Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Neo-Con "Sausage Works" Reinvents Ayn Rand

MeanMesa realizes that not all of our contemporary visitors have ever enjoyed the great, though provoking literature from this founder of modern Objectivism, but the point of this posting is that the sleazy neo-cons who have rushed forth to re-invent Miss Rand into one of their own voices apparently haven't either.

Let's begin with a little history.

The story isn't actually all that remarkable.  Decades ago, while stranded in the cultural wasteland of an alleged Junior High School harshly embedded in the Great Plains -- yes, we're talking Major Bible Belt Territory -- the typical mass production education system was rumbling along at full throttle.  After all, it was the middle of the Cold War and an under educated population was essential as a source of cannon fodder.

Lost in this dismal, wind swept place, a remarkable and exceptional teacher emerged in our seventh grade English class.  She was -- in our sexually repressed teen age eyes, at least -- a buxom, vibrant beauty who seemed to have been sent by the gods to break the soul crushing ennui of an otherwise endless high school tyranny of stale corn flakes disguised as classes in psychology, biology and the like.

She never dared offer the work of Ayn Rand openly in the classroom, of course.  But, seeing the obvious exceptional quality of the pubescent MeanMesa and a couple of other tormented young students, she quietly -- and bravely, given the almost total religious franchise gripping that unfortunate place -- introduced us to a few of her "favorite books."

Naturally, we "gobbled up" Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead with the same frenzied desperation which might be shown by a starving prospector who had been "lost for a lifetime" in some wasteland of broken hopes and dreams.

Although, as seventh graders, we were still several years before our first formal "sex education" classes (Just don't do it!), we were immediately enthralled by the characters we encountered there.  Those of us who were destined to a bland mid-western heterosexuality in our later years, began to obsess on the beautiful, strong and mysterious Dagny Taggart.  Others, still imprisoned in the "closets of Kansas" had an equally exciting infatuation with the exquisite South American copper mining magnate, Francisco D'Anconia.

There were informal "coffee meetings" in our teacher's apartment.  There were endless, energized discussions of Objectivism and its implications in late night "wine slugging" sessions populated with adolescents more interested in the possible future of the world than the latest case of lingering acne.

It was a good thing.

It had much more to do with intellectually developed and philosophically engaged young students than the creation of shock troops for a modern neo-Nazi oligarchic shell game.  That nonsense only emerged decades later.  When the neo-cons finished exhausted the savagery of re-inventing the Old Testament into "proof" that Jesus really only wanted them to be rich, they began with Ayn Rand.  There was to be no limit to yet another irritating re-invention as they staggered forward to validate their claims to a "divine right" to the unregulated, illicit extraction of wealth wherever they might find it.

The predictable result was what we see now.  This stinky little scheme, as shallow and shabby as a bad paint job in the back room of a used car dealer, was supposed to legitimize this recently allowed avarice.  To qualify as a perpetrator -- or benefactor -- of this callous misrepresentation of Miss Rand's philosophy, one needed only to be an illiterate "plutocrat wanna be" who experienced no angst whatsoever with a quickly fabricated media repetition of the famous Orwellian 1984 bifurcated paradoxes.

"Good is bad."  "Happy is sad."  "Up is down."

The well known modern genius, Ron Paul, even named his son, Rand Paul, after Miss Ayn Rand.  For those unfamiliar with Rand Paul, he is the Senate candidate from Kentucky sponsored by Tea Baggers and Fox News who espouses doorways impenetrable to wheel chairs and "tolerating" the Civil Rights Act, that is, he is another "deregulation monkey of the first water."

Now, the title of this posting mentions  the "Neo-Con Sausage Works."  What precisely does such a term actually imply?

Well, Ayn Rand, during her very productive literary life, wrote a wonderful collection of both novels and what might be considered long essays.  Her recurring theme -- at least, as interpreted by MeanMesa, an admitted fan who has been deeply influenced by her work during the formative years of his now ancient youth -- consistently dealt with the degrading effects of all forms of suffocating collectivism as it gradually and inevitably handicapped more honorable human endeavors.

In Atlas Shrugged, the mindless "regulators" of a parasitic government were able to sap the life energy from the protagonists' rail roads, metallurgy inventions and copper mines.  In Fountainhead, the "regulators" were intent on contaminating the genius of an architect by imposing all sorts of reactionary "social norms."  In We the Living, Miss Rand painted a dismal picture set in the life she had experienced as Russia descended into Bolshevism and Communism.  Her Anthem was another chilling excursion into a disastrous, fictional world where her heroes and heroines were confronted with the tyranny of an authority system which abhorred individuality and productivity.

In each fictional case, Ayn Rand used her impressive story-telling abilities to warn all of us not to gently drift into the laziness, fear and sleep of passively accepting what might have, at the moment, appeared to be a "safer course" where risk, confidence, innovation were no longer to be rewarded and "compliance" was perceived as an unavoidable refuge from the "terror" of optimizing ourselves.

Of course, the tales in these great novels were a little over dramatic.  How could they have infatuated a bunch of Kansas teenagers in the early 1950's if they had been otherwise?  However, the carefully crafted themes presented were valuable indeed!  Presenting a palatable and compelling alternative to the mind-numbing uniformity of life in those years and places, Miss Rand's stories represented a breath of fresh air and sun light in an otherwise rather oppressive world.

But wait!  Into what obscure ideological advantage have the neo-cons attempted to transform this body of literature?

Let's consider some of Ayn Rand's terms to help us explore this heavily soiled attempt to transform her ideas into something sleazy enough to serve the Fox News crowd.  The predictable contradictions reveal themselves.

Ayn Rand spoke of the human necessity of brave individuality.  Her implied message was straight forward.  The old adage of "Be True To Thine Own Self" might be a good point of departure.  However, Miss Rand went even further.  Her Objectivism emphasized that if one were determined to be "true to one's self," one would, in fact, need to actually have a "self," first.

One might assume that the neo-cons who were so intent at "licking Miss Rand's knees" would present themselves as sincere, thoughtful individuals.  MeanMesa's understanding of that premise is that such "individuals" would be directed by, well, individual forms of thought, individual ideas and well crafted individual ideas of philosophy and practice.

Is this, however, what we have seen as we watched the entire neo-con Republican Party -- along with a few well paid Democrats -- unanimously vote against every  article of legislation designed to remedy the looting of the Greenspan-Bush autocracy?  Where was the "individuality" in that?

That smelly outfit made great "profit" by encouraging fear driven uniformity at every turn, considering the uninformed "illiteracy" of the American electorate as a legitimate "business asset" to be exploited ruthlessly at every turn.

A further interesting point might rest with the term "looting" itself.  In her stories, Miss Rand used the term often as she described the crushing effect of authorities who would "stoop to any level" to extract even more energy from those with higher ideals of productivity and honesty.  Yet, an almost exactly the opposite turned out to be the case as those pretending to be Objectivists "looted" the hell out of every tiny equity left undefended in the American economy.

It was a monumental case of what Miss Rand characterised in the phrase, "From each according to his ability to each according to his need" with the possible correction of "...each according to his need" to a more frank form, "...each according to his greed."

Without "producing" anything but a flurry of campaign contribution checks, these "individualist looters" managed to steal everything that wasn't securely bolted down under the political cover of the Head Looter, George W. Bush.  The richest 400 Americans saw their new wealth increase by $650 Billion Dollars during the eight years of the Bush autocracy.

Do we think this was "innovation" and "production" or simply "looting" poorly cleansed and disguised as some valid form of Ayn Rand's Objectivism?  Of course, the likelihood that the bumbling autocrat ever read one of Ayn Rand's books is remote, indeed, however, the oily cronies who surrounded him had, at least, looked at the titles and fly sheets while they were pursuing their ruthless schemes.  They thought that perhaps whatever it was which had been written inside those covers might make their crimes a little more noble -- at least in appearance.

Since we have now mentioned "production," we see another of Miss Rand's favorite themes.  Her heroes and heroines were productive.  In her novels, this was precisely the reason that they were targeted by the collectivist looters.  But wait.  Does this claim of Objectivist Purity amount to any more than the rest of the neo-con "looter" nonsense clad in the same cheap cloth?

Ooops!  What "productive" evidence can be found among the ruins of the neo-con rampage?  Surely, these miscreants must have produced something if their whining complaints about the collectivist being after them were somehow founded in reality.

Well, they managed to start a couple of wars which they immediately began losing, but that was of no concern if their "brother-in-law" war profiteers  continued to be able to exchange American blood for ready cash..  They managed to strip whatever honor they could find in our American traditions by torturing helpless prisoners to utter insanity to  ease their pathetic sexual repression while enhancing their idiotic appetites for masturbation. 

Encouraging a disgusting stupidity wherever they found it, their "talking points" and insipid insistence that "thought was unnecessary" may have mortally divided the country.  They managed to destroy the idea that a worker should be paid for his labors in favor of a new plan where workers were no more than cannon fodder for the gated cess pools of the new "country club" set, a place with a suspicious collection of residents who never actually produced anything!

Ayn Rand was turning over in her grave.

A post posting post script:  Perhaps MeanMesa's favorite of Ayn Rand's work was a small book title The Romantic Manifesto.  If you have unilaterally discharged all of her novels to the dust bin, take one more chance!  The Romantic Manifesto is a well written, thought provoking work which may rehabilitate your impression of this great authoress.

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