Posts Tagged ‘Ayn Rand’

Ayn Rand’s Dichotomies

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I think this guy was comparing the Bush administration to heroes in an Ayn Rand novel, meaning it in a negative way.

I realize that I’ve over-simplified.  But in order to properly refute Rand’s philosophy, I’d have to write a tome as large as any of hers, and  this is not the place for that.

Thankfully. 🙂

Do you see the parallels?

What’s happening in the Bush administration seems akin to Rand’s story.  Bush is destroying the economic strength of this country with his feeble- minded tax breaks and other policies.  He has painted the poor as having got that way through their own laziness, yet he himself is the embodiment of a human leech, living off the tax-payers’ hard earned cash while producing nothing worthwhile for the largest groups of tax-payers.

The closest parallels I see are not to Rand’s heroes but to a certain class of her villains. It’s been a long time so I can’t remember any characters’ names. I mean the businessmen who believe that the way to succeed is not by honest work and production but by having friends in high places and trading on their connections.

So when I hear about the Bush administration’s no-bid contracts to favored firms for reconstruction work in Iraq and the secret meetings with the energy industry, that’s what I think of. The plan to privatize Social Security is more of the same — it would be a way to steer more money to Wall Street brokerage firms, who would get more commissions not because more people chose to purchase their services but because the government made it happen. Likewise the prescription drug plan was a handout to the pharmaceutical industry; if helping the people over the long term were the real motive, there would have been more attention to adequately financing the program.

immigrants from the Soviet bloc, where socialization was implemented so poorly.

In this respect “We the Living” gives the clearest picture of where she was coming from.

In Rand’s world, there was a dichotomy.  One small group of people was all yang, and the remainder of humanity was all yin.  While Rand was an excellent author, I cannot accept her judgment of humankind.

Actually I think that such a stark dichotomy is a literary failing. I’d rather have leading characters who have more internal struggles and have to grow through the course of the story. Okay, maybe Dagny Taggart did, but did John Galt or Mr. Rearden or, umm… the architect from The Fountainhead?

Of course this is a failing that can be outweighed if the author tells a good story in other respects.