Monday, June 6, 2011

She's baaack !

Earlier we joked that surely the Institute of Public Affairs ( The Sydney Morning Herald's legal writer Richard Akland says the IPA is often referred to as the "Institute of Paid Advocacy ") should admire Ayn Rand,  just as US Republicans on the hard right have rediscovered the woman who exhibited all the traits of a text book psychopath.

We spoke too soon. For there she is on the IPA's website with her book The Fountainhead  promoted as one of the "100 Great Books Of Liberty" that must be read by all. They claim that Rand's book is one of the books that " laid the foundation for the modern world". Alarmingly, they are right.

Rand described Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead thus: "He was born without the ability to consider others."

To Rand this was an admirable trait. In an interview with Mike Wallace in 1959 she said "you only love those who deserve it". Those who expressed altruism or a love of their fellow man were weaklings according to Rand who abhorred all religions and in particular Christianity which she considered akin to Communism.

Writing in 1927 about a ghastly killer  named William Hickman who strangled a 12 year old girl he had kidnapped and then sadistically set about dismembering her body with a pocket knife, Rand said this :
 "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," he has "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'".

She could have been describing the ideals of her weird philosophy 'objectism'.

When she died in 1982 Rand was discovered-as an advocate for the demolition  of social security and government health programmes, to be receiving both.

Her funeral was paid for by an admirer Alan Greenspan who hung on her every word. Greenspan became the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and as an exponent of the 'free market' like Rand actively promoted the dismantling of financial controls that in turn set-up the USA for the sub-prime financial crisis of 2007 that has wrecked thousands of lives in the US.
Be afraid. Very afraid.

# Fresh from his demolition of Noam Chomsky in that organ of intellectual discussion-the Daily Telegraph, a missive arrives from IPA fellow Ted Lapkin to inform us that the term "enemy combatant" is indeed a legal concept-and he is right. Except an enemy combatant is a fighter for a state that a country is at war with.

Unfortunately it defeats Lapkin's claim that former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks was an enemy combatant as no legal declaration of war has been made against the 'state' of Al Qaeda, Afghanistan or indeed, Iraq.

No problem there for Lapkin though : "the US has fought many armed conflicts without the benefit of a formal declaration of war", he says. So that's all right then. Might is right.

 Here is Mike Wallace's 1959 "I'm Alright Jack' interview with Ayn Rand :