Thursday, August 09, 2012

Atlas Crapped or Objectivist Obsessions with Hard Things that Stand Upright

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Ayn Rand is not a serious 'philosopher' and those who idolize her may not be taken seriously as responsible politicians. It is unknown how Ayn Rand's obsessive fixation with all things tall, hard and upright became confused with either philosophy or economics. Below are Rand quotes numbered and followed by my comments.
1. A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.
Our founders, by contrast, believed in a government in which 'sovereignty' resided in the people, that governments were freely elected for the sole purpose of defending and upholding those ideals. The use of 'physical force' against the population was verboten for anything short of violent crimes or insurrections and even then prohibited unless accompanied by 'probable cause' that a crime had been committed. Certainly --that principle had been abandoned by the time Govt thugs of the FBI et al attacked the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in which the leader, David Koresh, and 82 other Branch Davidians were murdered.
2. Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves – or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.
That question begs a meaningless and utterly unknowable 'answer' aside from the fact that any answer provided by an 'objectivist' is, in fact, subjective and utterly un-verifiable! 'Objectivist' assertions are not objective at all, based as they are upon temperament and/or irrational inclination. The meaning of any assertion rests upon the outcome of the question: can this assertion be verified logically or empirically? If so, what is the process by which it is verified! Rand talks about being 'objective' but neglects 'verification' when, in fact, nothing is 'objective' without objective, public verfification.
3. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
Civilization has very little to do with privacy though most enlightened societies have defended the individual's right of privacy whenever it is threatened, even if that threat should issue from the government. It is for that reason that the 'right to privacy' is found to be a strong argument in favor of a) Due Process of Law b) the Constitutional guarantee that no warrants shall issue but upon 'probable cause' that a crime has been committed.
4. Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.
One wonders why people like Ron Paul seek power! One wonders why other devotees of Ayn Rand seek political power in particular. What do we know of their motives? And what of any substance has been put forward by them? Ron Paul, for example, is believed to be a laissez-faire capitalist because he is a self-avowed devotee of 'Randism'. One wonders if Paul --an otherwise intelligent person --understands how much richer the very, very, very rich would get were all restraints now limiting rapacious greed and blind ambition were relaxed!
5. From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.
The building of skyscrapers is 'big' in Rand-land! It was in Atlas Shrugged, as I recall, that Rand revealed her fixation with hard things that stand upright ---skyscrapers, towers, Pisa, domes.
11. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.
Events have proven that the concentrated fortunes of America's people, concentrated as they have become in the very few hands of the ruling elites are INVERSELY proportional to the population as a whole. In other words, our fortunes, our decency as a people has deteriorated inversely as the very, very rich have gotten exponentially richer!

Ayn Rand Rambles for Mike Wallace


damien said...

A bit more, Len, and a few links for your readers. It's bad news, I'm afraid. Apparently, Paul Ryan is set to be the new VP running mate for Romney. In a 2005 speech to a group of Ayn Rand devotees called the Atlas Society, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told the group. “The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”

Jesus H Krist on a crutch! Ayn f-ing Rand! There goes the social safety net.

We know the American Right has always sought to privatize government functions. Where this has not been possible because of public objections they have sought to have private enterprise write the laws and policies of government and turn taxes into private profits. Thus health funds write the US laws on medical services, laws which provide for government payments to them. Appointing industry figures to regulatory agencies in areas such as the environment and Treasury has also been a strategy. The consistent aim has been to create wall to wall conservatism, of complete control of government and the media message, where liberal (ie Democrat) values never get a look in and only Republicans rule. Forever.

That goal is a lot closer than people think. US voters are nominally choosing Mitt Romney but in reality they are voting for Karl Rove, George Bush's political strategist. Rove came to the fore in Texas during the 1980's by bypassing the Republican Party structure and backing supposedly spontaneous 'grass roots' political action groups whose clout was loud because they were backed by money. Rove went on to shoehorn Bush Jnr into the Presidency via a stolen election and a hard Right Supreme Court compromised by conflict of interest.

Rove has repeated the Texas approach in the last few years, putting funds from US Right wing billionaires into PAC's -- political action committees. These committees, with a tax free status, confidentiality for their donors and no effective regulatory oversight, would normally be excluded from political advocacy, but a US Supreme Court decision in 2010 affirmed that corporations had the same rights as people and could not be limited in voicing their political views. Following that decision Rove approached Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chair and close friend and got him to set up a PAC, American Crossroads. Other Rove-backed PACs followed and by 2012 they had $1 billion of anonymous campaign funds available in contrast to Romney's $300 million. Early this year Rove reportedly engaged in what was effectively a corporate buyout of the Romney campaign using PAC funds. Ed Gillespie left American Crossroads and joined the Romney campaign as a senior adviser. Other Rove loyalists moved into the Romney camp. Beth Myers, a loyal Rove staffer since the 1980's, was appointed to head the committee to choose Romney's Vice Presidential candidate.

People aren't voting for Mitt Romney. They are voting for Karl Rove. The funding for his election will be coming from anonymous wealthy donors with a hard Right view of the world. And once in these guys intend to dismantle the very idea of a broad church democracy and make it a Republican vision and a Republican rule for all time.

You and I know what this is, Len. In everything but name we are looking at fascism if these scumbags get in.

Karl Rove and the PACs
Paul Ryan

Len Hart said...

Damien wrote:

"We know the American Right has always sought to privatize government functions. Where this has not been possible because of public objections they have sought to have private enterprise write the laws and policies of government and turn taxes into private profits."

'Privatization' became a buzzword, a panacea. In the best cases, a small private contractor does a benign job with expertise not available in the 'chain of command'. Even then, it's just one more layer that obscures accountability. The worst cases are just a shield, a license to get away with --sometimes --murder.

"You and I know what this is, Len. In everything but name we are looking at fascism if these scumbags get in."

Yep! That's the name of it! I am sure you recall the various accounts of A. Hitler's infamous meeting with Krupp, I.G. Farben execs, et al, et al. Hitler made them an offer they couldn't refuse. It might not have been the origin of fascism/nazism but it was certainly a 'plot point'.

"US voters are nominally choosing Mitt Romney but in reality they are voting for Karl Rove, George Bush's political strategist."

The GOP are like cockroaches. Variously attributed to West Texas cowboys is this summation of it all: "Never kill a slow roach; you just improve the breed!"

damien said...

Len, the scary bit is that the GOP crime gang is coming back so blatantly and there seems to be no memory in the minds of the public. The few articles I have read all say that fraudsters of every stripe are currently lining up to donate to Rove's PAC's. If the general public have forgotten (or perhaps never knew) these guys certainly do. Under Bush, Rove organized to:

* fit up a Democrat Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman, with fabricated criminal charges earning him seven years in jail.
* sack twenty US federal prosecutors who refused to bring fabricated corruption charges against Democrat candidates for government office.
* simply ignored a Congressional subpoena to appear as a witness before an inquiry into the dismissal of those prosecutors.
* on behalf of corporate sponsors, stopped Dept Justice prosecutions in major fraud investigations.

This is straight out criminality, organized crime using the authority of the state to re-frame the law to attack innocent people and protect criminals.

I don't think that Paul Ryan's philosophy and background is going to sell very well to the electorate. While Ryan appeals to the GOP hard Right nut job base and some Ron Paul voters I don't believe a Romney-Ryan ticket can get the numbers up. Women voters especially prefer Obama over Romney. I suspect the only way these clowns can get home will be by electoral fraud. Oh well, we'll see.

I can say I am going to lose it at various times if I am asked to soak up too much of the Ayn Rand, economic libertarian drivel in the next few months. I might just go on holiday for six months (not a bad idea) -- or at least drink more! Cheers, mate.

Len Hart said...

Great to see your posts. Welcome back. I agree with your assessment of the Mitt/Ryan match-up! Ron Paul failed to inspire a popular movement and its not merely because he's become a doddering old fart. He was a doddering old far when he was younger and Ryan is well on his way to 'old fart' land. But some are born or have inherited this 'mentality'. Honestly --these people just don't think the way I think and I think I am right and that they are as flat wrong as flat earth theories.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think Romney's 'people' picked Ryan to hold down the radical winger base, cause if those mental cases don't come out in full force this November, the R's are dead meat. That said, this is a golden opportunity for the Obama camp to play in ads, the many examples of the hard-right-wing Ryan rhetoric, for which there is plentiful clips and examples...that info will not help Romney in November with the swing states...but, on the other hand we are relying on the Democrat's sense of campaign tactics, which is a 50/50 prospect. Also, if Ryan can learn to talk out of both sides of his mouth as well as Romney, he may indeed be a full asset this fall. And then of course there is FOX/CNN news groups, propaganda central for the corporatist elites and their political class. I do agree with you guys, we are constantly inching our way into devolving into a full blown fascist state, as it has always been so close by and nurtured over the decades of the last century, it now is making a move in a large bad most Americans don't even recognize it... Ben Merc

Len Hart said...

My hope is the strategy will backfire. For all their bluster, the GOP is still a 'minority' party. Their advantage has always been the rich 'base'. A bad choice could backfire.

That said, the VEEP candidate has rarely mattered historically. Who remembers Nixon's veep: Spiro Agnew. In 1973, Agnew was under investigation by the U.S. Atty in Baltimore re: charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy. He was formally charged with taking some 100 thousand $ in bribes as an office holder in Maryland.

Nixon simply replaced him with Gerald Ford then the House Minority Leader. There was barely a yawn.

Anonymous said...

I agree...they are a minority party, but they have the most bucks, so that fact is unfortunately almost moot. I hope it back fires also, just hope that Obama's people are able to pull in the majority of their original electorate, as I am certain there will be no 'converts' hope you are well Len, and keep on blogging, not many have your depth of view... Ben Merc

Len Hart said...

You're absolutely correct. They have many, many more bucks, indeed! For several years, I had kept some 'official' GOP campaign manuals that had been prepared by poltiical consultants catering (kissin up) to the GOP! Many stated flat out: the candidate with the most money usually wins. Entire texts are written about ratings methodology and GRPs (Gross Ratings Points) but --in a nutshell, bucks buy both points and 'reach'! Democrats are always scrambling for money. There are solutions but the GOP would oppose those solutions with COLD HARD CASH! Who needs to think or persuade when you've got CASH?

Thanks for commenting. Good to see you again.