Greetings and Salutations;
I have been unable to avoid the turmoil over the ongoing madness in the Political world these days. One thing that I have observed is that the Republicans have pushed a big chunk of their motivations for the ongoing cuts in social services and government so far behind the rhetoric that it is easy to forget that the programming exists. However, it does…and if we fail to recognize it, the process of understanding and fighting against their “Slash and Burn cuts” to these programs will be more difficult at best, and impossible at worst.
Much of the world view of the Republican party leaders is firmly rooted in the philosophy of Objectivism. This school of thought is based on these precepts:
- Materialism – Objectivists believe there is nothing beyond that which exists as a physical object, and those objects have intrinsic properties that are independent of other influences.
- Realism – Since everything has a material existence, and properties, All that look at an item will see precisely the same thing.
- Ethics – Objectivism believes in “Rational Self-Interest”. One’s own self interest is all that has importance, and, no person has the obligation to take any concern for the happiness, needs, etc, of any other person.
- Politics – The Objectivist does believe that there should be SOME government, but it should be the minimum needed to provide for property rights, common defense and law. The government should have no powers outside of these three areas.
- Business – Objectivists, based on these other facets of their belief system, prefer a laissez-faire capitalism, where business men are allowed to do pretty much anything they want, because they understand that becoming too extreme will lose them business and profits.
A major proponent of this philosophy was the author, Ayn Rand. (here is More information about her life) Her two major books: “The Fountainhead” – published in 1943, and “Atlas Shrugged” – Published in 1957 have became quite wide-spread, best sellers. They have helped generate a movement that exists today. However, her main claim to fame is her creation of the philosophy of Objectivism. She used her books to expand and polish it to the point it exists today. For those who have escaped reading Ayn Rand’s works, here follows a synopsis of her two, major novels.
- “The Fountainhead” tells the story of Howard Roark, who is an individualistic young architect who refuses to compromise his artistic and personal vision for worldly recognition and success. The story follows his battle to practice modern architecture while opposed by an establishment centered on tradition. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism. here is a link to a Further discussion of this book
- “Atlas Shrugged” depicts a dystopian United States, wherein many of society’s most prominent and successful industrialists abandon their fortunes and even the nation, in response to aggressive new regulations, whereupon most vital industries collapse. The title is a reference to Atlas, a Titan described in the novel as “the giant who holds the world on his shoulders”. The significance of this reference appears in a conversation between the characters Francisco d’Anconia and Hank Rearden, in which d’Anconia asks Rearden what advice he would give Atlas upon seeing that “the greater [the titan’s] effort, the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders”. With Rearden unable to answer, d’Anconia gives his own response: “To shrug”. This, very lengthy tome (at 1000 pages) provides a very complete examination of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Here are some more information and links about the book
Based on the definition of Ethics used by the Objectivists, there is no call for society or individuals to provide aid to the disadvantaged. As a matter of fact, Ms. Rand, in “Atlas Shrugged” expresses quite a bit of contempt for the poor and disabled…calling them “parasites”, “looters”, and “moochers who demand the benefits of the heroes’ labor”. She hated the idea of any form of a welfare state, decrying the very concept , and saying that ALL Citizens should succeed on their own with out the help or support of the Government or any other citizen. What caused this hardening of attitudes towards government and the needy? Let us look at her life to see if there is any insight there.
Ayn Rand was born into a fairly privileged life in Russia. During her Formative Years, her father was a quite well off Pharmacist, who apparently had quite a gift for the profession, and so garnered accolades and wealth. However, In 1917, her father’s shop was seized by Bolshevik soldiers during the general upheaval of the Civil War that kicked out the Czars and installed the Leninists and the family was shipped off to the Crimea. In that event, they ended up losing all of their wealth, and were forced to live in poverty until she managed to escape to the United States in 1926. These events, at pivotal points in her life, really solidified her dislike for Government and the power it wields. I suspect that the 9 years or so of living in the Crimea impacted her too, as she and her family were one of many in the area who were stripped of wealth, and likely heard quite a bit of complaining about how they deserved a better life, and bitter comments about how the Czars had lived the high life, and when the Communists, led by Lenin, took over, they failed to distribute the wealth evenly as promised, and so kept most of it for themselves. If she had a bit too much “hero worship” for her father, the conflict between the humiliation of being cast into poverty, and the great life that his perfection had provided would have gone a long way towards killing off any Empathy she might have had for the downtrodden. it has been my observation over the years that unless a person has spent significant time in self-reflection, and worked on self-awareness, that person will ALWAYS assume that everyone around them has a life and skill set that matches their own.
Does any of the above sound familiar? It should! Buried in the proceeding text are most, if not all, of the basic tenets of the Republican Party as it exists today!
Most, if not all, of the Republicans in power now look upon themselves as “Ubermensch” – The Overlords – who have started out with nothing, but, through the dint of hard work, persistence, and their own innate excellence, have been elevated to the Lofty Position of Leaders of the Citizens. Listen to their rhetoric. It drips with the attitude of “I am smarter than you; I am more educated than you; I know what is best for you, far better than what you could understand”. Right Now, the administration is working to eliminate Health Care rules and regulations from the body of Law we live under…They are working to cut back, or eliminate programs such as Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. They are working to build trade barriers that will give the manufacturers in America an advantage. They are working to eliminate the tax burden that they have right now, so instead of having to support the parasites, they can keep all that lovely money for themselves.
The adherents of Objectivism though, ignore the fact that their picture of their life story is, in most cases, a lie. Look at the makeup of Congress and the Administration today. A vast majority of the Republicans in that body were born to rich parents, have lived a life of privilege, and, have NO concept of how the huge majority of Americans live today. Also, the fact is, as we are already seeing, they lack Empathy, or concern for anyone who is not themselves, or outside of their immediate family. Objectivism, as a basis for an entire society, is doomed to abject failure. It fails to take into consideration these very real facts:
- Too many people are liars, cheats and eaten up with greedy twits. If there is a plate of cookies on a table for all to share, a vast majority of people will fill their own pockets with the cookies…taking far more than they need and deny others a cookie or two. They will say, or do, what ever is necessary to enrich themselves, and throw others under the bus without blinking.
- “Rational Self-Interest” is bad for society. It inevitably leads to businessmen being unable to build a trust relationship that is vital for productivity. As an example – Business A makes a deal with Business B to provide parts – say, milled heads for Diesel Engines – at a given cost because they have found that Business B’s product is a very reliable one. Business B is likely to start taking short-cuts in the manufacture of the heads, so as to increase their profit margin. Business A builds a large number of engines for a pivotal order using these (now inferior) heads. When the Engines are delivered, they fail, and Business A is driven nearly out of business, or out of business. What is the likelihood that Business A will EVER purchase product from Business B again? I suggest that they will NEVER do it…because Business B cannot be trusted to provide a product of adequate quality. Other vendors may cost more, but, if they can be TRUSTED to provide a consistent product, Business A will work with them instead…taking a smaller profit m
- Too many people are, liars and greedy twits. If there is a plate of cookies on a table for all to share, a vast majority of people will fill their own pockets with the cookies…taking far more than they need and deny others a cookie or two. They will say, or do, what ever is necessary to enrich themselves, and throw others under the bus without blinking.
- “Rational Self-Interest” is bad for society. It inevitably leads to businessmen being unable to build a trust relationship that is vital for productivity. As an example – Business A makes a deal with Business B to provide parts – say, milled heads for Diesel Engines – at a given cost because they have found that Business B’s product is a very reliable one. Business B is likely to start taking short-cuts in the manufacture of the heads, so as to increase their profit margin. Business A builds a large number of engines for a pivotal order using these (now inferior) heads. When the Engines are delivered, they fail, and Business A is driven nearly out of business, or out of business. What is the likelihood that Business A will EVER purchase product from Business B again? I suggest that they will NEVER do it…because Business B cannot be trusted to provide a product of adequate quality. Other vendors may cost more, but, if they can be TRUSTED to provide a consistent product, Business A will work with them instead…taking a smaller profit margin for but likely seeing continued growth of their customer base, and having a customer base that will keep coming back year after year to buy their product.
- This is just one example, but, almost any relationship has the same format. Look at personal relationships. Would any of us trust a person who bad-mouthed us behind our backs, and/or failed to follow through on actions they promised? I suspect the answer is “No.” What happens to that relationship where these betrayals happen? It becomes more and more distant; we stop sharing experiences, or making contact with that person. We end up with them pushed away from us, or simply an adjunct where we deal with them when we have to, and then, only with the minimum amount we have to.
- Objectivism’s contempt for the disadvantaged will produce a society of classes that are separated by a wall of prejudice and hate. Its adherence to the idea that every person is responsible for making their own success in the world ignores the fact that there are many times when events outside of our control will cause massive disruption in our lives, and leave us unable to get back on the ladder without help. Let us look at a person who has worked at one job for 20+ years, but loses that job because their company closes. Thanks to the economy, including the fluctuations in inflation and the like, what used to be a decent, if low, salary when they started to work is now eroded away so much that they are living paycheck to paycheck and have no pad to help with disasters like this. In addition, they live in a “Right To Work” state…which means no unions, and no advocates for better pay, other than them going into the boss’s office and trying to negotiate for more money. So…they are without income suddenly, but the bills keep coming in. Unless they are very lucky, it can take months to find a new job…in that time, they can end up homeless, and starving. They do not have enough cash to get training for another job…and, perhaps they are learning impaired enough that learning a new job is not likely to be productive in the first place. What do they do in the Objectivist World? Starve or freeze to death I suppose…or turn to a life of crime! What, exactly, should they have changed in their lives to take control and to avoid this? To me, this is the same, basic situation as Ms. Rand went through in 1917. An outside force blasted in, and totally destroyed the house of cards that was their life. Now, in American Society, at least for the moment, we have governmental resources that will provide aid for a period of time. Money and resources for food, lodging and the basic necessities of life. What is provided is not enough to allow a comfortable life, but, it is possible to exist on it. Oh yes, by the by, while Ms. Rand may have expressed contempt for the idea of Governmental Aid, she was not shy about applying for it on towards the end of her life. This is discussed here and while it might not be the height of hypocrisy for her to have gotten it, she did find it uncomfortable enough to be receiving these benefits from the Government she hated, that she turned over the responsibility for getting the payments set up to another person.
- A society that is built on the concepts of Objectivism is a tough, and cruel place to live. I suspect that even the people who advocate it would not actually want to live in it. The “Dog Eat Dog” attitudes that it entails ensure that the only way to succeed is to climb on the bodies of those that one has thrown under the bus. it adds pain and suffering to the lives of many, and benefits only the few. The question which I have asked of many Libertarians/Objectivists is this “IS this the kind of society YOU would want to live in?” The only people that have answered “Yes” to that question have been the folks that are young and foolish enough to believe that they are immune to disasters in their life. Most folks simply ignore my question.
So…as you listen to the pontifications of the Republicans in charge…Remember Ayn Rand, their God and Mentor, and what her flawed view of how reality should be can bring on. It explains a lot about the actions they take and the laws they attempt to pass.
What can we do to combat this? There are a few, fairly simple steps that can combat this blight on Society.
- Do not let the Representatives and SCROTUS slip these cuts through without protest. Even if you think it will not help to contact these folks…it does.
- If you are at a meeting with your Representative, press them about how their policies are based in the debunked nonsense spread about like manure that Ayn Rand left us.
- VOTE! make it a point to go to the polls and vote for a candidate whose platform and life of service shows that they ARE looking out for ALL of us…not just themselves and their wealthy clique.
Here is some useful information I have gathered together and am scattering around the Net. Feel Free to repost to your Social Networks…If you have read this far, you are likely NOT happy with the idea of living in the dystopian society that the Republicans want to create, so, hopefully this information will make it easier to contact your Representatives (from local and state up to Federal) to let them know what you feel about the job they are doing:
First off, understand that anyone that tells you that a communication from you as a Constituent, to your Representative is a waste of time, because the politicians only pay attention to the lobbyists that write them the big checks, is lying to you. They are likely fearful that if you DO contact your Representative, it will destroy their chances for some big score from the Government.
Now…to help change your government and what it is doing, there are some simple things to do.
1) Use this tool – https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members or this one https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials to track down YOUR Representatives.
2) Email or call them to let them know your objection or support for the item of interest. When you do this, be SURE to follow these guidelines:
…..a) Be Clear about what you are talking about.
…..b) Do not write a lengthy, emotional rant. Be polite, and simply tell them whether you support or oppose the issue, and give them a single reason why you feel that way.
…..c) Repeat as necessary.
CLING to the basic truth that “All that Evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing” and use that as motivation to send that next Email or make that next phone call.
Your Elected officials pay attention when 10,000 emails show up. They pay attention when thousands of constituents call them up. Why? Well, it is fairly simple. They like their jobs! They know that the folks that are contacting them are the voters that care and are paying attention to what they are doing. They are also the people that can vote for someone else if they are sufficiently unhappy with the job the incumbent is doing.
Politicians might ignore a petition with 10,000 signatures, but, 10,000 emails, phone calls, or snail mail notes make a big impact and will get their attention.
Feel free to distribute this block of text. It is available for use under the Open Source License – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_license. The only limits are that it must stay intact (but can be extended) and I would appreciate a credit if used.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave
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