dr martens green boots Paul Ryan’s Biggest Influence
Lately, Rand’s work has enjoyed a major revival of interest. Besides Ryan, she’s inspired yoga wear company Lululemon to publish her quotations on its products, and she’s even made inroads into the North American semi socialist enclave of Canada.
AlterNet has kept the pace with Rand’s resurgence, doing our best to educate people about what a nutcase she was and how harmful her ideas are. These 10 articles, previously published on AlterNet, shed light on why Rand’s influence on Ryan is so dangerous.
1. Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation
“When I was a kid,” AlterNet contribuer Bruce Levine writes, “my reading included comic books and Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. There wasn’t much difference between the comic books and Rand’s novels in terms of the simplicity of the heroes. What was different was that unlike Superman or Batman, Rand made selfishness heroic, and she made caring about others weakness.”
Bruce Levine’s explanation of how Rand has captured the minds of so many is a must read. “While Harriet Beecher Stowe shamed Americans about the United State’s dehumanization of African Americans and slavery, Ayn Rand removed Americans’ guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except themselves. Not only did Rand make it ‘moral’ for the wealthy not to pay their fair share of taxes, she ‘liberated’ millions of other Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering of their own children.”
2. Rand’s Philosophy in a Nutshell
The bloggers at ThinkProgress explain that the philosophy Ayn Rand laid out in her novels and essays was, “a frightful concoction of hyper egotism, power worship and anarcho capitalism. She opposed all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support for the poor and middle class, regulation of industry and government provision for roads or other infrastructure. She also insisted that law enforcement, defense and the courts were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between ‘moochers’ and ‘producers,’ with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy,
the successful, and the titans of industry.”
3. Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them
AlterNet’s Joshua Holland has the goods: “Her books provided wide ranging parables of ‘parasites,’ ‘looters’ and ‘moochers’ using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes’ labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor).
4. Billionaires and Corporations Use Rand’s Writings To Brainwash College Students
Pam Martens reported that Charles Koch, who pushes “millions of dollars through his foundation into economic programs at public universities and mandating approval of faculty and curriculum in some instances,” partnered with the “southern banking giant BB . mandating that Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged is taught and distributed to students.”
6. While many differences are likely to remain . this means that Objectivism, Rand’s quasi religious philosophy, is going to permeate the political process more than ever before.”
7. Rude, dismissive, vain and self infatuated to the point of obtuseness she names Atlas Shrugged as the only great American novel Rand and her hissing chorus in black manage to alienate the entire school, even the rich board member who had admired and invited her. What strikes Wolff’s narrator most forcefully is her utter lack of charity or empathy, her transparent disgust with everything she views as disfiguring or disabling.”
8. Red State ‘Parasites,’ Blue State Providers
Ayn Rand loved to throw around the word “parasite.” If you aren’t a psychopath billionaire, in Rand’s eyes you’re a parasite. It’s a psychology totally in keeping with the myths of blue state/red state America, as AlterNet’s Sara Robinson explains.
9. Ayn Rand Was a Big Admirer of a Serial Killer
No exaggerating here. Mark Ames writes, “Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of a 12 year old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. on him.”
10. We’ve Already Had a Randian in High Office (Alan Greenspan),
and It Was Devastating to the Middle Class