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Paul Ryan holds up a copy of his
Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan: objectivist.
“I grew up reading Ayn Rand, and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.” -- Paul Ryan, 2005
If you can stomach the read, the Ayn Rand Institute, which dubs itself the Center for the Institute of Objectivism, defines the ethics of objectivism as follows:
Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life." Thus Objectivism rejects any form of altruism—the claim that morality consists in living for others or for society.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with it, objectivist philosophy is clear: helping others at your own expense is bad. Giving a homeless person a dollar? Violation of rational self-interest. Holding a door open for a wheelchair? Don't bother. Advocate for a social safety net? Not if you're the "producer" whose tax dollars pay for those lazy parasites. In objectivism, actions are only moral to the degree to which they directly redound to the rational self-interest of the user: that is to say, discounting such spiritual considerations as karma, or even that warm feeling that can wash over someone through even the smallest acts of basic generosity.

The extension of objectivist philosophy to the political arena calls, then, for the end of any policy that prevents a man from being as much of an end to himself as he possibly can through redistributive measures: in other words, no tax dollars to pay for basic social welfare such as food assistance, or social security and Medicare for the elderly and disabled. The problem with implementing objectivist policy at any level of government, however, is that it requires people who believe in objectivism to make the sacrifice to run for office.

But if those individuals who would push to implement objectivist policy actually believed in it, why would they run for office in the first place?

Objectivists who actually believe in their ideology would only run for office if they believed that holding the office would be better for their rational self-interest than anything else they could theoretically do with the amount of time invested in winning, as well as the duties involved with the position and any potential perks and benefits that could be taken advantage of after the period in office comes to a close. Now, most people would believe exactly that, if given the opportunity; but remember that the sample size we're talking about in terms of people with a shot at making it at the higher levels of office is rather small, and a large degree of success is essentially a structural prerequisite in the Citizens United era of politics.

But even presuming an authentic objectivist made such a calculation and came to hold office, that individual would then only seek to implement policy that stood to redound to that person's rational self-interest, and would not choose to sacrifice personal ambition to push for unpopular policies. The very act of working so hard, expending so much political capital, and engaging in that type of self-sacrifice to remake government in an objectivist image would in and of itself seem to constitute a violation of objectivist principles exactly to the degree to which promotion of ideology is put ahead of promotion of the self.

It's sort of like the movie Fight Club: The only true objectivists are those who don't spend a minute more promoting their ideology than they absolutely have to.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well... (18+ / 0-)

    ....I think he's just masquerading as an objectivist, because that's who the heroes in the book are. But in fact he's just Jim Taggart, as I like to say. Remember, he voted for all the big government - deficit creating crap all the other Repuglicans did.

    No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

    by Doug in SF on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:34:12 PM PDT

  •  The mantra of 'Objectivists' (20+ / 0-)

    If you weren't born a sociopath like us, don 't worry, we've developed a philosophy which will turn you into one.

    "We see things not as they are, but as we are." - John Milton

    by Jasonhouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:34:29 PM PDT

  •  the path to poverty. (8+ / 0-)


    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:35:24 PM PDT

  •  Above all . . . (15+ / 0-)

    Why do Ryan and Romney keep talking about how "Christian" they are? The life and teachings of Jesus Christ are 180 degree from objectivism. And for that matter, from racial bigotry.

    In the Republican Party, hypocrisy reigns.

    It's a short walk from the hallelujah to the hoot. Vladimir Nabokov

    by CatelynK on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:37:40 PM PDT

  •  If we were to take Objectivism to it's ultimate (10+ / 0-)

    goal, then an argument could be made that PROCREATION is antithetical to our own self interest because the ends (spreading our DNA) conflicts with the means (sacrificing ourselves for the sake of raising our children).

    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Laugh. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. ~MARadmacher

    by zoebear on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:38:51 PM PDT

  •  I don't think you understand how many (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leftcandid, mungley, ranton, Aunt Pat

    riches he could get for himself in the job, and afterward.

    When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

    by Bisbonian on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:40:03 PM PDT

  •  With Global Ownership Backing Them (8+ / 0-)

    they only need spend a few years in office tearing down governance, to qualify them to be lobbyists or consultants for a huge increase in income, a higher percentage of which they'll be able to keep after having served time cutting taxes.

    2, 4 years and off to 5-6 digit incomes with 'em.

    It's been this way for 30 years.

    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 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:40:39 PM PDT

  •  Elected office can be a way to help others, or.... (8+ / 0-) help your fuckin' self. That's why.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:40:57 PM PDT

  •  I'll take this guy's view over Ayn Rand's any day (18+ / 0-)

    “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?”
     ― Martin Luther King Jr.


    by Allen on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:41:14 PM PDT

  •  Ryan stands only for his own self-interest... (9+ / 0-)

    a faux Christian lying his way into a position of power.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:42:16 PM PDT

    •  He's a cafeteria Xtian (0+ / 0-)

      Just as he's a cafeteria Objectivist. Picking and choosing the ideas he wants and leaving the rest behind.

      There's a much more accurate description of Ryan's and the Tea baggers' philosophy and much more accurate role model for them:

      "Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law."
      - Anton LeVay
      •  Even Satanists (0+ / 0-)

        have consistency of thought and action, though. Not so much with Republicans.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 09:11:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Objectivism & Republicans (8+ / 0-)

    Ayn Rand was a militant atheist who had nothing but contempt for people of faith.  At the same time she and her philosophy was the foundation for Anton LaVey the founder of the Church of Satan's teachings.

    So, with great irony Republicans have become the party of an atheist and of Satan.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:43:26 PM PDT

    •  Ramen. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, Aunt Pat

      "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

      by rogerdaddy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:03:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spread the Word (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, rogerdaddy, Aunt Pat

        Republicans -- The Party of Satan.

        “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

        by RoIn on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:11:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paul Ryan has Led Zeppelin on this Ipod... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Pat

          What he's not telling us is that he has an altar at home covered with Slayer concert t-shirts and candles.
          The Mighty Zep was just "gateway" music to the hard stuff.
          I also hear he likes to play his albums backwards when the moon is full and worships Ozzy. He thinks Sharon is pretty cool too. The most frightening thing is that he actually watches the show "America's got Talent" where she is one of the judges. It's all connected.
          FSM help us.

          "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

          by rogerdaddy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:47:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  A militant atheist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, Aunt Pat

      who believed that the fetus had no rights and that the government had no right to restrict abortions.

      Some people have short memories

      by lenzy1000 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:19:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt that there is actually any such entity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      as "Satan" though there certainly are Satan-ists, who equate their half-baked hedonism and silly romanticism with Rand's miserable excuse for a philosophy.

      Ayn Rand's ideology, for any reasonably intelligent person, is hogwash. The fact that Paul Ryan is so impressed by it shows what a shallow and ill-educated person he is.

      The fact that the Republican party has nominated him as a vice-presidential candidate (along with his ignorantly romantic proposals) shows how intellectually low that party has sunk, and how dangerous it now is.

      That degree of delusion, of stupidity really, somehow (irrationally) aligned with a bigoted and xenophobic christianism that has drifted far from the teachings of Jesus, and married in un-holy ceremony to a supra-governmental elite of bankers, corporatists and militarists, has given us the Republican party as it is today.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:40:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Objectivism and libertarianism (0+ / 0-)

        are the ideologies of the spoiled middle class frat boy who, ever protected by white privilege and Daddy's money, none the less rejects all authority and personal restriction, only so he can get drunk, smoke pot, and chase girls for a "higher moral purpose."

        •  Sounds like a former President (0+ / 0-)

          we used to have, doesn't it . . .

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 09:12:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, they are also the ideologies of veritable (0+ / 0-)

          swarms of racist rednecks and hard-drinking street thugs. Not to mention, increasing numbers of ill-educated church-goers who insist upon calling themselves Christians.

          Such is the witch's brew constituting the "base" of today's GOP. Whatever it is that unites them, I wouldn't call it exactly an ideology.

          "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

          by native on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 02:20:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ... (0+ / 0-)
      she and her philosophy was the foundation for Anton LaVey the founder of the Church of Satan's teachings.
      Yeah. Also, she proved herself a hypocrite twice over, late in life, by signing up for and receiving Medicare and Social Security benefits as she approached her deathbed.
  •  It's a stupid 'philosophy.' To paraphrase the Bard (7+ / 0-)

    "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Paul, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

    Acting on self interest alone is not rational.

    2012 Elections: POTUS - Obama; CA-47 (new) - Lowenthal

    by mungley on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:44:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm so glad somebody gave me an understandable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Aunt Pat

    definition of objectivism. I guess I'm so devoid of that kind of thinking, I just couldn't understand it. If one has to earn a living, what better place than Congress, because it affords you the possibility of passing objectivist ideology? The only drawback is that you have to periodically vote against your ideology (go along to get along), but there's always the possibility that your time will come. In Ryan's case his time came, and hopefully went.

    Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

    by HappyinNM on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:45:33 PM PDT

  •  I want what I want (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Aunt Pat

    when I want it! A childish rant for sure. I am not sure that I can get the Randians to see that "giving" to "get" is not a violation of their principles.
    I am the guy who wants to be "left alone". That doesn't mean I want all of society to disappear. I want society to function in a smooth peaceful way. I hope my taxes help that process. It is an extortion I can live with if it helps me get what I want.
    I ask my right-wing buddies (who are not conservative enough) what type of society they wish to live in: one where they can walk about freely and do their business or one where they have to travel with armed guards. If they want to live in the "every man for himself" world, they better have enough money to hire their own army. Not the freedom I would recommend.

  •  I don't really see how that's like Fight Club. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    In fight club the goal was true financial equilibrium by destroying the worlds economic centers. It was about sacrificing yourself for the greater good. Like the first monkey's shot into space.

    Without pain, without sacrifice we would have nothing.

    Paul Ryan would be a much better public servant if he had valued Fight Club even half as much as he values Ayn Rand.

    We lose if we choose to forget; the lives of men, and money spent.

    by DeanDemocrat on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:46:44 PM PDT

  •  Shorter Ayn Rand (9+ / 0-)

    "Be an asshole"

    Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

    by WalterNeff on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:49:20 PM PDT

  •  Anti-Christ (7+ / 0-)

    Objectivism is antithesis to Christianity.  As such, Objectivism is anti-Christ.  Anybody who thinks they can be Christian and Objectivist is either deluded or attempting to delude others.  In either case, they are pretending to be Christian to deceive people.  This is the work of Satan, and the Republican Party is the party of Satan and of anti-Christ.

    •  I hesitate to look at it that way, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      because I'm not a Christian and I don't describe the world in terms of a Christ or an anti-Christ.

      But for the life of me, I don't understand how people who call themselves Christian have allowed their religion to be co-opted, or usurped by fundamentalist bigots and TV evangelists. When Jesus said to "turn the other cheek" I don't think he meant you should just meekly be quiet while the very basics of his message are being distorted and abused.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:04:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on how you look at it. (0+ / 0-)

        While I'm pretty much a hard-core atheist, I recognize that the fictional Christ is credited with saying some very sane things about how the affluent should serve the poor.  This is why I'm totally gob-smacked by supposedly "Christian" fascists espousing Ayn Rand's philosophy of greed and self-interest.  On the other hand, it gives me a very clear understanding why any affluent Christian who is not giving most of their wealth away should either be sent to a mental hospital, or a forced labor camp.

        Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

        by rhonan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:04:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Christ is not merely "fictional" he is mythical. (0+ / 0-)

          Twenty centuries of devotion and commentary do not amount to the same thing as a Stephen King character. Your "very clear understanding" of why affluent Christians don't throw all their money to the poor, is superficial, cruel, and self-righteous.

          In fact you don't understand much of anything, and it's very fortunate that you don't have the ability to send anyone to either a mental hospital or a forced labor camp.

          "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

          by native on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:41:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  An Objectivist might see public office (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as a fast track to influence with powerful people and corporations. He might expect a high paying position after leaving office, and not see his advocacy of this philosophy as a sacrifice at all, but rather a stepping stone to greater wealth and power for himself.

    Maybe I've read Objectivism wrong, but I see no contradiction there.

    "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

    by native on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:51:31 PM PDT

  •  why another word for selfishness? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:52:19 PM PDT

  •  Objectivism Is Also Factually Incorrect Since (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot, TKO333, cai, native

    Homo Sapiens and its ancestors have been social species for 10's of millions of years. Altruism is a drive that's hard wired into social animals all the way down to pigeons and insects.

    The concept fails as soon as it mentions human beings.

    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 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:52:53 PM PDT

  •  This was a really strong post... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    progressiveinga, TKO333, flowerfarmer

    In that it exposes the central logical flaw in objectivism. Even if you can hold your nose and set the ethics of it aside, the idea that each man is his own end and all altruism a  moral evil PRECLUDES anyone from trying to create a government or fashion a society that would allow every other man to work towards those ends. You could argue, I guess, that doing so would make such a life more attainable, but what's the point in any social engineering in an objectivist mindset?

    That's why it's never been a philosophy for government. It's a personal ethic, a justification for letting people say "fuck everyone else," I'm in this for me.

    Which is why I've never understood why the business world embraced the teaching of Rand so much. Go google BB&T and Ayn Rand. The former CEO of BB&T gave grants out to colleges across the country to teach that philosophy. But what's the point? Maybe there's some value in trying to convince the common man that the corporate elites are acting as they should, individually, but it seems more than a bit contradictory.

    •  Not exactly. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dfe, yet another liberal

      It exposes the contradiction between Objectivism and public service.

      I've long thought Ayn Rand's crucial error was in assuming that humans are capable of objectivity.  Look at the huge discrepancies between eyewitness accounts of the very same event, and then tell me people are "objective."  Pull out that one block, and her entire system comes tumbling down.

      Of course, she would patiently tell you that everybody who disagreed with her was, by definition, not "objective."  Since she had the true objective truth, whoever disagreed with her - in any way - was either stupid or dishonest.

      Doesn't that make life simpler?

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:07:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is wrong: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, flowerfarmer
    no tax dollars to pay for social security and Medicare
    since these have already been paid for, by virtue of withholdings on salaries, and payments on self-employment and other personal service income, they meet the objectivist standard. interestingly, libertarianism is simply the red-headed step-child of objectivism. both do quite well, if you live on a desert island. if, however, like most people, you live among the unwashed, not so much.

    both philosophies (if one can call them such) suffer from the same fatal weakness: they assume the individual controls all around him, and has the ability to decide not be affected by anything around him. clearly, such is not the case, unless, you live on that desert island noted above.

    ms. rand was never quite able to get around that fatal truth.

  •  Thatcherism has two axioms (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, exMnLiberal

    "There is no such thing as society"

    "There is no alternative" (to Thatcherism).

    Combined with the economic and social dogmas advanced by the Reagan cohort, this is the creed which ALL leading elements in American society accept, whether enthusiastically, dutifully, or grudgingly.  To fail to make obeisance to Reaganism-Thatcherism is to immediately  receive the mocking, scorn, vilification and ultimate silencing of marginalization.  Any political candidate who dares defy the dogma becomes, through the agency of our anonymous and opaque American Guardian Council of endless media repetition, "unelectable".

    Until a genuinely counter-hegemonic narrative is forged, and carried forward in political battle, including being willing to accept repeated defeats in the early stages, no one should expect anything remotely resembling a redistribution of power away from the 1% who are the only ones to benefit under Reaganism-Thatcherism.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:55:06 PM PDT

  •  What's in it for them? Money and Power. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, cai, native, flowerfarmer

    It's not about governing.  It's about amassing as much money and power as possible in order to get even more money and power.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:55:26 PM PDT

  •  It also helps them that not enough of *us* (0+ / 0-)

    are running for office.

    Running for office is not just for the rich and powerful. All of us need to consider running for office. Unless you live in a big city, you don't need much money to run for something like city council or school board.

    More than anything, you just need dedication.

    Paul Ryan tried to kill Medicare. Joe Biden killed bin Laden.

    by ScottyUrb on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:57:42 PM PDT

  •  The answer to your Question (5+ / 0-)

    Robbing each one of US at Gunpoint, in Public,
    is slow and time Consuming. Also causes a Lot
    of Backlash from the folks being Robbed.

    Run for public Office. Write "Laws" that Rob People.
    Anyone that Complains about being Robbed,
    like the Occupy Movement, is a "Criminal".
    Throw the "Criminal" into a For-Profit Prison System.

    If the "LAW" says that Wall Street can Steal your House,
    then NO Crime has been Committed.  No Need for the
    media to report anything.

    Objectivists run for Office to make the Stealing Easier
    and to Protect themselves from the People that
    they ROBBED.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:59:02 PM PDT

    •  That is the answer to the question (0+ / 0-)

      Freedom means freedom from responsibility to anyone and the ability to rob and plunder at will without regulation.  

      Whose freedom is the issue?  Apparently a lot of people who repeat that what is at stake is Freedom itself are too stupid to ask for precisely what the definition really means and to whom it is supposed to apply.  

      Indeed, it is inspired thievery.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 01:31:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  People who want it all for themselves want to (0+ / 0-)

    run an organization "of the people, by the people, for the people" in order to sabotage it and make enough people believe that it doesn't work so they can then have more for themselves and their own "kind".
    Simple plan that has happened to work for the last thirty years or least in this particular country on this particular spinning, blue rock that we call home.
    Time for the "The" Revolution...the one that will end this way of thinking once and for all.
    Might that be the "Kingdom of Heaven" to come?
    This agnostic would like to think so.
    Peace ;-)>

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

    by rogerdaddy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:59:05 PM PDT

  •  What Are You Saying??!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That these are full of crap?  That they're hypocrites!  Mere pretenders?  Con men?

    Look out!! There might be - gasp!! - gambling in this casino!

  •  The reason that objectivists run for office is (8+ / 0-)

    that it will, they hope, allow them to indulge their interior urges. They are simply acting out their human nature. They have been observed in many places and times throughout human history.

    The ancient Athenians were aware of these people, I call them tyranni, and they designed their democracy to prevent them from getting power.

    John Quincy Adams recognized tyranni and he wrote about them in his diary in 1820.

    Jimmy Carter recognized tyranni and he wrote about them in his book Our Endangered Values.

    George Washington warned the world about tyranni in his Farewell Address. He called them "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men."

    John W. Dean wrote an entire book about tyranni. He called the book, Conservatives Without Conscience, and he called the men "authoritarians."

    I. W. Charny, head of the Institute on Genocide and the Holocaust in Jerusalem. He called tyranni men with "fascist minds."

    Lord Acton knew about tyranni as well. He said, "Great men are almost always evil men."

    The American Psychiatric Association describes tyranni as men with "Antisocial Personality Disorder."

    James Madison told us that the most important design goal of the Constitution was to find a way to control the effects of faction. He described faction as a group of men who pursue policies that are "adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the aggregate and permanent interests of the community."

    So the objectivists are old news.

    It is still shocking to me that we non-objectivists, we democrati, don't know about them, and therefore do not protect ourselves against them.

    They are neither moral or immoral, they are amoral. My father told me that they are like man-eating tigers, they are only doing what comes naturally to them. I think he was right. And if a man-eating tiger is attacking your family you have two choices, you can be devoured along with your loved ones or you can take action to control the tiger. We democrati seem to have made the former choice.

    Finally, and most recently, E. O. Wilson the scientific successor to Charles Darwn has published a new book called The Social Conquest of Earth, in which he says that there is a genetic basis for the objectivist form of human nature.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:04:39 PM PDT

    •  (jumping up and down on my Rec button).. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  Only one small comment to add: (0+ / 0-)

      Isn't it an immoral choice to become amoral? Unless one was raised in a strictly Randian household (which is itself a paradoxical notion, because parents would not be able to raise a child in Randian fashion, given the self-sacrifices one must make to even have a child, let alone feed one), every Randian had to have some moral education from some people at some point (since we do not have slaves any more to cater to every single whim of a child), that they then rejected.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 09:19:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I haven't heard much being made of Ryan's (0+ / 0-)

    love of Rand - an atheist whose views he's been foisting on impressionable young people under his charge. Why haven't the Dems been highlighting his love of this woman's questionable -- and anti-Christian -- beliefs?

    I mean if we have to hear constantly that most Americans think Obama is a Muslim, why shouldn't we be hearing more about Ryan being an atheist lover?

    Refuge Watch -- news from America's national wildlife refuges

    by Naturegal on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:10:00 PM PDT

  •  True objectivism would destroy the GOP. (0+ / 0-)

    By its very nature, Objectivism dictates that I shall pay no tax to permit the corporatist war profiteer his little war.  It stipulates that I shall spend not so much as one red cent to endlessly bail out the too-big-to-fail banks.  It promotes the mandate that I shall not be required to invest in faith-based schools, or bundled telecommunications packages, or anything else from which I garner no benefit.

    The "objectivism" promoted by the GOP is no more a real objectivism than the "communism" promoted by the Soviet Union was a real communism, or the "journalism" promoted by Roger Ailes and his master Rupert is a real journalism.

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:12:49 PM PDT

  •  1. Get elected by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, cai, bryduck

    telling greedy rich people that their greed is the highest form of meaning there is.

    2. Profit.

  •  the description of the ethics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of objectivism doesn't explain why objectivist believers like Ryan are so interested in lady parts.

    As of right now, I loathe all anti-choice politicians with an intensity greater than the radiation output of a thousand suns. 3.13.12

    by GenuineRisk on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:16:41 PM PDT

  •  Do they let the government go unopposed or not? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It might self destruct or it might not.

    If it does not self destruct they have to continue fighting it individually.  If it self destructs, they need to implement their framework. If you are perceived as the destroyer you'll have fame and fortune. If fame is also your objective then it makes sense if fame can be monetized.

    But that would make them evil...

    Spot on Dante!

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:20:42 PM PDT

  •  Fighting for your country is bad (0+ / 0-)

    by this theology.  Why do any Republicans subscribe to this idiocy?  Oh that's right, because there has never in history been a lack of people arguing that greed is good, whether it is or not.

  •  Hypocrisy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself"

    I'm no expert on objectivism, but it seems they're great at following the first part but conveniently forget about the second part.  How many people have they sacrificed on the altar of their own pile of riches?

    I have a feeling they follow Rand the same way they follow Christ... and that is to use it in order to justify their assholish behavior.

  •  Rational Self-Interest (0+ / 0-)

    Since we are all individuals with different ideas about what constitutes our self-interest and how best to achieve that it is impossible to conclude that they we can all share the same objectives let alone the same objective reality.

    For example, since I am not a very rich person and have no reasonable path to becoming one in the near term I can not expect my own money to be a solution to any expensive health issues. Since, I rationally know that I can not predict how much money I will need to address future health issues and do not wish to gamble with my life-expectancy and quality of life by hoping that I will have enough money to care for myself at some point, I think it is perfectly rational to purchase some form of insurance. Furthermore, since I am essentially selfish, I would prefer to pay the least amount possible for my insurance. Other nations have objectively proven that some form of government run single payer is the most cost effective method to provide health care so that would be my choice.

    Being objective and selfish does not mean we should dismiss the numerous benefits that a cooperative society can offer. The mistake Rand and her closest followers make is to conflate Individualism with rationality. Sometimes it is ones rational self interest to  go it alone but a lot of the time co-operation actually turns out to be the more selfish choice.

  •  Objectivists only run for office so... (4+ / 0-)

    ...that they'll be in a position to dismantle the governmental mechanisms that interfere with unrestricted greed of the wealthy few.

    A return to Feudalism, except with CEO's instead of Lords.

  •  There aren't any commies, either (0+ / 0-)

    because, you know, someone has to run the damn thing.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:31:13 PM PDT

  •  Ayn Rand must think people are robots. No souls, (0+ / 0-)

    no compassion, unnatural human instincts. Ayn Rand didn't consider human nature. This attitude is most exhibited in people who never participated in team play on any level. In Ayn's case, i think she was a loner.

  •  Why do Objectivists support the military... (0+ / 0-) a legitimate function of government?  The military - any military - is by definition a collective.  The entire purpose of basic training is to break down individualism and to teach recruits to function as part of a group.

    A number of fighting men and women each pursuing his or her rational self-interest is nothing but a bunch of mercenaries, not soldiers, and can be counted on to cut and run when the going gets tough.

    In other words, our wannabe Galtian overlords are more than happy to have their own private collective at their beck and call to do their dirty work for them.  Talk about looting and mooching!

    •  Soldiers must be the ultimate suckers. (0+ / 0-)

      Rand opposed the draft as the ultimate infringement of individual liberty.  But I've always wondered how any objectivist could volunteer for military service.  If it's wrong to donate a few bucks to charity, or pay a few bucks in taxes, how much more stupid and wrong is it to risk your life for your fellow citizens?  

      I looked on The Atlas Society website, and got this:

      Since the difference of military service from other occupations is of degree, the values that one seeks to achieve and defend by it must be substantial. Defending one's own liberty is obviously one such value, since without liberty, life is usually short, chancy, and unpleasant at best. But defending the liberty of the alliance of free countries is also a great value. Americans have a choice: We can risk no soldier or sailor's life on foreign soil, and wait for war and tyranny to come to our shores, or we can risk lives to defend a system of freedom in the world that has brought peace where there were terrible wars, and prosperity where there was poverty and stagnation. Peace and prosperity, and freedom to trade and travel, are what makes rational life possible, what makes it possible to advance our own lifespans and enhance the quality of life that we live. It makes possible more products and a better standard of living. Objectivism holds that self-sacrifice itself is ignoble. But these are values worth defending, and the only way to defend them is with a credible and competent military. This is a great system: As the loose alliance of free (democratic and market-based) countries grows, the military power of the U.S. ensures its survival. Perhaps this will bring a day when a major war is extremely unlikely to occur.

      This strikes me as a very poor argument.  Sure I can fight for my own liberty--if you personally try to enslave me, I'll fight you.  But if Hitler or Stalin is trying to enslave me, my own individual contribution to the fight is negligible.  In other words, if there are 10,000,000 US soldiers fighting a tyrant, my contribution as the 10,000,001st won't make any difference.  Getting my ass shot off, however, makes a big difference to me.

      So the Atlas Society analysis, that soldiers will fight for peace and prosperity, and for a better standard of living, is nonsense.  No rational, objective actors will volunteer to risk their life even to fight for their own liberty in such a situation, since the risk/reward calculus doesn't work out.  And surely, no objective actors will risk their lives for anyone else's liberty.

      This, of course, is the classic "collective goods" argument present in all economic discourse, not just Objectivism.  It takes on even more urgency in the context of Objectivism, however, because classically rational economic actors can still find utility in sacrifice, but objectivists view sacrifice as stupid by definition.

      So that Medal of Honor winner who throws himself on a grenade to save his buddies--what a sucker!  We shouldn't decorate him, we should revile him.  Right, Paul Ryan?  Or the guy on the cross in whom you claim to believe, the one about whom it was said "greater love than this, no man has, than he should lay down his life for another," that guy was another sucker, right?

  •  I'm NOT religious (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, exMnLiberal, DBunn, flowerfarmer

    But I spent 13 years combined in Catholic elementary, high schools and undergrad college.

    So, how exactly does the atheist Ayn Rand's "objectivism "square, in any universe, with the teachings of the RC church on the poor and disadvantaged and the basic message of Jesus/Christianity per the gospels?

    I mean, since Ryan says he is "strongly Catholic."

    Or is that just another of his many and obvious lies?  After all, I think there is something in his religion about not being a boldfaced prevaricator and bearing false witness too.  And Pinnochio Paul has NO problem with that.

  •  Person in a wheelchair. (0+ / 0-)

    The wheelchair has no agency of its own.

    Please, thank you.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:37:33 PM PDT

  •  Where Ayn Rand f$%ked up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, flowerfarmer

    When I was 16, I became an Ayn Rand fan, like many an insufferable teen-ager.  I'm 65 now.

    It's not difficult to sympathise with Rand's aversion to dictatorship, given her girlhood experience in Red Revolutionary Russia. I even agree with much in her critique of established religion. But Ayn Rand was pretty ignorant about how altruism is built into genetic code, inherited from our primate ancestors and shared with our current-day primate cousins. That is, communities based on and ruled by personal relationships; emotional needs, attachments and aversions for safety and survival.

    Ayn Rand was a deeply entrenched narcissist. It's not too difficult to see how she could invent a philosophy to rationalize her me-firstism. I deeply disagree with the belief that emotions are created after thoughts. We know too much about brain science, and the importance of emotional experience and community bonding for we primates, and indeed most mammalian species. The brain's limbic  system is the control center, where emotions reside. Feelings for others and imagining how others will feel and react is a social skill that's built right into our DNA.

    We also know that brain scans of sociopaths react differently than brains of non-sociopaths. And yes, we know that sociopaths are clever, manipulative, narcissistic, guilt free from their wrongs, and skilled liars. Would be interesting to do some brain scans on the likes of Ron & Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, etc.

    the Republican brand is totally bankrupt.

    by vlyons on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:43:36 PM PDT

  •  Asking why an objectivist runs for office (0+ / 0-)

    also begs the question:  Why would an objectivist running for office try to confuse people into voting against their interest?  Some would say for their own self-gain, but if you are a true objectivist, and that each person needs to be their own end, then why try to convince the elderly, middle class, women or the poor to vote for you when you know you are detrimental to their "empowerment" under objectivism?

    Reminds me of the "Big Lebowski" where they said, "They're Nihilists!  The don't believe in anything!"

  •  I started reading Rand in freshman year... (0+ / 0-)

    and by the senior year I, and most others I knew, had weighed and discarded her vacuous philosophy.

    LyinRyan needs to finish college!

    The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past - Milan Kundera

    by Suvro on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:55:47 PM PDT

  •  "Before (0+ / 0-)

    we as individuals are even conscious of our existence we have been profoundly influenced for a considerable time (since before birth) by our relationship to other individuals who have complicated histories, and are members of a society which has an infinitely more complicated and longer history than they do (and are members of it at a particular time and place in that history); and by the time we are able to make conscious choices we are already making use of categories in a language which has reached a particular degree of development through the lives of countless generations of human beings before us. . . . We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong."
    -Karl Popper

    "Objectivism is to philosophy what muzak is to classical."

  •  couldn't agree more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    couldn't agree more with the diarist's premise.

    i mean really, if paul ryan was thinking "how can I honor ayn rand" and "take a government job" sprang to mind, he should get off the government's teat immediately and re-read her works. going galt: you're doing it wrong.

    If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

    by papa monzano on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:19:30 PM PDT

    •  Alternative analysis (0+ / 0-)

      If Ryan is a true objectivist, and is running for high office, then he must see running for high office as uniquely beneficial to himself.

      Of course I want Paul Ryan to prosper, never let anything contrary be said. But do I want benefits to Paul Ryan to eclipse other benefits to some other person? For example, what about benefits to me? I happen to believe that any benefit to Paul Ryan from attaining the high office he seeks will come at the expense of benefits that would otherwise come to me if any other individual (like, say, Joe Biden) were to win the office Paul Ryan seeks.

      I think there are a lot more people like me, who would be harmed by Paul Ryan attaining the high office he seeks, than there are (Paul Ryan + nobody) who would be helped.

      Therefore, by the principle of aggregate objectivism-- the most good for the most people-- I recommend that all us self-interested objectivists vote against Paul Ryan.

      Anything good for him, is bad for us.

  •  While I agree with your comment about Ryan... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I also disgree with your assertions about objectivism. Read what I have to say about it:

    Objectivism, like any "ism," is rife with problems. However, I have perverted what Ayn Rand wrote, and have turned it into something that I believe.

    I do believe in rational self-interest. I also do not believe in altruism. Even Jesus Christ had a self-interest in promoting his father's ideologies. However, I disagree with the idea that helping someone else is somehow "bad" or "unselfish."

    Think about it this way: If we are working together as a team, then not only does the team prosper, but each individual who is a part of that team also prospers. It is a win-win situation.

    Conversely, if you believe that helping another human is somehow bad or wrong, then you might have more for yourself. Or you might lose it all, and given your philosophy about irrational self-interest, then why should anyone help you?

    Garrison Keillor of Lake Woebegone Days once (rather not terribly famously) said: "A Liberal is a Conservative who gets sick." This is probably true; many people who hold these ultra-conservative views are either not terribly ill (meaning that they weren't born with some dread illness, like Asthma or MS) or have been so separated from suffering (by having been, as Ann Romney, placated with medicine) that they don't seem to get that others do suffer.

    So -- suffering is an important part of why some people seem to think that they are better than others. If you've never physically suffered, then any attempt at taking anything away from you might seem horrendous. This is why the uber-rich among us defend their wealth so wildly. They have never been without it, OR they scrapped so hard and for so long that they automatically believe that they deserve it. And it's also why so many physically active people who don't have a lot of money feel jilted -- they feel like they haven't been given enough, and they become bitter and they vote Republican because they are promised that they, too, will benefit from the same tax havens that their social "betters" get.

    What everyone truly deserves is the chance to take a piece of the human dream -- the dream that says that we are all equal, that each of us truly is more important than all of us. But this only works when this concept is extended toward everyone -- regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, gender, age, or social status.

    When we can say that we've crossed that final threshold -- that test -- that says that we have been able to extend this dream to everyone -- then Ayn Rand won't seem so scary to Liberals, and won't seem so appealing to Conservatives.

    I'm waiting for many of you to come around to see my point-of-view on this. And when you do, then I believe that you'll agree with me. Until then, I hope hat you can at least understand why I still enjoy reading The Fountainhead, and why, as an artist, I still believe that Frank Lloyd Wright had the "Wright" idea.

    •  E. O. Wilson, the scientific successor to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Charles Darwin has just published a book called, The Social Conquest of Earth, in which he says that there is a genetic basis for two kinds of basic human behavior. One kind is selfish and works for the benefit of the individual, and the other is altruistic and works for the benefit of groups of humans. He says that these two behaviors are constantly at war with each other.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 05:33:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget -- (0+ / 0-)

        Humans have the distinction among primates of being able to hold two seemingly-contradictory thoughts at once in their minds.

        So, maybe I'm just holding two conflicting thoughts in my head. Or, maybe I'm able to truly reconcile the thought that helping others will help me -- so there is nothing contradictory.

        At some point, and at some level, it doesn't matter -- because practically, if we all do what I'm suggesting, then each of us will benefit. Just don't fall into the same trap that Republicans love to set -- that if we help the wealthiest among us, we're really helping everyone else.

        They'll be fine without us. And we'll be fine without them.

  •  It is simpler in the original German. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ein Volk,
    Ein REich.
    Ayn Rand!

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

    by rhonan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:56:44 PM PDT

  •  it's also an extremely myopic philosophy (0+ / 0-)

    that asserts that it's impossible to see a benefit from helping others. Poppycock! If that were true then, as you essentially point out, why tell anyone else about it?

  •  In a perfect world your own rational self interest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady

    would be something like Henry Ford's philosophy. That by paying good salaries to the people building cars, you would also create good customers to buy your cars. Your self interest would be to sell a lot of cars by creating the market for the cars you build. The key word is rational.

    That philosophy worked well for decades. It was only when we stopped producing goods that the whole thing fell apart.

    Even Ayn Rand had her heros and heroines creating something: in  "The Fountainhead" it was architecture and buildings of great art and function. In "Atlas Shrugged" it was railroads and other necessary goods. Those heros were always rational and ethical: they woudl never have produced shoddy goods or polluted their world.

    Always the religious leaders and politicians were portrayed as grifters and hypocrites: they were the ultimate parasites on society in her philosophy.

    Ryan and his elk are only taking the "self interest" aspects as their own, and discarding the part about being rational: they become the people Ayn Rand would have loathed. She would have considered them beneath

    She herself was a hypocrite and was famous for loading up all of the free food she could stuff into her handbag whenever she was invited out to dine.

  •  Paul Ryan (0+ / 0-)

    so·ci·o·path   [soh-see-uh-path]
    a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial,  often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

    Objectivism - "Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life."

    Seems to me there is not much difference between the two.

  •  Dickens wrote about this (0+ / 0-)

    The English society of the mid nineteenth century that Dickens, a journalist, knew so well included economic and class issues that Dickens described with clarity and sharp critique.

    In his most famous character, Ebeneezer Scrooge, we see an embodiment of the aspirations that are expressed today by Ryan and by Romney.  

    "Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?  If the poor are going to die, then let them do it and decrease the surplus population."

    This attitude is seen in any number of Dickens' characters who are part of an environment that includes terrible poverty and injustice.  

    Why are we harking back to this era as an ideal place and time that we should aspire to emulate if not transport ourselves to?

    Are they reading Dickens as a utopian?  They seem to be reading Orwell as a handbook of how to on public communication.  

    What the hell is with these people?  Is this a media induced form of insanity, a St. Vitus Dance of the modern era?  Are our brains so overloaded that our collective synapses are misfiring?

    The more I consider this question the ready and quick answers seem to not be really enough.  

    But the entire Republican Party is fucking nuts.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 01:21:43 AM PDT

  •  Reductionist philosophies (0+ / 0-)

    The playground off immature minds.

     The meaning of life is nothing more than the prerogatives of  the ownership class, or the holy writ, or the Little Red Book, etc......

    Because the premises are fantasies,  such stunted thinking ALWAYS contains logical nonsense.

    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 Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 02:43:39 AM PDT

  •  I read Rand when I was 12-13... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... and I knew it was bullshit then.

    Amazing to have the knowledge when you're 13 years old that you are dramatically more intelligent than a supposed titan of political thinking.

    •  I was a little older. I was a freshman (0+ / 0-)

      in college and one of my professors told us to read one of her books. It was in 1957, and the book was farily new. I couldn't finish it. I found it hard to follow and very boring.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 05:27:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Objectivism Defined (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Objectivism: an end in search of an excuse to justify it.

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