No Restraint

Paul Ryan, the other half of the Romney ticket is an adherent of Ayn Rand and her watershed novel Atlas Shrugged. If you haven’t ever read Atlas Shrugged, you might wonder why this is so frightening and so at odds with his Catholic faith. The problem with the philosophy of Ayn Rand when applied to nations is its failure of compassion. Ayn Rand believed in Free Markets above all else, Free Markets and individualism. The philosophy of objectivism and selfishness, says the wealthy the “makers” have value and worth in society. Others, the “takers” have none. The entire premise of Atlas Shrugged is a nation, no, a world gone mad as the “makers” withdraw their resources leaving the “takers” to their own inept devices, incapable of managing without the direction and firm hand of those at the top in wealth and resource. This premise is of course faulty, it assumes the 95% without great wealth are incapable and unintelligent, but this was the assumption of Ayn Rand and it is also the assumption of Paul Ryan and his cohorts.

Paul Ryan would be Libertarian, except the Libertarian platform allows for the decriminalization of Drugs, Abortion and Gay Marriage. Otherwise, most of the Libertarian platform is based on the Ayn Rand philosophy of Free Market without regulations, no taxes and no government supports or safety nets. The other problem for Paul Ryan and those of his ilk, within the houses of Congress, those within the various state legislatures and within the various Governorships; well they simply can’t win without the support of their far right Christian coalitions today. Ayn Rand was an Atheist and the Libertarians believe strongly in keeping religion out of government but individual rights to worship protected from interference.

Paul Ryan’s budget, yes that infamous piece of tripe, the basis of the platform of the Republican Party the ineptly named Path to Prosperity, which has been vetted and rejected by every non-partisan group is based on the philosophies of Ayn Rand and the premise of Atlas Shrugged. It is nothing more or less than a GIFT to those who have no need and a THEFT from those who have great need. The GOP having failed to take heed of the results of the people’s choice in the most recent election have made Paul Ryan their lead negotiator for the next round of Budget talks. We will fall over the Fiscal Cliff; buckle up.

The real issue though, the real problem with all of this is the idea of Free Markets, markets without restraint or restriction. History is a strange thing, we forget if not constantly reminded. We jump up and down with glee, say hallelujah, amen give me unrestrained markets and let them go where they will. We say, Drill baby drill and bring down the cost of gas at the pump. We say, a person or corporation (oh forgive me I forgot they are persons too) should be able to do anything, say anything without restriction, restraint or regulation. We forget, perhaps we want to forget we have been down this road and brought this nation to its knees.

This is one result of the Free Market with no restrictions.

Image from the Dust Bowl, man-made disaster

Want to know about the Dust bowl? The disaster brought about by greed and unrestrained commodity markets, in this case wheat, do some research on the Dust Bowl. It took FDR investing in research and re-development of the region to change the Dust Bowl disaster. I recommend watching the PBS special now airing http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/

Seattle Hooverville, Great Depression

These tent cities were built outside of most large cities across the nation during the Great Depression. People thrown from their homes and migrating to find work, sound familiar? What brought on the Great Depression? All the money and resources held by a very small contingent and unregulated banking. It took a world war, horrifying loss of life and Glass-Stegall and the Securities and Exchange Act to bring an end to the Great Depression.

Cuyahoga River burns due to chemicals and pollution

Unrestrained the Cuyahoga River burned. Chemicals had been dumped for years and finally this river along with others showed the world what happens when man pays no attention.

Just one sign, unrestrained and state supported

Until 1964 business could do whatever they like, whether using public or private lands. Got an idea? Theater, restaurant, how about a water fountain in the deep south? No matter what it is, you only need provide it to White Folks, they are human the rest of humanity not so much. That was the reasoning of Jim Crow and it was not only allowed it was supported by law. Libertarians believe and it is stated in their platform; racism, sexism and gender orientation are perfectly legitimate reasons for bias and any business owner should be allowed to place a sign in their window, like this:

December 2011, Ohio

That date isn’t wrong, in fact both Ron and Rand Paul supported this business owners position.

Floating Pacific Trash Island

It is estimated the floating trash island in the Pacific is bigger than the state of Texas. It is made up mostly of plastics and destructive to sea life. Man could change this, we could replace nearly all plastics with Industrial Hemp products, instead we allow the natural product which has no pharmaceutical use to remain a controlled substance requiring a license to grow from the DEA. It is estimated there are at least 25,000 products possible to make from Industrial Hemp, many of these can be found in the Floating Trash Island.

BP Deepwater spill

This wasn’t the first and it likely won’t be the last as drilling continues off every shoreline where the potential for fossil fuels exist. With minimal regulation or oversight and massive profits just waiting to be pumped to the surface, why worry if a fuel lives are lost. Right?

This is the world, the world of Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan and Free Markets without oversight, regulation or restrictions. But is this the world we want? I can only say this isn’t the world I want to leave for my children or grandchildren.

Comments

  1. BTW … I tweeted your post 🙂

  2. I’ve read all of Ayn Rands fiction including her philosophical work. She is an “idealist” and much of her philosophy was a retaliation against the culture she came from. The problem with laissez-faire economy is the assumption that “man” is a logical “animal” and the idea of greed echoes the man’s potential of achievement … okay I get that … but there are sooooo many malfunctions in the universe … this idea really can’t be pragmatic. John Galt really is a fantasy … imagine if the “doers” of this world went on strike! I still enjoy reading Rand and find her philosophy compelling and interesting … then again there is the world of fiction and then there’s reality. The reality is that if government withheld welfare, and all other aid … what would happen? It’s not a perfect system I agree, but as with all things … change happens slowly

    Ah my noodle is tired from all this thinking … back to being a crazy chick … 🙂

    • Even with in the fiction, Ayn Rand’s characters are one dimensional though. The world doesn’t work that way. I have read all of her books, find them interesting if only because they are a direct reflection of her experience.

      What would happen if there were no safety net? If we did not act? We already know the answer to this, we need only look at other nations where this is the case. We need only look at our own history prior to the first great depression. History is a great teacher.

      Val

      • Ayn Rand created archetypes … so I never thought of the characters as one dimensional; they served a purpose in communicating her themes and I understand that. To me that is more important than ruminating over whether her characters were one, two, or three dimensional. Looking for reality in Rand’s writing is like looking for a diamond in a jar of cotton!

        ALSO, She never wrote about “HOW THE WORLD WORKS” but “HOW THE WORLD SHOULD BE” we can argue until infinity about this, but one thing I KNOW … her characters are not a “direct reflection of her experience” but a “RETALIATION” against her experiences namely her childhood in Russia. Her characters John Galt and Howard Roarke were her idea of the ideal man … the hero. Now the irony is that her husband was very much the antithesis of these characters.

        To criticize Ayn Rand because her writing is not realistic is missing her message … she was against the status quo and “dreamed” of a world where man’s true potential is realized without impediment. I’m interested in Rand’s theories, and in a perfect world they would work, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Of course her characters were unrealistic … I mean when Atlas Shrugged opened with “Who’s John Galt” and this dude was the catalyst in getting all the “intelligent, logical, productive and able” folks to quit society and form their own …. that’s fantastic (although it has happened, but those guys were pretty looney and the people who followed them were LOONIER)

        I’m NOT for ignoring the poor or those in need because if we did that there would be rampant looting and crime to the nth degree. The problem is that certain individuals take these ideas sooooooooooooooooooooo freakin’ literally that they forget to address the issue and in applying a certain doctrine to their platform is in one way forgetting the actual issue. I use to listen to this guy named Leonard Peikoff (and if you know Rand, then you know that he was kind of her lap dog …) anyway, I remember an episode when he defended the idea that sidewalks should be private property or something like that. I used to listen to that show and laugh my buns off at how seemingly intelligent men could argue, pontificate and philosophize about a slab of concrete. I felt like calling in and making an argument for privatizing POVERTY … it was that absurd.

        Damn … this was a freakin’ long comment. I’m going back to my blog where I only talk about schlong whackings and crazy chicks … later 🙂

        • In part you and I are saying the same thing, regarding where her philosophy comes from at least. It is the outcomes of application where we find ourselves at odds. Even in a perfect world, her ideas would not work unless we assumed perfect humans.

          Thank you for the comment by the way.

          • Always glad to give my “twisted perspective” … in a perfect world … it would be “reasonable” to assume “perfect humans” oh well that’s for Lalaland … 🙂

  3. Trying to catch up from holiday travels, and then pow …. this one is like hitting a wall! Too much thinking for early in the morning … then again, you are good at stimulating neurons. Besides, I haven’t read the book.

  4. Despite her anti-government rants, Ayn Rand applied for Social Security in her later years. It’s funny, though, that so many of her contemporary acolytes forget she was an atheist. Texas’ Senator-elect Ted Cruz also holds some Randian ideals. He and Kentucky’s Rand Paul are as frightening as they are laughable. That people put credence into this type of philosophy is even more unsettling.

    • I don’t think it is funny at all, I think it is a choice they make to put blinders on. They are nut jobs in my opinion. You are right though an entire political philosophy built around her ideas is, at best unsettling.

  5. Ayn Rand was a terrifying old woman and her philosophy was terrifying too. Terrible to realise that she’s still influencing people .. as soon as I hear someone is a fan of her books, I know what I’m up against! We have her disciples and a libertarian party even in this little country…. they all tend to be rich and prosperous!

    • Valerie, hello

      I hope you are doing well. Our Libertarian party is a mix, those who are wealthy and want the markets free and the young who want drugs free. You are correct Ayn Rand was terrifying. Her philosophy so lacked compassion, yet those who stand to the side and say this, yes this is the way fail to see it.

  6. As Joan Diddian said in her book “Miami” ….”behind every fortumne there’s a crime”

    What I dsipair at with Capitalism is the ruthless waistefulness of it all. Come home from the Supermarket and neraly 50 per cent of what you have bought is then thrown out in form of cardboard, paper and plastics. Not to mention that in the west we throw out nearly 25 per cent of all the food we buy.

    When Henry Ford was producing the Model T car, the axels were manufactured by an outside contracter. Part of the contract was they the items were to be crated in wooden boxes, held together by nuts and bolts – the whole thing designed by ford. Once they arrived at Ford, they were taken apart and they wooden slats became to floor boards for the car, held in place by the nuts and bolts supplied by the shipper. Nice eh? Why can’t they do that all the time?

    A Happy Thanks Giving to you.

    Bill

    • Henry Ford built a model car from mostly extrusion parts made from Industrial Hemp. He wanted to prove it could be done. Shortly thereafter the two families with the plastics patents got together and worked to move Industrial Hemp into the same class as Marijuana, a Class A felony. Hmmm, smell a rat?

      Thanks Bill

    • Woops, sorry about all the spelling mistakes. When I ever hear Ayn Rand’s name – I loose all co-ordination.

      • I perfectly understand Bill. I have a few of those hot buttons myself. But I understood exactly what you were saying and zoomed right by them to get the heart of what you were saying. 🙂

        Val

  7. I broke my own rule about your posts. As soon as I see there is something new from you I try to figure out when I am going to have time to read, think, comment, think some more. No other blogger is so consistently informative, imaginative and interesting, so I like to take my time.

    I don’t think I read Ayn’s books, I am tempted to just to “Know Thine Enemy” but I try to read for pleasure …

    I’m going to re read your post and comment again when I don’t have to check food and entertain relatives!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Val!

    • Isn’t that funny Elyse, I do the same with you. No matter how little time or how far behind.

      You can see what I have said about Ayn Rand and her books in my other comments, no need to repeat myself.

      Have a lovely day Elyse.

  8. I read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead when I was a younger. The philosophy is appealing at first, until you take it to its logical conclusion, which is selfish cruelty and destruction. I recently picked up “The Virtue of Selfishness” and “The Voice of Reason” at Goodwill, but I haven’t read them yet. I’ve seen some interviews with her where she ridicules religion. I still can’t understand how some people can be very religious and also completely subscribe to objectivism. Perhaps they’ve never actually read her books. I think they think it’s just about self reliance.

    • I suspect they read the crib notes. There are some pieces to each story that are easy to fall into on the surface, then you follow them to their logical conclusion as you say. Atlas Shrugged is a prime example. Really, these very wealthy captains of industry are going to run away to a hidden valley where they will build log cabins with their own hands, grow their own food, till their own soil and so on and so forth…Ayn didn’t think this through did she. Either that or she did not actually know any captains of industry and like the rest of those who worship the very wealthy from afar, it was just that worship of great wealth. This is what I suspect, just as those earning $35K per year yet defend to death the idea those with great wealth should not pay their fair share of taxes or that corporations are people and should be able to buy our government and elections.

      It is frightening.

  9. I always say I’m going to read that book, but I never get to it. I really should so I can be more knowledgeable in any discourse on it. As always, I am impressed by your research and findings.

    • Carrie, this is the surface of the matter. I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 15 and again when I was in my 20’s. I have read it again since then along with all the other books of Ayn Rand, some which explore her state of mind prior to her two ‘masterpieces’; Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (not my assessment by the way). One of her books, We the Living is actually quite interesting.

      Atlas Shrugged is philosophically weak, shallow even. Though there is much to admire in some of the characters at the end of the day they are cardboard cutouts of humans. The ‘makers’ being heroic figures and the ‘takers’ being weak and without merit of any kind.

      Since we see the results of her philosophy each time even a portion of it is allowed to take hold, we should be wary of it.

  10. I am just calling by to wish you a happy holidays Val but I will be back to read your posting soon, now where did I leave me apron, just thinking out loud there, and of course if you need help in the kitchen then I will be there in a flash, well not literally of course I wouldn’t want to scare your neighbours 😦 lol

    Have fun Val 😉

    Andro xxx

  11. Here’s a useless piece of trivia. When Ayn died a six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket. Ta-da!!!

  12. Omigosh, all of these things are so appaling 😦 Our world is in serious trouble and it’s only when it’s really too late that the people who have the power to change anything will truly pay attention. Thank you for sharing this, Valentine. most people don’t see our world like this because they are so far removed from a lot of it. But it’s important to be reminded that humans are killing off our earth through greed and short-sightedness.

    • It is why I chose those things, specifically and primarily the destructive things. Though people are injured the earth is injured as well. We are coming to the point where the earth will not sustain human life. We can change course, but a Free Market will not police itself, it has only one goal..profit. Only man can determine the fate of the future. Do we continue to relive our past, each time suffering greater catastrophe? Or do we change course? Only we can determine this. Last time, it required a world war to pull this nation from the brink. What will it be this time?

  13. The truth is that Ayn Rand felt nothing but scorn for both sides of the great American political divide, and, if I had to pick which side she despised more, I’d have to give that pathetic honor to the Republicans. I have not doubt that she’d feel just as strongly about this “new” batch.

    Can Capitalism Survive its Conservative Defenders?

    • The truth is, during the time of Ayn Rand the parties were reversed. Her disdain, while earned was somewhat of a parody. She felt nothing but scorn for the system not truly the parties. Truthfully, Ayn believed herself to be above the fray, smarter than everyone else. While she was interesting she certainly wasn’t smarter than everyone, just those she surrounded herself with and certainly those who follow her worship-fully. Her truth, well she certainly didn’t live by it did she?

  14. Seems the dystopian bug has bitten more than just me. ❤

  15. Running from Hell with El says:

    I came, I saw, I brought my Libertarian beliefs with me, but I don’t have the energy or inclination to argue or talk politics. But I love you. And there was a great article about the Dust Bowl in the WSJ this week–talk about man-made environmental armageddon. Gah.

    • Ah El, it isn’t the argument, nor is it intended to insult or injure. Moderation though must exist. There is nothing inherently wrong with capitalism, in fact I am a capitalist through and through. We have however, proven time and again Free Markets will not restrain themselves. The market has only one goal, profit. It does not care what it leaves in its wake, it does not care what it destroys. The market will not restrain itself. History is our proof. We need only look as far back as 2008, but we can look back to 1921, or the slave trade or child labor. All these are examples of Free Markets.

      I do recommend the PBS special on the Dust Bowl, it is spectacular.

      • Running from Hell with El says:

        Yep–that was what they were reviewing and it looks spectacular, and I’m a huge fan of documentaries. And of capitalism. And you’re not injuring, hun. I’m just so, so tired of politics for now!! xoxo

  16. And they want to privatize social security. Haven’t they learned anything from the last too big to fail crisis? So let’s give the megabanks and megacorps more money to manipulate and steal. Well they would not have to steal it. By privatizing they already would have it.

    • Oh Carl I didn’t even touch that one, just the highlights of some unrestrained markets and free enterprise at work. If you read what the Libertarians say, it is fascinating. Despite proof positive that corporations will not and never have policed themselves, the Libertarians want a market with zero government restraint. The link to their platform is right there, it could have been written by Ayn herself.

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