POLITICS | CONTRADICTIONS | How is elitist Ayn Rand a Tea Party hero? Everyday Americans are ‘savages’?


From Christian Science Monitor:Tea partiers portray themselves as ordinary Americans fed up with an out-of-control, deeply indebted welfare state. Many no doubt see Ms. Rand – the 20th-century writer and philosopher who railed against state power and collectivist thinking in such novels as “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” – as a posthumous compatriot. 

But by clinging to the superficial commonality of hostility to welfare, tea partiers fail to see (or willfully ignore) something critical: Rand espoused an elitist, oligarchic philosophy that is both fundamentally antiAmerican and deeply at odds with the tea party’s own “we the people” cause.

While tea partiers commend Rand as the champion of individualism, they conveniently forget that in her novels, the only people who seemed to benefit from her aim to protect individualism and the unlimited freedom of action were her Nietzschean tycoons. Indeed, Rand was fully indifferent to the workers in her novels, whom she described as primitive beings – “savages” in the words of Atlas’s steel mogul Hank Rearden, arguably one of Rand’s most beloved personages.

As critic Joe Emersberger put it:

Ayn Rand believed that people were far too stupid to run the economy democratically. She sought to convince the incompetent majority that their survival depends on a tiny group of highly gifted people.

Rand was dead serious about the ideas conveyed in Atlas Shrugged. In her non-fiction, she often quoted from her novels to substantiate her views. Two of her main assumptions were that:

1) Unregulated competitive markets would produce a meritocracy – an aristocracy of talent – in which the most intelligent and determined obtained the most decision making power.

2) This aristocracy would carry the rest of us along on their shoulders like the fabled Atlas carried the heavens – not because they wanted to, but as a fortunate result of their selfish acts. For our own good – in our “rational self interest” as she put it – we should follow this aristocracy’s orders and show them considerable gratitude.

Rand believed in the “virtue of selfishness”: … “Rand has this extremist, intolerant, dogmatic antigovernment stance,” says Brink Lindsey of the libertarian Cato Institute, “and it pushes free-market supporters toward a purist, radical vision that undermines their capacity to get anything done.” (C)

READ STORY:

(A) “How is elitist Ayn Rand a tea party hero? The contradiction should concern America.”,
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/1014/How-is-elitist-Ayn-Rand… and some critiques:

(B) “Ayn Rand’s deranged elitism for everyone”,
http://www.zcommunications.org/ayn-rand-s-deranged-elitism-for-everyone-by-jo…

(C) “Ayn Rand is Good for the Market”,
http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2009/12/04/1767/comment-page-2/

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “POLITICS | CONTRADICTIONS | How is elitist Ayn Rand a Tea Party hero? Everyday Americans are ‘savages’?

  1. There is no contradiction in understanding the principle of superior talent leads those lacking it. Capitalism is intrinsically based on the principle that superior intellects with superior leadership win by growing bigger, richer, more powerful and influential by power of their money. Everybody wants to work for a winner, and not compete against them. Capitalism is the embodiment of her concepts in everyday life. TEA people endorse the concept, and want to see it in action. They don’t want to see the government pretend it knows how to win. Majority of serving in government cannot and do not succeed in capitalism. Government is the refuge for mediocre losers.

  2. Rand merely celebrated those of superior ability over those of inferior ability. She made the point that those of superior ability ought not be made the slaves of those of inferior ability. I happen to agree with her completely. There is no rational or reasonable argument to support such slavery. She did not celebrate “tycoons” per se – only those who happen to be “tycoon” because they rightly earned their fortunes through superior ability, superior intellect, superior passion. All others who merely latch onto their accomplishments because they can’t or won’t do the same are parasites. I agree. That’s not to say those of superior ability can’t or won’t relate to the inferior with compassion or kindness, it simply means they cannot rightly be compelled to do so. It is THEY who build the future for us all – not the parasite.

  3. Spence

    Bill,
    America is a meritocracy and has been since it’s very beginnings. It was established by highly educated intellectual and influential men who were opposed to being ruled by an unaccomplished man who happened to be born to a particular family. The constitution is a tool to establish a base set of laws to govern a nation where any thing goes so long is it does not impose on the liberties of others. It is intended to do exactly what it did do …. encourage the best and brightest to find ways to drive industry and education to the improvement of their own lives and with that the lives of others as well.

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