Rand disciple spreads her word

It has been a generation since one of the 20th century’s most widely read and well-known philosophers, Ayn Rand, died. And it has been more than a half-century since her most well-known novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” was first published. Yet Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, based on the moral value and supremacy of rational self-interest and free-market capitalism, is enjoying a major revival of interest.
Yaron Brook heads the Ayn Rand Institute, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., but this 48-year-old Ph.D. permits little grass to grow under his feet. His zeal to spread the philosophy and ethic of Rand takes him across the country and around the world. It brought him earlier this month to Atlanta.
In addition to delivering to students in a packed Georgia Tech classroom a speech containing the elements of Rand’s philosophy, Brook fielded tough questions for over an hour. He parried with the students on topics ranging from the industrial revolution to global warming, and from the Federal Reserve to religion.
One thing that emerged from the two-hour-long session, and which in large measure may account for the resurgence in Rand’s popularity, is that in many ways it is an inescapable reality that the disintegration of America’s economy — which Rand described in “Atlas Shrugged” — is playing itself out today, but in the very real world of 21st-century Western civilization.
Yet, while some critics of the massive growth in the size, scope, power and cost of American government in recent decades come off sounding like sour grapes, Brook is upbeat in his talks to students (his audience of choice). Brook shines not as some sort of cockeyed optimist hoping simply to raise money for a cause. He truly understands and believes in the ultimate power of the free market and of the free will of people exercising their rational self-interest, to prevail over the destructive forces of collectivism.
This blend of reality and optimism is most refreshing; but without the strength of Brook’s deep knowledge of history, economics and finance, it would have negligible impact on his audiences. It is this background that lends so much more credibility to his message than all but a handful of speeches I witnessed during my eight years in the Congress or in the seven years since.
When Brook dissects the downfall of the Big Three auto makers, it is a discussion about more than the size of government subsidies or the “evils of big government.” I suspect that Brook has little sympathy for those Detroit CEOs who recently were figuratively disemboweled by congressional inquisitors. He understands, and easily conveys to his audience, that the Big Three bailout resulted from the unholy alliance between Washington, Detroit and the UAW — a cancer that had been eating the foundation of this once-mighty industry for decades.
Brook loves to speak about the growth of the computer industry by American entrepreneurs beginning in the 1960s. His eyes noticeably light up when he does so, and not just because he understands how computers revolutionized the modern world. He truly grasps the fact that in America, even with an economy controlled far too much by government taxes and regulations, there remains sufficient residual freedom to permit men such as Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, the founders of Intel, to visualize, create and market the world’s first microprocessor; only it would be vastly more difficult for them to do so in 2009 than in 1968, when they began.
Were a Thomas Edison to attempt in 2009 what he was able to accomplish 125 years ago, federal agencies from OSHA to EPA would quickly stifle his genius. By hawking the works and ideas of Rand, Yaron Brook hopes to lay the groundwork for a resurgence of the spirit that propelled America from a lumbering, backwater nation to the agile economic engine for the 21st-century world. For all our sake, let’s hope he succeeds.

117 comments Add your comment

ken

November 18th, 2009
12:46 am

Have any of you libs read Atlas Shrugged ? GREED IS GOOD

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
7:37 am

Ken,

I think you meant to type “Greed is God”. for Rand and her ilk, self-interest is a theology. Rand is inaccurately tagged as a “libertarian” but this label misses the boat. A libertarian believes “freedom” is good. Ayn Rand preached that self-interest is good. Liberty allows one to excercise “self-interest”, and in a very real sense, “self-interest” (greed) restricts freedom (slavery, usery, exploitation of labor, etc.). I am not saying the opposite of greed is good, but let’s not go ordaining St. Ayn just yet.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
8:00 am

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
7:37 am

Slavery is very anti-capitalistic and has a corrupting, destructive influence on those who use it. It is not truly in anyone’s self-interest. A government operating according to Objectivist principles would certainly ban slavery as a gross violation of the rights of the slaves.

Please define “usury” and “exploitation”.

william

November 18th, 2009
8:44 am

Sorry I am too busy reading Sarah Palin’s book. It is more interesting than Rand and more contemporary.

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November 18th, 2009
8:45 am

[...] – Republicans to Grill Holder on Gitmo Politico – How to Pass a Health Bill Fast Bob Barr – Rand Disciple Spreads Her Word John Stossel – Worse than Taxes: The [...]

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
8:52 am

dbm, are you kidding me? the institution of slavery is the very essence of self-interest and naked greed (forcing another human to work for no wages, to enrich one’s wealth). Kinda funny how the many of the “Founding Fathers” owned slaves and did not see fit to “ban slavery” when they drafted the Constitution. American Heritage Dictionary defines exploitation as; “the utilization of another person for selfish purposes.” Slavery is “exploitation”. Employing undocumented workers is “exploitation”. Revenue-producting NCAA sports is “exploitation”. The American Hertitage Dictionary defines USURY (my bad) as; “the act of lending money at an exhorbitant or illegal rate of interest.” You’ll find Tony Soprano and most major banks embrace this practice. Now I know Tony Soporano operates in a “free market”, but the banks most certainly do not, and the concept of an “illegal” interest rate is dicey because of the power of the banking lobby. Listen, Objectivism is narcissism. It is a shallow and childish view of the world. Obviously, it is “kill or be killed” in the jungle and the primary instinct of any animal (and we are animals) is to survive. The problem is; we do not live in the jungle. For better or worse we are social being that need each other to survive. Again, I appreciate the innovations and technology that “greed” produces, but Rand’s ideas and arguements are weak and infantile.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
10:33 am

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
8:52 am

Did you read what I typed about slavery?

Failing to ban slavery was possibly the Founding Fathers’ worst error and certainly their most blatant one.

The word “selfish” tends to be used in a very loaded, illogical manner. Ayn Rand addressed this point. This applies to the dictionary definition of “exploitation” you gave above, rendering that definition illogical and therefore invalid.

Undocumented workers have been forced into a limbo of illegality by laws improperly restricting immigration. This prevents them from shopping around for jobs and otherwise protecting themselves as they could if the government were respecting their rights. The basic problem is the improper immigration laws forcing them into limbo and thus distorting the market for their labor, not the “greed” of the employers who get them cheaply because of the distortion.

Who is being exploited by NCAA sports? The players? No one is forcing them to be players. They are just getting an opportunity they would not have if there were no such sports. The fans? No one is forcing them to be fans. They are just paying for the value they receive from the sports. Perhaps you would care to explain further.

Please define “exorbitant” and explain why some interest rates should be illegal.

Tony Soprano makes heavy use of physical aggression in running his “business”. This makes the market in which he operates very unfree. He is not at all a representative of capitalism. We would have a lot less organized crime, maybe none at all, if the government had never improperly forced anything into a limbo of illegality.

Neither Objectivism nor capitalism is about “kill or be killed”, either literally or figuratively. They are about reason. They are about neither living for the sake of another person nor expecting any other person to do so. They are about producing economically as the means of economic success. They are about basing interactions with other people on reason, not force, and on mutually voluntary cooperation for mutual benefit.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
10:49 am

dewstarpath

November 17th, 2009
2:40 pm

I did some research on Kearns. That was not about suppressing an invention. It was about stealing an invention. The invention was heavily used. Kearns did get compensation for some of the thievery, and might have gotten compensation for more if he had been more willing to hire attorneys instead of representing himself.

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
1:56 pm

dbm, we’re chasing ayn rand’s tail here. the world which Rand idealizes does not exist and cannot exist. where does a law shift from a ncessity for maintaining social order and oppressive government? Rand’s pinings are Utopian (fiction) at best. “if ifs and buts were cherries and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas…” you (and Rand) talk about “reason” and “logic” as if these things exist beyond one’s mind. Objectivism is a “what if” based on the notion that homosapiens behave “reasonably”. her’s a memo: WE DON’T. and we don’t because we lie, steal, cheat, enslave and exploit others when doing so suits our self-interest(s). please show me any example of unfettered capitalism producing a balanced, healthy society. I have more respect for Tony Soprano than Ayn Rand because he lives and dies by his code. what Rand fails to accept is the fact that capitalism cannot exist in some libertarian (no government) vaccum. not all laws are good (in fact most are bad), but for all her blathering, Rand never offered a better mousetrap; she merely pointed out what she did not like about the one she used to rid her home rodents. OH, and if you think there is not exploitation’injustice in a multi-billion dollar enterprise (NCAA) fueled by the unpaid labor of teenagers and young adults (a/k/a indentured servitude) it’s pointless for me to discuss whether or not college athletes are “forced” into said servitude.

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
2:36 pm

- dbm –

November 18, 2009
10:49 am

You know exactly what I meant. It is impossible to steal
something with out suppressing the indivdual’s right to
claim credit for that invention. Kearns did not automatically
go to court when he learned of the theft – not counting all
of the years it took to defend his patent rights in court. You
researched Kearns. I researched the patent process. In its
current form, it does not work in favor of the lone inventor –
it is a long and arduous process that only lasts twenty years,
and is virtually impossible to implement w/o the team efforts
of an employer, legal counsel and/or a team of investors.
In any case, a better mousetrap has to stand on its own
merits, and has to depend on previous inventions to be
successful. The USPTO website (www.uspto.gov) always
lists the patent numbers of previous similar inventions at
the start of a particular filing, as well as the actual document
itself.
Even if a patent is successful, the inventor does not operate
in a vacuum.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
4:45 pm

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
1:56 pm

We do not say or imply that reason and logic exist beyond one’s mind. We say they are tools for dealing with reality and therefore there are right and wrong ways to use them.

We do not say humans always act rationally. We say they can and should. We also say that in a truly free market, irrational people’s power to harm others is limited.

Unfettered capitalism has never existed. Therefore it is impossible to show any example of it producing anything, good or bad. It is possible to learn something from the mixed examples that have existed if we are careful enough about analyzing them.

Ayn Rand may not have given a detailed design for a better mousetrap, but she did give the basic principles we need to design one. Detailed design is someone else’s job. Albert Einstein did not do any of the engineering work that enabled people to benefit economically from his ideas, but without his ideas the engineering work would have been impossible.

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
4:53 pm

- dbm –
4:45 pm

Engineering owes its successes to many that came before,
to be sure. But Albert Einstein’s greatest breakthrough was
in the field of physics, not engineering. And he was preceeded
by the German physicist Max Planck, who initiated many of
his ideas on quantum physics.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
5:01 pm

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
2:36 pm

The car companies did not successfully suppress Kearns’s right to claim credit. He did successfully claim credit, although he had to prove his case.

Someone with a good new invention can find investors or another source of backing. It is possible that the patent process needs reforming; I do not claim to be an expert on this, and our current mixed-economy statist system tends to create corrupting alliances between large businesses or business groups and people in government that can produce all sorts of distortions.

What point are you trying to make with your comments starting with the better mousetrap?

The distinction between suppressing an invention and stealing one is relevant to this discussion. Suppressing an invention means preventing it from being made or used at all. It is impossible without the participation of government. Stealing an invention means making it and benefiting economically without paying royalties. Anyone can steal an invention. You or I could probably steal several inventions, with choice as to which, if we were so inclined. But any person or organization that steals a properly patented invention is vulnerable to a lawsuit.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
5:04 pm

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
4:53 pm

Einstein’s breakthroughs in physics have served as the basis for engineering triumphs, but engineers had to make this happen.

What point are you trying to make by mentioning Max Planck?

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
5:27 pm

dbm, ask the people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki about putting Einstien’s ideas into action. seriously, you are proving my point (and others); Rand was a dreamer and idealist. if reason and logic can be used “rightly and wrongly” who defines “right” and “wrong”? People “should” act rationally? were Einstein’s actions rational? How about Hitler’s? Who was more “rational” and “logical” Mother Theresa or Charles Manson? every individual has his/her view of reality and none is more valid or less valid than Rand’s, and at the end of the day, in my humble opinion, Rand’s observations are more fantasy than reality. Rand’s best work was fiction.

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
6:46 pm

- dbm –
You’re obviously forgetting the point of the forum.

You stated that “government would be needed to
suppress an invention” (Nov. 17, 10:22 am)
First, my point is that throughout history, no-one has
ever just SUPPRESSED an invention. There is no difference
between someone STEALING an invention and
SUPPRESSING it. Because of the due diligence
required to protect a patent, you suppress an invention
by stealing it, therefore denying the inventor a profit.
I’ve always said – “That which is easy to make is easy to
steal (or copy)”.This is why there is so much software
piracy in the world, despite the availability of encryption
tools. You have to have a high-quality product (a better
mousetrap) not just to attract customers, but to prevent
your product from being easily duplicated.

The point about Max Planck was to illustrate the
relevance of history and how it relates to achievement.
Einstein did not come up with the theory of relativity out
of thin air. He expounded on the works of those who came
before him. Period. This is true of all those who have
achieved something in life. It is common knowledge –
which is why a lot of so-called “conservatives” espouse
things that don’t work or are not relevant to the situation
(flat tax (Bush 43), F-22 earmarks (Chambliss), et al.)
Welfare, marches, SDI, free markets, enough already.
Those that achieve things that are significant do not
spend an inordinate amount of time defending politically
biased views AT ALL, liberal or conservative.

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
6:48 pm

- dbm – Also, engineering (especially classical) was
around a long time before Einstein.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
9:15 pm

neo-Carlinist

November 18th, 2009
5:27 pm

A hammer can be used rightly and wrongly, not because anyone defines right and wrong, but because some ways of using a hammer give good results and some give destructive results. It is, however, possible to identify what these are. The same applies to logic and reason.

For the most part you seem to be missing the point.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
9:32 pm

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
6:46 pm

Did you read my explanation of the difference between suppressing an invention and stealing it? My original comments on suppressing an invention were a response to stevieb, who seems to think that a corrupting alliance of “big oil companies and the boot-licking politicians that live off them” could and would suppress (not steal) a battery that would create competition for the oil companies. I was making the point that for any such suppression to have any chance of success, government would have to participate.

I certainly did not say, imply, suggest, or assume that Einstein came up with the theory of relativity out of thin air. I mentioned Einstein to make the point that the originator of theoretical ideas is usually not the person who translates them into practical application. This was a response to neo-Carlinist, who seems to expect Ayn Rand to play both roles. Also, please note that I am a libertarian, not a conservative.

dbm

November 18th, 2009
9:34 pm

dewstarpath

November 18th, 2009
6:48 pm

I certainly did not say, imply, suggest, or assume that all of engineering flowed from Einstein’s work, only that some of it did.

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
7:09 am

dpm, no; I think you are missing the point. there are NO absolutes in life (beyond death). a hammer could be “used” as a weapon (self-defense). a hammer could be “used” in an art installation. a hammer could be used as firewood (in a pinch). ergo, self-interest can be just as destructive as it cab be constructive, and all I am saying (as a student of History), the fact seem to suggest that the THEORY or idea that self-interest produces a “healthy” society has not been proved (beyond the pages of a work of fiction, written by a woman who made her bones polishing scripts in Hollywood). I do not dispute that excessive government meddling in markets or socialism have produced a “healthy” society, but Rand is a typical writer of fiction; she starts with a concept or idea, creates characters and presents a narrative. as I said, for an atheist, her work is almost Biblical, and her DISCIPLES are zealots, who accept one view as “reality”.

dgroy

November 19th, 2009
7:52 am

Zimbabwe…….’nuff said.

dbm

November 19th, 2009
9:24 am

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
7:09 am

Do you understand the distinction between rational self-interest and someone believing something is in their self-interest?

Do you understand the distinction between the purpose of ethics and the standard of ethics?

Have you read any of Ayn Rand’s non-fiction?

dbm

November 19th, 2009
11:14 am

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
7:09 am

Please define “absolutes”.

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
11:21 am

seems to me that your question(s) is moot. as I understand it, the concept of rational self-interest redundant. that is to say, rational self-interest only exits when the individual believes his/her action to be rational if it furthers his/her self-interests. I can’t believe you guys (Rand disciples) can say that with a straight face. back to my point, if each of us sees the world differently (reality) and as such our “self-interests” are unique to our respective realities, OUR ideas about what is “rational” (or logical) are not universal. AGAIN, Mother Theresa and Pat Buchanan are both Catholic, but even they part ways when it comes to ethics or standard of ethics. Einstein and Hitler were both German; but they did not share a common definition of what is rational or logical. inevitably, self-interests will compete/collide and historically, this “competition” has led homosapiens to do some pretty inhumane things. again, Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged and Hitler wrote Mein Kempf. why can you not accept that Rand’s world view is a fantasy; a fairy-tale. frankly, I put more stock in the observations/non-fiction of my lord and savior George Carlin, who opined, “power does what it wants.”

dewstarpath

November 19th, 2009
12:24 pm

- dbm –
Suppression by companies of a patent or design
is an assumption by conspiracy theorists. Progress
will occur whether or not the companies want it. It
doesn’t matter if the patent or desing is unpopular,
particularly with conservatives, e.g. stem cell research.
Another country will pick up the slack. Invention is
impossible to stop, so suppression is irrelevant.
I DID read your explanation, because I obviously
recited it back to you. And I know the difference between
libertarians and conservatives. Libertarians are more
pragmatic (like the religion of Presbyterianism), and
they’re not as hypocritical as conservatives.

dewstarpath

November 19th, 2009
1:38 pm

No offense to Presbyterians intended-

[i] I’m just making a point.

dewstarpath

November 19th, 2009
2:00 pm

CORRECTION:

I’m just making a point.

dbm

November 19th, 2009
3:38 pm

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
11:21 am

You seem to be saying that if different people see something differently, either there is no underlying actuality or the underlying actuality is unknowable. This does not follow. It is not the approach scientists take to disagreements within science.

dbm

November 19th, 2009
3:47 pm

dewstarpath

November 19th, 2009
12:24 pm

Did you read my post of 5:01 PM?

Maybe we don’t disagree as much as we thought. When you say “not as hypocritical”, do you mean “more consistent”?

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
4:36 pm

dbm, what I am saying is that as I understand Rand’s definition of rational self-interest; “if you think therefore it am”. Ayn Rand was not a scientist, she was a writer. She proferred ideas and theories; she did not prove or disprove them (beyond her fiction). Her body of work is closer to Sam Cooke (”…Don’t know much about history; don’t know much biology. Don’t know much about science books… don’t know much about the French I took. But I do know that I love you, and I know that if you love me too, what a wonderful world this would be…” than, say Albert Einstein. She was critic and observer, not a scientist. Her writing was infantile (narcissistic). Sure it would be nice to think all humans could be self-motivated and self-sufficient, but it has never happened and never will. So, Rand and her cabal of faux-libertarians can throw tomatoes at the big bad wolf of Government, Socialists and Dabney Taggart’s useless brother; but until she presents a viable “plan” for social order, I’ll continue to view her musings as little more than an Objectivist Fairy Tale and nothing more.

dbm

November 19th, 2009
10:52 pm

neo-Carlinist

November 19th, 2009
4:36 pm

Ayn Rand would definitely disagree with the idea that anything exists because someone thinks it does.

You should read The Objectivist Ethics, included in her book The Virtue of Selfishness, before presuming to say that you understand her definition of rational self-interest or that she did not prove or disprove any ideas.

dewstarpath

November 20th, 2009
8:06 am

- dbm –
I mean “not as hypocritical”.

neo-Carlinist

November 20th, 2009
8:46 am

last comment – I was specifically referring to the definition of rational self-interest (Rand’s concept). as I understand it, rational self-interest exits when the individual believes his/her action to be rational. seems like we can add contrarian for the sake of being contrarian to Rand (and her followers’) resume. I return to the “better mousetrap” metaphor. what did she offer as an alternative? A work of Utopian fiction and fantasy with no connection to reality. just because our “system” is flawed and self-destructive does not mean she predicted. for the last time; RAND WAS A WRITER, and a creative one at that. her observations are no more valid or applicable than those of Bruce Springsteen, Glen Beck or any other whining gadfly. Like it or not, we are social creatures. CONTRARY to Rand’s code, we MUST rely on each other. the 800 lbs. gorilla or proverbial turd in the punch bowl is the fact that the majority of Americans are un-educated, dim-witted, mindless lemmings who have neither the motivation or capacity to think independently and critically. Rand was close, but the bottom line is, she wrote to the the lowest common denominatore (Limbaugh, Palin, Beck, Springsteen, et al) and offered weak and shallow solutions (if any) to very complex and serious problems.

dbm

November 20th, 2009
10:32 am

neo-Carlinist

November 20th, 2009
8:46 am

Believing ones action to be rational is NOT sufficient to make the action rational or an example of rational self-interest. “Rational” means that the individual made proper use of his or her mind in arriving at the decision to perform the action. This definition may be harder to apply than yours, but it is the right definition.

Sure we must rely on each other, but not by giving or demanding sacrifices or using force. Our relationships and interactions must be based on reason and on voluntary cooperation for mutual benefit. This is what Ayn Rand is saying about politics and business.

If “the majority of Americans are un-educated, dim-witted, mindless lemmings who have neither the motivation or capacity to think independently and critically”, then politicans will be chosen by such lemmings and will be under much pressure to do as such lemmings demand. This will result in a very dangerous government, and if true is a good argument for limiting the power of government as much as possible. We had better leave the minority of educated, smart humans as free to function as possible.

If “the majority of Americans are un-educated, dim-witted, mindless lemmings who have neither the motivation or capacity to think independently and critically”, then we had better do what we can to make the ideas they accept uncritically be good ones.

Ayn Rand did not write to the lowest common denominator. She wrote to those of us who make good use of our minds. (I hope this includes you.)

Ayn Rand should not be evaluated on whether she designed a better mousetrap any more than Einstein should. Both should be evaluated on the quality of their ideas. In both cases, it is someone else’s job to design the metaphorical mousetrap.

dbm

November 20th, 2009
1:28 pm

neo-Carlinist

November 20th, 2009
8:46 am

Ayn Rand may have been a writer, but that does not stop her from being a thinker or from being a philosopher.

neo-Carlinist

November 20th, 2009
2:52 pm

DBM, again, as are Glenn Beck, Bruce Springsteen, my lord and savior George Carlin, and departed “philosophers” like Dr. Suess, Charles Dickens and as noted, Adolph Hitler. and I guess we now have to include Sarah Palin in the writer/philosopher. I simply find her particular brand of “philosophy” to narcissistic and a dead end. she certainly perfect the craft of writing (Kool-Aid), but I personally have found greater substance in the works of Hemmingway, McMurtry, London, Dickens, and my lord and savior George Carlin.

dbm

November 21st, 2009
7:42 am

neo-Carlinist

November 20th, 2009
2:52 pm

You’re defining “philosopher” so broadly we might all qualify.

You never did say whether you’ve read any of Ayn Rand’s non-fiction.

JoJo

November 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

It really seems simple……One man, one vote…. The producers are now outweighed by the takers (eating all that Gov’t cheese). Since the cheese eaters have been bribed to get off the couch to vote, the choice seems clear. Go on strike or eat cheese.

neo-Carlinist

November 22nd, 2009
8:53 pm

dbm, do you truly believe the American people “choose” politicians? I do not find such comments like; “…then politicans will be chosen by such lemmings and will be under much pressure to do as such lemmings demand…” as if “We the Lemmings” have influence over what goes on on Capitol Hill or Pennsylvania Avenue. To your later point, YES we are ALL philosophers (save the aforementioned lemmings who feel more comfortable clinging to someone else’s “philosophy” – like for example some disciples of Ayn Rand. I have read her fiction only, and I have to say, I couldn’t handle it. I find some of her (non-ficiton) musings appealing to my libertarian sensibilities, but her delivery (Atlas Shrugged) came across like and adolelcent diary or journal.

Joshua Lipana

November 22nd, 2009
10:20 pm

I also hope he succeeds. Nice article.

dbm

November 23rd, 2009
10:39 am

neo-Carlinist

November 22nd, 2009
8:53 pm

Fundraising is an important part of the incentives for politicians, but it is a means to getting votes, and funds do not automatically translate into votes. To succeed, a politician must please both contributors and voters. If voters had no influence, why would anyone care about how things look to them or about polls?

neo-Carlinist

November 23rd, 2009
4:57 pm

dpm, what world do you live in? excuse me, where do you attend High School? There is no “fundraising” per se in politics. there is the selling or peddling of influence. why do you think Bank of America, or Haliburton, or Merck or Goldman Sachs contribute to candidates from BOTH parties? they don’t care who wins because they own both candidates? the two party system is Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dumb. Polls? Polls don’t mean a thing. Polls simply determine which politicians get the aforementioned “contributions” and which do not. Ask the gentleman whose name appears at the top of this blog about polls, and choice and the “two party” dog and pony show we call our political process. and WTF do you mean by; “to succeed a politician must please both contributors and voters…” you’re half right (guess which one they have to “please”?). George Bush displeased millions of voters when he invaded Iraq. Barrack Obamma is displeasing millions of voters with his impotent attempts to reign in Wall Street or to “reform” the health care system. What any of this has to do with Ayn Rand escapes me.

dbm

November 24th, 2009
10:40 am

neo-Carlinist

November 23rd, 2009
4:57 pm

My post of 10:39 AM 11/23 was to clarify a point raised in your post of 8:53 PM 11/22. This latest excahnge started with your comment about lemmings, which could reasonably be said to have nothing to do with Ayn Rand. Let’s try again on the motivations of politicians and contributors.

Contributions started out not as an attempt to own politicians but as “protection” payments to politicians, who have a lot of power over businessmen. In our modern heavily statist mixed-economy system, it is difficult to sort out paying “protection” to politicians from buying them.

If “Polls don’t mean a thing”, why do they “determine which politicians get the aforementioned ‘contributions’ and which do not”?

Are you saying that some businesses are buying the President’s “impotent attempts to reign in Wall Street”? Which businesses would those be?

Politicians do sometimes do things for reasons other than trying to get elected, either because they are not 100.0% corrupt or because they think they have to or because they have a personal ax to grind.

neo-Carlinist

November 24th, 2009
11:54 am

dbm,

you cannot be serious. “politicians have a lot of power over businessmen”? you’ve got it backwards. POLITICS is about property owners (and I mean business interests) protecting their investments through business-friendly legislation. why do you think lobbyists run DC? of course “polls matter” to lobbyists and politicians, but they do present evidence of any “power” on the part of the electorate. perhaps I am not being clear; businesses ARE behind the “impotence” of Obama’s efforts to regin in Wall Street. as with healthcare reform he “promised” to be an agent of change and campaigned on a platform of “hope” but when push comes to shove, a politician will defer to the business interests that bankroll his/her campaign. so, we get the “lip service” of hope, but when all is said and done, any “reform” of Wall Street or Healthcare will be token at best, and more than likely written/OK’d by the lobbyists representing Big Banking, Big Insurance, Big Med, etc. And as I said, it was no different with Bush. his “policies” were driven by Big Oil (Haliburton, ExxonMobil, etc.) and Big Defense (Blackwater, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, etc.). This is how the USA “rolls” baby. I’m not saying it is right or wrong or good or bad, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking politicians are anything but pimps (and guess who they’re pimping? it ain’t big business. Big Business are the Johns).

Brian Prince

November 26th, 2009
3:24 am

to all of those attacking Mr. Brook (i feel comfortable speaking for him):

he is living for himself. not all Objectivist’s goals are to make the biggest pile of cash possible. we pursue happiness as rational men. why do you think he is giving speaches to all of these students (who he says is his favorite audience)? Because they are eager and open to learn. Mr. Brook is out there to influence people (for HIMSELF). Why? To live in a society not ruled by a gun. Where one can make a big pile of cash (freeley and without the use of fraud or force), or be a hooker, or a teacher. So long as you do not violate the rights of others.

I am extremely sorry if I misinterpreted Mr. Brook and please do not take this as his word.

dbm

November 26th, 2009
11:35 am

neo-Carlinist

November 24th, 2009
11:54 am

Businessmen just control some money and property, to the extent that government recognizes their rights. Politicians control force, which makes them much more powerful.

If what you say is true, isn’t it another reason to limit the power of government?

Brian Gates

December 1st, 2009
7:19 am

Just finished Atlas Shurgged and it’s the most enlightening book I’ve ever read. It presents the kind of philosophy I’ve always sought, but have never held explicity. Ayn Rand’s insights are piercingly accurate. What the world is experiencing is not an economic crisis or a political crisis, but an intellectual crisis. People don’t know how to identify the facts of reality and deal with them in a logical way. Everyone is obsessed with politics, but nobody checks their intellectual framework. Only when people learn to think rationally will our economic, political, and humanitarian problems resolve. Until then, it’s straight downhill.

Divisionhis

December 6th, 2009
7:41 pm

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Robert Littel

December 7th, 2009
4:58 pm

When I was sixteen, I read everything Ayn Rand wrote, right down to her lousy play, and was most impressed. Fortunately, I grew up, and within a year I realized the implications of what she was saying, that a greed driven over-class should arise and horde unto themselves the means for their own survival at the cost of everyone else. It is the justification (much of it after the fact) for the concentration of 1/2 of all the wealth in this country in the pockets of about 4000 individuals, who control everything, most notably the entire Republican Party and a good portion of the Democratic Party. From this advantageous position, they have structured our economy and our government to facilitate the flow of wealth from the bottom to the top. 315 million of the rest of us have to make due with the other half of all wealth in America and that half is skewed toward the top few fortunate of that group, who act as the willing buffer between the marginal haves and the poor (kept that way as convenient pawns to absorb blame for the “unfairness” the middle class feels at the inequity enforced from above), and the truly wealthy at the top. Rand’s piece,”The Virtue of Selfishness” has become the basis for our economic system and those who would use it to continue the sham they have perpetrated and are now fighting so hard to maintain. “Atlas Shrugged” is the propaganda piece to make the believer think that only the elite few need be protected and that because you can steal wealth, only you deserve it. Ayn Rand only said one thing that ever made sense and she said it shortly before her death on the “Tomorrow Show” when Tom Snyder asked her her opinion of religion and her one word answer was the only truth she ever spoke, when she said, “Rubbish”.