Ayn Rand was a muddle-headed thinker who wrote wooden prose, “novels” that were really merely polemics .1 She maintained the beliefs that all wealthy people merited their wealth, that all poor people merited their poverty, that selfishness was a virtue, that the myth of Robin Hood was pernicious because Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Because she did not believe in history (or complexity or nuance), Rand did not count as important that Robin Hood lived during feudal times. In her philosophy, it does not matter to her how wealth and poverty were distributed in feudal times, nor how the wealthy got wealthy. Her fictional world is ahistorical. In her world, government is synonymous with force, but in her worldview, the only legitimate use of force is to take from the poor and give to the rich. She loathes democracy and thinks well of plutocracy. The current Bush/Cheney government of plutocrats would be very much to her liking, I think.
She is a high priestess in the Cult of the Market Gods.
Ayn Rand’s writing is known be esteemed by, among others, Alan Greenspan (“the whore”, as my father calls him), and by impressionable teenage boys with little social success. I don’t know if Dick Cheney is a fan of Rand, but he is the epitome of a Randian hero.
Anyway, Rand is dead, presumably in Heaven. From whence she must be beaming down upon us with great joy at the developments of the past few weeks, when a hundred billion dollars was taken from the treasury and given to the investor class, all in the name of “stabilizing the market” (Market gods angry! Market gods want eat money! Must feed market gods! Paulson! Bernanke! Feed market gods more money! Now!) The wealth transfers of the “Resolution Trust Corporation” bailout of the S&Ls under the Reagan regime, the Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac handouts of more recent times were as mere hors d’oeuvres before the meal of the Great Investor Class Bailout of 2008. It’s about time for a Randian beatification or maybe even apotheosis, wouldn’t you say.
UPDATE: I forgot to include a link to this diary entry over on Daily Kos, which got me thinking. I agree with the post 100%.
1. When the woman who is now my wife and I were first dating, we found ourselves talking about Ayn Rand novels one afternoon. I had read Atlas Shrugged and one or maybe two others, but not The Fountainhead. She summarized it for me in one memorable sentence: “In this one he’s an architect.” Really, if you’ve read one of her novels, you’ve read them all.