Hi, I caught the "Objecting to Objectivism" show a month or so ago, but I found a number of problems with its presentation of Objectivism. I decided to write a series of posts in response. If you would like to read them, you can use the link below. Thanks!
I didn't see the show on Objectivism, but I do know that lately Alan Greenspan's pollicies, the financial Crisis, and Ayn Rand's philosophy have been linked. I think Greenspan should be linked to the right-wing ideological bias and his bias on behalf of the Bush Republicans. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan stepped down in 2006. The Federal Reserve is not a government agency it is private. Since it is called the Federal Reserve people think that they have gold reserves backing the money in circulation, but they don't. The Federal Reserve determines what the interest rates are when interest rates should be determined by the market. I'm sure Ayn Rand would agree. There are people linking Ayn Rand's ideas with the gambling on Wall Street and the financial institutions that have failed because of gambling and greed. I don't think that Ayn Rand's philosophy was about an economy that didn't produce anything and wasn't backed by anything, which credit default swaps are exactly that. Does anyone believe Greenspan didn't know that investing in "hedge funds" was gambling, or realize the magnitude of this market, or the danger of a disaster if a market (like home mortgages) collapsed, because he knew Ayn Rand? The term "swindle" has been mentioned a lot in reference to the conduct by some U.S. financial firms that precipitated the current crisis. Greenspan says he didn't act because he didn't know what the true situation was, which I doubt. It was because he was ignoring it. Banks and financial institutions risking and gambling with the depositors and stockholders money is what caused this mess not Ayn Rand. And the banking industry and the way the money is made available. Thomas Jefferson: "If a Central Bank is ever created in America - Through Inflation and Deflation the Bankers will rob the Americans."
Most people today mix Ayn Rand with a lot of far right philosophies, but she was not a conservative. I have a very different impression of her philosophy. Maybe I'm wrong but, "people produce wealth; government does not." The bailouts are the biggest extortion of wealth from those who produce by the government, to be distributed to those who produced nothing. People resent bailing out the high rollers on Wall Street and the Bankers, and they were coerced into believing that they had to do it.
Ayn Rand thought that individual rights are not gifts from a deity or grants from society; they are moral principles necessitated by human nature. I interpret this to mean that the country as a whole should not tolerate corruption on any level, our problem is that we do tolerate it. Ayn Rand said: "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." This is not so different from the founding fathers, who viewed the protection of individual liberties as the ultimate goal of society. Humanistic orientation was moral in nature and based upon precepts of justice to the individual.
The capitalist owner of the means of production pays wages and production costs and then sells the goods produced by labor, keeping the difference between costs and sales. It's the size of his profit that creates inequalities. The point is the worker creates the wealth, but receives a fraction of the profits, and today no benefits. The owner gains thousands of times more than the worker. That is injustice. The owner, and his executives, CEOs of banks and funds, of stock markets, insurance giants, holding companies and the like gain the maximum profit without actually doing any work. And he has the government to bail him out when he f*cks up,
If a person designed a car that didn't run on gas, and could be produced (in this country) for a price that most people could afford, they still couldn't get the funding from the government to produce it. The money would still go to the same people (being bailed out with tax dollars) to keep doing things the same way because of the interconnected interest and big oil and gas. The same thing goes for the grants that go to energy technology. They don't want anyone to come up with a source of energy that the players right now can't control and make huge profits off of producing it. No matter how bad it is for the Earth or our health.
Ulysses S. Grant "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands, which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen".
According to a short description of Objectivism given by Ayn Rand in 1962, "The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church." When you read that it's easy to see why people say, "how awful! Isn't that what we have now." No it's not! The government and the bankers can decide what business will succeed. The wealth of the world is in the hands of a few people and a hand full of people control the media. The independent businesses and individualism is just about dead. The individual (independent) can no longer make it because of the interests who control everything, including the arts. There is an excessive censorship in most everything, including publishing, films, and news stories that are being censored. "Governments take over the people if the people do not keep them under constant restraints."
Orson Wells in Citizen Kane argues: "The twilight years of greedy men will be filled with thoughts of terror and amazement at their prior conduct and make them outcasts from the affections of mankind." Crime and greed on Wall Street, is a way of life, investors are just another victim of the ponzi scheme we call the US economy. I don't expect the situation to change unless people demand it. They will have to go up against this greed and selfishness and actually make drastic changes in their government.
Objectivism, like most political ideas (philosophies) have become so obscured by political interests that people don't know what they were originally about. Many immigrants who fled countries that fell to repressive regimes were more fearful of government than Americans were, and more aware of the danger signs.
Today the wealthy class is so by itself and separate from all the rest of us. The middle class is now really poor and does not relate at all to the extremely wealthy. The extremely wealthy are becoming so disliked that the celebrities are trying to down play their wealth. The 80's revolution was accomplished, and some of the people responsible for it are dead, and the rest of them wish they were dead.
The American middle class has been eliminated, and the cost of higher education will guarantee that many Americans will remain poor. The power will remain in the hands of a small-educated upper class of conservative capitalists, and so will the establishment. Even though the wealthy class is small and the working class is the overwhelming majority they are being incredibly exploited. The wealthy class counts on the working classes worshiping them and trying to imitate them and this actually sells more junk, and assist's them in maintaining the system. The average ordinary person is not admired, but they are rewarded for their obedience with a lousy mundane dead end job. It's a system depends on government domination, fear, money, religion, the American way of life and the future of our children to dupe the people. Objectivism, which suggests that the morality of rational self-interest, as opposed to religious or government intervention, should be the foundation of the ideal political structure.
Tsar Nicholas II, contributed to the collapse of Imperial Russia by ignoring the extreme inequality and disparity in the distribution of wealth, and this ended the Romanov dynasty.
France had an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges to the aristocracy and Catholic clergy. This system of government was overthrown by the revolution. French proletariat, owned nothing. Everything belonged to the royals or the church.
The majority of the people living in the developed world own nothing and they are beholden to the banks for every bit of their life. The world's population owns barely 1% of global wealth. Many people in high-income countries have negative net worth and are among the poorest people in the world in terms of household wealth; they have adopted the philosophy that the plight of individual victims is a small price to pay for the significant advances of the nation as a whole.
Linda said, "Ayn Rand thought that individual rights are not gifts from a deity or grants from society; they are moral principles necessitated by human nature. I interpret this to mean that the country as a whole should not tolerate corruption on any level, our problem is that we do tolerate it. Ayn Rand said: "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." This is not so different from the founding fathers, who viewed the protection of individual liberties as the ultimate goal of society."
Well said, Linda. This is one of the fundamental arguments of American history-Federalism (big national government) vs. Antifederalism (small local government). In some ways, I think individual liberty is actually more protected in a large republic; but I also think there should be strong checks and balances on the government's ability to merge with corporations. There is no way the independent businessperson in America is on a level playing field with multi-national corporations. People should be hitting the roof over these bailouts.
Ayn Rand had no idea how economies work or how the world works. She didnt study economics or even philosophy for five minutes. She just set herself up as the expert and the world's greatest person (that was an actual tenet of her cult) and then totally indulged her megolamania, unchecked by any of the syncophants she surrounded herself with. She hid her money under the mattress over a half a century period when the market would have wildly expanded her wealth. But she was afraid, afraid of anything but her fantasy world of characters and her vision of herself as the invulnerable ultimate human being. And nobody inthe group said, "Are you serious, lady?"
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The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, October 11th at 12:15pm in the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Texas Freedom Network's Dan Quinn will give us an update on their activities. The lecture is free and open to the public.