It took me sometime to realize it (it's amazing how time stands still when your head is in your own ass) but, as Maureen Dowd stated in this post, rational self-interest sounds all good and well until you realize that what's rational and in one's self-interest is different to each woman and man. There's no better illustration of this than in the form of the current Republican budget "plan" that rewards the very people that robbed this country blind (the true moochers if Rand's philosophy is accurately depicted) while vilifying the poor, in what can only be described as irony, as being too dependent on public alms.
It pains me that men such as Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan have perverted the philosophy of Ayn Rand in such a way that the very men that she described as the enemies of freedom are being held up as heroes of the free market system. In another spate of irony, these men and women are being lauded as the saviors of the free market economic system (by the waym there has yet to be a pure free market economic system anywhere on earth) by mostly poor, white working class individuals that are adversely affected the most by Republicans irresponsible fiscal policies and social philosophies. As the presidency of George W. Bush proved, that's what happens when you have the loudest voice in the room. Obama and the rest of the liberals could learn a bit from the Republicans resilient brand of thuggery. They've already learned the selective memory portion of the lesson all too well.
What pains me more is that Rand herself and disciples of her philosophy (myself included) can be so enamored by the romantic idealism of the self-sufficient man that we ignore the concrete fact that these "ideal men", the men of industry, "produce' their wealth mostly by the exploitation and pillaging of the most vulnerable segments amongst us (e.g. women, children, racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, etc.). They do this mostly by initiating hostile takeovers of smaller coporations and then, just as swiftly, push their business units and American jobs off-shore to countries that hand out tax incentives, dismal regulations, and cheap labor like Planned Parenthood hands out prophylactics.
In the absence of private sector philanthropic virtue, usually the first virtue to go out the door when profits are down along with the other 4 cardinal ethics, much to the chagrin of the modern conservative the government must necessarily step in to ensure that the weakest amongst us who do not have the benefit of representation by lobbyist and moneyed interest in their state and national capitols, are nonetheless protected, represented, and supported when market forces dictate that the means are insufficient for the support of oneself.
The Rand idealist have to look through our self-effaced smug to realize that very few humans want assistance or charity from others. Humans derive integrity and pleasure from self-sufficiency and productive work but when the mechanisms that produce these opportunities (the markets) are fundamentally flawed by no fault of the average person, who is not an expert in this complex game of chess, we can't double back and place the blame and burden of correcting the system on the people with the least say in how the system operates while absolving those with the greatest hand in the system's many and varied mechanations.
Even Rand, who wrote extensively on the purpose and role of governments as it pertains to protecting men and women from threats foreign and domestic and the maintenance of social and legal contracts, would have to admit as much. However, I'm sure that her romantic idealism and anal retentive protectionist attitude over the philosophy that it took her a lifetime to dictate wouldn't allow her to admit this above her own breath.
In the HBO series "Game of Thrones", writer George R.R. Martin depicts a scene where, after the leader of the northern tribes beheads a deserter, he turns to his youngest son and asks if he knew why the man was beheaded. His son nievely, but correctly answers that it was because the man was a deserter. The clan leader then asks his youngest son if he knows why HE, the leader of the tribe, had to behead the deserter. The son is befuddled by this question. The father then goes on to explain to his son,
The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.
In much the same fashion, the men and women who have instigated two seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military action in Libya, clandestinely fomented unrest in Syria, Pakistan, and Egypt, undertaken irresponsible actions that were the genesis of the financial crisis, and pilfered American taxpayer monies that, if properly invested and utilized, would have staved-off the current budget crisis, should stand tall at the chopping block of public opinion and accept responsibility for their reprehensible stewardship of the American republic instead of shirking the blame on to the already slumped shoulders and broken backs of union workers, Medicare recipients, debt laden students, the masses of people that are still unemployed, and the 3 workers that are currently paying for Social Security benefits for every one retiree, benefits that they will quite possible never reap.
As flawed as Rand's philosophy is, that is truly what the heroic figures in her novels would've done. As selfish and self-destructive as it appears to be, the true "men of industry" in Rand's novels would rather leave all the mental energy that they have expended and all the wealth that they have amassed behind than to have the men in Washington, D.C. that deal in favors, the moochers that Rand was truly referencing in her novels, lay claim to that which they did not produce. P
aul Ryan, Alan Greenspan, and other Tea Party and conservatives that claim to be inspired by Rand's Objectivist Manifesto are no more than advantageous charlatans, riding the coattails of a populist movement based almost completely on illegal immigration fears, xenophobic sentiments towards the nations first African-American President and a conveniently incomplete comprehension of Rand's Objectivist philosophy. Paul Ryan and his conservative colleagues know this to be true but it is too close to election season for them to expouse these inconvenient truths. In the end, there is no doubt in my mind that they will pay for the desecration of Rand's monument to the universal law of cause and effect. As philosopher Manly Palmer Hall stated in The Secret Teachings of All Ages,
It is cosmically worse to know the truth and continue to act contrary to it than to never have known the truth at all.
In Chapter 10, page 297 of Atlas Shrugged, Taggert Railroad President of Operations Dagny Taggert emphatically states,
Don't ever get angry at a man for stating the truth.Truth be told, the conservative movement in America has dismembered Rand's epic novel and reconstructed it as a monster that even Dr. Frankenstein would find ghastly and appalling.
Paul Ryan and the Republicans aren't shrugging at the weight of liberals and their entitlement programs on the backs of the rich producers. Oh no, it is far worse than that my friends.
Someone put out an all points bulletin for an elephant cloaked in Old Glory.
Atlas has been Mugged!