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Randism is a cult, the political equal of Marxism. Cults and ideologies always begin from a naming of the primary center of reality. This center then becomes the prescription for every ill, every wrong, every modern failing, every Utopian hope, and structures every sphere surrounding its heartbeat from the walk of one's own life to the will of government. Religious ideologies name this center as God (as proxy for the Church hierarchy), Clan ideologies name the center as one's heredity and are closely related to Nationalist ideologies who name the center as the state and its dictatorial head, Marxist and communist ideologies name the center as the collective organism, and Rand simply took Marx's center of the collective organism and shifted it to the singular (self-centered) organism.

This cult-like prescription of the renamed center is present in the spread of Randism, but there is something yet more troublesome in the context of its 'populist' rise on the Right. Paul Ryan's version of Rand's ideology emerges in the context of America's transition to a multi-ethnic society. This is important to note for it lays bare the confounding problem how a populist movement could proliferate whose end result is seemingly counter to the interests of the commoners. A good portion of White America fears the change brought about to their familiar way by the new multi-ethnic community. They fear this just as they feared integration in the 60's and school desegregation in the 70's and the ongoing influx of minorities into their suburbs.

Some of us see pluralism as the fulfillment of America's promise. Others, however, see it as its demise. Pluralism threatens their perceived structure and invades their comfort zone. Randism to them is a way to 'stick it' to the rising pluralism -- to those whom they deem as inferior, as slackers living off government programs, those who are now taking over their neighborhoods and the reins of politics, changing America. Randism offers a way to pull out the ladder from their upward mobility. It comes in a time that 'minority' babies in the United States outnumbered white babies for the first time. That's the context, the racial fear that provides the identity for this Tea Party brand of 'Objectivists.' And, it is happening at the same time that these very same 'patriots' are destroying the anathema of affirmative action and erecting electrified border fences.

The gutting of all meaningful social programs is the New Right's way of making their stand, drawing the line, joining the border patrol, and taking on 'the others.' It reminds me of the last, reactionary years of Apartheid as the power structure tried desperately to cling to the final remnants of their power. 'If we're on the way out, we're going to tear it down for you.' It does not matter that these same people depend upon so many of the programs they seek to abolish to maintain their middle class standard of living. It does not matter that their parents depend upon Medicare and Social Security to survive just above poverty level. There is a cognitive disconnect born out of underlying racial fear to which they have hitched their wagons and assimilated as a group identity. The cult of Randism has wedded the cult of the clan and the prescription has been handed down.

This is why you hear the right wing pundits on talk radio and Fox News and in editorial pieces laud the virtues of Rand on one hand and slip into racial slurs and stereotyping on the other. The two are part of the same meme. It would not surprise me at all if this were an actual strategy formed within the Right Wing think tanks to cultivate the dumb white masses to provide what their backing plutocracy could never expect, populist allegiance. The infamous "wedge" has been employed to such great effect on these same saps in order to corral them toward the hidden causes behind the front causes they thought they owned.

This populist Randism, however, is even more subtle, more insidious, because it is touted as "values" and "work ethic" and "patriotism" even though it is nothing more than the unstated throttle of base racism. The clue that this is indeed a political manipulation rather than ideological or even philosophical organic chemistry is that Rand's individualism, the naming of the self as 'the' center, runs absolutely counter to the idea of a 'populist' movement, a movement of the masses.

Ayn Rand herself despised these movements and these easily led people referring to Libertarians as "monstrous," "disgusting," and "scum." In Rand's own words, “All kinds of people today call themselves ‘libertarians,’ especially something calling itself the New Right... I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect.”
        Ayn Rand, The Moratorium on Brains, 1971

Don't tell this to any Tea Partier or vague Libertarian caught in the clutches. They won't hear it because they are something else, some new brew drunk on precepts kept just beyond their wits end, guided by racial resentment that they dare not name in mixed company or social media, and set out to burn down the community of America in a race riot orchestrated by those who want to divvy up the ruins. If I am right, Mitt Romney's seeming gaffe in introducing Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States" is not so much a gaffe as it is a Freudian slip. It says that the shackles put on the recovery by Republicans during Obama's first four years are to pale to the unabashed arson they intend during Obama's next four years -- for it is the very notion of pluralism to which they are setting fire and from whose ashes they will have positioned a prescription.

Originally posted to ignatzmouse on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 02:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You're using right wing frames . . . (18+ / 0-)

    Marxism isn't a cult, and it doesn't center things in the collective. It centers it in individual autonomy and emancipation from the capitalist collective and the state that defends and supports capitalism.  

    Marx couldn't stand the state. His followers couldn't stand the state. But, unlike those on the right today, they realize that capitalism was and is every bit as oppressive and tyrannical as the state and often at its beck and call.

    Modern day Marxists have pushed that insight further. We know that capitalism pulls the strings of the state, so we see both as collectivist tyrannies, forcing conformism on individuals, killing individual autonomy, substituting "freedom and liberty" for the wealthy for the idea of freedom and liberty more generally.

    As in, to the right, freedom and liberty is for the rich. If the rest of us can't get with that, that's our problem.

    Marxism, of course, does believe in collective action, which is perfectly logical. Democratize the workplace. Democratize the entire nation. What could be more logical than being a part of a collective that works on its own behalf, as opposed to a tiny fraction of rich people?

    We're collectivized now, under capitalism. But we don't gain the fruits of what the collective achieves. All of that is passed up the chain to Randian "heroes" instead.

    In short, you've bought into right wing framing about Marxism and have made false equivalences your point of departure.  

    •  thank you for correcting (14+ / 0-)

      The diarist. To equate Marx and Rand is extremely inaccurate and flat out wrong. I'm sure the diarist means well but these two historical figures don't exist on a continuum. They exist in entirely different planes of existence. One, Marx, exists wihin context history, economics, philosophy, and sociology.  Rand exists in the realm of fantasy, pseudo crackpot philosophy and some kind of sociopathic bubble detached from reality.  Rand is a cult, not Marx.

      I take political action every day. I teach.

      by jbfunk on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 09:44:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They both existed primarily in the context of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bamjack, gfv6800, IreGyre

        their over inflated selves and little else, besides fodder for amoral opportunists.

        •  Marx was overinflated? (5+ / 0-)

          I've only read a little of what he had to say and most of it was fairly rigorous. The totalitarians who alleged that they were Marxist were not.

          The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

          by freelunch on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:06:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not to (3+ / 0-)

            mention his entire premise has yet to be implemented by anybody.  Every example of "Marxism" since his writings has only been an approximation of what he envisioned.  No country or society has actually been able to follow his theory or ideology.  BTW I agree wholeheartedly that he did not have an "over inflated ego"  He was a truly gifted intellectual.  

            I take political action every day. I teach.

            by jbfunk on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 04:28:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  maybe because he was only partly correct? (0+ / 0-)

              and also because nobody can entirely agree on what constitutes complete or correct implementation of the ideology.

              And groups of purists have intervened over the years since with their own interpretation and attempted and even succeeded gaining power in an attempt to impose their view of it. And ultimately failed or evolved in the opposite direction.

              Some might say it is simply because the world has not gone through the "stages" in the right order... that each must have the time to play out properly so that the world can evolve into what Marx/history ordains must eventually happen.

              or is it that there is just too much mixed in that describes and attempts to understand and predict but that is incomplete due to the problem of people being unable to predict what will come because they cannot entirely separate the times they live in from wider truths and fundamentals? Futurists for instance have always had a very spotty record predicting things much further than a few years into the future. Is Marx a more reality based prophet than say Nostradamus? Both studied the past in order to predict the future... one by using Astrology as a tool to predict recurring events and the other his own analysis of human economics and social structures throughout history to discern a set of trends and patterns and deeper truths.

              Perhaps Marx is more like Freud... revered by some, a giant that marked a change in human understanding but soon outdated in many ways so that in time are quietly moved on from in important ways by even those who invoke their body of work... both imperfect, and both with a fair amount of their insights and discoveries discredited or amended so thoroughly as to set aside some if not most of the original tenets or foundations.
              Many giants of science are now almost quaint. Indispensable to the evolution of human understanding but most of whose world view and concepts are long since antiquated and superseded. Aristotle, Plato, Galileo, Newton and on up more recent scientists from then to now who are still relevant and true in key  fundamental ways and yet trapped in their time to the point that we are unaware of malarkey that they also believed.

              Economics is a relatively new "science" and Marxism is a multi-faceted exploration that goes beyond a purely economic analysis attempting to describe in great detail how society works and like many who push boundaries they will have valid insights as well as hokum or outright misreadings of people and motivations. And the world has had many unexpected forces and surprises since his lifetime. So it would be expected that his work is dated at least to a degree and even fervent Marxists are more Neo-Marxist and not quite a scriptural cult... or are they? Marx had a lot to say about the contradictions inherent in Capitalism but the contradictions in Marxism are not understood by anti-Marxists (who reject it entirely without really learning much about it) and Marxists alike.

              But all that said there are not a few young fans of Marxism and revolution who are looking for a comprehensive cure all... do they understand it properly or just want a magic solution to the world's problems? So it could be said that they are not truly Marxists and their motivations and understanding are really very similar to the people who find Randism or Evangelical Christianity (or Scientology or any other cult or Religion) the true solution to everybody's problems...

              But of course the follower or fan, new convert or born into it believer do not in of themselves discredit the belief system they are in. They may not understand it properly... perhaps if they all were more open minded and could separate their personal emotional needs or habits from their intellectual understanding and were free from authority figures in the groups that are their connection to the beliefs most of them would be walk-aways from most of these creeds or schools of thought.

              But like all belief systems or systems of thought even Marxism requires people to understand and or accept that it describes reality better than others. And there will always be those who "understand" the theology or intellectual basis for it... the scripture or writings better than those who buy into the bullet point version on a more superficial level. And the more a philosophy depends on larger numbers to succeed and expand it will devolve into more of a cult with a hierarchy and more numerous superficial fans to help institute and grow the brand.

              And the whole miserable decay into variations on top down will happen as a result of that... Leninism in the case of Marxism... and through history... powerful chiefs or kings or priest kings corrupt whatever nice or useful movements or group understandings preceded them. The missing ingredient is balance... checks and balances... which even in a capitalist, representative democracy will be eroded by the most motivated with the most money. And detours to things like Levelers, Anabaptists, Early Christian communalism, Paris communes or various shades of anarchism and syndicalism never last long as solutions either.

              So why and when is Marxism wrong and why and when is it right? And the same question can be asked of every other set of beliefs or understandings or organizations... and each will find defenders who will not admit that they only get things right part of the time and will not amend or adjust to find better solutions...  

              And in the end if no country or party has ever truly followed Marxism maybe it is not their fault... maybe nobody truly can. And that could be because it is an incomplete and contradictory solution that is not a complete recipe to follow or use as a sole guide to set up one.  It should be studied and understood more and not demonized and maybe leaving room for apparently opposing schools of though will lead to a more usable synthesis. Or to throw a bone to inevitable history playing out... humanity is not ready yet or something...

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 08:43:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would call the Israeli Kibbutzim successful (0+ / 0-)

                There are reasons the members cashed in, but they were successful for a fairly long time. Remember that Marx was strongly anti-nationalist, strongly anti-centralization because he did not think they would work.

                The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

                by freelunch on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 04:39:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  so we wait until Technology and people's awareness (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  freelunch

                  of themselves and how to live matures to a "Star Trek" cashless society... that is a very subversive TV show... humanity transcends greed?....

                  The Kibbutz thing underscores the truth that some form of Quasi Marxism always exists and succeeds in small groups. Native Americans like our common ancestors were much more communal and had little or no formal hierarchies as we understand them etc...

                  How to combine local communalism with a larger organization that takes the place of nation states without destroying local cooperative structures is the sticky question...  not a few people see our interconnected world groping blindly in that direction... more direct participation, more public knowledge of what matters, cutting out the middle man without it leading to a monopoly of power in fewer hands... we might just end up there almost by accident. Who watches the watchers... will the arms race of monitoring and surveillance have the public keep up with govt and industry so that there is no hiding of secret leverages and sunlight keeps everyone honest...

                  I used to think that it could be possible for the heirs of right and left would both be able to claim victory someday by arriving at the same "place" by different routes... free enterprise becomes "people's capitalism" and Socialism and "communism" becomes a democratic cooperative corporation... Nobody too big for their britches, with opportunity and freedom etc... a utilitarian, greatest good for the greatest number and it is the best of both strands of human thinking without the negatives of either... who can tell... people can be surprising... for good or evil.

                  Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

                  by IreGyre on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 02:18:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  The problem with this analysis (5+ / 0-)

      is that it elides the historical reality of the Soviet Union and its fetishizing of the State.

      For over 70 years on the global stage the Soviet Union presented itself as the essence of Marxism as a world historical force. Whether it was a legitimate claim is almost beside the the point.

      The USSR dominated Marxism in much the same way that it came to dominate the various nationalities and nation states that fell under its sway. Its Statism incorporated many of the characteristics common to a cult, not the least being the cult of the "Leader".

      Any attempt to rehabilitate Marxism as a liberating force in human affairs that doesn't come to grips with this material and historical reality is doomed to failure.

      This contradiction is particularly glaring in regards to critiques of Randianism. Rand's entire project was conceived in reaction to and as the antithesis of, the rising Soviet State. As such, many of its tenets are little more than inversions of tropes promoted by the USSR as essential precepts of Marxism. It does no good to close ones eyes to this.

       

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 11:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Distinction here (12+ / 0-)

        Perhaps we need to separate Marx's critique of capitalism from Lenin, Stalin, and their totalitarian state.

        They are not the same.

        Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

        by boatwright on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 12:19:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  USSR (4+ / 0-)

        That's a fair point. I don't think who originates something always has much effect on the current heirs.

        However, I would say that most of western europe's social democracies are at least influenced by Marx. Indeed, the British Labour Party refers to itself as a socialist party. So does the president of France.

        They are just democratic socialists, not revolutionary socialists. It doesn't mean they aren't at least influenced by Marx, if not his legitimate heir.

        •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre

          but most of the European Second International parties have officially distanced themselves from, if not outright repudiated, Marxism. While this doesn't alter their historic roots in Marxism, it very much undermines any claim that they represent a contemporary form of Marxism.

          Socialism didn't begin with Marx and they are not synonymous.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 03:56:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And similarly, one cannot attempt to (0+ / 0-)

        rehabilitate religion, especially
        Christianity without coming to grips with its historical reality, right? Oh, wait ...

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 09:48:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Religion is a question of faith (0+ / 0-)

          Sometimes described as the "evidence of things unseen". It doesn't require require a factual basis for belief.

          Marxism, on the other hand, claims to be "scientific" and therefore, by definition, fact based. It cannot ignore the facts of its own history without negating its own essence as a materialist doctrine.

          This isn't true of religion, which is essentially a belief in the supernatural and miraculous.

          Apples and oranges.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 10:56:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It appears that you confuse soviet history (0+ / 0-)

            with Marxism and Marxist history, but don't see any link between religious history and religion - odd, that.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 11:50:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It appears that you (0+ / 0-)

              don't understand the distinction between materialism and supernatural belief systems.

              If one's beliefs revolve around miracles and "mysteries", facts, historical or otherwise, have little significance.

              The suggestion that the historical connection between Marxism and the failed Soviet experiment is a matter of "confusion" on my part is humorous.

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 12:07:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                The suggestion that the historical connection between Marxism and the failed Soviet experiment is a matter of "confusion" on my part is humorous.
                I did not say that there was no connection. I said you confused the history of a nation state with an ideology. There is a definite connection, just like that between "democracy" and Lon Nol, Pinochet, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Mme Nhu, the DDR, etc. Also the connection between the Holy Roman Empire, Catholic Church and Inquisition with Christianity. They are all cases where a political organization and/or entity has abrogated for itself the name of an ideology and then not acted remotely in accordance therewith.
                ... don't understand the distinction between materialism and supernatural belief systems.

                If one's beliefs revolve around miracles and "mysteries", facts, historical or otherwise, have little significance.

                Just straight up wrong. Christianity is nowhere committed to totally ignoring reality or divorcing itself from realit, or history. In fact, one cannot even attempt to abide by its tenets without close observation of the surrounding world. One cannot assume that simply because faith controls as to certain aspects, that it controls as to all things, else one could not, for example, feed the hungry or comfort the afflicted.

                If one is to judge any and all ideas and ideologies by all political movements and entities that have used the name, one should really be uniform, else it looks suspiciously like one is simply targeting an ideology that one dislikes for other reasons.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 02:00:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You are ignoring the fact (0+ / 0-)

                  that Marxism is explicitly committed to judging ideas and ideology by their material historical outcomes. Marxism cannot exempt itself from its own criteria without rendering itself meaningless.

                  You make the typical error of assuming that criticism equates with ideological hostility.

                  Your sweeping generalization about Christianity can't survive even the most cursory examination of its history and development, not to mention the wide disparity in the many varieties of its theology and practice. You are substituting a particular idea of Christianity for the conflicted and contradictory material reality of Christianity in human history.

                  I'm not the one playing favorites here. I am simply insisting that Marxism must be subject to the same critical materialist analysis that it has applied to other ideologies. Refusing to do so indicates either a lack of confidence in Marxism as an analytical methodology or a failure to comprehend Marxism itself.  

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 02:26:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                    Marxism is explicitly committed to judging ideas and ideology by their material historical outcomes.
                    Which are unknown, neither Marxism nor democracy are in fact illustrated by, say, the DDR, for it followed the tenets of neither.

                    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                    by enhydra lutris on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 06:30:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  By this standard (0+ / 0-)

                      nothing material can be known about any set of ideas. Is that your position?

                      Nothing human is alien to me.

                      by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 06:40:44 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No looks like a straw man, just like (0+ / 0-)

                        equating Marxism and Stalinism. I'm saying that nothing material can be determined I'm saying that you cannot learn anything "material" about a set of ideas by looking at the implementation of some entirely different set of ideas. You don't learn about the material impacts of racial equality by studying apartheid.

                        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                        by enhydra lutris on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 09:19:25 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Hardly a straw man (0+ / 0-)

                          and no one is equating Stalinism with Marxism unless it is yourself.

                          The fact is that the DDR would never have existed without the pre-existence of Marxism, just as there would be no such thing as Stalinism without Marxism anymore than there could have been Leninism or Trotskyism or Maoism without Marxism. You might as well claim that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have nothing to do with the Old Testament.

                          You can argue that the root ideas from which these various isms grew were distorted or mis-applied but that doesn't make them an "entirely different set of ideas" however much you may wish it were so.

                          Ideas do not fall from the sky. They do not exist independent of  material reality. Stalinism didn't simply appear one day in a puff of smoke. It developed directly from the material experience of the Bolshevik Party and the Russian Social Democratic Movement, as did Leninism and Trotskyism. You can no more divorce Stalinism from the historical experience of Marxism than you could Leninism or Trotskyism.

                          I'm saying that nothing material can be determined...
                          Assuming that this isn't a typo and that you intend it to be taken literally, I have to wonder why you've engaged in this debate. Clearly, you can't be an exponent of Marxism since the above assertion constitutes a repudiation of one of its fundamental principles: Dialectical Historical Materialism. It sounds very much as though you are expounding an Idealist perspective.

                          OTOH, if you are in fact interested in Marxism, I respectfully suggest that you need to achieve a better grasp of its fundamentals.

                             

                          Nothing human is alien to me.

                          by WB Reeves on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 02:14:47 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                            The fact is that the DDR would never have existed without the pre-existence of Marxism, just as there would be no such thing as Stalinism without Marxism anymore than there could have been Leninism or Trotskyism or Maoism without Marxism
                            Nor could they have existed as they did without The French Revolution, The American Revolution, or "Il Principe", so I guess that they are all also the embodiment of those things as well.

                            Oh, btw, yes it was a type, a formulation of the beginning of a sentence that was replaced, but somehow didn't get overwritten. As to my knowledge and understanding of Marxism, I will leave that to your fantasy, possibly best determined by a close perusal of the rules of NASCAR or something similar.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:19:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Is it your habit (0+ / 0-)

                            to react to disagreement with misrepresentation? Again the only one suggesting that anything is the "embodiment" of anything is yourself. I made no such claim.

                            Apparently, you are unaware that both Marx and the Bolsheviks considered themselves to be the political heirs of the French Revolution. If you disagree, your argument is with them, not with me.

                            If you ever decide to engage this topic seriously, my advice to you remains the same.

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 11:14:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Apparantly you are unaware that I listed (0+ / 0-)

                            3 things, not just one. Perhaps you'd like to try again or is it part of your expansive theory that they are all embodied in or subsumed by the French Revolution.

                            Apparently, you are unaware that both Marx and the Bolsheviks considered themselves to be the political heirs of the French Revolution.
                            BTW
                            If you ever decide to engage this topic seriously, my advice to you remains the same.
                            You need a new Tarot deck, you're way off the mark on that one.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 12:08:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not interested in ego driven tit for tat. (0+ / 0-)

                            When and if you have something substantive to say get back to me.

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 12:32:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Strange, since that is all that you have been (0+ / 0-)

                            doing ever since you were challenged on your dult of democracy marxism theory.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 06:21:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You should try to write coherent sentences (0+ / 0-)

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:07:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah yes, typos, if you can't defend your thesis, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            WB Reeves

                            look for typos.

                            It is quite simple, well more basic than Marxism or any other ism. If any rule, doctrine, theorem, proposition, etc. contained within any ideology or system of belief or knowledge is true, and if that theorem is not quite strictly and narrowly defined so as to be of extremely limited applicability, then it is generally applicable.

                            In the instant case, especially in light of your expansive (IMHO) interpretations, then all ideas, ideologies, philiosophies, systems of thought, knowledge, belief, etc. are subject to the same rule as Marxism. Hence  all ideas and ideologies, philosophies, religions, books, events and the like must be judged by their material historical consequences. Those, following your lead, would be the entirety of subsequent history, for just as the USSR couldn't have happened without marx, so too it couldn't have happened without the Holy Roman Empire and the works of Tom Paine.

                            You wind up, in effect, with each discrete fragment of relity being a sum over all known history of theall of the impacts of predecessor events and ideas (Holy Feynman, Batman). Each such event, state, idea or ideology then effects all those subsequent.

                            So, you take or leave it. If the idea is false,  then you can reject the entirety of the theory or ideology within which it is found, or take what is useful and/or correct from that theory and incorporate it into whatever ongoing model you are using or formulating.

                            If the idea is contextual, or only partly true, then you have to find and specify the constraints, but "It was part of this broader ideology, hence it must apply there, even if false everywhere else) is neither logical nor a viable approach to problem solving.

                            OK, if there are no typos above, Ill leave out an apostropher here for you to pounce upon.

                            Any attempt to rehabilitate Religion, Christianity, Democracy and the Renaissance as liberating forces in human affairs that doesn't come to grips with the material and historical reality that is the USSR, the DDR, Hitler and Idi Amin is doomed to failure, or not.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:25:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well this is certainly substantive (0+ / 0-)

                            but not particularly germane to my point which is far more circumscribed than you seem to imagine.

                            The topic was not what is the correct way of looking at the world but how to assess a particular school of thought, its significance historically and its potential utility for the future. In this instance: Marxism.

                            Whatever the merits of the model you present, it has little bearing on this question. Unless your point is to discredit Marxism.

                            My point was limited to observing that one cannot rehabilitate Marxism while at the same time refusing to apply it in a consistent fashion. If you want to cherry pick some of its ideas while rejecting others you're free to do so. However, unless such judgements are determined by the methods of Marxist analysis, what you are left with is in no way describable as Marxism.

                            The construct you present above is both consistent and logical but it is, from a Marxist perspective, Idealist in character, in that it treats ideas as being completely unmoored from historical and material reality.

                            In the instant case, especially in light of your expansive (IMHO) interpretations, then all ideas, ideologies, philiosophies, systems of thought, knowledge, belief, etc. are subject to the same rule as Marxism. Hence  all ideas and ideologies, philosophies, religions, books, events and the like must be judged by their material historical consequences. Those, following your lead, would be the entirety of subsequent history, for just as the USSR couldn't have happened without marx, so too it couldn't have happened without the Holy Roman Empire and the works of Tom Paine.
                            That's essentially the Marxist view, except that Marx would require a rigorous analytical demonstration of such material relationships, something easily done when speaking of Marxism and the USSR or DDR. Something not so easily done when discussing the German Catholic Holy Roman Empire and Orthodox Tsarist Russia.

                            As for Tom Paine, I'm not competent to assess the degree of his influence but I can assure you that both Marx and Marxists generally were well aware of his significance as a revolutionary thinker.

                            Yes this is an expansive view but then Marx was an expansive thinker.

                            You wind up, in effect, with each discrete fragment of relity being a sum over all known history of theall of the impacts of predecessor events and ideas (Holy Feynman, Batman). Each such event, state, idea or ideology then effects all those subsequent.
                            Except that Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, et al and their material outcomes are not discreet fragments of reality in the context of Marxism. Each is a school of thought drawn directly from Marxism and defines itself as such. If Marxist methods of analysis cannot be applied to them, then they can hardly be applied at all and Marxism is a dead letter.

                            It appears that we have not been addressing the same topic.

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 04:36:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  Yada Yada Yada (0+ / 0-)
    •  Right (6+ / 0-)

      the only equivalence that you could draw here is that, assuming the truth of the diarist's contention that Ayn Rand herself wouldn't like the teatards, you could say that Karl Marx also probably wouldn't have been a fan of Stalin, Mao, Kim, or even Castro.

      It's also largely irrelevant. I don't think Jesus has a lot to do with Christianity. I don't think Moses would understand Rabbinic Judaism, either.

      The libertarians believe that eliminating state power will leave people free, when in fact, it just leaves people vulnerable to other forms of power, whether it's corporations, warlords, feudalism, or whatever. That rebel spirit is intoxicating, but childish.

      Whether or not our rights come from god or nature, they are guaranteed by the state. God doesn't rescue you from a burning house or stop terrorists attacks, or put people in jail who harm others. The state does. By making the enemy of the state and sabotaging it, we are sabotaging ourselves.

      Anyway, most Republicans aren't mad at the government because it has been denying them their rights; they're mad because it has been enforcing the rights of others. To vote. To equality. To reproductive rights. To not be a Protestant.

      •  The comparison of Marxism to Religion is (0+ / 0-)

        ultimately faulty. Religions are based on divine revelation, ostensibly direct communications from God(s). As such, they are subject to arbitrary changes and are not bound by material considerations, scientific, historical or otherwise.

        Marxism, on the other hand, is an avowedly materialist and rationalist set of ideas. Among these is the concept of Dialectical Historical Materialism, which holds that the significance of theories and ideas can only be understood in terms of their material outcomes. Marxism cannot escape its obligation to account for its own historic legacy without negating itself.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 01:24:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why Rand Anyway? (7+ / 0-)

    Wasn't Rand a fiction writer?

    Doesn't that by definition mean she made the whole thing up?

    I am somewhat disgusted by people who claim to be intelligent assuming that fiction can be used as a firm basis for economic theory. I guess you could use fictional instances to illustrate a point, but not to be the evidence for the point. This is like using Jules Verne's "to the moon" as a guide to modern rocketry or having your doctor use the "theory of humors" to decide which antibiotic you should have.

    I suppose any theory can be used to mask a naked power grab - Napoleon used "liberty" and "freedom" as an excuse to be a dictator - Lenin likewise ("peoples" collectives anyone?).

    •  Mormonism is a cult also (5+ / 0-)

      At least that's what fundamentalist preachers were saying during the primary.

      So we have a Religious cult member at the top of the ticket, and a political cultist as number 2.  I don't think people take this serious enough.

    •  The was going to be my point (5+ / 0-)

      Since when do we base the economic principles of an organized society on a work of fiction?  

      TEA PARTIES: Something little girls do with their imaginary friends. (seen on bumper sticker in Port Clyde, Maine)

      by flygrrl on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:08:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Erm, the Bible? Hello? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rick Aucoin, CayceP, hmi

        We have a very long history in Western civilization of at least nominally basing the legitimacy and the coercive force of government and the resulting economic system on another much older work of imaginative fiction, AKA the Bible.

        •  I see your point, but... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris

          Within Western society using the Bible to justify social and economic structure began decaying during the Age of Enlightenment, when large percentages of the general population started being educated.  By the mid-19th Century even Biblically-justified slavery was coming to an end.

          We will always have the easily convinced with us.

          TEA PARTIES: Something little girls do with their imaginary friends.

          by flygrrl on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 01:15:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gotta disagree there. The right wing weasels... (4+ / 0-)

            are too slick to come right out and say "brown people, teen moms, welfare queens and immigrants should be poor because Jesus said so", but that's what they are constantly implying. Their audience hears the dog whistles.

            From the 'gospel of prosperity' to Calvinist predestination to every smug suburban megachurch you've ever seen, the constant subtext is that "those people" deserve to be poor, God's will and all, but you good folks in the pews have Christ smiling down on you. And please fill the collection basket.

      •  Or a work of fiction without any economics? (4+ / 0-)

        Rand, Ryan and the other cultists (and they are) pursue a line of belief without any basis in fact, espoused by Rand's incredibly turgid and stifling shit writing.

        Ryan has an undergraduate BA in Economics and Political Science. Miami U Ohio offers both a BA and a BS in Economics -- the difference is considerable in that the BS is much more rigorous, requires much more math and analytical modeling. The BS requires more advanced math and in addition a considerable amount of work in statistics, both theory and applied.

        I tooka First Honors BS in Economics and a second in Business Management along with a number of graduate courses I took later without intention of taking the degree at the time. It doesn't mean very much and it suggests that Ryan has at best a nodding familiarity with the concepts. The suggestion he was involved early on with Hayek, a minor figure in Economics along with Mises and the rest of the Austrians and minored in political science suggests he was more interested in acquiring a veneer to go with what he believed, than the basis for the science.

        When it comes to economic theory, Rand didn't have any and neither does Ryan. What he and Rand share is an extremist view of free markets that has no basis in the past or present. It is completely contrary to the shared American experience and what we have learned from long, hard years of economic observation.

        It might be gratifying to say fuck the poor or let them eat cake, but in economic terms that's simply stupid. The great social experiment of the GI bill educated a generation and grew the great American economy and technology of the second half of the 20th C.

        In France, a economic coda of belief akin to that of Ryan and Rand result in the erection of guillotines in the Place de la Concorde and other centers of population. The rich didn't pay taxes and refused to pay taxes.

    •  I'll take that question. (12+ / 0-)

      Yes, writers make things up. It doesn't mean that what they write isn't worth thinking about.

      Ibsen's play "An Enemy of the People" is about a popular doctor in a tourist town who discovers that the waters the visitors come to bathe in are polluted.  It's all made up, but does that mean it doesn't have anything worthwhile to say about whistleblowing?

      Jean Anouilh staged a version of "Antigone" in occupied France. To get past the censors, he gave the tyrant Creon some strong-sounding arguments, but in the end it was apparent to anyone but a confirmed Nazi that Creon's arguments were empty.  Does that mean "Antigone" has nothing to tell us about standing up to tyranny?

      The problem with "Atlas Shrugged" is that the Rand's view of the world is puerile. Ibsen's townsfolk are misguided but understandable.  Creon thinks he doing right in his view of the world, he's just so wrapped up in this theories he can't see his arguments are rationalizations for evil.  In Rand's world people aren't so complicated. They're either faultless super-men or cartoonishly villainous buffoons.

      David Brin, the science fiction author, points out that Rand, who was raised in the Soviet Union and educated in the Petrograd State University's department of social pedagogy, essentially takes many Marxist assumptions about history and economics for granted, but turns them on their head.

      For example in Marxist theory value is created by the proletariat and expropriated by by the bourgeoisie, who leech off of the workers. In Rand's story, it's the other way around; individual investor/inventors create almost all the value themselves, with practically no contribution from anyone else. Everyone else is a leech upon the entrepreneur-hero.

      Just think about the ridiculousness of her premise: the world grinding to a halt because the CEOs of corporations going AWOL. It's pure fantasy.

      In part the emotional appeal here is the same as steampunk; the Victorian age was the last era where a wizard-like gentleman inventor could lap the world in technology entirely with his individual brilliance, which encompasses all the world's knowledge of naval architecture and physics.  Although Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies has a corporation behind him, he doesn't really need it. Iron Man is a steampunk story in all but setting. It's all about individual brilliance so gigantic it doesn't need anyone else, any more than Conan the Barbarian needs an army to defeat an army.

      But "Atlas Shrugged" hits home closer for its devotees, because to the harmless fantasy of the steampunk story Rand adds another ingredient: victimization. While Anouilh's audience, living under Nazi overlords, can forgiven for regarding themselves as victims, Rand invites her audience of middle class American underachievers, to view their dissatisfaction with their lot in life as the product of oppression.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:50:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it is Marxism! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        No one gets out alive, IreGyre

        Ayn Randism is an extremist cult of personality that takes it source from Rand's education and exposure to Russian Marxism. Madmen as the post below suggests also works for me.

        She more resembles Lenin in her approach than Adam Smith or any of the other Liberal School (ile. Laissez Faire or classical).  Without defending Lenin's thesis, Rand offers a pretty purtrid substitute and it of the same type. There is also a connection to Stalin's dialectic. By Rand's de facto denial of the dialectic, she purported that she had ended the argument. She couldn't be more wrong.

        All the Russian Marxists seemed to offer a different approach to dialectical materialism. Why this matters is that it originates in a Russian take, of a Hegelian concept, that all economic systems reach a peak then inevitably begin to decay because of internal contradictions and flaws.  

        Rather than economics,  her work is a part of the strain of Russian Marxism known as "Dialectic Materialism" forced through a gobbledygood filter to make it completely turgid as fiction and worthless as serious thought.

        There is no economic rigor in anything she writes, just those things that she finds most desirable in an economy, e.g. mass murder, and there is equally no philosophical rigor. She has the same appeal as politicians who think national budgets and accounts can be managed properly only be sitting around a kitchen table and chopping the chicken purchased the Day-old Chicken Counter. Both classic and Keynesian economics would disagree with that.

        Rand created a hodgepodge of takes (without credit) from actual philosophers and managed to invert the entire meaning of Nietzche's concepts, mostly notably the Superman, Ubermensch. By not giving credit to her sources, given that she read them superficially by all evidence, she made it difficult for simplemind right wingers to take her seriously, whereas Europeans don't waste their time, having read the originals with all their flaws and those who don't pretend to have created something new when it was just another line of Marxist argument.

        Rand and Lenin had a lot in common with one critical exception. As dangerous as he was, he was never boring. She is stiflingly stupid and dull.  

    •  She also claimed to be offering a philosphy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      "Objectivism" and that her fiction illustrated her philosophy.

      The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

      by freelunch on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:09:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Randism is *not* the equal of Marxism (9+ / 0-)

    In fact, it isn't even the polar opposite of Marxism, but rather an ideology of madmen.

    If you have the stomach for gory information and want to read the horrific outline of Paul Ryan and his love affair with Ayn Rand... and her love affair with a serial killer who dismembered children in his madness... read Paul Ryan's guru Ayn Rand Worshipped a Serial Killer who Kidnapped and Dismembered Little Girls.

    ... Yes, Vice President-to-be Paul Ryan owes his entire “moral” worldview to a lowly groupie of serial killers, a 1920′s prototype of today’s “Joker” wannabees. Yes folks, in a few months’ time Americans will finally be able to stand up and declare: “We are all serial-killer groupies now.”

    There’s something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people go frothing batshit angry at the suggestion that maybe health care coverage should be extended to the tens of millions of Americans who don’t have it; or when they froth at the mouth in ecstasy at the thought of privatizing and slashing bedrock social programs like Social Security or Medicare. It might not be as hard to stomach if other Western countries also had a large, vocal chunk of their population who thought like this, but the US is seemingly the only place where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor. Where do they find their philosophical justification for this kind of attitude?

    It turns out, you can trace much of this thinking back to Ayn Rand, a popular cult-philosopher who plays Charlie to the American right-wing’s Manson Family. Read on and you’ll see why.

    One reason why most countries don’t find the time to embrace her thinking is that Ayn Rand is a textbook sociopath. Literally a sociopath: Ayn Rand, in her notebooks, worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of “ideal man” that Rand promoted in her more famous books — ideas which were later picked up on and put into play by major right-wing figures of the past half decade, including the key architects of America’s most recent economic catastrophe — former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and SEC Commissioner Chris Cox — along with other notable right-wing Republicans such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Paul Ryan, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

    Ayn Rand admired the serial child murderer because of his "sociopathic qualities" and his inability to "feel other people." To Ayn Rand... and Paul Ryan... that is a good thing. Eesh.
    ... "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should...” Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’”

    This echoes almost word for word Rand’s later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: “He was born without the ability to consider others.

    Born without the ability to consider others. That is the Republican madman philosophy and they have woven this horror into the fabric of our society.

    According to Rand, "friendship, family and human relationships" are creations of emotional parasites and immoral. Eesh again.

    As much as Ayn Rand detested human “parasites,” there is one thing she strongly believed in: creating conditions that increase the productivity of her Supermen – the William Hickmans who rule her idealized America: “If [people] place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man’s life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite.


    In my honor he pulled out old forgotten dignity and walked straight in a crooked world. ~~poetry of young Barack Obama

    by bronte17 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:24:43 AM PDT

  •  Ayn Rand... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, IreGyre

    ....considered the Tea Party and their ilk basically scum of the earth anarchists. They weren't called the "Tea Party" back then, but it's the same bunch of Ron Paul style nutjobs.

    The Tea Party uses bits and pieces of Rands' philosophy as a fig leaf for their transparent racism.

    Not that her philosophy holds any water either, she's was a smart person who drilled a dry well and just could not come to grips with admitting that she was totally wrong.

    Her hatred and dismissal of libertarianism had just as much to do with the fact that they used to attack her personally than to her insistence that their beliefs diverged from hers. The core of the beliefs have much stupidity in common.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:25:32 AM PDT

  •  Here's what's similar. (5+ / 0-)

    Rand took the Communist Manifesto and rewrote it upside-down - so that the capitalists are the heroes and the proletariat are the bourgeoisie.

    It's incoherent, but it's ultimately in service of Marx, just as a Satanist is ultimately part of Christian mythology.

    If I were a deep-cover Soviet agent in the 1950s operating in the United States, I would have seen my duty as that of undermining the hybrid economy of the enemy, forcing it to revert to pure capitalism, because that would - in a Marxist view - necessarily lead to the revolt of the proletariat and a Communist takeover.

    As such, a deep-cover Soviet agent might very well encourage exactly the thinking of the Rand cult.

    It's incorrect to say Objectivism is the equal of Marxism. Objectivism is a cult within Marxism, as Satanism is a cult within Christianity.

  •  and, she couldn't write to save her life. Her pros (0+ / 0-)

    prose is the type that appeals to non-Lit. undergraduates, and no one else.

    Bad Writer! Quel Horreur!

    pardon my french

    German Constitution, Article 1 (1) The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority.

    by Mark B on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 11:16:37 AM PDT

  •  The essence of Objectivisim (5+ / 0-)

    which is what Rand called her philosophy, is the cult of the superior individual. In Atlas Shrugged, the heroes were the industrialists who built their various giant businesses pretty much single handedly. The government was devoted to looting and the mass of people were essentially parasites.
      Her utopia is a place where the super men are able to break free from the influence of the rest of society.
      Rand is rather reminiscent of Nietzche, Her writings appeal to bright alienated teenagers. There is something really wrong with somebody who believes in that claptrap after reaching adulthood.
      Her economic ideas were fairly standard free market commonplaces of the sort that gave us famine in the colonies and child labor in domestic factories. Conservatives get giddy over the "free market" sociopathy as presented by Rand. Their approach to economics is darkened by their hatred of whole classes of people.

    •  Well said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scarvegas

      Rand's appeal is essentially to the alienated adolescent at odds with the social pressures of conformity. I was one such once. However, growing up amid the death throes of American apartheid in the Jim Crow South effectively inoculated me against the worship of "supermen".

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 11:37:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  two books (6+ / 0-)

        “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
        ― John Rogers

        We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

        by ScrewySquirrel on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 07:15:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bob Zimmermann (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WB Reeves, IreGyre
      Her utopia is a place where the super men are able to break free from the influence of the rest of society.

      Rand is rather reminiscent of Nietzche, Her writings appeal to bright alienated teenagers. There is something really wrong with somebody who believes in that claptrap after reaching adulthood.

      I was one of those, but the 'spell' lasted into my middle twenties. I voted for Goldwater in 1964, then Nixon in 1968. Then, this meme sunk in:
      My guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect

      Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect

      Good and bad I defined these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow

      But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

      (c) Bob Dylan

      "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

      by paz3 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 01:37:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I didn't write my book... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Aucoin, Sandino

    ....I couldn't take today's politics and today's GOP.  My god!  We need the antidote even more than we did yesterday, now that Ayn Ryan is on the ticket!

    Rand's father lost his family business to the dirty commies and she could never forget it.  In my book, an American businessman finds out exactly how nasty our own govt can be; and the dirty tricks of today's GOP and fox news are laid bare for all to laugh at!!!

    PLEASE, if you like President Obama and you avoide watching the news, or you enjoy and laugh at fox news, you will love my book.  It will make you feel better, like when rush takes oxycontin.

    Feel better:  Take the antidote.  It tastes good, and it's covered by even Cathlic organizations' health coverage now!!

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 11:49:57 AM PDT

  •  The start of Randism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Aucoin, Anna M, ignatzmouse

    I recall that in 8th grade (1961-1962), several girls in my class were reading Ayn Rand.  They also declared themselves to be "Goldwater girls".  (They would write AuH2O on their book covers.)  At the time, I couldn't see what the fuss was about.

    At that time, I was reading Mark Twain and Agatha Christie.  Occasionally, I would go up to our attic and find some of my mother's old books from her high school and college days.  (I speak of her books read for enjoyment, not texts.)  I read "One Foot in Heaven" by Hartzell Spence, which was made into a 1941 film.  One had to be raised Protestant to get that one.

    The worst of the lot was "Deanna Durbin and the Feather of Flame", a truly bad book written with the film star as the title character in a detective story.

    I wonder if those girls reading Rand then went on to become the foundation of today's right-wing.

  •  Excellent Post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ignatzmouse

    Whether it has been Fascist racism, Stalinist forced collectivization, or the modern variant Randism, reductionist ideologies, presenting truth as absolute, have ALWAYS created a moral anarchy, where the dreamed about ideological perfect end justifies any means.

    Mass murder usually follows.

    Finding the good in human affairs is always a messy affair of healthy debate and compromise.  Truth is always relative and fuzzy and actual imperfect humanity must be the measure of what is real and possible.

    This is the HUMANIST idea.  

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 12:10:54 PM PDT

  •  From Kung Fu Monkey-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandino
    "Two novels can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other involves orcs.”
    The baggers simply haven't figured out that they are really no less fanbois than the average Trekkie or World of Warcraft fanatic.
  •  They are not the GOP, Conservatives or Tea Party (0+ / 0-)

    Let us call Romney/Ryan for what they are: a Cult.

    Better get back to the web. The internet isn't going to surf itself.

    by RodSerling on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 12:42:29 PM PDT

  •  Rand was an unabashed atheist (0+ / 0-)

    And somewhere down his political road Ryan "rejected" Rands objectivism. Interesting how he may say one thing but his policies and positions reflect another.

  •  I agree Marxism is not a cult - Ayn Randism is. (0+ / 0-)

    I will try to collect a diary on this, but Ayn Rand is the leader of a cult of personality rooted in Russian Marxism.

    If you're asking if I'm saying that Rand was a Marxist, the answer is yes. Ever her economic thought to the extent she had any was derived from strains of Marxism. Marxist strains cover a much broader area that we usually credit.

    Rather than favoring a dictatorship of the proletariat, Rand favored a dictatorship of the very rich and powerful and those capable of entering that rarified strata of lift through force, ingenuity or whatever else a given individual could exert, not to the exclusion of mass murder.

    She was Marxist in terms of derivation of what she claimed to be a unique philosophy rather than the crackpot idiocy it was. What makes it appear less idiotic to unchallenged minds is that she lifted freely from the works of others without credit.

    As for the Cult of Personality, it is very much that despite the miserable death of this unhappy person -- surviving only with Medicare and Social Security --  in that without her, there is nothing. There's not even anything original in her so-called philosophy.

    Stalinism,  Leninism and Maoism were much less durable, despite some remnants, because those were cults that derived from actual power, the proven result so dire that without the Cultist leader, it could not survive.

    FWIW, there are and have been other personality cults that continued after the death of the originator of the cult.  

    European philosophers find it much more difficult to accept Rand as offering any serious contributions given that so much of it was simply a mishmash of more established and critical philosophers. Almost like she was trying to write a grad paper.

    Rand's entire philosophy is hinged on a denial of a Deity and the force of personal human power that could be exerted as a consequence in the material world. That is not the way she would state it, but it is what is. I'm also not a believer, but in terms of politics and economy, it is completely irrelevant,  i.e. there's nothing attractive or good in Rand.

    Rand keeps his face turned to the Catholic altar for the sake of politics, but if he seriously read Rand and took any part of her serious, he's being a total hypocrite and liar because you can't believe in any part of either without excluding the other.

    More later.

  •  Marxism is an ideology (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves

    When has it not produced ideological outcomes? Whether or not it is a cult is another matter. The point here is that Rand constructed her 'philosophy' as a response to Marxism. She did this by a shift of what she perceived to be a collectivist center to an individual center. It is an ideological shift. Both purport to be the ideological prescription for the ills of the world. Any philosophy, religion, etc. that claims totalism is inherently dangerous and leads to bad outcomes. They always have because they are by the nature of their totalism insular. This is only the broader context of the diary -- where it is really focused on the roots of the current brand of Randian populism.

  •  RW conservatism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre, ybruti

    RW conservatism is a cult.  It is a cult devoted to outdated ideas that haven't worked in 30 years.  Their "gods"are trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the rich, no regulations needed, and so on.  

    They are a cult and when it comes to indoctrination, they're no different than the Moonies.  

    Quite honestly, I don't know why any Democrat takes them seriously.  Instead of showing respect, the Democrats ought to be using them as fodder for the comedy machine.  

  •  niggling aside, excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ignatzmouse

    This isn't intended to be high level philosophy (thanks be) but a critical look at what seems to be an American Rasputin, i.e. that emigre Alyssa Rosenbaum transformed into right wing goddess.

    Rand founded a cult and the next thing you know, people like Ryan will be bending their knee at her shrine.

    How unreal can the right wing get.

  •  Ayn Rand is a product of the Soviet Union (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre

    Isn't it a bit ironic that although the US "won" the Cold War, perhaps those old Soviets unknowingly and unintentionally passed on to us a kind of Trojan Horse - in Ayn Rand and her stories and ideas.   It's almost like she has been a kind of sleeper-spy working to destroy American from the inside.

    Stalin and Brezhnev would probably be proud at "Comrade Rand"  and her present-day acolytes.

  •  The Four R's (0+ / 0-)

    The Four R'a are the Romney, Ryan, Rand, Right-Wing.

  •  Brilliant polemic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ignatzmouse

    And laser-like insight.

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 06:00:07 PM PDT

  •  Well written (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ignatzmouse

    This man Ryan scares the hell out of me.

    Greed, Capitalism's Achilles Heel

    by Bluescat1 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:22:12 PM PDT

  •  Dead on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ignatzmouse

    about cults and, in that regard, the equation with Marxism. Don't let the offended Marxists grind you down.

    •  Ideologies and Purity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hmi

      There does seem to be a parallel with the defense put up by, say, Scientologists should anyone speak a word against them. There is also a mirror of religious ideologies who complain about how the central vision has been corrupted, and if only its followers would more fully express the purity of the founding tenets, then its true nature and Utopian premise would be fulfilled. The problem is that all believers insist they are the most pure. Couple that with the inevitable removal of the impure when purity tests become an ideology's means of self-correction.

    •  Marxism (0+ / 0-)

      as a school of thought isn't a cult. However, like many major schools of thought, it has given rise to cults.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 03:33:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should all check out Ayn Rand's interview... (0+ / 0-)

    ..on youtube with Mike Wallace from 1959.

    Here's my takeaway.

    She's a complete fraud, and totally around the bend.

    Her "philosophy" does not hold up to any type of critical thought. I think an intelligent seventh grader could take it apart piece by piece.

    She is obviously informed by her history as somebody who escaped Bolshevik Russia and was compelled to come up with a philosophy that was diametrically opposed to it's evil. In doing so, she came up with something just as evil.

    Her lack of coherent logic surprised me, I thought she'd have more under the hood than that.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 12:19:25 PM PDT

  •  Joe the Plumber wants to cut entitlements & shoot (0+ / 0-)
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