As the campaign goes on I have far more questions than answers. The ghost of the Bush administration still haunts us as well as the neoconservative ideology that dominated it and seems very covert yet ever present now. Some how it has been mixed with Ayn Rand's teachings and that is indeed an interesting mix. I read Rand's works as they came out and also subscribed to the Cato Journal for a number of years. I have also studied Strauss and have written some of my thoughts about what I learned in this diariy:Will the real Leo Strauss please step forward? Updated 12/25/07 Since then much has happened and I am having thoughts about what is going on in and out of the campaign from my learning about these two ideologies. Read on if you are interested.
Just to get started here is a link that came up as I Googled for things to use in this diary:Ayn Rand and the Noble Lie.
Some people call a lie told for a great and good purpose a “noble lie.” Our government engages in a noble lie, according to these people, when it lies to us for our own good. Let us suppose, for the sake of focusing on the issue of truth, that the lie really is for our own good.Given what we have been hearing from the republicans there is a clear problem here. Lies abound yet at least Ryan claims to follow Rand. It seems clear to me that he has only selected things that he follows from Rand. Plenty of others have noticed this too. So I have to be frank. Rasnd worries me far less than the neocons and it seems like they are already in charge of The Romney "camp".
What did Ayn Rand think of such a “noble lie?” I believe we can confidently say that “noble lie” is an oxymoron which never graced her lexicon. She was against even “white lies” in personal affairs, surely she was against big lies as government policy. The advocate of objective reality and honest trade among men would have despised a government which lied to the public “for its own good.”
As with government torture, she publicly expressed some of her thoughts on government deceit.
Consider her testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee, October 20, 1947 (the transcript is reprinted in The Journals of Ayn Rand). During World War II the government worked closely with Hollywood to ensure that it promoted the war effort. One example of such collaboration resulted in the production of Song of Russia, released by MGM in 1943. The purpose of this movie was to make Americans feel comfortable having the Soviet Union as an ally. As Louis B. Mayer put it in his own testimony to HUAC: “Mention has been made of the picture Song of Russia, as being friendly to Russia at the time it was made. Of course it was. It was made to be friendly. ... It seemed a good medium of entertainment and at the same time offered an opportunity for a pat on the back for our then ally, Russia. ... We mentioned this to the Government coordinators and they agreed with us that it would be a good idea to make the picture.”
After her swearing in and an introductory examination by the chairman of HUAC, Ayn Rand is examined by the chief investigator. She begins by giving her definition of Communist propaganda: “... Communist propaganda is anything which gives a good impression of communism as a way of life. Anything that sells people the idea that life in Russia is good and that people are free and happy would be Communist propaganda.” She goes on to describe the movie Song of Russia at some length, and shows that it portrays life in Communist Russia as free, prosperous, even idyllic. Then near the end (bracketed clarification mine):
Rand : ... Now, here is what I cannot understand at all: if the excuse that has been given here [to this committee] is that we had to produce the picture in wartime, just how can it help the war effort? If it is to deceive the American people, if it were to present to the American people a better picture of Russia than it really is, then that sort of an attitude is nothing but the theory of the Nazi elite – that a choice group of intellectual or other leaders will tell the people lies for their own good. That I don't think is the American way of giving people information. We do not have to deceive the people at any time, in war or peace. ...
Reading on in the link:
Ayn Rand would have made a very poor Neoconservative.This linkNeoconservatism from Wikipedia lists some of the people today who seem to be motivated by the neoconservative ideology:
The Neoconservatives manipulate us with lies. They lie to us to get us to support what we would never support if we knew the truth. This is abundantly clear by now. What is interesting intellectually is that many of the Neocons are students of a political philosopher, one Leo Strauss, who explicitly endorsed such deceit.
I have read very little of Leo Strauss directly. When trying to read his books, the turgid academic prose quickly becomes stultifying. Here and there you see admiring references to Hegel and Heidegger, not a good sign. But for more on Strauss let’s rely on reputable reviewers.
Here is a pithy summary of the situation from a Libertarian editorialist: “The whole neoconservative deal started with Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago teaching young saps that they were philosopher-kings who had to take action that the hoi polloi wouldn’t understand.”
The book Leo Strauss and the American Right by Shadia Drury was published by St. Martin’s Press back in 1999. Ms. Drury said in a recent interview, “I never imagined when I wrote my first book on Strauss that the unscrupulous elite that he elevates would ever come so close to political power.” We will quote from her book in a moment, but we observe here that the effect of her book is blunted by her own old-fashioned leftist leaning. Sometimes she takes the Neocons at their word, such as their advocating the original-intent construction of the Constitution, and denounces them for their sincerity instead of for their hypocrisy.
A more recent review of Strauss is Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire by Anne Norton, published in 2004.
PoliticiansI hope that when President Obama says we can't go back he is, at least in part, referring to the administration he followed after. If so the identification has been too subtile and the identification of what these people represent too implicit. The dynamics of the contest have too often seemed to be a direct result of a coordinated plan by some very clever people. The list above may contain a significant part those trying to get us back on the course they set before Obama. The tactics and the ideology certainly would fit. I think the situation is far more dangerous than it is being portrayed to the American People. I hope we can stop them.
George W. Bush --President of the United States 2001-9; numerous neocon advisors
Dick Cheney --Vice President 2001-9; numerous neocon advisors
Lindsey Graham Senator from South Carolina
Henry M. Jackson --Democratic Senator from Washington State
Joe Lieberman --Independent Senator from Connecticut
Richard Lugar Republican Senator from Indiana
John McCain Republican Senator from Arizona; numerous neocon advisors
Daniel Patrick Moynihan --Democratic Senator from New York
Colin Powell Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State
Donald Rumsfeld --Secretary of Defense; numerous neocon advisors
Stephen Harper --Prime Minister of Canada 2006-present
Paul Wolfowitz -- State and Defense Department official
R. James Woolsey, Jr. --Director of Central Intelligence, Under Secretary of the Navy, green energy lobbyist.
Richard Perle --Assistant Secretary of Defense, lobbyist.
Jeane Kirkpatrick --Ambassador to the United Nations
Scooter Libby --Chief-of-Staff to Cheney
Condoleezza Rice --Secretary of State
Richard Armitage --Defense Department official
Zalmay Khalilzad --State and Defense Department official
Elliot Abrams --Republican foreign policy adviser.
William G. Boykin --Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Frank Gaffney --Defense Department official, founder of the Center for Security Policy
John R. Bolton --Ambassador to the United Nations
Eliot A. Cohen --US State Department Counselor 2007-2009, now Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
Robert Kagan --Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Historian, founder of the Yale Political Monthly, adviser to Republican political campaigns.
Francis Fukuyama --Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford, former-neoconservative, political scientist, political economist, and author.
Victor Davis Hanson --Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, columnist and author.
Michael Ledeen --Freedom Scholar chair at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, former US government consultant, author, columnist.
Sidney Hook --Political philosopher; called himself a social democrat and rejected the "neoconservative" label; nonetheless, he has been listed by a historian
Nathan Glazer --Professor of sociology, columnist, author.
Harvey Mansfield --William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University, author.
Bernard Lewis --Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, author.
Irving Kristol --Publisher, journalist, columnist.
William Kristol --Founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, professor of political philosophy and American politics, political adviser.
Norman Podhoretz --Editor-in-Chief of Commentary.
John Podhoretz --Editor-in-Chief of Commentary, presidential speech writer, author.
Irwin Stelzer --International economics and business columnist, editor at The Weekly Standard, Oxford fellow.
Charles Krauthammer --Pulitzer Prize winner, columnist, physician.
Daniel Pipes --Journalist and writer
David Brooks --Journalist, columnist, culture critic.
David Frum --Journalist, Republican speech writer, columnist.
Andrew Sullivan --Journalist, Editor in Chief of The New Republican. From 2000 when supported George Bush for Presidency in the US, he had been thought as a Neo-Conservative, but in February 2009 distanced himself from that movement, in a well documented controversy
Max Boot --Military historian, columnist, author.
Christopher Hitchens --Journalist, columnist, writer, considered by some a neoconservative.
Oriana Fallaci --Italian - U.S.permanent resident journalist and writer.