Monday, October 19, 2009

Goldman Sachs, Ayn Rand, Going Galt and the American People.

Now that Goldman Sachs posted a profit of $3.19 billion, and plans to divvy up record breaking bonuses between them, despite their enormous part in collapsing our economy last year, which continues to leave the rest of us struggling, with no signs of recovering in sight - the unemployment and foreclosure rates are still escalating - it's only fitting that Goldman-Backed, Ayn Rand-Inspired Fund (Roark Capital Group) will invest a record amount at this time. Of course, the fund’s investors include Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

But why on earth is Ayn Rand, Greenspan's hero, more popular than ever amongst average, everyday people?

After all, Rand, worshipper of sociopathic killers, apparently, shares the same view of the common man as Goldman Sachs...that average people were "ugly, stupid and irrational." This quote, taken from her first book, We the Living, "What are your masses...but mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it?" pretty much sums up her view of humanity, with the exception of the elite, of course.

“On the same day that you saw stories about these bonuses, you saw a story about how wages are at a 19-year low,” -- David Axelrod a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.
Goldman Sachs embodies the Randian philosophy so closely the entity should be called The Ayn Rand Corporation. But wait. Isn't most of the population ready to string Goldman Sachs up by their...well, their sachs? Yet, Rand's greatest selling book "Atlas Shrugged" had an all-time record year in 2008, and 2009 sales should shatter even last year's numbers.

It's more than ironic that this woman who preached the virtue of selfishness, and self-interest - the very thing that almost brought the world's economy to collapse - as man’s greatest moral responsibility, and altruism as a vice, who strongly believed that markets work best when corporations are free to pursue their own selfish interests, who believed the the wealthy and the powerful are the oppressed, and whose Objectivist philosophy equated unfettered capitalism with absolute morality is the same woman people are looking to as their savior.

Excerpt from Michael Prescott's blog:

"Was Ayn Rand "a narcissistic, manipulative sociopath" - or at least a borderline case?
Well, consider the portrait of Rand drawn by two biographies - Nathaniel Branden's My Years with Ayn Rand and Barbara Branden's The Passion of Ayn Rand - and by Jeff Walker's The Ayn Rand Cult. These are, admittedly, hostile sources, but in the absence of any biography by Rand's admirers, they are the only ones we have.

Anyone judging by these books would have to say that Rand was narcissistic in the extreme. She lacked empathy. She could be intensely charming (charm and charisma are common features of sociopathy) but was also prone to outbursts of rage and frustration.

She exploited young, emotionally vulnerable people and frequently sabotaged their self-image with her vindictive cruelty. She claimed to love her husband but carried on an affair with a younger man right in front of him, a situation that drove her husband to alcoholism.

She was a hypochondriac. She showed signs of paranoia. She had an addictive personality, smoked two packs of cigarettes daily, and gobbled handfuls of diet pills (amphetamines).

She despised "average" people, whom she regarded as ugly and stupid and irrational, while viewing herself in exalted terms as the greatest writer in history and the greatest philosopher since Aristotle.

She was concerned with no one's needs or wants or suffering except her own. She was able to claim in print that no one had ever helped her, when in fact she had benefited for years from the charity and goodwill of relatives and business associates and friends. She alienated nearly all her friends and allies by the end of her life, and died nearly alone.

She literally drove people crazy; ex-Objectivist Edith Efron once remarked that if you spent any time with Rand, you had to ask yourself if you were insane, or if she was (quoted in Walker). She was a megalomaniac. She was probably manic-depressive. She created heroic fictional characters who are deeply repressed, incapable of normal human interaction, and typically angry or disgusted with the world.

This is hardly a person who should be seen as the epitome of rationality and benevolence - yet this is how her followers do see her. In my Objectivist years I once hesitantly suggested to a fellow Objectivist that there might be a few character flaws to be found in Rand, only to be met with a blank stare and the appalled question, "Character flaws - in Ayn Rand?!" In Objectivist dogma it is always other people who were at fault in their dealings with "Miss Rand" (as they like to call her). Somehow it was always those irrational others who abused, deceived, and hurt Ayn Rand, and her rages and bitterness were entirely justified, entirely rational. How could they not be? Rand was the personification of reason, so by definition whatever she thought, felt, or did just had to be rational - Q.E.D.

When I look at the portrait of Ayn Rand drawn by a variety of people who knew her best, I see a person who is certainly larger and more theatrical than the run-of-the-mill sociopaths in Martha Stout's book, different from them in degree - but not very different in kind.

And I wonder how a movement founded by a woman with such serious disorders could ever have been seen as a way to personal happiness or to a better world."
Greed was calculated by comparing average incomes with the total number of inhabitants living beneath the poverty line.

3 comments:

Anonymous,  16:13  

She's more dangerous than Hitler. I say that because everyone knows Hitler was evil and only a very few highly disturbed individuals worship him.

Whereas with Rand, a large percentage of supposedly, "normal" lovely people think she's grand, when all she is is a less violent form of Hitler.

rambo,  21:17  

She hates the gays even though the gays love her.

" In 1971, Rand published The New Left, a collection of essays which attacked feminism and the sexual liberation movements, including the gay rights movement. Rand called them "hideous" for their demand for what she considered "special privileges" from the government. She addressed homosexuality in the course of an attack on feminism, writing that "[T]o proclaim spiritual sisterhood with lesbians... is so repulsive a set of premises from so loathsome a sense of life that an accurate commentary would require the kind of language I do not like to see in print."[1]

In response to questions from the audience at the two Ford Hall Forum lectures she gave at Northeastern University, Rand explained her views in more detail. In her 1968 lecture, she said, "I do not approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults."[2] In 1971, Rand reiterated this position, then added that homosexuality "involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises", concluding that homosexuality "is immoral, and more than that; if you want my really sincere opinion, it's disgusting. "

Roth's stepchild 12:39  

Well, I don't know that she's more dangerous than Hitler but I do agree that her philosophy is dangerous. Especially now that we are trying to figure out the best course of action to take regarding our economy.

And regarding the gay issue, risking political incorrectness, it wouldn't surprise me if she was a lesbian... a little self-loathing, maybe, imho.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP