morning.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

If you are going to quote something from someone, then do us the favour of citing the source please.

ad iudicium ...

[-] -2 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Quoting Ayn Rand.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

No shit ! You don't say !! But where are you quoting from ?!!!

It'd help to know where the quote originates - "Atlas Shrugged", "The Fountainhead", "Capitalism - The Unknown Ideal" or maybe "The Virtue of Selfishness" ?

ad iudicium ...

[-] 4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 12 years ago

Deal in propaganda much?

You shouldn't spam the crap though, unless you're one of the multi-trolls that like to bitch about getting banned.

I have no empathy for that.

[+] -4 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago
[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Who ever said I was for welfare. Huh? I'm for everyone working and making a living wage.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 12 years ago

what if there is not enough work to go around ?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Then that's what welfare is for. I'm not against welfare but I'd rather see near full employment with people earning enough to live on.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 12 years ago

people should be free to pursue their own contribution to human society

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8708) 12 years ago

Labor is obsolete as foundation for economy.

Machines produce, people go hungry.

Will we be free to fulfill our dreams or submit to being sub-machines?

How do you like my interpretation of your style, Matt? You should write haiku!

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

whats the difference? Substituting one subsidy for another to mask reality.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

No. It is the re-valuing of labor that is needed. Labor can be viewed very differently than it is today. It's not masking anything to distribute corporate profits more fairly to the people who contribute to creating that profit.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

and how is labor "valued"?

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

You can value labor in many different ways. There are many "Labor theories of value." You could remunerate with a living wage, one in which employees earn enough money to pay for the basic necessities of living. You could remunerate as a percentage of profits. I'm not an expert but there are other ways of valuing labor than just the mere skills required for the task performed.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

"labor theory" is just that - theory. How about labor reality - supply & demand.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

The reality of supply and demand is that it leaves a lot of people out in the cold.

Here, read about the Labor Theory of Value, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_theory_of_value.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

I know all about Labor "theory" Unfortunately there is no real life example of success. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3AKoL0vEs

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Good point. We do need to think out of the box to come up with an entirely new way of structuring our economy so that it benefits all people.

[-] -3 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

Then you missed the point entirely. There is no way to ensure everyone makes enough money to live "decently" because you cant define "decent". You will tell me "enough to provide the basics". Well as is being debated right now - some have the idea that the "basics" include free contraception. There are only trade-offs. For everything you want you have to ask the question at what expense. If you think the answer is just to force wealthy people to fork over more of there money because you want them to either in the form of a Forced minimum wage or taxes etc. you have to ask what will be the effect of that force? Wil the people with the money change their behavior? History has proved over & over again YES - and that is why it doesnt work.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Greed has ruined this country. If the wealthy won't share the profits that they earn on the backs of the workers then what to do? Force 'em? Let them eat cake? Which is the answer?

[-] -3 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

these are free market principals. This is how the economy grows. keeping prices down allows for you to spend your money in more ways on more things. That is what creates more jobs. It is up to the individual to work their way up attaining more difficult skill sets. At least they will have more opportunity. As Milton Friedman said - if digging a hole with a shovel creates jobs - why not give everyone spoons.

[-] 6 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

No. You don't want a society where people cannot pay for the basic necessities while others are running off with all of the profits with insane amounts of wealth. It is inhumane. Bad for all in the end, the rich and the poor. There has to be a way to ensure that everyone makes enough money to live on decently.

[+] -4 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

2 points by beautifulworld (4695) 7 minutes ago

Greed has ruined this country. If the wealthy won't share the profits that they earn on the backs of the workers then what to do? Force 'em? Let them eat cake? Which is the answer? ↥like ↧dislike permalink

We do as we are. We slap them uplongside the head - with reality.

We allow them to change their behavior willingly while we move on towards mandatory. We do not pause for a promise we continue through application then we continue to stay involved to see that the country does not become ILL again.

We move forward - Together.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Yes. If they won't do it voluntarily then, you know, we gotta keep pressing. It's as simple as that. I'm with you, DKAtoday. Thanks for being supportive.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

who isnt greedy greed has always existed. it is part of the human condition and no one is immune

[-] -3 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Really? So you are for racism, corporatism, are anti-abortion and believed that the law shouldn't be applied equally to all? Then I guess you can't identify with Ayn Rand.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Not agreeing with Ayn Rand's "objectivism" in no way means I believe in racism, corporatism or overall fairness. Where do you get that from?

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Obvious put-down.

You have the right of it.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Just because you disagree with one point of view doesn't mean you wholly go for another. Things are not black and white. Geesh!

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

A rational mind does not attack care concern and compassion for others. A rational mind will recognize a good heart and positive intentions.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

Nice. True.

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

I knew you already knew that.

just sayin.

[-] 0 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Ayn Rand never attacked care and compassion for others, as a matter of fact she exhibited it numerous times in her life. She hired an entire family, didn't need their services (already had them) and they weren't as proficient but...she had compassion for them because they were Japanese and interred in camps during WWII.

Rand objected to forced charity (which isn't charity by virtue of being coercive), concern is all well and good but not when it takes away the freedom of the individual.

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

So it is OK to be coerced by your employer but it is not OK to return the favor?

[-] 0 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Your employer has no power over you other than what you grant by entering into a mutual contract. You are free to leave anytime.

On the other hand with govt. you either obey or are jailed.

Hardly the same.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Your employer holds your immediate financial security in it's hands. On the other hand WTF are you talking about.

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

I feel that way about reading legalese. Puts me right to sleep very good for treating insomnia.

I think it is an inborn defense mechanism to filter shit out of the thinking process.

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago


[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Thank you laughter is good for the soul. You have helped to make my day.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23779) 12 years ago

:- )

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Right Back At Ya.


[-] 6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States.

I think that this is very important. Her life would not have sucked had their been no revolution. She never got over that. She would have remained in her special class.

The question should not be, Who is John Galt? The question should be, Who is John Q?

[-] 6 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

So, re. Ayn Rand ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand ) : Who is "John Q", 'GF' ?!

ad iudicium ...

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

OK. I geddit now ;-) I saw that film a while ago and it is really quite a powerful story, symbolically set in Chicago, HQ of 'The Chicago School of Economics' which holds Rand as a (not so) secret inspiration.

fiat lux ...

[-] 4 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

Of course, in the film a child's life is saved due to self sacrifice, not exactly Rand's message. of selfishness being the highest good. Where you also aware that another John, named Galt was modeled in part after a serial killer Rand idolized?

Imagine; an entire political philosophy built on an infatuation with a serial killer! How funny (and sick) is that?


[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Life over money - It is that easy.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

It is that easy and it's disgusting.

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Morning SunShine.

Makes this movement against corruption so much more an obvious need. For the health and prosperity of all.

We move forward - Together.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Good morning!

It is definitely needed.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

It is an ugly fight.

But we own the right.

Down with corruption.

Down with inhumanity to man.

They provide us with much motivation to unite in common cause - The Defense of LIFE.

We move forward - Together.

[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

None of this has to be that ugly. It didn't have to come to this.

Every opportunity to meet in the middle has been dismissed. Therefore, we will have to take it.

[+] -5 points by SatanRepublican (136) 12 years ago

It's amazing you simply lack the sound internal guidance to know a righteous group simply makes no attempts to deal with blatant and obvious pure evil..... and the whole lot of you seem to be bent on the futile efforts of cutting a deal with such an institution.

It reflects very poorly on the group and the masses, shows a lack of spine, proper outrage, and integrity deficiency.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.


The whole lot of us wanted to go much further than what has been proposed. This is why there are so many evil liberals that are pissed.

[+] -4 points by SatanRepublican (136) 12 years ago

Pissing up a rope will be as effective as voting for either side.

All of your seem to want much more government as if the grossly bloated amount of it doesn't have enough corruption monitors to keep the various players in check.

You certainly must know that they all become corrupt, or at least blind to corruption, the very minute they become empowered or cash the first check.

It also seems the majority of you seem content to dismiss such as mere "facts of life" and the cost of being "ultra-civilized".

btw... keep guessing.... no lone star here, not at all.

[-] 4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Just as a heads up, Satan, I wasn't pegging you for Lone Star but as DarkHelmet and that just happened to be the first line that popped in my head after I read it. Your current moniker being Satan and all....

You seem to forget that there is a difference between those elected and those that do the actual work. Secondly, you have forgotten this faux privatization bit. Now, the reigns have been handed to the so called experiment that has failed for the past 20 years AND you can look at past experiments that have failed.

Which means that your answer is don't vote, write in vote or vote Libertarian or vote for whomever your special individual happens to be. All of that will hand the elections to the Religious Right. Hell, no.

As it stands now, these for profits or not for profits that are really for profits are not meeting the needs of the public. They aren't screening them in.......they are screening them out.

Here are a few facts of life that you deny and are intent on dragging as many people down with you as possible.

There are inadequate services for the mentally ill. This means that someone who ages out of the slim services available for kids will have nothing. They will live at home until they can no longer be controlled and, thus, will be on the street until they flip out and are incarcerated (and in possibly privatized prisons).

There are inadequate services for those with medical problems. Heart surgeries denied on lack of insurance. Inability to acquire medication or maintain medication due to cost. There are inadequate services for those that are homeless. It is a black hole that is hard to climb out of. There are inadequate services for the elderly.

You have no clue what is like to listen to someone break down because they have no idea of what to do or where to go. You have no clue what it is like to listen to desperate people and know that there is not one resource available.

And what services are available don't have to pay taxes, yet receive tax dollars to do an inadequate job. And what is your answer?

Screw the people, just stand there with your wallets open so that we can continue to not provide services and bank.

Or Screw the people, no services in the name of no government and bank.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 11 years ago

You tell 'em.


[-] -2 points by SatanRepublican (136) 12 years ago

You want it fed, grown larger, and for it to feed you back.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

I want shit to get done. You want to overthrow the government.

[-] -1 points by JesusDemocrat (193) 12 years ago

I agree you want to get "shit" done. Roll in a pig stye and that's what you have.

How could any person who knows what honor and integrity actually mean, and value it, choose to remain blind to the fact that corruption cannot be stopped, and DC doesn't even acknowledge,much less apologize for and attempt to fix, it this system which no longer is for it's people?

Overthrow? Not hardly, reclaim and restore the system upon which our country was founded. No, that doesn't make me a racist, woman hater or any of the other things you fearful people like to proclaim.

I certainly have no problem with you folks keeping your corporate owned and forever corrupt DC government.

Did you think Ross Perot wanted to overthrow the government?

[-] -2 points by SatanRepublican (136) 12 years ago

Too bad you truly see it that way.

You have never walked in my shoes and have no idea how I've lived or what I know.

My answer, destroy that which is patently broken and unable to be fixed.

Start over.

[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Like what? Define this: destroy that which is patently broken and unable to be fixed. Start over.

You seem to have no problem talking shit about what anyone else is saying. You sure are quiet on providing solutions.

[-] -3 points by SatanRepublican (136) 12 years ago

No toots, it's been laid out many times and we all know your scripted responses. You want more government doing more and intruding more despite knowing there is no way to keep it clean and free of corruption.

Many of the 99% are fine without the ultra-civilization you seem to desire and have no interest seeking the same path to actualization that most of you complaining seem to demand be given to you.

You do not see anything patently broken in US Government, and to the point that the whole machine needs scrapping?

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 12 years ago

Yes, I see what is broken.

(R)epelican'ts have crashed it, and trying to keep it crashed with the help of their teabagger cohorts.

Throw those lazy bums out!

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

You want to overthrow the government.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Yes you are correct there has been no reasoning with the corrupt.

They could remain that way in blissful anonymity but they have gotten in the way of life and health and do not see the prosperity available in doing things cleanly and for everyone's benefit.

The switch to a clean fuel and energy base need not leave them out in the cold. But they do not see that or are unwilling to risk the hold they have on fossil fuel. This is only one example of their poor consideration.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

It doesn't. That is what I don't get. If they continue to play in the my way or the highway---the only option is for them is to lose completely.

[+] -7 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

That is the problem with greed. It is blind it is unreasoning. It has one goal and is single minded in it's pursuit.

That is why smacken em up longside the head with a 2x4 would only confuse them ( for a moment ) before they returned to what they had been doing. That is why they need Keepers.

For the protection of life - We move forward - TOGETHER.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago


But, I can smack 'em up longside the head a couple of times. I'd feel better.

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

2 points by GirlFriday (3474) 0 minutes ago

I did not know that. That's funny. ↥like ↧dislike permalink

Yeah yeah!

1st thing they do when they get home ( the very 1st thing ). They go to their room and rant and rage and practice their primal scream. They throw themselves down onto mats roll around kick and scream. Punch and kick mannequins smack em with sticks and just generally run nuts for a while. This can go on from a short period 15 -20 minutes or for several hours. When they have achieved a sense of calm - Then they go into the home proper and greet the family.

Different Hey?

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

I think that is groovy. :D

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

I can relate to that feeling.

Did you know that in many Japanese Households they have a room for the man of the house, expressly for the purpose of hitting things with sticks?

It is for promoting good mental health in business men and save the family from abuse that might spill over from the working day.


The more you Know! This has been a public service announcement.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

I did not know that. That's funny.

[+] -7 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

2 points by GirlFriday (3474) 0 minutes ago

I think that is groovy. :D ↥like ↧dislike permalink

We can learn a lot from other cultures. Eastern medicine can be so practical sometimes.

[-] 5 points by HitGirl (2263) 12 years ago

You seem just fine to me. And as for Ayn Rand, greedy self-centered people will grab onto anything to justify their need for self-gratification. "I want more and I want it now and Ayn Rand says that's perfectly OK, so she must be some great philosopher." The whole thing is immature, transparent and degrading self-indulgence.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

That is exactly it!!

[-] 5 points by HitGirl (2263) 12 years ago

You shouldn't be -3 (was -4) and I shouldn't be 0. What is it with these Troll swarms? Election year? The OWS moderator should only give proven non-trolls (regular posters who argue intelligently, regardless of ideology) the ability to rate comments. That would cut down on this significantly.

[-] -2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

I like that earn the privilege.

[-] 0 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Greed is taking from others, earning a great deal of money isn't a crime, you worked for it.

[-] 3 points by HitGirl (2263) 12 years ago

Lots of people work hard and don't get a great deal of money. And don't redefine greed. Greed is having more than enough and wanting and pursuing even more. And, economically speaking, you're always taking from others. Making a virtue of greed, now that is what is killing America!

[-] 4 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

I think her father owned a pharmacy, which was confiscated (or something like that) ... it obviously left her bitter. I disagree with Rand, but she's a typical (though I would say second rate, not on par with someone like Nietzsche) egoist philosopher, some great one liners, I mean really, read Virtue of Selfishness, you can poke around and find some really good sayings. So I'm not sure if being dismissive is the best tactic. I mean, individualism has a certain amount of romantic appeal, just as collectivism does. That said, I have no idea what people see in books like Atlas Shrugged? It's a literary monstrosity. Also, Virtue of Selfishness is one of those books that sort of sounds good on first glace, until you think about its implications. Moreover, her critique of hedonism was poorly informed, she lacked scientific perspective, and in some cases, her logic was just terrible.

[-] 3 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

At one time, I was into Ayn Rand and I owned several of her books. I am not impressed. I have yet to meet a philosophy prof that is impressed either. That same romantic appeal is found in John Wayne flics and other spaghetti westerns. :(

Much less destructive to rent the Cowboy flics then to try to play them out irl.

[-] 4 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

Yes, but of course, we shouldn't look at books or ideas as destructive. They may be wrong, poorly thought out, lacking sophistication, etc, but exposure to ideas should never be dissuaded. Indeed, when ideas are dissuaded, they seem to gain traction by mere caveat of the fact that they're viewed as "taboo" by society. My theory is whenever someone has an idea, particularly when they publish that idea and it becomes popular; it tells us the underlying impulse or mindset expressed by the speaker or writer is probably shared by others.

When we try to marginalize ideas by shouting them down, through ridicule, intimidation, etc., the tendency among those who hold those ideas is to become further hardened and entrenched in their position. Whereas if we interact with the ideas, intellectually, we have a better chance of changing minds.

Unfortunately, in America these days, the discourse isn't very intellectual. Probably because we have a corporate media that's become more akin to the British tabloid press. They dumb down information as much as possible, and they tend to focus on trivial aspects of life. They only report on controversial or serious topics when it doesn't offend their corporate patrons. They exploit fear without shame, and fear has always been one of the most powerful tools of manipulation. JFK said it best, the only thing to fear (you guys know the rest) :)

[-] 4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Ah...........you want me to locate patience.

Damn it, man. I ran out of it.

[-] 3 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

Not patience necessarily (although it helps), but bad ideas are exposed by better ideas, through rigorous intellectual debate, provided of course they don't involve violent conduct or something like that (something that's so obviously wrong and harmful that the "badness" of it is self evident to virtually everyone, and it really can't be allowed to permeate and grow).

I've had these discussions with Randians and Austrians. The "action axiom" ... all human action is purposeful. Ask them to prove it, their response is you can't disprove it. Okay, modern psychology may take issue with that idea, but when challenged on this level, the response becomes, well, if it isn't purposeful, then it's not really worth discussing, or it shouldn't be within the purview of economics.

Well, of course behavioral economists would take issue with this contention (and to imagine that economics is not influenced by psychology, or to base an economic theory on the presumption of rational choices and expectations, is seriously misguided). Ultimately, their argument is completely circular (and they misapply Aristotelian logic in various ways) . However, arguing with a Randian in hopes of immediately changing their mind, will certainly test the patience of the most serene person; but that doesn't mean it's hopeless. For instance, there's been at least one Randian I debated with, but probably like two years ago. Only recently have I seen him begin to question the logic of objectivism. I'm not sure if I had anything to do with it (I'm not that presumptuous), but interestingly, the problems he's beginning to find with her philosophy, are mostly the same problems I was talking about two years ago.

[-] 4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 12 years ago

Let's be honest here. I'm not exactly serene.

Randians have to have life come up and smack them with a 2x4 upside the head. I find myself truly desiring to hold the 2x4 to speed the process up. While there are subjects that I am willing and able to engage in to show better ideas. This is not one of them.

[-] 4 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

LOL ...

[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

I'm all ears. Been trying to convince socialists, but I'm welcome to the idea of someone trying to change my opinion.

I believe in the simple concept of limited government, private charity, and equality under the law. I believe in a free economy, and that the role of government is to protect individual (not collective) rights.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

The problem is when conservatives say they're concerned about individual rights, and protecting those rights, they don't classify things like dumping cancer causing carcinogens in our water or air as the sort of harmful activity that should be regulated, or the social breakdown and chaos that would result from public health epidemics, widespread poverty and despair, etc.

In other words, even on the narrow basis of protecting individual rights, it's not such a clear cut issue. I see nothing inherently less harmful with poisoning someone directly (like lacing their food with poison) as opposed to putting poison in their drinking water or the air they breath, and I think there is a moral imperative to protect individuals against both forms of harm.

Liberty cannot survive without law and order.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

It's a nice thought, but you fail to convince me that Mein Kampf was anything other than destructive. And if you look at the effect of that psychopath Ayn Rand's "work" on the American political/economic landscape and the twisted discourse and actions it has inspired or given cover to, I don't think any claims of being benign can be made of those writings, either.

Ideas have power. All civic actions are based on them. Some ideas are constructive, others destructive. Some have power based on their insightfulness, others because of their appeals to selfishness and hatred. None are neutral.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

But of course Ayn Rand never tried to become chancellor of America, and the comparison is ridiculous anyway. I may not like Ayn Rand, but Hitler was certainly in another league of psychopathy.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

I don't agree. Simply because she was unable to put her sociopathology into action on a national scale does not mean that genocide was not a part of her agenda. It was not race-based, but class based, but it would have been genocide just the same.

Regardless of comparative scales of depravity, one can't argue that ideas can't be dangerous, and are not always supplanted by better ones through intellectual debate. If that were true, we would not be in the economic condition we are in, since better ideas would have won the day instead of those that supported short-sighted greed. Wars would never have been fought, either, nor the atrocities we hear about every day.

Dangerous ideas have real world consequences. They are not benign, nor are they confined to round table discussions.


[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Specifics? What twisted things came out of Ayn Rand's work on the American political and economic landscape?

and don't give me some nebulous "the economy tanked because people were greedy" bs

[-] 3 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 12 years ago

Deregulation of the banks, the repeal of Glass/Steagall, opened the doors to the abuses that inevitably resulted. Greenspan's Randian, fact-free belief that markets would self-police due to self interest led to policies and regulatory non-enforcement that led to the crash.

In terms of public discourse, the unashamed denigration of the poor by the right, including the working poor who are its majority, is pure Rand, and is not only morally disgusting, but dangerous. The push to eliminate every aspect of the social safety net by the right is the result.

Sociopathic selfishness as a political creed is corrosive and undermines the foundation for civil society. Trashing the very notion of a social contract leaves every person in a fend for yourself or die predicament, and no society can or has ever existed on such a basis. Might makes right, luck makes superiority, distorted socio-economic Darwinism is not the legitimate foundation for human society. And the sometimes bloody revolutions of the past have demonstrated that most people won't stand for it.

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 9 years ago

"How is Ayn Rand" still a thing?


Virtue of selfishness? Laughable.

We're in this together! Reject her "you're on your ownism"

[-] -1 points by 99nproud (2697) 9 years ago

Ahh, great minds?


F#ckin hilarious though right?

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

It is F'n Hillarious and it is so F'n Sad that so many people do not see the obvious anti-social among us by "their" stated anti-social beliefs as well as practices when they ( the selfist's ) gain office.

[-] -1 points by 99nproud (2697) 9 years ago

They really believe that "selfishness is a virtue".

This is a fundamental difference from a "we're in this together" approach.

It's "sad" and dangerous, cause it puts society at risk.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 9 years ago

interest has been misrepresented as a rule

[-] -1 points by 99nproud (2697) 9 years ago

Ain't that the truth

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

[ edit ] It puts the whole world at risk - this selfist CRAP. And is so very obvious since the beginning of the economic meltdown and the actions and inaction's since - edit-> as well as the actions and inaction's concerning Global Warming and fossil fuel pollution that is really driving it to extinction level.

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 9 years ago

Exactly. Profits over people is only possible if you embrace "you're on your own" mentality.

We are obviously stronger together not competing for ever smaller crumbs from the pie.

Obvious & obscene

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

People/Health/Environment/World BEFORE any sort of profits - SHOULD BE THE OBVIOUS APPROACH IN ALL THINGS - That it is not is truly OBVIOUS & OBSCENE.

[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

You wouldn't be upset if the government seized everything you had worked a life for? Give me a break.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

Yes of course, but my comments weren't directed at critiquing Rand for her bitterness towards Soviet communists, my critique is aimed at her philosophy (mostly as applied in the context of Anglo-American political theory and culture, which she never really understood).

[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

What are the implications of self interest? Making the most of your life, working hard? I guess OWS can't identify with that.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

Ayn Rand denied aspects of human nature that today are fairly well understood (such as reciprocal altruism), she lacked scientific sophistication (and made far reaching claims without any empirical basis, even though she sort of claimed to be a fan of empiricism), and she inaccurately characterized other philosophical theories (such as hedonism). So this isn't just a matter of disagreeing with the mere contention that self interest is a factor that influences decision making (which is sort of obvious), I critique Rand on the basis that she was just plain wrong in many of her assertions.

An example:

This is the fallacy inherent in hedonism—in any variant of ethical hedonism, personal or social, individual or collective. “Happiness” can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard. The task of ethics is to define man’s proper code of values and thus to give him the means of achieving happiness. To declare, as the ethical hedonists do, that “the proper value is whatever gives you pleasure” is to declare that “the proper value is whatever you happen to value”—which is an act of intellectual and philosophical abdication, an act which merely proclaims the futility of ethics and invites all men to play it deuces wild.


Compare to:

When thus attacked, the Epicureans have always answered that is not they, but their accusers, who represent human nature in a degrading light; since the accusation supposed human being to be capable of no pleasures except those of which swine are capable of. Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, pp. 7, 8.

Essentially Rand is making the same error those who attacked the Epicureans made.

Again, quoting Mill:

"Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beasts pleasures . . . ." Id., p9.

It should be clear to anyone who has read Mill and other utilitarian and hedonist philosophers that they did not endorse the sort of animalism Rand accuses them of. However, she goes further in her rhetoric:

"But suppose he let her (speaking of a man's wife) die in order to spend his money on saving the lives of ten other women, none of whom meant anything to him--as the ethics of altruism would require." Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand, p. 51.

What ethics of altruism would require a man to make such a choice? Was there really ever an epidemic in America of men choosing to allow their wives to die because they chose instead to spend their money on saving others (rather than spending it on saving their wife)? She invents this strawman purely from her imagination (and then hangs it up as her punching bag).

Maybe "consequentialism" would imply this sort of choice, but people have never been inclined to make decisions concerning those they love in such a cold and quantitative way.

I can go on and on. In Virtue of Selfishness, chapter 3, The Ethics of Emergencies, she doesn't even consider the idea of a genetic basis for altruistic behavior. In fairness to Rand, when she was writing this book, the science wasn't yet well developed. Nevertheless, she makes the sort of presumptions regarding human nature that no scientist would ever make without evidence, and anyway, she was wrong (which really should be enough). I suppose you could say this is the same sort of error and presumptuousness that many philosophers have been guilty of (which is obviously true), but the disciples of Ayn Rand don't seem to apply sophisticated scrutiny to her work.

[-] 4 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 12 years ago

Shadz, that is a great article. Rand got a lot of attention while she was alive, and for very sure, she still gets a lot more than she deserves, due to the continued propagation of her unholy psychotic philosophy of selfishness and greed, perpetuated by her apostles' complete devotion to the sociopathic religion of unhindered Capitalism, as put forth in their satanic bible Atlas Shrugged.

Great job. More please.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

'Ud' : Thanx ~{:-) & in which case I whole heartedly recommend the work of the visionary social commentator and documentarian, 'Adam Curtis', whose films are an excellent view 'behind the veils'.

Thus, I offer : http://occupywallst.org/forum/information-documentary-maker-video-essayist-adam-/ & in particular the item 2) :

  • "The Power of Nightmares" : http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-power-of-nightmares/ , (2004). The three films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two. Further there are significant insights into the 'Randian Pathogen' as well as an excellent and important introduction to the Chicago University Professor, Leo Straus in the brilliant first film "Baby, It's Cold Outside", ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5lByw7kvS0 ).

VERY interesting, informative and illuminating ...

fiat lux ;-)

[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 12 years ago

HFS!!! 13 hours! Might be awhile before you hear from me again shadz (ha,ha :-)

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

LOLOL !!! Go with the 'You Tube Link' bro' and take it from there !! It Will be rewarding !

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] -2 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Yeah there are a lot of similarities between a theocracy and individual freedom.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

Click on the link and see what is being said instead of deluding yourself that you know the first thing about "freedom" and ask yourself exactly what it is you think you are doing with this so called 'freedom' and just how 'free' you actually are to really think for your self - 'free' from propaganda !!!

Are you being a good little consumer ? Can you really do exactly what you please ? Rather than the selfish 'freedom to', can your fuzzy little brain entertain notions of 'Freedom From' - want, ignorance, sickness, poverty and a desperate, poor and lonely old age ?!!

Your mind is closed and your heart so hard that I'm unsure as to why I'm bothering here, but alas ...

dum spiro, spero !

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 12 years ago

Really ? How is Rand the same as Marx? When did Rand ever advocate the use of force?

[-] 3 points by bensdad (8977) 12 years ago

rand appeals to billionaires
see who appealed to rand -
google "ayn rand william hickman"

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

Roger that. You are referring to the murderous psychopath who was Ayn Rand's heroic exemplar.

e tenebris ...

[-] 3 points by WatTyler (263) 12 years ago

Thank you for the wonderful article. And one with which I agree. Rand was a sociopath.

[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

@ 'WT' : You're very welcome mate and further consider that 'Ethics' essentially revolves around the notion that Human Beings as "Social Creatures" have morality, responsibilities and rules re. 'Society and The Social Sphere'. Rand was an 'Extreme Antisocial-ist' as well as 'Anti-Socialist - which perhaps helps explain her appeal to The U$A, body-politic !

Ayn Rand hated any notion of society or community and regarded altruism as a sickness .. WTF ?!!

The damage that this lunatic and her so called 'philosophy' has done to The U$A and US Society is incalculable and still playing out (cf. her long term protege, Alan Greenspan. etc.) and her so called 'Objectivism' can only really be seen and judged through the prism of her own Objective Psychopathy !!!

multum in parvo ...

[-] 3 points by WatTyler (263) 12 years ago

I believe that human kind and human nature is in a constant dynamic struggle between selfishness and altruism. My experience has been that society seems to function best when this tension is maintained. Most of us have measures of each, probably as a product of social evolution. I.e., if our ancestors were totally altruistic, they would fail to obtain their basic essentials and die. Whereas if they were totally selfish, they would completely ignore the welfare of other members of their social group and either be killed or driven from the group. Therefore our essential natures have measures of both qualities to differing degrees in each individual. However if one is born defective, and lacking in empathy to the extent of being sociopathic, then they must adopt or create a rationalization for the pathology whereby it is the group and not themselves that is faulty. I.e., Objectivism.

[-] 3 points by HitGirl (2263) 12 years ago

Atlas Shrugged and apparently the audience did too at the film adaptation...or was it snored? Or maybe it just flopped. Ayn Rand's philosophy seems to be that of a spoiled eight-year-old, yet nobody on the right seems to notice. She failed to develop as a human being. That's not a good thing. She needed a shrink, not an audience.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 12 years ago

Here’s a post I put up about Greenspan, all the righties that attacked it never got the point; he was lying all along to get Bush’s tax cut through.


[-] -1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Greenspan is no darling of Ayn Rand fans, believe me. We would get rid of the whole cabal of central bankers if we could.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 12 years ago

There’s nothing shameful about being smart.

There is honor to be earned, from the quality of your opponents.

[-] 2 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 12 years ago

Atlas Shrugged, the handbook for sociopaths.

[-] 1 points by julianzs (147) 12 years ago

She was loved because she denounced surplus value as the source of wealth.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

So, d'you think that Rand even knew or understood the meaning of the word - "Love" ?! She may have "denounced" 'the surplus value of labour' but that is exactly what more and more modern economists, analysts and social commentators are again beginning to grasp.

Re. her so called 'philosophy', do Human Beings really need any more encouragement and reasons to be 'selfish' ? Rand didn't have the courage to ever really say it explicitly but what she absolutely hated was having to contend and come to terms with the existence of 'The Human Conscience' and she despised anyone who exhibited any hint of care, concern, compassion or altruism - which she regarded as 'evil' !!

Rand is best summed up in two words : 'F**kin' Lunatic' !!!

veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] 1 points by Pujete (160) from New York, NY 12 years ago

From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: " To the gas chambers — go!"

-Whittaker Chambers-

The Old Right sure had her number.

[-] 0 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Equate that with her philosophy. I find it amusing that someone who preaches individualism and freedom could sanction fascism and collectivism. I think you are very confused.

Conservatives didn't like Rand because she was an atheist and didn't go along with their idea of government in your bedroom.

[-] 1 points by Pujete (160) from New York, NY 12 years ago

There's no "equating" her philosophy with fascism...Her philosophy was fascism, in all it's selfish, mean spirited, misanthropic glory.

And from what I've heard, she wasn't all that particular about who she had in her bedroom.... Dirty old lady.

[-] 0 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

From what I read on here the OWS people don't believe in a free economy.

Which means they believe in a rigged one where government picks the winners and losers. That is supposed to be fairer than letting consumers decide who wins and loses? Geesh.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

Shove your "Geesh" right up your keister !!! WTF is "Free" about "The Economy" ?!! Or even the so called 'Free Market' ?!!! Remember because someone somewhere, always pays and this time it is 'The Western 99%' !

Have you ever heard of "The Externalities Of Capitalism" ? Or 'True, Direct, Participatory Democracy' for that matter ? The workings of unfettered 'crapitalism' have resulted in Massive Monopoly Cartels at every level of business, commerce, industry & especially 'Banking' and Only a totally propagandised dolt can't or won't see it !!

Now go figure !!!

ad iudicium ...

[-] 0 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

Much as you hate capitalism and economic freedom it is the ONLY way of generating wealth and elevating the living standards of a people. China got it, North Korea created a special "economic zone" and Europe is privatizing a lot of government functions. Only the USA is caught in a time warp of returning to socialism.

I hear so many complaints about banks and other corporations. If there is such a problem then go out and start your own. You'll be wildly successful right?

People hate Payday lenders, say they are exploiting the poor. So start your own Payday lending franchise and put them all out of business. Win-win right?


[-] -1 points by sunstar (-14) 12 years ago

Hey shadz66,how much are you paying for petrol now in England?

[-] 5 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

Hmmm, 'sunstar' - just a week on the forum but still deserving of an answer I think, so let's see :

Petrol is ~£1.37p/litre in The UK & there is 4.54 litres in a UK Gallon but 3.79 litres in a US Gallon & £1.00 = ~$1.57, so :

  • 1.37 x 3.79 = £5.11 x 1.57 = $8.15 / US Gallon !!!

Ho hum et ad iudicium ...

[-] 1 points by sunstar (-14) 12 years ago

Thanks for the info,holy shit $8.15 is outrageous. Appreciate the reply,thanks again.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Very good post - Very good food for thought.

An isolated struggle for a better or good life is just that isolated. Bound to fail much more often than to succeed.

This is grand scale manipulation to divide and control.

The good life comes from togetherness - community - fellowship.

We will move forward - Together.

[-] 5 points by shadz66 (19985) 12 years ago

Thanx DKAt & it looks like Trashy's bots are out 'down-voting everything progressive in general and 'GirlFriday' in particular !

With reference to this article by George Monbiot, perhaps it'd have been a touch closer to the unfettered truth if he'd said : "How Ayn Rand became the new right's version of Marx ... but with nothing like the compassion or intellectual rigour" !!

With nearly 7 billion of us on This Good Earth, our beautiful, fragile and only shared home - Ayn Randian 'thinking' will increasingly be seen for what it is - A Narcissistic Personality Disorder & clear evidence of Psychopathology !!!

ad iudicium ...

[-] -3 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Yes the trolls are currently making use of their most affective weapon - silent down voting - the silence of the comments tactic.

What you say is - Truth

It is part of the awakening.

We move forward - Together.

[-] -1 points by JuanFenito (847) 12 years ago


There is only one, it's not like a bunch of them.

down with tr@shy

[+] -4 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

If only it were the one.