The following is an excerpt from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged:
The four men in this early account from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged are industrialists of the steel, mining, and railroad industries. They are meeting with their lobbyist in “the most expensive bar-room in New York” to thwart the book’s hero, Hank Rearden, and protect their oligopolies (a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers).
Ultimately, they conspire to use their influence in Washington to control stock and commodity markets, crush competitors, and stifle what little competition and innovation remains. They disguise their plan in platitudes about “protecting the public interest” and promoting a “progressive social policy”; which is, of course, total bullshit and exactly the opposite of their intentions.
If Ms Rand were alive today she would likely be profoundly unhappy with the state of Republican and American capitalism. Not just because of an overweening state, large budget deficits, and interventions in the economy such as Obamacare—the issues that so agitate her (fake or real) disciples what remains of the Republican Party—but also because of the morphing of the U.S. economy into a playground of crony capitalism just as it was described in her pages of Atlas Shrugged.
The truly ironic and biggest lie is that Republicans are the guards at the gate, because they clamor for the biggest corporate welfare (subsidies), the biggest tax cuts for wealthy conglomerates, and the favorability of tax breaks for those individuals who make money from having money instead of those individuals who make money from producing things.
Ms Rand would be repulsed with the growing reliance of businesses on Washington for corporate welfare, whether it’s U.S. taxpayers paying 70% of the rent due to foreign oil rig companies from foreign oil companies ($4 billion per yr in taxpayer money for which the U.S. taxpayer receives nothing), to ethanol subsidies for a product that rots our car engines.
Two years ago, when the most recent Farm Bill emerged from Congress, the measure’s authors proudly announced what sounded like bold cuts in these controversial programs. The Senate Agriculture Committee noted in a press release that the new law would eliminate one big subsidy altogether and save taxpayers a total of $23.3 billion over the following 10 years.
Those projected savings, it turns out, were a mirage (or a lie). According new estimates for Farm Bill spending over the next few years released by the Congressional Budget Office, total government aid to farmers will swell to $23.9 billion in 2017.
These same hypocrites bemoan the minimal amounts required to keep citizens from starving and veterans receiving necessary care for the injuries they received fighting fraudulent wars fought for the sole reason of feeding the military-industrial complex—about which 5-Star WWII General and two-term President Dwight D. Eisenhower forewarned Americans upon leaving his second term as President over half a century ago.
Now it’s not without an unparalleled degree of irony that Ms Rand—and her husband, Frank O’Conner— died living on Social Security and probably Medicare, in 1982, having collected benefits from the systems themselves for over 8 years. The blatant hypocrisy should be obvious because she publicly railed about both systems for years, in exactly the same manner that her fake disciples (Paul Ryan (R) Speaker of the House and failed Vice Presidential candidate in 2012, and Rand Paul (R) Senator and current badly failing Presidential candidate in 2016, to name but two) publicly try to decimate each year to appease the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party. And to put the icing on the cake, the oh-so-revered Ayn Rand was an avowed atheist. Not that being an atheist is in any way wrong, but it simply adds another layer of abject hypocrisy to the leaders in the Republican Party…being the “party of good Christians” after all.
Of course Obamacare has been added to that list of most hated by Republicans even though Ted Cruz, the Republican winner of the Iowa Caucus and sworn enemy of Obamacare, applied for it himself and his wife Heidi when she quit her job at Goldman Sachs to help him run for President, but why sweat the details of Iowa’s first-in-nation Republican caucus last night?
Then there’s the ridiculous Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that formally allows billionaires to forgo the trouble of legitimately lobbying Congress for favorable tax policy and simply bribe sitting Congressmen and finance candidates who are willing to prostitute their congressional duty of making laws for the good of their respective constituencies to instead create entire separate tax policies and taxing systems for their businesses and to hell with the rest of America. The Kochs alone spend hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure “friendly” politicians who will genuflect to their will.
All these things that Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan and every 2016 Republican candidate for President champion are in direct conflict to Atlas Shrugged and Ms Rand’s philosophy—that these are unhealthy codependences that distort the free market and are direct obstructions to capitalism.
The profits of firms in more than 40% of the U.S. economy—in sectors such as agriculture, financial services, real estate, oil and gas, health care, education, and defense—are permanently intertwined and totally dependent on policies that shield them from laws and regulations by their bagmen in Congress in Washington D.C.
Various studies show enormous returns on investments in lobbying—for example, the pharmaceutical industry reaps a return of 77,500% on lobbying versus 8% from actually making drugs. While Rand would have had many differences with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, she would have found common cause with their objections to the power of the K Street lobbyist-industrial complex.
So we’ve established the conflict and hypocrisy of Republicans when it comes to Randism’s gospels of Capitalism. What about the hypocrisy about Republicans claim to Christianity and Randism simultaneously?
I’ll summarize them to only five for the sake of brevity:
- Jesus preached the virtue of selflessness; Ayn Rand wrote a book called “The Virtue of Selfishness” (1964). Altruism (the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others) is evil, she argued, and egoism (the theory that one’s self is, or should be, the motivation and the goal of one’s own action) the only true base of ethics.
- “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke. And he says in the Gospel of Matthew that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” In the Gospel according to Ayn Rand, however, it is the “traders” (“job creators” and “makers” in modern phraseology) who, like Atlas, carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, while the poor are denounced as “moochers” and “looters” and “takers”.
- The ultimate concern of Christianity is God and mans’ ascension to heaven by faithfully serving God’s will. The ultimate concern of Randism is the unfettered freedom of the individual and to hell with everybody else. While the Christian Trinity comprise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Rand’s Trinity is I, me, mine.
- The hope of the Christian gospel is the kingdom of God, but Rand’s objectivist philosophy opposes “collectivism” at every turn. Randism gospel is, “Man—every man— is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake,” the inventor John Galt proclaims in “Atlas Shrugged,” “and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.”
- The Apostle Paul called the love of money the root of all evil. Rand wore a dollar sign brooch and saw to it that a ornate dollar sign stood posted by her casket at her funeral. She also put a love letter to the almighty dollar on the lips of one of her “Atlas Shrugged” heroes, copper tycoon Francisco d’Anconia (a speech Ryan has said he returns to repeatedly when pondering monetary policy). There d’Anconia calls money “the root of all good.”
Although I’m fairly certain that not a single Republican will read this little recitation of Randism, Republicans and the Christianity they wear as badges of honor, for anyone else that reads this I hope you will convey these hypocrisies to the independents who have not yet been enlightened to the depth of the depravity and worse, hypocrisy, that the Republican Party has become.
Conservative icons of days gone by like Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and William F. Buckley would be considered heretics in today’s Republican Party.
In fact, William F. Buckley recognized this fundamental incompatibility, running a blistering review of Atlas Shrugged in THE conservative journal of the times, The National Review, and denounced that novel himself in a Charlie Rose interview as “a thousand pages of ideological fabulism.”
For years, Ryan, Cruz, Rubio, Huckabee, Santorum and other conservative Republicans have been trying to have their Jesus Christ and their Ayn Rand, too. But the two clash at least as much as a Cruz/Sanders ticket.
Harvey A. Gold