As Congressional Republicans stoop to new levels of contempt for most Americans, and even extortion to get their way, at the expense of 98-99% of us, modern Republicanism is crumbling of its own avarice, lust for power, excesses, and hypocrisy. It could not be otherwise when their entire “philosophy” is based upon the works of a sociopath.
That Ayn Rand was a sociopath is clearly demonstrated by her hero worship of monstrous, brutal murderer William Hickman. She idolized him because he cared nothing about others. The party which runs on the platform of the forced “Christianizing” of America forgot Christ’s most resounding message to his followers: To love one another. Given Rand’s atheism, it’s also pretty ironic that these same folks try to tell Americans how and when to worship. More ironic still is that they try to destroy those who are different, such as LGBT Americans. But when anything goes in service of personal ambition, then Rand’s message was, essentially, go for it.
Earlier this week, lowkell posted a diary about the Ayn Rand interview with Mike Wallace for 60 Minutes. You can read that blog here. But it gets worse. Having argued for much of her adult life to screw the other guy, end any programs which help people, and reify the individual self above all, this miscreant took Medicare and Social Security for herself. This woman, who blamed everyone else for their cancers, including lung cancer, got lung cancer herself. She did so having bragged that she wouldn’t get cancer because she was a sort of superwoman. Those folks who got it, well, it was their fault, she suggested. Cardboard super heroes were her forte, especially when the cardboard character was herself.
This is the contemptible woman whom Paul Ryan, and a myriad of Republican celebs, love to quote and adore. What is wrong with these people who put a sociopath on a pedestal? It makes one wonder just how such dimwits as Paul Ryan, with a pea for a brain and a numskull to enshrine his mental under-endowment, got where he got. Not for long, apparently, his favor-ability in his home state has dropped like a rock. Even rank and file Republicans, it turns out, want their Social Security and Medicare. So did Paul Ryan, who took Social Security when his father died. Yep, that’s right. Paul Ryan depended upon Social Security survivor benefits. And now he doesn’t want other children to have them. It also makes one wonder at the empty-headed media folk who ooze with their faux admiration for this twerp. The man is just too damn immature and ignorant to be writing the fiscal policy for the United States. And yet there he is trying to do so.
These guys got that way from libertarian think tanks and the propaganda machine put in place at supposedly “liberal” universities around the country. Here is the link to a blog I wrote two years ago at the old Blue Commonwealth on the corporate sponsored pedaling of garbage such as Atlas Shrugged. Given the recent discussion of Rand, it is relevant. Here’s the text:
In a story unfortunately relegated to The Current (New River Valley Supplement) section of the Roanoke Times (December 13, 2008), we learn from reporter Tim Thornton that yet another university, this time Radford, has fallen for the notion that wealthy or corporate benefactors should dictate university business curricula. In a strings-attached world, some universities would be better off running for cover. And, because of the story’s implications for the future health of our economy, it’s a subject that should not be buried in The Current. As it has done “for” 38 other colleges and universities, BB&T has given a million dollars to Radford for a course centered around Atlas Shrugged, the unimpressive tome by the laissez-faire capitalist on steroids, Ayn Rand. No economic expert, Rand is nonetheless elevated by such nonsensical efforts as the supposed representation of capitalist “economic theory.” As writer Ed Weathers once said:
“Ayn Rand was a third-rate novelist pretending to be a first rate philosopher. She wrote Harlequin Romances for intellectually pretentious adolescent boys.
Full of what Weathers calls “comic book superheroes,” Rand’s fiction creates a cadre of would-be “free” market libertarians, spilling their pseudo-philosophical bonafides into the marketplace, where they, perchance, might even become one day Fed Chairman. Henceforth, the “Maestro” would speak seemingly “profound,” but actually vacuous, utterances saying, essentially, nothing. Then everyone would ooh and ah: “How brilliant he is!” (Should we celebrate the genius of “The Maestro” now?)
Worse, literalists don’t seem to grasp that Rand’s work is just fiction. You don’t learn economic theory or how to run a nation’s economy, from a novel! A novel may reflect philosophical, economic, political, artistic, and social threads of influence of the writer and his or her times, but not literally teach it. And yet the business program at Radford not only embraced this novel, but reinforced an attempt by the wealthy and corporations to dictate (sometimes foolishly) what students learn and how they learn it. As the current economic morass indicates, how unfortunate for our economy!
Everyone-for-himself, on-your-ownership in the extreme, has caused almost unprecedented economic chaos. The solution is not more of same. You would think someone, anyone, would learn. By the way, the very same issue of The Current tells us how Radford University President Penelope Kyle, ever given to trying to run Radford U. more like a business (or perhaps the state lottery from whence she came), has implemented a new core curriculum, which has driven numerous faculty into early retirement.
It would be one thing if the Radford course were a business fiction course, and clearly identified as such. That was done effectively at Virginia Tech some years ago. Indeed, fiction can be, and often is, a useful pedagogical device in non-fiction classes. But as you’ll gather in a moment, it is doubtful the best lessons will be learned in the instances I write of. Today VT has a The Program for the Study of Free Markets and Individual Freedom (and it’s got Ayn Rand written all over it). If you are catching the smell of the same funding source for this curriculum, you’d be right. Listen to the statement of Virginia Tech’s Douglas Patterson on the matter, as reported in the Roanoke Times:
“The whole rationale for a lot of this is that business school students, undergraduates and MBAs, learn a lot of technical how-to stuff in their classes.”
“But they usually don’t have an understanding of how our economy is supposed to work and the philosophy behind it and so on, so we’re trying to equip them in that regard.”
So, a construct of Ayn Rand’s fiction is used to tell students how our economic system is supposed to work? The extant “free” market extremists are an abysmal failure. No matter, just provide more indoctrination, even if it requires fiction to prop it up. Such a deification of fiction-writer Rand, shows more clearly than could ever be shown, that the emperor has no clothes. Speaking of emperors with no clothes, Alan Greenspan’s “The Age of Turbulence” is also featured in the Virginia Tech course. Lucky acolytes also get a copy of the now discredited Greenspan’s circular statements. Today, the Maestro admits that no one is more surprised than he that he was wrong. Chilling isn’t it? It’s hard to withhold a sarcastic question: Who’d have thought that an overly deregulated market would self-destruct from the weight of its own avarice and social Darwinism?
Over at Radford, students apparently will only read Atlas Shrugged in Faye Gilbert’s class. She is looking forward to their “debate.” What debate, when, apparently, she’s offering them a one-sided, one-book reading list?
Virginia Tech’s B-School Dean doesn’t see any academic freedom problems here. Really? But academic freedom is just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface is a guarantee on into the future that the little Rand-lets spewed out by these institutions will continue to take us down the same failed economic path…until they run their businesses into the ground. Then they’ll be caught taking government handouts, all the while enriching themselves with golden parachutes and calling everyone else socialists.
You have to wonder how the Republican Party has gotten as far down the road to Rand-ism as it has. With sugar daddy Charles Koch admiring Warren Harding as one of his most admired Presidents, the bankruptcy of his “thinking,” and the action of his minions, are clear. At the national level, his is the party of fools. It is so far gone that even its own rank-and-file reject all of its candidates thus far.
PS I am an alumna of VT and I love my alma mater. The above is not intended to generalize about VT, or its Schools, departments and programs. There are so many outstanding programs at VT, including its excellent B-School. However, that a millionaire bank president could order up a course is symptomatic of a complex set of problems ushered in by a meddlesome legislature, its absurd bean-counting mentality, and the stinginess of its funding these last thirty years. This is a small illustration of what’s ahead in education-for-profit.