Friday, April 15, 2011

How the Randites Run

Paul Ryan is a Randite. Alan Greenspan was a Randite. Many members of the rightwing Conservative and Tea Party Caucus are Randites. That is to say that they subscribe to the ideas of an American novelist, Ayn Rand. Her philosophy known as Objectivism is based largely on selfishness, greed, egotism and an unwillingness to see all human beings as equal and worthy.

I was required to read Rand in college. In the manner of all fine educators, a very liberal Jesuit priest who detested her ideas insisted that her literary style was worthy of study. The book he assigned was the “Fountainhead” about an architect who blows up a housing development for the poor because it hasn’t been built to his aesthetic specifications.

Some years later I read Rand’s opus, “Atlas Shrugged.” I had to disagree with Father. Her style was stilted, her use of the conventions of writing juvenile. Now, I am a Shakespearian and my standards are high, but still in all it seemed to me that she used the English language as nothing more than a battering ram to force her philosophy into print. As a statement of that philosophy let me quote John Galt, her hero in “Atlas Shrugged.”

“In proportion to the mental energy he spent, the man who creates a new invention receives but a small percentage of his value in terms of material payment, no matter what fortune he makes, no matter what millions he earns. But the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him. And the same is true of all men between, on all levels of ambition and ability. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains.”

My sister tells me that she believes that John Galt is a metaphor for all people trying to “shrug” off an oppressive system. I disagree. I think he is a metaphor for how to establish one. He speaks of the top of the pyramid which he must know cannot exist without a base. Rand had to understand that an elitist class is meaningless without a lower class. When she speaks of “the man at the bottom” contributing nothing she is saying in essence that the work of the ordinary man or woman has no value.

In large part Ayn Rand’s disciples are running the House of Representatives. The spawn of this malignant, twisted, cruel, sadistic harpy are crafting budgets, setting social policy and dismantling institutions such as education and Medicare. Not a single man or women now serving as Rand’s surrogate could have won their election if they have laid out her Objectivism in their party’s platform, and they know it.

One other thing, Ayn Rand detested religion. She considered blind faith in anything that could not be proven to be detrimental to life because it contradicts reason.  Yet, her philosophy is how some so-called Christians can justify stealing from the poor. They are not Christians, and when they bow their head in prayer or wax righteous about abortion, gay marriage, or school prayer they expect to get something out of it other than salvation.

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