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A bit of needed perspective on the Rand Paul statements about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The man is seriously dangerous.

Rand Paul, the current Republican nominee for the Senate from Kentucky, has stated on numerous occasions, including a 20-minute interview with Rachel Maddow, that he does not like some parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

His problem with the Act is not that he is a racist.  It is likely that his statements about his own personal objections to racism are true (though the same may not be the case with many of his Tea Party supporters).  The problem is that these statements reveal that he is an Objectivist.  The term Rachel and others use to describe him is Libertarian, but that is a weak version of true Objectivism.

Objectivism is a philosophy popularized by a Russian emigre who wrote several novels under the name Ayn Rand.  I do not recommend plowing through these books even for opposition research.  They are tendentious, turgid, tedious, repetitive, overwritten, and boring nonsense.  But somehow they struck a chord with pseudo-intellectuals from William F. Buckley to George Will looking for a reason to justify their arguments that corporations should be allowed to control our lives and inflict any damage they will, all in the name of profits (which the intellectuals call "freedom").

The basis of Objectivism is supposed to be the inviolability of private property.  Thus, the real answers Dr. Paul would provide (were he to commit the political sin of being honest) to the questions Rachel asked on her Thursday night broadcast are all "no."

An Objectivist would say:

The government should not be allowed to inspect meat, restaurants, or any other places of business.

The government should not regulate financial markets, oil drilling operations, professional services, or any other private business.

If you claim that government can intrude into private businesses because they use roads, power, and communications infrastructure provided by or supported by the government, the answer is that these facilities should be -- would be better if -- provided by private enterprises.

If you then make the claim that every transportation or communications or infrastructure system in history has been built, operated, or subsidized by government (including the railroads that are the source (along with inheritance) of the wealth of the "heroes" in Ayn Rand's books), they will claim that their ideology is, in effect, more valid than mere facts; governments have prevented free enterprise from reaching its potential in order to monopolize power.

What Objectivism really claims is that we would all be better off if corporations monopolized power.  They do not recognize the existence of the idea that we would really be better off if no one monopolized power, and government and corporations kept each other in check.  Rand was reacting to the Soviet idea that government should do everything by claiming that government should do nothing.  Anything more complex than that binary choice is apparently beyond the capacity of some people to comprehend.

It should be clear that Objectivists are not just wrong; they are dangerous.  But their ideas -- reified in the Chicago School of Economics, whose ideas have done so much damage in so many places around the world -- are treated as if they were legitimate, because they serve the automated interests of short-term profit maximization that are all that drive corporations.

None of this is new or original to me.  It is derived from the works of Thom Hartmann, Naomi Kline, and many others (which I DO recommend reading).  It is strangely absent, however, from the standard dialogs in the "Main Stream Media."  I wonder why?

Originally posted to Noziglia on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:22 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I completely agree with you! (7+ / 0-)

    I think he's even more dangerous than a racist.  I've known racists who have changed, even as an adult.  I've never known one of these extreme, rigid Objectivists to change.

    And I completely agree with your take on the Ayn Rand novels.  Back when I was a Republican, I had some people recommend them and tried to read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.  I found them both to be absolutely unreadable.  What's more, the ideology expressed in them is horrifying to any person with a shred of decency.

  •  Ayn Rand Paul.. wow Ron named his kid for her? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soms
  •  Whereas Obama's Unamericanness In Concerned (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wozzle, lams712, JeffW, soms

    Rand Paul called President Barack Obama's critcism of the toxic pollution of a the Gulf of Mexico in an area the size of two US states ... "Unamerican."

    Paul's Libertarian sensibilities makes him feel like he'd like to be the voice out there sticking up for the free market and just being the good guy in the battle to protect Capitalism.

    Paul said that leads to the thinking that tragic incidents are "always someone's fault" and added, sometimes accidents just happen.

    Now as some point in the past, there have been myriad meetings between politicians, representatives of the Oil, Gas and Coal industries, and liberal upstart activists like Greenpeace etal trying to be the advocate for the environment, and humanity's place in the world as a steward of every organism that lurches out of the stew of life.

    And in those meetings, there must have been at least one instance where the great, epic battle between Good and Evil, Oil and Environment, David and Goliath took place with the Liberal Environmentalist making that case that "perhaps we should not try drilling 5000 feet down into the sea before we actually have the technology to manage it in the event there were some sort of disaster."

    Now, I wasn't there.  But I imagine in at least one of these meetings, Liberal Activists were sneered at, mocked by republicans and libertarians and their pals on the boards of directors at Oil Co and Gas Co and Coal Co.  And they were called names, and it was said that these tree hugging whimps were just trying to undermine America, and that nothing like what these alarmists and chicken littles were describing could ever ...

    ...ever...

    ...ever...happen.

    Would you have loved for Rand Paul to have been in the room that day?

    Paul said that leads to the thinking that tragic incidents are "always someone's fault" and added, sometimes accidents just happen.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:35:12 AM PDT

    •  Faulty uninspected wiring causes fire (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Detroit Mark, soms

      "Accidents" too, dimwit.

      •  That's right. An accident by definition (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karenc13, Detroit Mark, JeffW, radmul, soms

        is unpreventable by human means. But very few of the incidents that we are wont to call accidents are truly unpreventable.  Even if we restrict the definition to reasonable human means (considering cost-benefit, e.g.), the damage could have been avoided.

        In public health, we use the term unintentional injuries. You didn't literally set out to cause harm, but because you didn't know or didn't think, or because the safety inspector who signed off was having an off day ... .

        _Karl Rove is an outside agitator._

        by susanala on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:44:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'd for description of Rand's writing (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wozzle, webranding, lams712, beltane, soms

    I do not recommend plowing through these books even for opposition research.  They are tendentious, turgid, tedious, repetitive, overwritten, and boring nonsense.

    I was almost 40 years old before I finally managed to finish Atlas Shrugged. I kept trying because I have a thing about people who criticize books they haven't read.

    I also have a liberal arts degree with an English major. I was supposed to read various objectivist works for class, but I always broke down and just skimmed enough to get by, found Cliffs Notes or whatever. Nothing but dreck.

    _Karl Rove is an outside agitator._

    by susanala on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:38:44 AM PDT

  •  For better written objectivist literature... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, soms

    ...check out Rose Wilder Lane. (Daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of "Little House.." fame)  

    Objectivism is still a failed utopian fantasy, but at least Lane could write worth a shit.  

    •  Also, Lane put her money where her mouth was... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      ...and actually "went Galt."  For her it wasn't some meme repeated at a tea party rally -- she really did it.  Moved to a farm in New England and subsisted off the land and relied on government or social services as little as possible.  

  •  read Anthem (0+ / 0-)

     of Ms. Rand's works - it is the only one that is short and not overwhelmingly repetitive.  

      Say what you will about Ms. Rand - she did have some important ideas - in my view - she was a pioneer of feminism - and her description of the sycophantic cloying babbling "masses" who hold back the proudly erect titans ploughing through naysaying rabble is a dead on description for the Fox News Channel.  The level of "me tooism" in what we call the conservative movement is actually a hysterical spectacle.

     Anyway - Anthem is a full expostulation of her thinking.

  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frostbite

    What Objectivism really claims is that we would all be better off if corporations monopolized power.  They do not recognize the existence of the idea that we would really be better off if no one monopolized power, and government and corporations kept each other in check.  Rand was reacting to the Soviet idea that government should do everything by claiming that government should do nothing.  

    I believe your statement that you have read no Rand. That is obvious, given that 90% of what you write is inaccurate - especially the quote above - NONE of which is accurate.

    And Rand would totally reject Rand Paul's positions - both on Civil Rights and on almost every other issue. (She, in fact, reserved her greatest loathing for Republicans and Libertarians.)

    As with the majority of people on this site, I recommend you actually KNOW something of those you criticize - and READ their own works - before posting such silliness. You only look foolish to those of us who HAVE read her - and understand Objectivism.

    Her positions are available on several sites - including an official site run by the organization she specifically granted her approval to speak for her after her death.

    I am now officially BOYCOTTING all CLEAN ENERGY SPONSORS - until I am no longer forced to watch their commercials on DailyKOS!!

    by GayIthacan on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:47:06 AM PDT

    •  Hah! Here's the entry on (0+ / 0-)

      Ayn Rand from the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy:

      I've spent much of my life studying philosophy, economics, and literature.  Rand is intellectual garbage.  She's not even wrong.

      No public option. Well, at least we are no longer in Iraq or Afghanistan...

      by Pierro Sraffa on Fri May 21, 2010 at 09:14:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From her own mouth: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DudleyMason

        My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

        Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

        Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

        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.

        Reality exists as an objective absolute?  Is it not the case that the eye, ear, and nose shape sense data - thus the 'reality' of a bat's world is different from that of a human?  Or no?

        Reason is our only source of knowledge?  There are no a priori synthetic truths?  Is it true that social institutions do not shape how things are?  that they are sources of knowledge and guides to action?  Or is Rand confusing ontology with epistemology?  Or is she just daft, intentionally so?

        The individual pursuit of rational self interest leads to collective action problems in need of collective decision making.  Nothing more needs to be said on this.  And many might suggest that leading a just life is the goal, not happiness.

        Capitalism.  Blah blah blah - to suggest that there is no coercion between capital and wage labor is at best ignorance and at worst propaganda.

        No public option. Well, at least we are no longer in Iraq or Afghanistan...

        by Pierro Sraffa on Fri May 21, 2010 at 09:33:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rand's timing is perfect! (3+ / 0-)

    Libertarian/objectivist lingo has been getting sexier and sexier of late among the tea-party-prone middle class. It has become all too easy to spout out smug, jingoistic proclamations of "freedom" and "getting the government off our backs," etc.

    Okay, let's have that debate in earnest! Rand Paul is a freakin' gift! Now we can spend a few months truly exposing the logical conclusions of corporatism and government withdrawal from our lives.

    (How about, when our house is burning down, the private fire department demands our credit card number before sending a firetruck?...)

    I certainly have a few libertarian tendencies of my own when it comes to our private lives, but they are very different from the arrogant Randian notion of "freedom" that, more than anything, conveniently preserves the power and wealth of those who already have it!

  •  Great diary. Thank you! (5+ / 0-)

    The Friedman Chicago School of Economics connection is key.

    One of Friedman's gifts to the world is the notion of free market ideology (I think), which is, in essence, free, unfettered markets, laissez faire capitalism, operating without regulation and oversight, in order to maximize profits, thereby allowing for a trickle down effect that, eventually, benefits everyone. What unadulterated horseshit. BTW Friedman won the Noble Prize for this nonesense. And he worked with Pinochet in Chile (and many other countries) to wreck that countries economy while millions were murdered.

    While the current worldwide economic turmoil rests at the feet of free market ideology, its practitioners are busily deflecting criticisms of their ideology and the frenzied mosh pit of Freidmanites are blaming governments overreach in Europe for its economic woes.

    Absent from the conversation is the infiltration into government of free market ideologues from conservative parties, who, when in power, work to destroy the very institution they represent. They break government, then allow for economic collapse, then blame government as being the problem. Insidious.

    Exactly what is happening here as well.

    Capitalism thrives on raising funds on assets that have no value.

    by A Runner on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:48:44 AM PDT

  •  I disagree (8+ / 0-)

    Rand's books are awesome if read as comedy.  I'm reading Atlas Shrugged right now and am mesmerized by the comic absurdity of her insane little fantasy world.

  •  Objectivist Paradise: (6+ / 0-)

    Somalia.  There, the government stands in the way of no one.  There, all business people are allowed to reach their potentials unincumbered by taxes, regulations, courts, lawsuits, or anything else like that.  

    You just have to make sure your private army of thugs is bigger, and better armed than your competitors'.  

  •  "inviolability of private property" except (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, radmul, soms, susanala

    my uterus, which is subject to RandLand Federal Laws, including invasive uterine medical procedures, as prescribed in Oklahoma State Law.

  •  On the Chicago school comment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusflinthead, soms, DudleyMason

    I read a while back that many of those economists at U of Chicago these days are closet - or even open - Keynesians.  Something about reality getting through I think. Times change.

    We have to look at Rand's works as pieces of popular fiction and see how they functioned in that marketplace. They are fantasy fulfillment books, and fantasy fulfillment is the biggest driver of book sales in fiction (Romance, Thrillers, are other examples of fantasy fulfillment and these are the biggest selling categories of fiction).

    Rand fulfills the fantasy that we are existentially in control of our own fate. In a complex, dangerous world, this is as seductive an idea as any Romance novelist could dream up. If we just follow our noses we'll find prosperity, and those that don't are inferior.

    She also fulfills the fantasies of more emotionally detached people, people who feel alienated from others, by giving them a world in which such detatchment is an advantage. As members of a highly social species in a society where social connections and networks provide a distinct advantage, this makes the alienated and detached feel more powerful than they really are.

  •  Ayn Rand Paul is great... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, soms, DudleyMason

    ...to have around as is his father. They will say what  many republicans in congress think but know that admiting it would be electoral suicide. Bill O'Reilly should have Rand on his show and ask him how he feels about social security and medicare. I'm sure his answers would really impress Bills mostly older conservative audience.

  •  It's fair to say that a large part (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, DudleyMason

    of the Republican caucus, at least in the House, is Randian.  And Paul's libertarianism makes him less dangerous than most Republicans when it comes to civil liberties and foreign policy.

    Scott Rasmussen is a member in good standing in the right-wing echo chamber.

    by Paleo on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:00:36 AM PDT

  •  What You Cite Is Scary, But I'd Argue This (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soms, DudleyMason, SuperSonic Dog

    is worse, far worse:

    The answer proved problematic -- Paul says he's opposed to discrimination, but also opposes laws that impose restrictions on free enterprise. The Civil Rights Act went too far, Paul argued, when it mandated requirements on private entities. That's what he told Courier-Journal, NPR, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and it's consistent with what he wrote in 2002 when he articulated his opposition to the Fair Housing Act for the same reasons.

    [....]

    And then the evolution of Rand Paul kicked into overdrive.

    Over the course of 24 hours, Paul went from opposing the Civil Rights Act to opposing repeal of the Civil Rights Act to considering the Civil Rights Act settled law to actually supporting the legislation he said he would have opposed.

    The title of the post from Washington Monthly was called When A Walk-back Becomes A Sprint. Clearly Paul has felt this way for many years. Most likely around two decades. He has been very clear his stance and it doesn't appear to worried about voicing it.

    But as soon as he saw it might hurt his chance to be a Senator, he ran away, sorry sprinted away from it faster then Usain Bolt runs the 100.

    His desire for power, and doing anything to get it, is more then most folks running for the Senate, and that is saying a heck of a lot. This worries me more than anything!

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:00:56 AM PDT

    •  What is scarier yet... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding

      ...is Ayn Rand Paul's hair-do.  Am I right?  What the fuck is that thing?  Look, I'm pretty much a corn-fed midwestern guy who drives a crappy old diesel truck, owns guns, and votes democratic because while I'm doing fine, I kinda give a damn about the people in my town who maybe aren't.  I don't like being all catty and pointing out what a dipshit someone looks like.  It's anathema to me.  I have no room to talk since my idea of high fashion is a crew cut, a t-shirt and a pair of jeans that have grease stains on them from working on the truck.  

      But fuck's sake man, someone get that guy a gift certificate to Fantastic Sam's or something.    

  •  Ayn Rand was just a pissed off elitist from (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, soms, SuperSonic Dog

    Russia. When the poor had had enough of the oppression they took everything away from the rich and the rich were upset about having to suddenly live like they were poor. See 'We the Living'.
      This comment is only meant as a simplistic overview of her previous life, not a historical treatise on communist Russia.

    Cheney-tide...just when I got used to Red-tide.

    by reddbierd on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:02:11 AM PDT

  •  Then Why Do They Never Promote Const Amendment? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, DudleyMason

    The Constitution pointedly justifies and empowers a non-Libertarian government.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to ... promote the general Welfare... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Article 1. Section. 8.
    Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

    Libertarians will tell you all the time that taxing to pay for general welfare is unconstitutional and a crime.

    If they were honest, they'd have an amendment drive to delete promoting and paying for the general welfare from the Constitution. But they're not. They don't do that because they don't want people reading the damned thing to find out it's a chartered purpose of the nation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:02:25 AM PDT

  •  Ron Paul is from Texas (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, soms, DudleyMason

    Segregationists wrapped themselves in the States Rights flag; segregationists also were intense anti-communists.  Ayn Rand's thinking is driven by her intense anti-communism (she was an emigre from the Bolshevik Revolution--a poor little rich girl, as it were.)  

    Desegregation got conflated with communism in part because the Southern Textile Workers Strike in the 1930s had, among others, communist labor organizers.  And the organizers sought unity between blacks and whites as a tool of strength against the textile companies.  Oh yes, the Southern Textile Strike, like the River Rouge auto workers strike was suppressed with violence.

    So it was not a large jump for the segregationists to move to a libertarian argument.  Ron Paul was part of that movement in arguments.

    And beginning in the Reagan years, segregationists (like Jerry Falwell) became charming in camouflaging their segregationist past (or present).  I think that through the views of his son we have seen that Ron Paul is just another one of these crypto-segregationists seeking to reverse history.

    So what was William F. Buckley's excuse?

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:04:22 AM PDT

    •  Buckley? Nobleman. Consult Your Folk Music (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherwoodB

      and tales for ample descriptions of them and their behavior.

      They're a mixed crowd of some sociopaths, and many airheads who don't know how the world that supports them actually functions. The smarter ones know they don't know, and put competent leaders in to run the thing.

      And they're virtually all entitled.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:07:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So when Ron Paul went to that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soms

    Conservative conference and proclaimed "Obama is not a socialist he's a corporatist" he was projecting.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:06:53 AM PDT

  •  One point where you missed the boat completely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    is that this guy does not want corporations to own the government.  

    And in fact corporations do own our government because almost all the politicians are bought off.  And to get elected they must let themselves be bought off.  And nobody has bought off this guy.  

    So in fact he is one of the few guys that will keep corporatiions from owning government.

  •  That is wy... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, soms, DudleyMason, vinny67

    ...these guys are a godsend to the democrats. They expose the wingnut republican ideology in all its unacceptable, idiotic glory. Even our useless corporate dems appear the much better option. I really think they are dumb enough to think they can sell that shit out in the open to the American public.

    Repeal social security and medicare for starters?

    Thats gonna sell.

  •  From looking at your diary... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if you read any of her stuff you certainly didn't think about it much.

    No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

    by dov12348 on Fri May 21, 2010 at 08:24:58 AM PDT

  •  Corporations are the product of government /nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Hard to Square (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soms

    Being in favor of private property and allowing BP to get away with spreading their toxic waste over the beaches, wetlands and waterways used by millions of people.  What about their rights, Rand?

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