Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

But as the largest bailout in government history unfolded in almost dizzying waves over recent days, a very different view prevailed at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, an outpost of free-market, anti-government thinking located just a few blocks from the newly aggressive and highly interventionist Department of Treasury in downtown Washington.

"It's a complete disaster," said Yaron Brook, the executive director of the center. "Its a form of national socialism of the financial markets...This is socialism 101."


The Whited Sepulchre said... the boys at Soob drift a little closer to libertarianism.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

And I love the way she's sitting down with a lit cigarette for a semi-formal portrait, much like businessmen used to pose with their pipes or occasionally a cigar.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Books read - Ayn Rand's "Anthem".
A very short novel about an individual in a primitive totalitarian society who discovers the light bulb, only to be told by the authorities that he can't develop or publicize his invention because it would put the candlemakers out of business.

Think of AIG, Fannie & Freddie, Lehman bros., etc., as candlemakers.

Dan tdaxp said...

I read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Anthem, watched We the Living, and also read a number of the non-fiction books.

It is a striking philosophy, but falls apart if you recognize the right to life as the most basic of rights. At that point Hobbes' social contract comes into play, and Rand's theory is fatally undermined.

Jay@Soob said...

I've read Atlas Shrugged and recently purchased Anthem. Like Dan I find Objectivism a fascinating if a bit over the top at times philosophy. Certain elements of it I whole heartedly agree with, for example:

Fundamental guilt or original sin (which plagues leftist ideology.)

Realism or the ability to study a concept dispassionately.

However some of it seems to me to be a bit Utopian or even counter intuitive. Dispassionate analysis and dispassionate action are two different concepts. Rand would have emotion as a symptom to be dealt with and controlled where as reason should rule man kinds decision making process. In terms of Boydian thought, we can observe, orient and even decide from within a cocoon of pure logic and reason. But can we act in the same fashion? Should we? Yes and no, consecutively. We can do it, I suppose, but it flies in the face of the "human condition." We shouldn't be ruled by our emotions but at the same time a world ruled by apathy isn't likely to be the productive world Ayn Rand perhaps envisioned. And even if it is a productive world it would likely be a souless sort, almost hive like.

As far as Libertarianism goes, there's much merit in this political philosophy and I have few qualms with it in theory. However, the practicality (depending on how fervent a libertarian philosophy one adheres to) of it, especially in an increasingly interconnected world comes into question. Dan mentions the Hobbesian "social contract" which I believe history has shown to be, to a degree, a reality. As societies grow from clan to tribe to nation to state to, perhaps, hegemony they realize an incremental gain in security and prosperity (compare an American living below the poverty line with a well off Waziri tribesman) and yet each increment realizes fewer social "freedoms" as societies grow and governance becomes increasingly invasive and controlling.

In other words we, as the US, cannot have our cake and eat it too. If the US is to move to a predominantly libertarian rule it must give up both it's global primacy (isolationism) and a degree of it's national cohesion, a confederacy of sovereign states in truth rather than a conglomerate under a federal mandate. And that, for me, is not a realistic measure given the reality of today.

fabius.maximus.cunctator said...

Fully agree with Dan and Jay. My knowledge of the Randian philosophy is based on 2nd hand stuff though, unlike theirs.

One extra point:
If the quotes ascribed to Mr. Brook in wikipedia are correct I am not surprised at his hysterical reaction to the bailout.

Obviously unfounded comparisons to National Socialism or Fascism used to be the preserve of the far left, now the disease has spread to economists (Nouriel Roubini is a case in point) and ideologues of the right.

Apparently Mr. Brook is a standard bearer of Randian thought. I am unimpressed.

Anonymous said...

If you don't agree with the bailout, please go to: and to tell our senators to vote no to it, in any way, shape, or form. The only way America is going to wake up, is with a shake up.
If you do agree with it, tell them that you do. Democracy is great, isn't it, get involved.

Ottavio (Otto) Marasco said...

Ayn Rand did cross my mind this past week. Interestingly, the Times Online added Atlas Shrugged to the top 10 books not to read before you die ...