First, get yourself a copy of one of Ayn Rand’s bizarre books, which are a self-confessed major influence on Ryan and his thinking. And don’t be too upset that Rand believed that everyone has to look out for themselves and only themselves because there is really no such thing as a society, let alone a civil one. For Rand, society is a struggle of survival of the fittest in a dog-eat-dog polyglot of strangers, each looking to bag more of everything that you have.
Rand’s viper values were admired also by Alan Greenspan, the former Fed head, who helped lead us into our present financial catastrophes, though he did apologize for misunderstanding the markets. Unfortunately, his apology was too late and too little. But Rand apologized for nothing, not even when she abruptly and hypocritically turned to take Medicare and Social Security under her husband’s name, Frank O’Conner, the very entitlements she had railed against and that Ryan is so anxious to destroy, all at once or piece by piece.
Her writing in a nutshell is the worship of raw power, a turbo-charged ego, and toxic brand of Capitalism. She opposed all forms of social welfare, including unemployment insurance, any support for the poor or middle-class, any regulation of industry or government provision for roads and infrastructure.
She also spawned the misguided Milton Friedman of Chicago University, who drank the Rand Kool-Aid and preached the “Free Market” as the perfect self-correcting mechanism. Tell that to our 15+% unemployed, our students heaped in a trillion dollars worth of college loan debt, our thousands of foreclosed former home-owners, or those investors screwed out of their money by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s latest $6 billion dollar loss, or Goldman Sachs’ Collateral Debt Obligations (CDO) derivatives that helped destroy the housing market and economy.
Rand also proposed that law enforcement, defense, and the courts were the only appropriate business of government, and all taxation should be completely voluntary. Her economics turned the world into a battle between the so-called “moochers” and “producers,” the latter group composed of the uber-wealthy, the success stories and titans of industry. In fact, her values come too painfully close to the world of 2012, this minute, with Occupy Wall Street and its 1% versus the 99%, the 1% with the power of the police state on its side to stomp on the “99% of parasites.” Hopefully, in the long run those on the sidelines will realize who the real “parasites” are.
Rand’s books will supply you with more stories of Ryan-like parasites, looters, moochers pulling the levers of government to steal the fruits of her selfish heroes’ labors. According to the demented Rand, she called the Atomic bomb “an eloquent example and argument, not to mention a tribute to free enterprise,” that is, if the world is still standing after the next nuclear conflagration.
Political writer Pam Martens reported that Charles Koch (a prototype Rand hero) “pushes millions of dollars through his foundation into economic programs at public universities, mandating approval of the faculty and curriculum in some instances for Rand’s books.” Koch partnered with “southern banking giant BB&T . . . mandating that Ayn Rand’s most renowned book Atlas Shrugged be taught and distributed to students,” presumably to start them on the path to Rand’s sense of selfishness and turning what remains of civilized society into a jungle of perceived parasites.
“Parasite” was a word Rand loved to toss around, that is if you weren’t a bullying billionaire (like either of the Koch brothers) but were in Rand’s warped vision a person with some sense of compassion for his fellow man. This is a psychology totally in keeping with the fantasy of a blue/red America. Blue is for parasites for organized municipal labor and red is for bloody killers, which in fact led Rand to be a big admirer of a for-real serial killer in the late 1920s.
Yes, you read right. She become infatuated with a real-life American serial killer, a loon named William Edward Hickman, who dismembered a 12-year girl named Marion Parker in 1927 in a manner so gruesome and sadistic that it shocked the nation. Rand filled her notebooks with praise that bordered on worship of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, appropriate title, Rand was so taken with Hickman that she cast him as her first literary monster, i.e., hero.
This virulent strain of literary psychopathology, believe it or not, helped make Rand a world-renowned though crackpot author. Yet, the most devoted member of her inner circle was the aforementioned Alan Greenspan, former, soft-speaking Fed chairman. Among the essays in which he lauded Rand, were those published in a book he co-edited with her called Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. This was in 1986 (two years beyond Orwell’s 1984), not so long ago and why it feels so much like now.
In it you will find the misguided philosophy Greenspan brought into government, that there is no need for regulation of business. Even builders or Big Pharma, he argued, as “the greed” of the businessmen or more appropriately, his profit-seeking . . . is the “unexcelled protector of the consumer.” The reality is that the wreckage of our present economy can be put directly on Mr. Greenspan’s sagging shoulders for his beliefs. He added, “As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honor and integrity.”
Yes, ask Jon Corzine, Ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs, former governor and U.S. senator from New Jersey, and CEO of MF Global, how and why he comingled a billion or more of his investors’ money to cover MF Global (Corzine’s) bad $6.5 billion bet in the market. Did he act with honor and integrity or like the unmitigated thief he is, who is long overdue for a jail cell and a pin-striped orange suit?
The last thing he had on his mind was his clients’ money. He is only one in a long desired gang of bankers, CEO’s, treasury secretaries, even presidents, who have fleeced and destroyed our economy. Greenspan’s closer that “capitalism is a ‘superlatively moral system,’” should certainly signal the first signs of senile dementia (if not full-blown Alzheimer’s) for the ex Fed chief. May his misguided conscience rest in peace!
In fact, Greenspan like Rand’s newly confessed acolyte, Paul Ryan, both have a long way to go to get back to humanity, the real world and its intrinsic need for morality, ethics, and compassion, both for the weak, the aged, the ill, the poor who may need Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid to survive; and for expenditures for infrastructure to hold the people of this country together. For together we stand, as the saying goes, divided we fall, including all those not blessed in life’s crap-game with a long run of good luck.
If Ryan’s desire for austerity is true, let it start with real enforcement of banking laws, and withdrawal from the many wars we are now fighting, curtailing Pentagon and DOD expenditures. And let him see how quickly U.S. cash will flow into the Treasury. Hopefully, that’s not too complicated, even for a student of Ayn Rand.
Lastly, be prepared for Ryan’s horrific defense that only “forcible rape” is a reason for a woman to have an abortion. He is waffling that perhaps even that should not be granted reason, since according to some radical Catholic junk science a woman’s body can successfully expel a fetus if she’s been “forcibly raped.” I wonder what Ayn Rand would have thought about that? I think it adds the title of misogynist extraordinaire to Ryan’s none too stellar, crackpot resume, which like Rand’s is a distinctly American product.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.