Paul Ryan is Ayn Randian Nihilist.

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First, Paul Ryan has argued extensively about his belief in Ayn Randian nihilism. Here are his very own words.

Ryan himself, who, prior to this week, had no qualms about gushing about Rand's influence on his guiding principles."The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," Ryan said during a 2005 event honoring Rand in Washington, D.C., the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in April 2009.

During the 2005 gathering, Ryan told the audience, "Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill ... is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict -- individualism versus collectivism." The event was hosted by The Atlas Society, which prominently features a photo of Rand on its website and describes itself as a group that "promotes open Objectivism: the philosophy of reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom."

Ryan also said during a 2003 interview with the Weekly Standard, "I give out 'Atlas Shrugged' as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well ... I try to make my interns read it.” He noted that he "looked into" Rand's work when he was younger, but reiterated that he is a Christian and reads the Bible often.

In 2009, Ryan posted two videos on his Facebook page raving about the importance of Rand's views.

"If 'Atlas Shrugged' author Ayn Rand were alive today, here's the urgent message I think she'd be conveying," Ryan wrote alongside the first video, titled "Ayn Rand's relevance in 2009."

He says in the video:

What's unique about what's happening today in government, in the world, in America, is it's as if we're living in an Ayn Rand novel right now. I think Ayn Rand did the best job of anybody to build the moral case for capitalism. And that morality of capitalism is under assault. And we are going to replace it with a crony capitalism, collectivist, government-run system which is creeping its way into government. And so if Ayn Rand were here today, I think she would do a great job in showing us just how wrong what government is doing is. Not the quantitative analysis, not the numbers, but the morality of what is wrong with what government is doing today.

In the second video, titled "Ayn Rand & 2009 America, Part 2," Ryan says it doesn't surprise him that sales of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" have "surged" since President Barack Obama took office.

"It's that kind of thinking, that kind of writing, that is sorely needed right now. And I think a lot of people would observe that we are living in an Ayn Rand novel right now, metaphorically speaking," Ryan says. "The attack on Democratic capitalism, on individualism and freedom in America is an attack on the moral foundation of America. And Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism. This, to me, is what matters most." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/paul-ryan-ayn-rand_n_1459098.html

Here is Ayn Rand herself proclaiming her atheism and nihilistic views. Ayn Rand video

Now that Paul Ryan has Mitt Romney’s selection for Vice President, Ryan fervently proclaims his belief in a Christian god.

We Americans look at one another's success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted.

But America is more than just a place...it's an idea. It's the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. Full text of Paul Ryan’s V.P. announcement speech

Wait! Isn’t this a contradiction for Ryan to claim Ayn Randian atheistic nihilism and Christian theism? Of course not! Proclaiming belief in god to gain political power for oneself is exactly what an Ayn Randian nihilist would do so Paul Ryan is being a perfectly consistent nihilist, but an inconsistent theist. However, even consistently itself is not a value in a valueless nihilistic universe. Ryan is simply using language to say whatever is necessary and convenient to gain political power so to construct society on Ayn Rand’s nihilistic philosophy.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Comments

Another tiny vetting problem for the big thinkers on the right!

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am

The fit are not fit until the all are fit,how is it that evolution another word for movement towards unity is just that from the many parts to form a whole ,so we as a species must now unite and work for the highest good of all to survive as a species,if we do not do this and come from oneness in everything that we do ,I think we might become extinct!

We are all one

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humanitys team
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Dec. 24, 2010 4:53 am

This makes the election a clear cut choice between the far right and the centrists.

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am

Thomas Frank, PITY THE BILLIONAIRE, for a good analysis of how the Corporate Populism works. If all we do is shake our heads about the insanity or presume that everyone will wake up to the crazy and vote smart, we are kidding ourselves.

The current "Democratic Party" has disowned its own Progressives and has left the Populist anger about "the Man" to the rewrite squad who once again turn the anger away from the cause and from power. Now it is "the government" who threaten the common 'man,' and ordinary business'men' feel the pain of the billionaires who also have to deal with a "gubamint" that does not know anything about 'bidness.'

It is all those social planner liberals who want to impose their Socialist Dreams on the Real World who have messed everything up. Wonky issue statements only convince them that this is so. Meanwhile, the anger gets ratified on the Right and talked down by the Centrist Dems. The Left is left out, and it shows in the Tea Party.

I don't know if OWS plans a Fall Election demonstration appearance. Leaving the streets to the cops may be wise, at least for a time while the information network solidifies. Or not. I think social change like this "happens" more than comes from planning and design. The planning and designing matter, but mostly to demystify the present and allow us to see the wave of history as it beaks over us. If we are really on top of it, we get to try surfing the Big One.

What is clear is that Corporate Populism is another scam. It is the subprime mortgage offered to the Tea Party pissed off on their American Dream. It is right up there with the traditional exploitation of "cultural values" to gain votes for Corporate without any payoff. Reaction to the contraception and vaginal probe crap will build a new feminism in politics. This is the only revenge the Tea Party will ever get for its bought and sold soul.

I think it is time for "Democrats" to show disgust. Stop playing nice and just start scraping the GOPcrap off their shoes. Be exasperated about the cynical partisan games played while Americans suffered. Let it be known that trying to make a corrupted system work is not the answer. Unleash the Progressive Caucus!

But, connect with the people being crunched instead of explaining why they will need to be crunched in order to keep the system from breaking. Stop defending "the system" and make it work or not. Which Side Are You On? Make it clear in word and deed.

This will mean that the Global Finance Liberals will have to accept a minority role in order to defend Woman's Choice and Animal Rights. Hold on. I am not trivializing either issue by saying that there are rich Dems who love "Free Trade" and the WTO. We may lose their "support" but gain the freedom to be for a winning message. Having to compromise our message to suit their funding has cost us too much.

How the Randian adolescent emotionalism has had such an imprint on American politics is worth study, not on the merit of her literature or the nobility of the ideas. This is pathology studies, and the question is why "we" Americans fall for these images of moral power and genius and think we are for democracy? My gloss is simply that adolescents are easily tempted to "counter-authoritarian" authoritarian alternatives. The clarity and coherence of a new Truth is the obvious answer to the failed "truths," and the idea that Truth itself is more complex and mysterious than they want it to be is not considered.

One finds adolescents and young parents attracted to communities of clear identity and high commitment. Instead of adolescent doubt and relativism, they have returned to the 'faith' of belief expressed in action. Their "new found faith" allows them to be critical of traditional churches and political identities while being more 'traditional' or orthodox than those who have been compromised by culture, etc.

We find a similar Libertarian desire for a clear and rational world of moral order. It is a "more so" version of Liberalism' love of the free individual in mind, body and conscience. Rather than deal with the paradoxical tension of individual and community inherent in every human being, the Libertarisn Dogma poses that collective as the threat to the Spiritual Wholeness of the free individual. It is like giving cigarettes to teen agers to prove they are adults. Or telling them to "wait" until they are adults.

Rand allows a lot of intellectual nonsense. The idea of the great and forceful individual expressing the true moral power sounds good to the American Century crowd. Uncle John Galt replaces an aging Sam. You get the Cheney. Let us not rehearse the Greedspan Papal rituals of "too smart to fail" idiocy. You can see how this stuff works well below the critical consciousness of thought. As a narrative to fulfill De Toqueville's fears, ATLAS SHRUGGED is primary evidence of how a really bad piece of "literature" can be a major influence in a diseased culture.

It is not exactly the American Mein Kampf, but it is being used as such.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

If you admire someone's view on one subject does that mean that you support every statement they ever made?

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

This is not a bad time to weave in the works on authoritarianism by scholars like Bob Altemeyer. He makes his whole work, The Authoritarians, available for public viewing, and if you appreciate it, are morally inclined to reciprocate value for value, you can send him what you think it's worth to you in return. The Authoritarians (PDF version, 1.35Mb) How about that for a variation on the Ayn Rand morality scheme?

The points about Paul Ryan and his nihilistic atheism in ironic contrast with his supposed lifelong theistic Christian traditional beliefs can be found in the sections detailing the personality of authoritarian leaders. Altemeyer weaves his discussion of them throughout his narrative in other sections of the book, but details them more closely in Chapter 5: "Authoritarian Leaders", which begins on page 169 in the easy to download pdf version.

It can be helpful to understand this context in order to recognize just why these behaviors seem so bizarre in the public, political sense, to some of us anyway, and why the authoritarian followers do not seem to recognize that. As Altemeyer details in study after study, the two -- Authoritarian Leaders and Authoritarian Followers -- are actually personalities of different classificatory behaviors. Or you could say a different subspecies of the human species I suppose. Whether there is an actual genetic component involved is a matter up for more extensive study, I imagine, but such studies might involve the sensibilities of a fascist state to invoke, which leaves us with few positivistic objective scientific conclusions about causality to work with. Thus many possibilities for causality debates. Meanwhile, we do have the observed behavior patterns to work with, thanks to the diligence of some scholars.

Quote Bob Altemeyer:

Similarities and Differences Between Social Dominators and Authoritarian Followers

Social dominators and high RWAs (Right Wing Authoritarians, see his description in chapter one -.ren) have several other things in common besides prejudice. They both tend to have conservative economic philosophies--although this happens much more often among the dominators than it does among the “social conservatives”--and they both favor right-wing political parties. If a dominator and a follower meet for the first time in a coffee shop and chat about African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Jews, Arabs, homosexuals, women’s rights, free enterprise, unions leaders, government waste, rampant socialism, the United Nations, and which political party to support in the next election, they are apt to find themselves in pleasant, virtual non-stop agreement.

This agreement will probably convince the follower, ever scanning for a kindred spirit who will confirm her beliefs, that she and the dominator lie side by side in the same pod of peas. But huge differences exist between these two parts of an authoritarian system in (1) their desire for power, (2) their religiousness, (3) the roots of their aggression, and (4) their thinking processes--which we shall now explore. Then we’ll talk about how people become social dominators, and after that come back to that “highly significant” little correlation between RWA and social dominance. Along the way we’ll consider several experiments that show how nasty things get when the two kinds of authoritarian personalities get their acts together.

(The Authoritarians, Bob Altemeyer, PDF version, page 162)

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I agree .ren. The appeal of the authoritarian as the Moral One is what Frank links to the basic Populist narrative of anger at "the Man." Ryan is an interesting example of local privilege compared to Romney's larger stage. Both had paths to power by conforming and striving, but not having to leap hurdles, much less tall buildings. Both learned to think of themselves as "successes" and to presume the moral credentials such rank confers. Being 'smarter' and "better connected" than others was their own personal merit and entitlement to the privileges of that rank.

In the few times Ryan has had to speak in public in more than a sound bite, he has appeared to me to have the look of someone who believes others need to listen to what he is saying. I belive he believes sincerely and totally in the things he is saying, and I find them consistently incoherent or simply wrong. What concerns me is that the image of a "thoughtful" Conservative will be bestowed upon a guy who does have a local Chamber of Commerce ability to be a "nice guy" in public and, I expect, at home.

What sucks about Romney's "success" is that he takes his Trust Fund Preppie headstart and goes into Financial Piracy instead of buiding or doing anything to create value. Even were he a genius vulture, what we need in the White House is a different philosophy of business and governance. The Banksters have enough influence in the White House without having their own Ken Doll reading their lines for us.

Ryan's "success" is less phony. He really has won elections and been re-elected. He is from all reports a pleasant enough person and does not commit the Romney gaffes about cookies or caddies. Where the Ryan glow goes bad is in his policies. He has ideas, but when you actually get to analyze them and hold them up to criticism, the gold turns back into lead or worse. His actual "budget" is a Koch inspired nightmare/dream, not something Americans would swallow were it not packaged in FAUXwrap and given a pass by the Centrist sycophants.

We do get to see Ryan's Budget even if Romney's tax returns stay hidden in the swamps. The question is whether the Dems and Obama will tell the story of this budget or get lost in the details about "issues." Talk about economics is a loser because it is about theory in a toxic propaganda field. Talk about the Middle Class is about what is happening to people. This is about a lot more than job creation, it is about what kind of country working people will have and where we will all be living our own American Dreams. The fact that the stupid economy is such a deciding issue is part of the pathology. Unemployment rates of the moment ought to matter a lot less than where we are being taken by the tools of Corporate. Fight "the Man" and don't explain away hard times.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

I am confused on how someone can equate Rand's economic view to authoritarianism, seems to me it is the opposite. Is not government inherently authoritarian?

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

Is not John Galt and every "boss?" I agree that you are confused.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

from twitter :


Channeling Bush, war supporters/military dodgers Romney & Ryan insult those who served by using battleship as their prop.

miksilvr
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Quote drc2:

Is not John Galt and every "boss?" I agree that you are confused.

No, I can quit and work elsewhere as in the private sector I have choice of association. My boss cannot force me to do anything.

If I don't pay into social security or other taxes the government can imprison me, the government can force me to do something I do not want to do. Who is inherently the more authoritarian one here?

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WorkerBee
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Quote WorkerBee:
Quote drc2:

Is not John Galt and every "boss?" I agree that you are confused.

No, I can quit and work elsewhere as in the private sector I have choice of association. My boss cannot force me to do anything.

If I don't pay into social security or other taxes the government can imprison me, the government can force me to do something I do not want to do. Who is inherently the more authoritarian one here?

Well stated, WorkerBee.

The main problem with AntiFascist's original contention is that Paul Ryan's rhetoric doesn't match his voting record. Rand was not a libertarian but at least supported some kind of economic liberty. Her foreign policy views are anathema to libertarianism. Ryan does not support economic liberty.

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LysanderSpooner
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Oh No! Who will you vote for then?

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am

Well, drc, the issue that Antifascist presents is the problem of the apparent hypocrisy of an authoritarian leader in using various theistic belief systems and the inability of followers to distinguish what's taking place. The end result of that is an authoritarian system, which the authoritarian leader learns to manipulate in the minds of the agape true believers, whether they are of the Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged theology or the Biblical evangelical fundamentalist variety. I think analyzing whether Paul Ryan is an actual true believer is beyond our analytical forcepts here. What we can observe is his behavior, and as Anti puts it:

Quote in the OP Antifascist:

Wait! Isn’t this a contradiction for Ryan to claim Ayn Randian atheistic nihilism and Christian theism? Of course not! Proclaiming belief in god to gain political power for oneself is exactly what an Ayn Randian nihilist would do so Paul Ryan is being a perfectly consistent nihilist, but an inconsistent theist. However, even consistently itself is not a value in a valueless nihilistic universe. Ryan is simply using language to say whatever is necessary and convenient to gain political power so to construct society on Ayn Rand’s nihilistic philosophy.

This is precisely what Altemeyer identifies differentiates between social dominators (who he includes as authoritarian leaders) from (Eric Hoffer's True Believers) authoritarian followers. What also helps sort this out into some sort of big picture structure is looking at the kinds of answers to specific differentiating questions on the RWA scale in his Chapter One of The Authoritarians that these Right Wing Authoritarian leaders and followers will give. There are important patterns there that help distinguish the picayune thinking that may seem unique from the thinking that involves following trends.

Whether you or I believe in a hypothesized projection that either Romney or Ryan are actually authentic in their positions is not a good place to go to distinguish these issues for a better understanding of the politics in play in this nation at the moment. That's almost a non sequitur distraction. Ryan gets elected. Yes, but we must avoid the tendency to jump to a logical fallacy conclusion and leave it at that. Anti has shown that Ryan is not terribly consistent with his different theologies, either the free market Ayn Randian version he promotes nor his supposed Christian belief version. At least that would be my position when observing this. And I am well aware I have no way to ever get to know him or Romney personally. I think to understand the trends and why any of these politicians are able to get people to go along with what can be seen as a sociopathic, suicidal behaviors for humanity as a whole is crucial to by-passing a lot of superficial debate picking at nits.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

@ren

You are making these long winded, intellectual arguments based on the silly notion that since Ryan said some positive things about Rands economic views so he must therefor support every idea that Rand ever had.

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

WB, you do not understand thinking and have internalized the spirit of the drone. Rand makes his staff read Atlas Shrugged and has a lot of quotes about how much her views mean to him. But this is only about Rand as a cultural icon of the Right, and how Ryan is part of that. When you run the numbers on his "budget" and watch him pal around with banksters, he loses that small town "son of the local mogul" charm and morphs straight into Galtlike entitlement.

Ryan is so far from a Populist that it should require the Tea Party to turn in its populist credentials to support him. What is interesting is how the "rewrite" of history makes the workers and the Boss the twin victims of the State. From being the means of relief for "the people" from the tyranny of elites, far from being "democracy, the attack on "gubamint" and prescription of low taxes and minimal regulation in 'bidness' is a recipe for Mob rule from Bosses, not for out of control angry masses.

It offers dramatic fantasies of individual heroism and stalwart courage in the face of struggle; but it just establishes the economic royalists in the name of individual freedom.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

.ren, I am interested in how the manipulators internalize their persona to believe their own myths instead of just seeing a way to exploit others with some sense of committing crimes they can get away with. If we are going to fight against this stuff, we should care about that difference.

In order to understand and appreciate "the manipulated" we also have to have some empathy for why they are attracted to the religion and politics we find so abhorent, incoherent and creepy. I don't spend a lot of time figuring out the country club set, but what is going on with the Reagan Democrat or vet who feels dishonored is about our neighbors. I want to find a better story with them instead of "for" them.

I am looking for the nuns to challenge the Ryan Budget as well as offer to give Mitt a ride to meet poor people who work. Obama might even find a new voice as the haloes and genius of tycoons slip and slide in public. Of course I am concerned that the media chatter will make the numbers confusing and the narratives about the world we want instead of what is. I do worry that Liberals will presume that everyone knows how Ryan's numbers add up and come to the same conclusion about it.

My point about Ryan in 'contrast' to Mitt is that Paul was and is a personally popular guy in his home town and is generally well-liked at the personal level. Mitt was a preppy bully and was not popular with his peers unless they wanted in on his privilege. He is still far less human than Ryan at the image level. The fact that Ryan is also susceptible to the Power Elite despite having some hometown roots is more worrying than the "favored son" small-minded elitism of the Romney.

The immediate electoral "danger" is that Corporate, Tea Party, Populism will give the manipulators the levers they need to erase any feeble opposition to the full-tilt Wall St. PNAC Rapture Right pathology. For all their faults, the Centrist Dems do put the brakes on the apocalypse. I am not ready for the apocalypse. I think we need to build more before we are ready for the storm to any degree. I expect it to come long before we are "ready," but long after we have gotten tired of waiting. Much as I love Chris Hedges and agree with the bulk of his thinking, I am not ready to help the dam burst just to wipe out the New Rome. I want to get more people out of the path of the deluge before I call down curses on my enemies.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

There's a sound bite out there where the Mittiot introduced Ryan as the "Next President of the United States".

Paul Ryan appears in my "Night of the Dreadful Republicans" video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo2iaR-TwRE

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captbebops
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from twitter :


So the Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan connection was "debunked"? Here he is praising her on "morality" in 2009 courtesy

miksilvr
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Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

WOW! Ryan really scares you guys. I can't remember the last time so much unfounded nonsense was spewed in such a short time. I like him more already.

Take a deep breath. He is not a boogyman, he is just a man.

I can't wait to see what kind of stuff is made up when Ryan has had a whole week to stew if this is what we get after a few hours.

Paleo-con
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Somebody wrote...

No, I can quit and work elsewhere as in the private sector I have choice of association. My boss cannot force me to do anything. If I don't pay into social security or other taxes the government can imprison me, the government can force me to do something I do not want to do. Who is inherently the more authoritarian one here?

When Neo-liberals speak of “freedom” they really mean contractualism, which is a very special definition of liberty in which the wage slave is free to select their master, but that doesn’t change the essential relationship between master and slave. Free-market Libertarians have this phony definition of freedom. This is the same definition of “freedom” that is meant when it is said, “You are free to pay your taxes or go to prison” which is no freedom at all. Libertarians recognize the force used for tax extraction, but not for wage extraction.

You are making these long winded, intellectual arguments based on the silly notion that since Ryan said some positive things about Rands economic views so he must therefor support every idea that Rand ever had.

Well, Ryan went far beyond saying “some positive things about Rand economics” and embraced Randianism ideology itself that has some fundamental assumptions both explicit and implicit about economics, anthropology, sociology, and ontology. One can pick and choose vegetables based on preference without logical consequence, but one can’t as easily pick and choose ideological systems because they are built on axioms and rules of logical consistency. So if one defends concepts like human rights, economic freedom, and political liberty and simultaneously embraces nihilism that denies the existence of these concepts then such eclecticism is nonsensical, and contradictory.

I am confused on how someone can equate Rand's economic view to authoritarianism, seems to me it is the opposite. Is not government inherently authoritarian?

See, even you demand logical consistency, but the great convenience-- and danger-- of Ryan’s allegiance to Randian nihilism is that contradiction is not an obstacle to his political ends: he can be libertarian and anti-libertarian, authoritarian and anti-authoritarian, free-market and planned-market, theistic and atheistic, democratic and anti-democratic. Without the requirement of “long winded intellectual arguments” for ideological logical consistency, Ryan can propose a stateless utopian society established at the point of a gun. See the problem?

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Antifascist
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Quote WorkerBee:

I am confused on how someone can equate Rand's economic view to authoritarianism, seems to me it is the opposite. Is not government inherently authoritarian?

The differenece is this. In a democracy, the people are the govt, and have a voice in their governance. A mining company that chooses to pay their workers in company scrip, or a Afghan Warlord who rules with an iron fist are far more authoritarian than a democracy.

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Phaedrus76
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Quote Antifascist:When Neo-liberals speak of “freedom” they really mean contractualism, which is a very special definition of liberty in which the wage slave is free to select their master, but that doesn’t change the essential relationship between master and slave. Free-market Libertarians have this phony definition of freedom. This is the same definition of “freedom” that is meant when it is said, “You are free to pay your taxes or go to prison” which is no freedom at all. Libertarians recognize the force used for tax extraction, but not for wage extraction.
That is because there is no force for "wage extraction", not even sure what that means. When you start a job you have an agreed upon wage and either party can sever that relationship at any time it is no longer benificial. Please exlain to me where the force is?

Quote Antifascist:Well, Ryan went far beyond saying “some positive things about Rand economics” and embraced Randianism ideology itself that has some fundamental assumptions both explicit and implicit about economics, anthropology, sociology, and ontology. One can pick and choose vegetables based on preference without logical consequence, but one can’t as easily pick and choose ideological systems because they are built on axioms and rules of logical consistency. So if one defends concepts like human rights, economic freedom, and political liberty and simultaneously embraces nihilism that denies the existence of these concepts then such eclecticism is nonsensical, and contradictory.
That quote talked about economics/capitalism. Ayn Rand is an author, not an ideological system.

I ask again, does the fact that Ryan spoke highly of her books economic message mean that he agrees with every word she has ever stated?

I am confused on how someone can equate Rand's economic view to authoritarianism, seems to me it is the opposite. Is not government inherently authoritarian?
Quote Antifascist:See, even you demand logical consistency, but the great convenience-- and danger-- of Ryan’s allegiance to Randian nihilism is that contradiction is not an obstacle to his political ends: he can be libertarian and anti-libertarian, authoritarian and anti-authoritarian, free-market and planned-market, theistic and atheistic, democratic and anti-democratic. Without the requirement of “long winded intellectual arguments” for ideological logical consistency, Ryan can propose a stateless utopian society established at the point of a gun. See the problem?

Can you define what Randian Nihilism means to you?

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WorkerBee
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Quote Phaedrus76:The differenece is this. In a democracy, the people are the govt, and have a voice in their governance.

Sure, but if the majority want to force everyone to do something individuals are still forced to comply under threat of fines or imprisonment. When it comes to private business I can always choose to not do business with them, regardless if the majority loves that business.

Quote Phaedrus76:A mining company that chooses to pay their workers in company scrip,

Again, the employees can choose not to be employees.

Quote Phaedrus76:or a Afghan Warlord who rules with an iron fist are far more authoritarian than a democracy.

I would argue that the Afghan Warlord is effectively the government in the area he controls.

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WorkerBee
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Can you define what Randian Nihilism means to you?

Thom Hartman on Ayn Rand and William Hickman. (5 min. 30 sec.)

That quote talked about economics/capitalism. Ayn Rand is an author, not an ideological system

My goodness. Rand is making statements about altruism, theology, government, and ethical egoism as her ethical system. Of course she is ideological, that is why right-wingers read her!

When you start a job you have an agreed upon wage and either party can sever that relationship at any time it is no longer benificial. Please exlain to me where the force is?

You need to read Classical economists, like Joseph Townsend's, Dissertation on the Poor Laws (1786). Townsend knew what force was and how it was to be used efficiently against the poor.

“Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjection, to the most perverse. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them [the poor] on to labour; yet our laws have said they shall never hunger. The laws, it must be confessed, have likewise said, they shall be compelled to work. But then legal constraint is attended with much trouble, violence and noise; creates ill will, and never can be productive of good and acceptable service: whereas hunger is not only peaceable, silent, unremitting pressure, but, as the most natural motive to industry and labour, it calls forth the most powerful exertions; and, when satisfied by the free bounty of another, lays lasting and sure foundations for goodwill and gratitude.”(Polanyi, Karl (2001-03-28). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (pp. 118-119). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.)

You are free to go to prison if you don't want to pay your taxes. Paying is your choice isn't it?

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Antifascist
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STRAUSSIAN ANTI-PHILOSOPHY: THREE COUNTER ARGUMENTS AGAINST LEO STRAUSS' PHILOSOPHY OF NIHILISM, ESOTERICISM, AND SOCIAL PRAGMATISM.

Philosophical nihilism often appears in political Right-Wing movements. Currently Ayn Randian egoism is the nihilistic school of choice, but in the past the philosopher Leo Strauss was embraced by key leaders in the Republican party. Unfortunately, Strauss’s Nazi association was a bit of a problem for mainstream American politics and is less discussed. Straussian anti-philosophy coexisted well with modern scientific positivistic nihilism.

Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899 - October 18, 1973), served as a member of the faculty of the University of Chicago, chiefly as a professor of political philosophy. His primary influence in academia remains confined to political science departments. Notable Straussians include: Allan Bloom, Thomas Pangle, Leon Kass, Harry V. Jaffa, Martin Diamond, Ralph Lerner, and George Anastaplo. Leo Strauss saw himself as a conservative, and for the most part, "Straussians" have become closely associated with certain factions within the U.S.Republican Party.

Leo Strauss' fascist philosophical thought is composed of three essential elements.1. Straussian Philosophy is a philosophy of Nihilism.

The philosopher/superman is that rare man who can face the truth: that there is no God; that the universe cares nothing for men or mankind; and that all of human history is nothing more than an insignificant speck in the cosmos, which no sooner began, than it will vanish forever without a trace. There is no morality, no good and evil, and of course any notion of an afterlife is an old wives' tale. Source: Secret Kingdom of Leo Strauss

Wikipedia defines “nihilism” as the following:

Nihilism in its moral or ethical sense is a complete rejection of all systems of authority, morality, and social custom. Either through the rejection of previously accepted bases of belief or through extreme relativism or skepticism, the nihilist believes that none of these claims to power are valid, and often that they should be fought against.

On the subject of morality specifically, nihilism concludes that relativism renders the project of normative ethics, and the concepts of good and evil, meaningless - though not necessarily with the intent to follow this with any conclusions about society or authority, as there is no correct form for either social institutions or practical morality.

Counter augment against Straussian Nihilism: If nihilism is true, then how can one argue that Strauss’s philosophy is better than any other philosophy? Strauss is arguing that it is better to believe in his philosophy that not to believe in his philosophical thought. But if the universe is absent of any value, then how can one argue Straussian beliefs are “better” since “better” is a value judgment? If Straussian nihilism is true, then it is has to be false.

2. Straussian Philosophy is a philosophy of Deception.

Strauss believed the great philosophers like Plato understood the reality of nihilism and hid this truth in their writings--Plato of all thinkers! This is the "Straussian esortarianism" concept.

It is because the truth would destroy society and the philosophers alike if it became known, that Strauss said that Plato and the ancient philosophers, like Strauss himself, wrote in a kind of code, whose true meaning only disclosed itself to the wise. If the vulgar happened on their books, they would find only the familiar salutary myths about the rewards of virtue, the punishment of vice, and the like.Secret Kingdom of Leo Strauss

Strauss' hermeneutical (interpretation of writings) theory is called, "Straussian text" because this "hidden" message of nihilism is behind many philosophical classical texts.

It is the supermen/philosophers who provide the herd with the religious, moral, and other beliefs they require, but which the supermen themselves know to be lies. Nietzsche said that his supermen were "atheistic priests," and Strauss pretends that their lies are "noble lies." But they do not do this out of benevolence, of course; charity and benevolence are mocked by Nietzsche and Strauss as unworthy of gods and godlike men. Rather, the "philosophers" use these falsehoods to shape society in the interest of these "philosophers" themselves.

Now, the philosophers require various sorts of people to serve them, including the "gentlemen," that word which had struck me earlier, when Bloom [student of Strauss] had used it in speaking of Socrates' trial. Rather than the "esoteric," or secret teachings, the future "gentlemen" are indoctrinated in the "exoteric," or public teachings. They are taught to believe in religion, morality, patriotism, and public service, and some go into government. Think of former Education Secretary William Bennett and his Book of Virtues. Of course, along with these traditional virtues, they also believe in the "philosophers" who have taught them all these good things.

Those "gentlemen" who become statesmen, will continue to take the advice of the philosophers. This rule of the philosophers through their front-men in government, is what Strauss calls the "secret kingdom" of the philosophers, a "secret kingdom" which is the life's objective of many of Strauss's esoteric students.Secret Kingdom of Leo Strauss

Phenomenology is a methodology of “description” and “suspends,” or “Brackets” (the technical term is “Epoche”) any belief in the existence of the object of description so that an “analysis” of human being, for example, can be carried on without having to address metaphysical questions about the existence of human beings. In this sense, phenomenology is “positivistic” because it only describes experience. Modern positivistic linguistic philosophy and phenomenology have collaborated in academia. I think this non-normative and descriptive methodology that “leaves everything as it is” was what concerned philosopher Herbert Marcuse the most. This non-critical descriptive method can be found in modern philosophies of Hermeneutics today. Strauss’ academic work consisted of “descriptive” research of others’ writings.

Counter argument against Straussian esotericism: Strauss accepts the concept of the “noble lie” and that only the “gentlemen” know these falsehoods from the truth of Straussian thought. But this dichotomy between public indoctrination and private Straussian esoteric truth make his philosophy impossible to analyze, or evaluate since Straussian esotericism could be itself a noble lie.

This is the same as saying “Everything I say is false.” But if that is the case, the statement “Everything I say is false” has to be false also. So here, if his statement “Everything I say is false” is to be true, it then has to be false.

The Straussian may say “Oh, I didn’t say everything I state is false, just the public appeal to traditional values. The Straussian advice to the “gentlemen” is the real truth.” But what are the criteria for determining, or distinguishing true advice to the gentlemen and public indoctrination? The criteria of true advice could be a noble lie also! So Straussian epistemology has no methodology to determine truth and falsity except what Straussians declare as true. The problem with a crypto-epistemology is that any public presentation of a Straussian thesis, or any error discovered in a Straussian position can be abandoned as a pseudo-epistemology making verification of this school of thought impossible. This is called egoistic relativism and is the hallmark of fascist epistemology.

3. Straussian social pragmatism is better than societal disorder:

Straussian ethics holds that there are no ethics. We live in a nihilistic universe, but the weak "mass," or "herd" need ethics. The Enlightened pretend to believe in ethics publicly and rule over the unenlightened herd that need these fictions to live in an orderly society. This is a society of the "Superman," or in their code the "Gentlemen" that have a right to rule the world.

But the great majority of men and women, on the other hand, is so far from ever being able to face the truth, that it virtually belongs to another species. Nietzsche called it the "herd," and also the "slaves." They require the bogeymen of a threatening God and of punishment in the afterlife, and the fiction of moral right and wrong. Without these illusions, they would go mad and run riot, and the social order, any social order, would collapse. And since human nature never changes, according to Strauss, this will always be so.Secret Kingdom of Leo Strauss

Counter argument against Straussian social pragmatism: If the universe is truly nihilistic, then what is wrong with a society in disorder? A disorderly society is no better than an orderly society in a nihilistic universe devoid of value, and meaning. Straussians can argue that a disorderly society is a danger to human survival and is necessary for the human species to continue pragmatically. But, “survival” is a value judgment itself. Also, "Pragmatism" is a philosophy itself, and could not be valid in a nihilistic universe. The Straussian might say, “But, I want to survival not because survival has any value, but I just want to survival—it is a human desire that cannot be resisted, or controlled and Straussian philosophy allows me to survival as a philosopher whereas I would perish otherwise.”

The flaw of Straussian philosophy is the flaw shared by all philosophies of Relativism—in this case relativistic pragmatic “truth”, which enables me to survive.

Christian Theologian, Paul Tillich, writes the following against Relativism.

…. there are people, and I am among them, who are unwilling to accept this description and to surrender to an absolute relativism, not because we are authoritarian or reactionary but for definite reasons both theoretical and pragmatic.

The logical position against any claim of relativism to absoluteness is that "absolute relativism" is a self-contradictory term, an impossible combination of words. If one avoids this impossible combination of words, relativism itself becomes relative; therefore an element of absoluteness is not only a possibility but also even a necessity, otherwise no assertion at all can be made.

But absolute relativism is also impossible practically. If I am asked to surrender totally to relativism I can say, "But I live! I know what ‘true’ and ‘false’ mean, I do something I can describe as ‘better’ than something else, I venerate something which concerns me ultimately and which for me is holy." The question then is: How can one make such statements if relativism has the last word? Paul Tillich, My Search for Absolutes.

Straussian philosophy is a contradiction on many levels, but this is not a detriment in a nihilistic universe. A contradiction is an “impossible combination of words” and, therefore, contradiction renders Straussian fascist philosophy impossible.

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Quote drc:

Ryan is so far from a Populist that it should require the Tea Party to turn in its populist credentials to support him.

Once again, in the spirit of analysis of this right wing "pathology" you've been studying and trying to describe, I'd like to point to Altemeyer's 2010 "Comment on the Tea Party Movement." In it he applies his 2005 The Authoritarians critique to the movement. Especially instructive is his "Authoritarian Followers" analysis beginning on page 4, where he applies the twelve point tendencies of his Right Wing Followers paradigm to what he finds in the Tea Party Movement. I think those patterns are interesting for all of us to heed, whether or not we want to stand and judge people as followers who are manipulated by leaders in a system that offers so few opportunities for individual expression on a national stage. I don't think any of us are completely outside the system and free from its multi levels of influence. Those include the following points (keep in mind these are measured in groups in degrees, not in either/or principles of black and white:

1. Authoritarian submission.

2. Fear.

3. Self Righteousness.

4. Hostility.

5. A lack of critical thinking.

6. Our "biggest problem".

7. Compartmentalized thinking.

8. Double Standards.

9. Feeling empowered when in groups.

10. Dogmatism.

11. Ethnocentrism.

12. Prejudice.

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I am continually amazed at how the pseudo intellectuals here can type so many words without saying a damn thing.

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I am continually amazed at how the pseudo intellectuals here can type so many words without saying a damn thing.

LOL!!! In other words a Ad Hominem non response. That's a good sign.

Hey, Ren,

Thanks for the information on authoritarian personalities. I have some research on that topic but your source is better organized, up to date, and more concise. I will read up on The Authoritarians (PDF version, 1.35Mb). Good to see your posts!

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Hi, Anti. Good to see you posting on this topic as well, and bringing back some of that fine analysis you've done over the years here at Thom's. I recognize some of it as you've applied it to Paul Ryan. I'm aware you have some of the best historical scholarly development on authoritarianism that followed in the wake the horrors of Nazi fascism and WWII. Altemeyer's work stimulated some of the recent work we've seen in this 21st Century, including John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience. I believe it's inclusive of everything you already have and should be a quick review for you.

I've looked through Chris Hedges' bibliography in his American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America published in 2007. I don't see Bob Altemeyer's recent works listed, but I find many of the same sources. Chris of course takes his own unique characteristic perspective. In line with your recent Straussian nihilst analysis, the first sentence in that book reads:

Quote Chris Hedges:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance.

Hedges, Chris (2007-01-09). American Fascists (p. 1). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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Quote .ren:

Hi, Anti. Good to see you posting on this topic as well, and bringing back some of that fine analysis you've done over the years here at Thom's. I recognize some of it as you've applied it to Paul Ryan. I'm aware you have some of the best historical scholarly development on authoritarianism that followed in the wake the horrors of Nazi fascism and WWII. Altemeyer's work stimulated some of the recent work we've seen in this 21st Century, including John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience. I believe it's inclusive of everything you already have and should be a quick review for you.

I've looked through Chris Hedges' bibliography in his American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America published in 2007. I don't see Bob Altemeyer's recent works listed, but I find many of the same sources. Chris of course takes his own unique characteristic perspective. In line with your recent Straussian nihilst analysis, the first sentence in that book reads:

Quote Chris Hedges:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance.

Hedges, Chris (2007-01-09). American Fascists (p. 1). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

.ren and Anti, thank you for your analysis and information. I admire anyone who can put up with the crap that comes from the right on this blog and that you don't point out that many have claim that they would quit if they couldn't convience people of their argurement like lysanderspoon but they keep dropping their crap unlike unhouse broken puppies.

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Quote Paleo-con:

WOW! Ryan really scares you guys. I can't remember the last time so much unfounded nonsense was spewed in such a short time. I like him more already.

Take a deep breath. He is not a boogyman, he is just a man.

I can't wait to see what kind of stuff is made up when Ryan has had a whole week to stew if this is what we get after a few hours.

Gee, we haven't ask for his birth certificate or transcripts or made conjectures of some 50 year long conspiracy. We just point out actually statement and deeds.

I am amazed that the right is so offended when they are confronted by the tactics they have been using againist Obama for over 4 years. If the kitchens too hot, get out.

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Michael Parenti on Fascism

Parenti’s treatment of fascism differs from that of the many writers who stress the irrational features of fascism: its state idolatry, nationalistic atavism, and leadership cult. While not denying that these are key components in the propagation of fascism’s appeal, he invites us not to overlook the “rational politico economic functions” that fascism performed. “Much of politics is the rational manipulation of irrational symbols,” he claims. The emotive appeals of fascist ideology have served a class-control function, “distracting the populace from their legitimate grievances and directing their frustrations at various scapegoats.”

Most of the immense literature on the subject of fascism and Nazism focuses on who supported Hitler’s rise to power. Relatively little, Parenti writes, is said about whom the Nazis supported when they came to power. In both fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, he points out, wages were cut drastically, domestic programs were rolled back, huge subsidies were given to heavy industry, labor unions were broken, taxes on the very rich were greatly reduced or eliminated altogether, and workplace safety regulations were ignored or abolished. Fascism, he concludes, has a much overlooked politico- economic agenda; it involves something more than just goose stepping.

Michael Parenti -- Functions of Fascism (Real History Video) 1 of 4

Compare the fascist economic plans described by Parenti and the Romney/Ryan budget plan.

"It's the Romney-Ryan Plan"

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Quote Recovering conservative2:

.ren and Anti, thank you for your analysis and information. I admire anyone who can put up with the crap that comes from the right on this blog and that you don't point out that many have claim that they would quit if they couldn't convience people of their argurement like lysanderspoon but they keep dropping their crap unlike unhouse broken puppies.

Thank you Recovering Conservative. I've been posting on a Thom Hartmann board of one version or another since Feb 4. 2004, Anti started posting a little later that same year. Over the years, these cons have thrown everything they have at both of us, which isn't much. Their posts are mostly aimed at the adolescent ego level in humans. Third grade playground bully stuff. You are welcome to come up with whatever analysis seems to fit for you. I find it easy to ignore.

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Quote WorkerBee:
Quote Phaedrus76:The differenece is this. In a democracy, the people are the govt, and have a voice in their governance.

Sure, but if the majority want to force everyone to do something individuals are still forced to comply under threat of fines or imprisonment. When it comes to private business I can always choose to not do business with them, regardless if the majority loves that business.

The majority do want the majority to follow the law, and they hope for everyone to. Speed limits in neighborhoods with kids playing in the streets is a good idea for most people. Kids still get killed. The killer had his freedom. He will have his freedom in jail too, just less of it. The streets in a neighborhood are often under a homeowner's association agreement, which is a business. Cities are incorporated, that's how they become cities. The government is funded with the same instruments as corporations are, bonds. If NY offered an ipo would that make patronizing NY more palatable?

There are a few utopian villages established for gun nuts, and various other anthromorphics. There are underground civilizations planned and selling lots and bunker shares. Same thing on giant ships. Who will service these antisocials is beyond me. Jim Jones tried this in Guyana. Heavens Gate did, too. WB do you have a flag? At least a secret handshake? If you're thinking of trying the Heaven's Gate castration an intervention might be in order. What does your membership cost? Do you have annual dues? Cults are a part of fringe religious studies I know, but I think they just don't get enough examination, inspite of their attention. Thanks for helping us understand. Can you scan your membership card and paste it so we could see one? [redact your personal info first]

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Quote Recovering conservative2:Gee, we haven't ask for his birth certificate or transcripts or made conjectures of some 50 year long conspiracy. We just point out actually statement and deeds.

I am amazed that the right is so offended when they are confronted by the tactics they have been using againist Obama for over 4 years. If the kitchens too hot, get out.

Cool, now we see an attempt at humor on top of the made up stuff. I see that the rest of the campaign is going to be entertaining.

Okay... So I went back and read the thread again. Maybe I missed it, but I still don't see where anyone pointed out "actually statement and deeds". Point them out, and I will be happy to discuss them heat or not.

Paleo-con
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Excellent thread Anti, Ren, Drc!

Thanks for all of the information and the work!

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You are welcome Karolina!

On media propaganda, fictional Obama, and fake political campaigns.

Mitt Romney’s Fake Twitter Followers

The widely reported surge in tens of thousands of new followers for @mittromney from 21 July – which provoked commentary and suspicion – appeared to have been purchased from a dealer, it said: “We believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.”

The analysis, part of a wider investigation into what the report called the underground Twitter economy, found telltale signals that about a quarter of the new followers were less than three weeks old and had not tweeted. Some 80% were less than three-months-old.

Barracuda said this fit a wider pattern of clandestine Twitter trading which it began studying in May. “Our team set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 Twitter followers for each of them from eBay and another website searched from Google.”

It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

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Quote Antifascist:

You are welcome Karolina!

On media propaganda, fictional Obama, and fake political campaigns.

Mitt Romney’s Fake Twitter Followers

It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

I remember seeing fake ones before. I suppose an algorythm progam could seek multiple variations of known opinion maker's names for many accounts, too. Maybe said opinion leaders can higher their own tweeters to keep themselves relevant. Murdoch might not be typing anything, but his tweet team gets a bonus everytime he gets media coverage outside of his own sycophants.

I wonder how Mitt's open support for paid assassins plays out. I bet because he has business experience he did background checks as he said. Assassins trained at Ft Benning were the best ROI so a standard could be set for the deal. And since he knew his presidential run was on the horizon, Ft Benning contracts were a Buy American bent. " Let the Georgia State Decide Your Fate" was a possible pitch line.Picture Mitt giving that line punctuated with "Pow, Pow" while he does a 6 shooter impression with both hands.[criss cross of course, or over and under add flourish], then blow on his fingers to cool the gun barrels. ICSL

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I agree,a very educational thread. And thanks to drc2 an idea for another thread.

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Quote Antifascist:

Here is Ayn Rand herself proclaiming her atheism and nihilistic views. Ayn Rand video

This is from Man's Rights by Ayn Rand. It is from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

Rand is definitely an atheist, but I wouldn't say she was a nihilist. And, of course, she wasn't consistent in her defense of individual rights. But neither are liberals and progressives.

By the way Anti,, you are against fascism as I am. But what are you for?

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Ayn Rand's morality of selfishness excludes the fact that we are a social species and that seeing other people suffering around us demoralizes us if we are mentally healthy human beings.

To throw our own loved ones under the bus if or when they are weak — most people won't do. Healthy and strong humans would rather risk dying by fighting for their loved ones, if someone is trying to eliminate them.

However, people who are in a system that has no respect for the lives of ALL human beings are instntly demoralized. That kind of system can never be considered a MORAL system.

Ayn Rand's "new morality" is actually a complex philosophy about immorality.

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She may've thought the virtues of suffering as espoused by the passion plays every year, and the historical necessity of hair shirts to achieve glory, justified her own assistance. After all a sadist is just a masochist following the golden rule..

Ryan's plan does offer a new stipend for CILICE garments or demands that they be worn by medicare recipients and snap, and LITC, and democrats and...

He has promised they will be made in America.by steel, or ...and this is the bonus..if you are allergic to copper or aluminum, you get a credit if you wear one made of the thing you are allergic to. .

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Less Interesting Person Than Romney Found in WisconsinManhunt Over

U.S.S. WISCONSIN (The Borowitz Report) – An exhaustive manhunt that took months and spanned the country came to a dramatic end today as a less interesting person than Mitt Romney turned up in Wisconsin. Continue reading here.

On the deck of the U.S.S. Wisconsin, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records were on hand to certify the result of the search.

“This man is in fact the least interesting person in America,” one Guinness official said, adding that Mr. Romney himself had held that title since 1947.

Mr. Romney and the man made a joint appearance, after which the audience was advised not to operate heavy machinery.

The man of the hour used his brief remarks to lay out his vision of America, saying that billions of dollars could be saved by eliminating food, clothing, and shelter.

For his part, Mr. Romney sounded a theme for the fall campaign: “It’s time to transform America, and the two of us are both Transformers.”

Get the Borowitz Report delivered to your inbox for free.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/08/less-interesting-person-than-romney-found-in-wisconsin.html#ixzz23MD93JHr

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Quote Karolina:

Ayn Rand's morality of selfishness excludes the fact that we are a social species and that seeing other people suffering around us demoralizes us if we are mentally healthy human beings.

From what I know about Objectivism, this may be partially true. But there is nothing that Objectivists promote politically that would prevent anyone from helping their fellow man provided voluntary means were used.

Quote Karolina:

To throw our own loved ones under the bus if or when they are weak — most people won't do. Healthy and strong humans would rather risk dying by fighting for their loved ones, if someone is trying to eliminate them.

Would you throw your loved ones under the bus? Why do you assume everyone else would, too?

Quote Karolina:

However, people who are in a system that has no respect for the lives of ALL human beings are instntly demoralized. That kind of system can never be considered a MORAL system.

Ayn Rand's "new morality" is actually a complex philosophy about immorality.

I'm not an Objectivists, but a system in which individual rights are respected, which libertarians do endorse, is a moral system. How you act ethicially is your choice? The political question comes down to: what are mens' rights? What is the role of government is a free society?

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Quote LysanderSpooner:

Rand is definitely an atheist, but I wouldn't say she was a nihilist.

By the way Anti,, you are against fascism as I am. But what are you for?

Wait, atheists are nihilists of the fascism of God, right? Given this fact:

Explain how Jack and Jill even got to the hill, what size the bucket was, and if Madison meant for them to go there.

What a joke discussion is in America today.

Maybe I should go back to the 'game changing' 'sharply edging' 'both sides' of our mock political 'debates' on TV.

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Quote Antifascist:

Somebody wrote...

No, I can quit and work elsewhere as in the private sector I have choice of association. My boss cannot force me to do anything. If I don't pay into social security or other taxes the government can imprison me, the government can force me to do something I do not want to do. Who is inherently the more authoritarian one here?

When Neo-liberals speak of “freedom” they really mean contractualism, which is a very special definition of liberty in which the wage slave is free to select their master, but that doesn’t change the essential relationship between master and slave. Free-market Libertarians have this phony definition of freedom. This is the same definition of “freedom” that is meant when it is said, “You are free to pay your taxes or go to prison” which is no freedom at all. Libertarians recognize the force used for tax extraction, but not for wage extraction.

I don't know what a neo-liberal is. But libertarians definition of liberty (not freedom) is exactly the opposite argument of "You are free to pay your taxes or go to prison". Working for someone or not is not coercive in a libertarian society. In a statist society, which you support, not paying your taxes and ending up in prison, is coercive.

Anti,

If you leave your current job, even in the highly regulated society that we have, what happens?

If you don't pay your taxes, what happens?

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Quote LysanderSpooner:

How you act ethicially is your choice? The political question comes down to: what are mens' rights? What is the role of government is a free society?

The question whores are begging us to answer them.

anonymous green
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Quote Antifascist:

See, even you demand logical consistency, but the great convenience-- and danger-- of Ryan’s allegiance to Randian nihilism is that contradiction is not an obstacle to his political ends: he can be libertarian and anti-libertarian, authoritarian and anti-authoritarian, free-market and planned-market, theistic and atheistic, democratic and anti-democratic. Without the requirement of “long winded intellectual arguments” for ideological logical consistency, Ryan can propose a stateless utopian society established at the point of a gun. See the problem?

I gather that you thing Paul Ryan is contradicting his own alleged principles. And I would agree. But what does that have to do with whether Rand's politics or economics are sound or unsound?

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Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is a collection of essays, mostly by Ayn Rand, with additional essays by her associates Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan and Robert Hessen.

Alan Greenspan was not just an ordinary person that believed in Ayn Randian Objectivism, but was Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006 appointed by Free Market Neo-Liberal Ronald Reagan. And being true to Ryandian Objectivism Greenspan furiously advocated the deregulation of Wall Street. The Republican congressional leadership bribed President Clinton at the end of his term into signing the Financial Services Modernization Act that abolished Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

In the early 1950s, Greenspan began an association with famed novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand.[42]Greenspan was introduced to Rand by his first wife, Joan Mitchell. Rand nicknamed Greenspan "the undertaker" because of his penchant for dark clothing and reserved demeanor. Although Greenspan was initially a logical positivist,[49] he was converted to Rand's philosophy of Objectivism by her associate Nathaniel Branden. He became one of the members of Rand's inner circle, the Ayn Rand Collective, who read Atlas Shrugged while it was being written. During the 1950s and 1960s Greenspan was a proponent of Objectivism, writing articles for Objectivist newsletters and contributing several essays for Rand's 1966 book Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal including an essay supporting the gold standard.[50][51] Rand stood beside him at his 1974 swearing-in as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Greenspan and Rand remained friends until her death in 1982.

Greenspan Admits Philosophical Error

One of the many errors of Ayn Randianism is the fundamental assumption that separates economics from politics. "...according to Rand, and it is equally fundamental that the government itself be limited to its role of protecting rights, for only by rendering all human interaction voluntary, i.e., free from the initiated coercion of criminals and laws, can the market operate to radically improve the lives of everyone." Randianism and Neo-Liberialism is wrong on making this distiction to justify non-regulation of Capitalism because Capital is political power.

...the elements of corporate capitalization – namely the firm’s expected earnings and their associated risk perceptions – represent neither the productivity of the owned artefacts nor the abstract labour socially necessary to produce them, but the power of a corporation’s owners.7In the capitalist order, it is power that makes the owned artefacts valuable to begin with. Moreover, the power to generate earnings and limit risk goes far beyond the narrow spheres of ‘production’ and ‘markets’ to include the entire state structure of corporations and governments.

This perspective is unlike that of conventional political economy. Liberal ideology likes to present capital and state as hostile, while Marxists think of them as complementary. But in both approaches, the two entities – although related – are distinctly instituted and organized.

...As we see it, the legal–organizational entity of the corporation and the network of institutions and organs that make up government are part and parcel of the same encompassing mode of power. We call this mode of power the state of capital, and it is the ongoing transformation of this state of capital that constitutes the accumulation of capital. (Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder, Nitzan, Jonathan and Bichler, Shimshon, 2009, page 8.).

The difficulty lies less in the explanation of the duality and more in the widespread assumption that such a duality exists in the first place. Even E. P.Thompson, a brilliant historian who was otherwise critical of Marxist theoretical abstractions, seems unable to escape it. Writing on the development of British capitalism from the viewpoint of industrial workers, he describes the class socialization of workers as ‘subjected to an intensification of two intolerable forms of relationship: those of economic exploitation and of political oppression’ (1964: 198–99). In this dual world, the industrial labourer works for and is exploited by the factory owner – and when he organizes in opposition, in comes the policeman who breaks his bones, the sheriff who evicts him and the judge who jails him.

Now, this bifurcation is certainly relevant and meaningful – but only up to a point. From the everyday perspective of a worker, an unemployed person, a professional, even a small capitalist, economics and politics indeed seem distinct. As noted, most people tend to think of entities such as ‘factory’, ‘head office’, ‘pay cheque’ and ‘shopping’ differently from the way they think of ‘political party’, ‘taxation’, ‘police’, ‘military spending’ and ‘foreign policy’. Seen from below, the former belong to economics, the latter to politics.

But that is not at all what capitalism looks like from above. It is not how the capitalist ruling class views capitalism, and it is not the most revealing way to understand the basic concepts and broader processes of capitalism. When we consider capitalist society as a whole, the separation of politics and economics becomes a pseudofact. Contrary to both neoclassicists and Marxists who see this duality as inherent in capitalism, in our view it is a theoretical impossibility, one that is precluded by the very nature of capitalism. To paraphrase David Bohm (1980), from this broader perspective, the politics–economics duality is not a useful division, but a misleading fragmentation. It cannot be shown to exist – and if it did exist, profit and accumulation would cease and capitalism would disappear.

The consequences of this entanglement for capital theory are dramatic. As we shall demonstrate, without an ‘economy’ clearly demarcated from ‘politics’we can no longer speak of quantifiable utility and objective labour value; and with these measures gone, neoclassical and Marxian capital theories lose their basic building blocks. (Ibid., page 29-30.)

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When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

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