whose Gospel was all about
one of whose main goals in life was
|the prophet who has been
inspiring the Democratic Party since
FDR launched "the New Deal"
| the prophet who has been|
inspiring the Republican Party since
FDR launched "the New Deal"
The impact of the teaching of Ayn Rand on the Republican Party has become so great in recent years that I have created the following three pages to deal with the very important issues raised by this phenomenon: |
The conventional wisdom is that there is a great ideological divide in America in our day, with conservatives, who tend to be people of faith on the right side of the divide, and liberals who tend to be atheists on the left side of that divide.
Some fifteen years ago, because I knew how totally wrong that "conventional wisdom" was, I created a web site called http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org. That site was addressed to two very different audiences. On the one hand, I wanted to persuade people who claim to be followers of Jesus to follow in his footsteps, and to be liberals, just as he was, i.e. to be "Liberals like Christ".
On the other hand, I hoped to persuade even the most "godless" of liberals to recognize in Jesus a liberal ally whom they can and should like because, as I show, he has been one of the most powerful liberal leaders of all time. I was quite surprised to find a group of liberal atheists who had already discovered this for themselves, and were publicizing their views at their "www.Atheists-for-Jesus.com" web site.
Throughout all these years, however, even though I knew that the so-called "Religious Right" were definitely not following the leadership of Jesus of Nazareth, I never figured out precisely whose lead they were following, until 2010, when I discovered what moved me to create this "GodlessConservativeParty.org" web site.
Ayn Rand may be popular. Her books may be "selling like crazy", but I am here to say "Whoa"; not so fast! Several prominent political leaders inside of America's Republican Party hold Rand in high esteem. Included among them are G O P idol, former President Ronald Reagan, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, former leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives, Richard Armey, of Texas, and Tom Delay, of Texas, current Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, former Senate leader Trent Lott, current senators, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and many more. ( former House leader Dick Armey has since become the power behind the throne of the "Tea Party").
According to https://newrepublic.com /article/128441 /ayn-rand-made-communist
"Back in 2013, Ted Cruz spoke glowingly of her apocalyptic vision for the social welfare state when he joined Paul's filibuster of John Brennan's nomination as director of the CIA. "One of my all-time heroes," he said at the time. As you can imagine, they've all toned down their love affair with the famously atheistic Rand for the GOP primaries. Nevertheless, she has a durable following among the conservative political class."
In addition to political leaders, Rand's ideology is represented today by numerous figures inside the nations media and entertainment world. Conservative syndicated columnists such as Cal Thomas, Linda Bowles, Ann Coulter, George Will, William F. Buckley, television reporter John Stossel, and many others, have advanced Randian principles. Talk radio superstars such as Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan, and others, often quote Ayn Rand directly and indirectly as a source to justify their arguments on issues ranging from tax cuts for the wealthy, to the elimination of the minimum wage.
"Ayn Rand was one of the most influential fiction writers of the twentieth century. Born Alice Rosenbaum, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1905, she immigrated to the United States in 1926 after fleeing communist persecution. After making a modest living writing for the movie industry in the late 1920's and early 30's, Rand began to author fictional novels. She began to obtain fame when she wrote the best seller "The Fountainhead" in 1943.
Rand became a legendary author in 1957 with the release of "Atlas Shrugged," a novel that remains wildly popular some forty-five years after it was first published.
It was, however, her views on fellow human beings, political ideology, and life in general, that brought her a large following in certain intellectual circles. Many claim that reading her various writings served as a "life changing" experience!
Rand's political views were greatly influenced by the persecution that her Jewish family endured under communism in her native Russia. She grew to hate any form of, what she perceived as "socialism." Rand believed that all governments were destined to "enslave" people if they are not held in check. As a result of this, she believed that government had a very limited role and that ultimate happiness is up to each individual. If one failed at his or her life it was no one else's fault. In other words, she "shrugged!".
Her impact on American society seems to have become greater since her death in 1982 than it ever was while she was living. During her life time Rand started what became known as the "Objectivist" movement. This philosophy celebrates the triumph of the individual and advocates the idea that each individual is his own god
Due to her extreme libertarian to right wing views on politics, Ayn Rand became an icon to millions of political conservatives throughout the world. She saw all forms of social welfare as the government taking from the "achievers" and giving to non-producers. Rand expressed the idea that government has no obligation to the poor and less fortunate of society. Essentially she was a social Darwinist that believed nature intended for only the strongest in society to survive."
"Man – every man – is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."
I know my Ayn Rand. In fact, when it comes to Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism I'll put put my Ayn cred (credentials) up against almost anyone.
I attended her funeral in 1982. I was one of two students at experimental Objectivist high school back in 1980s. I did the audio taping on a lecture course taught by her 'intellectual heir', Leonard Peikoff. I've attended Objectivist conferences, owned first edition copies of Atlas Shrugged and I was personally kicked off the lawn of the Canadian power trio Rush's drummer by Neil Peart himself asserting his property rights.
Today, I realize that Rand's philosophy isn't just wrong or misguided - it's actually been destructive and dangerous.
This destructiveness has been true on a personal, human level for years. I'm not just talking about teenagers devouring The Virtue Of Selfishness and turning into belligerent, arrogant pricks - pubescent pontificating Penn Jillettes capable of quoting passages about epistemology and almost immediately killing any social occasion.
There were darker personal tragedies, too; fans of Ayn Rand in 1960s who had the misfortune to be in her circle and gay, something that Ms. Rand did not approve of. There were whispered rumors of an Objectivist therapist who broke with Rand after one of his gay patients committed suicide after being unable to reconcile his sexuality with the Objectivist philosophy.
It's even more than the shameful fact that the Objectivist movement and its purported belief in individual rights stayed completely on the sidelines during the Rand's intellectual heyday of the 1960s while the single biggest advance in individual liberty was going on - namely, the civil rights movement. Well, Rand did knock out a few pages in an article called Racism in 1963 that spent as much time blaming 'the Negro leaders' as it did the 'Southern Racists'.
No, the reality is that Ayn Rand is pretty directly responsible for the economic destruction we see around us today.
It's a Rand-worthy ironic plot twist that people like Michelle Malkin are invoking her name today with their Tea Party and "Going Galt' dramatics. One thing, Malkin doesn't even know how to pronounce Rand's name. It's not 'Ann' Rand - it's Ayn, rhymes with MINE.
The real irony is that Malkin and the other Fauxjectivists don't really understand a lot about the specifics of Rand's ideas at all. A twisted version of Rand's thought is the basis for a lot of NeoCon movement, much of the modern libertarian / Ron Paul movement and much of the right wing economic rhetoric used by the tattered remains of the Republican party.
For decades now, Rand's work has given comfort and ammunition to brazen bozos like Rush Limbaugh and McCain economic advisor Phil "Don't Worry Be Happy" Gramm. Its defense of selfishness and unrestricted capitalism provided an air of intellectualism to bad behavior and horrible policy.
Behind of the ideological tossed salad nature of many of the self professed Ayn Rand fans, I don't think it's fair to criticize Rand's ideas on the basis of the scatterbrain sloganeer like Malkin. And besides, just looking at the work of Rand and her official band of lunatics still leaves one with so much to be critical of.
One direct result of Rand is Alan Greenspan. This will be met with hue and cry from Objectivists who will claim that Greenspan doesn't pass their purity, which means he should have wanted even less regulation than he did and should have never have run the Federal Reserve but instead blown it up with dynamite and replaced it with the Gold Standard.
But Greenspan himself has admitted that he was tragically wrong about how people would act in unrestricted, unregulated markets. And this philosophy is part of what triggered the current economic crisis.
The ultimate horrible truth is that most of Rand's 'philosophy of the real world' has worked out very badly in the real world. It's a collection of ideas that haven't been tested or just don't work but its adherents still have a Bush-like unshakable faith in it because...well, it's just right and reality be damned.
Sadly, it's damned a lot of the rest of us, too."
Adam Lee is a public speaker and the brilliant author of the "Daylight Atheism" blog, I was delighted to find the fantastic chapter by chapter review of Ayn Rand's infamous novel "Atlas Shrugged" that he authored and published there.
"Rand has inspired some important public figures. One of Rand's fans was Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. When Thomas headed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 1980s, he allegedly invoked Rand in his speeches to conservatives. In addition, he allegedly invited people to lunch with him in his office, where he treated them to the film based on "The Fountainhead". Another Ayn Rand disciple who later rose to high position was Alan Greenspan, the future chairman of the Federal Reserve. While he was a budding economist and Wall Street analyst in the 1950s and 1960s, Greenspan was a member of Rand's inner circle. Unlike other members of Rand's circle, he exercised some independence of thinking and got away with it. British ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and tennis star Billie Jean King were also followers of Rand's philosophy."
According to http://articles.latimes.com /2011/jul/03/nation /la-na-clarence-thomas-20110703,
"Each summer, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invites his four new law clerks to his home to watch a movie. Not just any movie, but the 1949 film version of the classic of libertarian conservatism, Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead.' The movie's hero, played by Gary Cooper, is an idealistic but stubborn architect, who, as Rand wrote, 'stood alone against the men of his time.' A character, it might be said, a lot like Thomas himself. 'If you think you are right, there is nothing wrong with being the only one,' he said last year in explaining his fondness for the movie. 'I have no problem being the only one.' "
An article by a lover of Ayn Rand on the Randian "Reason.com" web site explains that by the standards of today's Conservative Republican presidential candidates, Ayn Rand would have been targeted for deportation as an "illegal alien". Rand lied and bent every rule to gain entry into the United States.
As a vehement anti-Bolshevist (from Russia), she knew that she would die waiting in line if she applied for permission to permanently relocate to America, although that's exactly what she intended to do. Temporary tourist visas were easier to land, but only for those who could prove they didn't plan to settle here. So what did Rand do? She committed perjury. She convinced an American visa officer that she had a fiancÚ waiting for her in Russia whom she intended to marry after a six-month visit with her relatives in Chicago.
But Rand instead married an American citizen in 1929, gaining a path to citizenship. According to Mimi Gladstein's biography, Rand timed her wedding before the visa, which she had gotten extended, finally expired."
Since original articles such as http://reason.com /archives/2012/02/14/ ayn-rand-was-an-illegal-immigrant are often taken down after a while, I've preserved that interesting article at illegal immigrant Ayn Rand.
Though he is not as well-known as Adam Smith, David Ricardo has been among the most influential of conservative economists ever since the early 1800's.
"Anyone who lacks
Here is a sample of the way such economic "scientists" view "labor", i.e. not as fellow human beings, but more like germs in a laboratory petrie dish :
"Labour, like all other things which are purchased and sold, and which may be increased or diminished in quantity, has its natural and its market price. The natural price of labour is that price which is necessary to enable the labourers, one with another, to subsist and to perpetuate their race, without either increase or diminution. (The only wages that workers deserve is enough to keep themselves and their families alive.)
The power of the labourer to support himself, and the family which may be necessary to keep up the number of labourers, does not depend on the quantity of money which he may receive for wages, but on the quantity of food, necessaries, and conveniences become essential to him from habit, which that money will purchase. The natural price of labour, therefore, depends on the price of the food, necessaries, and conveniences required for the support of the labourer and his family. With a rise in the price of food and necessaries, the natural price of labour will rise; with the fall in their price, the natural price of labour will fall.
With the progress of society the natural price of labour has always a tendency to rise, because one of the principal commodities by which its natural price is regulated, has a tendency to become dearer (more expensive), from the greater difficulty of producing it. As, however, the improvements in agriculture, the discovery of new markets, whence provisions may be imported, may for a time counteract the tendency to a rise in the price of necessaries, and may even occasion their natural price to fall, so will the same causes produce the correspondent effects on the natural price of labour.
The natural price of all commodities, excepting raw produce and labour, has a tendency to fall, in the progress of wealth and population; for though, on one hand, they are enhanced in real value, from the rise in the natural price of the raw material of which they are made, this is more than counterbalanced by the improvements in machinery, by the better division and distribution of labour, and by the increasing skill, both in science and art, of the producers.
The market price of labour is the price which is really paid for it, from the natural operation of the proportion of the supply to the demand; labour is dear (more expensive) when it is scarce, and cheap when it is plentiful. However much the market price of labour may deviate from its natural price, it has, like commodities, a tendency to conform to it.
It is when the market price of labour exceeds its natural price, that the condition of the labourer is flourishing and happy, that he has it in his power to command a greater proportion of the necessaries and enjoyments of life, and therefore to rear a healthy and numerous family. When, however, by the encouragement which high wages give to the increase of population, the number of labourers is increased, wages again fall to their natural price, and indeed from a re-action sometimes fall below it.
When the market price of labour is below its natural price, the condition of the labourers is most wretched: then poverty deprives them of those comforts which custom renders absolute necessaries. It is only after their privations have reduced their number, or the demand for labour has increased, that the market price of labour will rise to its natural price, and that the labourer will have the moderate comforts which the natural rate of wages will afford."
There is much more where this came from, at