Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Statism" and the Ayn Rand Cult

by Dave Johnson

Count how many times the word "statist" appears in this weird op-ed in the Washington Post: America's new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control.

"Statism" has become a cult-word, used most frequently by people who are in the Ayn Rand cult. "Collectivist" is another. The Rand cult has been around quite a while now. Alan Greenspan actually lived with the Rand cult for a while. Randians are more and more becoming the core of the conservative movement, as this op-ed reflects. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, members of Congress and others are more and more frequently using strange-sounding Randian cult-words like these.

I don't know if the author of the op-ed is a Randian, but he uses the word "statist" over and over and places free enterprise and government as an either-or. He thinks regulation of business is wrong. (Aside -- He writes that "government housing policy," not Wall Street, caused the economic crisis. (??) He's the head of the American Enterprise Institute.)

So now I am thinking about the Rand cult... Randians believe government is inherently bad -- evil actually -- and that helping others is wrong and immoral. "Collectivism" means democracy and this is also bad. They say it is the group imposing its will on individuals. From the Ayn Rand Lexicon,

"Democratic" in its original meaning [refers to] unlimited majority rule . . . a social system in which one's work, one's property, one's mind, and one's life are at the mercy of any gang that may muster the vote of a majority at any moment for any purpose.

[. . .] Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom . . .

As for government,
The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.

I don't understand how it is consistent for them to claim that protecting from criminals is legitimate. Doesn't society define what a criminal is?

Oh, and by the way, for any Christians who think they are conservatives, here is where they stand on religion:

Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. ... They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very—how should I say it?—dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith.

[. . .] Christ ... according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the nonideal, or virtue to vice. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used.

And here you also find the roots of Glenn Beck's warning to run from any church that asks you to help others,
It's either-or. If capitalism's befuddled, guilt-ridden apologists do not know it, two fully consistent representatives of altruism do know it: Catholicism and communism.

Their rapprochement, therefore, is not astonishing. Their differences pertain only to the supernatural, but here, in reality, on earth, they have three cardinal elements in common: the same morality, altruism—the same goal, global rule by force—the same enemy, man's mind.

There is a precedent for their strategy. In the German election of 1933, the communists supported the Nazis, on the premise that they could fight each other for power later, but must first destroy their common enemy, capitalism. Today, Catholicism and communism may well cooperate, on the premise that they will fight each other for power later, but must first destroy their common enemy, the individual, by forcing mankind to unite to form one neck ready for one leash.

Go see what they think of charity, altruism, the environment, morality, society...

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