Monday, 29 July 2013 15:48

Wrongheaded and Repulsive—Ayn Rand's view on contributing to society

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Wrongheaded and Repulsive—Ayn Rand's view on contributing to society

The Ayn Rand Strand of Crazy

It’s simple; Ayn Rand is a sociopath. Rand is on record as having idolized the maverick nature of an exceedingly perverse serial-killer. A man who savagely kidnapped, murdered and dismembered a 12 year old girl and led her father to believe that she was still alive so he could collect a ransom. He resolved to maintain this rouse as he met her father for the exchange. He tied her severed torso and head to the passenger seat of his car and sewed her eyes wide open with wire. After he was paid he tossed her mutilated corpse at her father’s feet and drove away laughing.[i]  He is a truly grotesque role model. Yet Ayn Rand praised the murderer as “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred…A man who really stands alone…Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should.”[ii]

It should come as no surprise then that her philosophy codifies a repulsive and radical individualism that praises greed, disdains empathy and encourages individuals to viciously appropriate for themselves every ounce of wealth they can muster. On the other hand, it should come as a surprise that seemingly intelligent human beings fervently obey the doctrines of this remorseless lunatic.

The Central Tenet—The Unkempt Masses

            Disciples of Rand adhere to her socially destructive tenet that taxes, social programs, regulations and the like are all unnatural distortions of society that enable the weak to leech off the strong. She posits that society relies on the rich and the brilliant to produce and to provide. She insists that the lower classes are unprincipled inferior masses who parasitically survive off the hard work of the infinitely superior elites.

Beyond Fantasy: The Real Problem of the Real Parasites

In a sense I can agree, there are many individuals who live off the hard work of their more industrious fellow Americans and feel a deep sense of entitlement. Ironically they are not Rand’s parasitic masses; they are more often the elite—an elite which contains many perversely greedy Randians who are much better at capturing value than creating it. As of 2009 the 400 wealthiest Americans had amassed a fortune greater than that of the bottom 60% of Americans.[iii] Yet the incessantly self-aggrandizing Randian scum still believe that the wealthy are not being adequately compensated for their contributions to society.

The false pretense of pre-tax as a natural distribution

            This asinine concept that taxes steal from the producers to give to the sloths utterly fails to address the real problem. The real problem is not how much of income is taxed but how much income there is to begin with. Ayn Rand and her ilk treat pre-tax income as some divine natural distribution of wealth. In reality pre-tax incomes reflect a specific distribution generated by the comprehensive set of policies and laws within which the economy operates. Patents, copyrights and even property rights are all just societal mechanisms for allocating and protecting wealth. There is nothing natural about them; additionally there is nothing inherently special about the status quo. Fortunately, small adjustments to the system can have profoundly positive effects.

Implications

Acknowledging that the wealthiest 400 Americans are not contributing more than the bottom 60% (183 million) Americans, we can conclude that our system is in dire need of relief. We must fight for policies that empower the common citizen to capture the value they create, that deliver genuine opportunities for social mobility and that enable everyone to feel basic human dignity. None of this will be possible while Rand’s pathological ideas continues to permeate our politics. We must combat the social acceptability of Ayn Rand’s abhorrent philosophy.

Purging Society: Cremating Ayn Rand’s Grotesque Philosophy

Changing social norms and leveraging peer pressure are the most effective methods of eradicating abhorrent ideologies. Let us gleefully toss Ayn Rand’s hatred of and discrimination against the poor onto the bonfire of putrefied prejudices.  Let the flames consume her noxious belief system and let us hope the stench does not linger in our nostrils for too long.

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