Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ayn Rand and the Financial Crisis

In this time of financial crisis and the Democrats' irrational response to it, Americans are showing a growing interest in Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Increasing sales of her masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, have been reported around the United States. Reports in The Economist indicate the same is happening in Great Britain.

People are looking for better answers than the Democrats' frenzied bacchanal of print and spend. Surely appointing tax evaders to cabinet posts have raised many a temper. Even Democrats at the important grass roots level are disenchanted by the proposal to raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more per annum. Such a proposal affects every small businessperson in the country, and many of the self-employed. In protest, one such small businessperson coined the phrase "Going Galt," which has gained considerable publicity.

Raising dividend and capital gains taxes will increase the penalty on those who've worked and struggled a lifetime to save for their retirement. The shamefully dictatorial mindlessness of universal health care will break the back of doctors, the medical profession as a whole, their patients and every hard-working American and their children who will be forced to pay for it. The unbridled insolence of the current administration proposal to "cut back" on doctor's "pay" reminds one of Caligula's mental state.

The only people who will benefit from this orgy of print, spend and dictate will be the corrupt.

This is not what most Americans want. And so we are looking for answers. Answers are available. They lay in our moral base.

The morality, or ethics, one accepts gives rise to the politics one accepts. This is true of every individual whether he is aware of it or not. Since a nation is composed of many individuals, their combined choices will sum to a majority accepting a given ethical system. In this way, the predominating choices shape the nations' politics---its practices if not its principles.

One of the leading questions of ethics is: who should be the beneficiary of a man's actions? Should a man live for himself, or should he live for others?

If he lives for himself he keeps the result of his efforts and uses his property for his own purposes. Our own past history shows that the greater the freedom to live for one's own benefit, the more will men prosper, and so will the nation. Objectivism holds that this is moral. It is called rational selfishness. Individualism, free-enterprise and limited government are its political expressions.

If a man lives for others, then whatever he earns must be given to someone else---inevitably to those who earn less than he does. In this way, as the Soviet Union demonstrated, the standard of living declines radically and the nation as a whole spirals down into poverty and destruction. Objectivism holds that this is immoral. It is called altruism. Collectivism is its political expression. Socialism is an instance of collectivism.

We presently have a "mixed economy," with some freedom and many controls, regulations, restrictions and intrusions into our economic activity and private lives. This has led to many socialistic practices, and if Obama and Pelosi have their way, socialism will surely engulf this nation ever more extensively.

The first step out of this government-created financial mess is to CUT taxes. We are taxed at every level of government. Taxes should be CUT across the board---federal, state and city---and of every kind including property and sales taxes. Leave more money in the hands of those who've earned it. Whatever one may think about the current government's policies, most Americans agree that taxes are too high and too many and they are becoming increasingly onerous.

The first step toward recapturing the original meaning of our nation---a nation of free men---is to recognize the inviolate right of the individual to his life and property, which is based on the ethical system of a man's right to live for himself---i.e., rational selfishness. Once this point of view is adopted, we shall begin to experience a far better future.

Ayn Rand's ethical system rests upon reason and individual rights. To discover the true meaning of capitalism, to establish genuine free-enterprise and authentic limited government, it is her ethical system the United States should adopt.

To learn more, you might care to visit The Ayn Rand Institute web site: http://www.aynrand.org/

At web site of The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights are some interesting articles on the financial crisis: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_financial_crisis

Suggested Reading:
Atlas Shrugged
The Virtue of Selfishness
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Philosophy Who Needs It

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1 Comments:

At June 20, 2009 at 5:21 PM , Blogger Alex said...

Let's not be silly. I used to be a free market neoliberal type but there comes a time when we all have to face reality. The truth is natural selection isn't about the "SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST" as much as it is mutual cooperation of the species. We are tribal. The strongest social psychology binds that we follow are conformity, compliance, and obedience. Check out the Milgram experiments.

Selfishness is not natural, and neither is it rational either. And we pursue it to our profound detriment. Here's a really great article on biology and economics, something that today's Ayn Randist economics not only ignores, but actively suppresses. http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/biology_economics.htm

Individualism only truly survives without tyrants. Whether those are dictators or international corporations, they both suppress the ideals of humanity. Capitalism isn't the answer. Unless your answer involves Epic Movie, Paris Hilton, and a vortex of plastics floating in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch ).

Simply, we have to move on from this defunct system. Unless we truly want more commodification, irrationality, and outright recklessness.

 

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