by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s most popular work. A mysterious rebel leader John Galt saves America from economic ruin. But before we rise from the ashes, before the redemption, comes the blowup. And for that, let’s turn to my favorite, The Fountainhead, where Rand offers a subtle hint of capitalism’s eventual demise and self-inflicted death.
In The Fountainhead Howard Roark is the ultimate individualist, an idealistic architect and archetypal free market capitalist. Enraged when second-rate competitors compromise the integrity of his plans for a modern building, Roark seeks revenge, takes the law into his own hands and in a terrorist act, he sneaks onto the construction site in the dark of night … and dynamites the building … kaboom … destroying it.
Flash forward: You have a perfect metaphor for Rand’s extreme ideology, how today it is turning against America, blowing up capitalism, self-destructing as the excesses of a great ideology spin out of control, choking on the very dreams that fueled it for decades.
Warning, the commanding inner voice of Ayn Rand’s super-capitalism that’s imbedded itself deeply in America’s collective unconscious will soon trigger the suicide of capitalism, in a volley of excesses taking down the market, triggering a total economic collapse, and profoundly altering America’s political destiny as the global super-power.
Ayn Rand’s terrorist solution: If you don’t like “the system,” blow it up!
Since The Fountainhead was published during WWII, Ayn Rand has been a driving force in America’s collective consciousness. Today she is the patron saint of conservatives and free market capitalism everywhere: in the ideology of the GOP and Tea Party, in the mindset of Greenspan, Bernanke and Reaganomics, in the ranting of Beck, Sarah and Rush, in the Ryan Plan to kill social programs.
The polarizing of all American politics has its strongest roots in her classic, Atlas Shrugged, where a capitalist elite engage in a perpetual cultural warfare for the soul of America, fighting society’s “moochers, looters and parasites,” anyone and everyone demanding government money to solve their problems. The elite see America degrading into a socialist welfare state and communism. Rand says capitalism must be totally free:
“When I say ‘capitalism,’ I mean a pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism, with a separation of economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as a separation of state and church.” Why? Because “capitalism is the only system that can make freedom, individuality, and the pursuit of values possible in practice because capitalism demands the best of every man, his rationality, and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him.”
Unfortunately, Rand’s radical dogma has gone far off the course defined by Adam Smith in 1776, warping into an secret conspiracy binding conservative politicians and the egomanical excesses of Wall Street, Corporate CEOs, and the Forbes 400 Super-Rich against the middle class and the rest of society.
Warning: Rand hates altruism, religion, social programs, and average Americans
In a recent USAToday op-ed piece, “Ayn Rand and Jesus,” Stephen Prothero, a Boston University professor of religion and author of God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—And Why Their Differences Matter, poses a serious challenge to Rand’s disciples: “Idolatry of the conservative icon should lead to some soul-searching within the GOP. After all, Christian morality has no place in an ‘Atlas Shrugged’ world.” ….
… read full column in MarketWatch