Ayn Rand's fictional world is not a place for the middle class - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Ayn Rand’s fictional world is not a place for the middle class

It seems the theory that ‘justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes the poor and the middle class’ is still very much alive among Congressional and House Republicans.

In the wake of President Obama’s economic vision for a new American prosperity, they have again advanced for the “rhetoric kill.” Even in the face of economic gloom, ‘repeal’ is the match that illumines their gleam. Accordingly, the stage is now set for the battle between House Republicans and the White House on the debt ceiling and the budget.

At a time when Obama stands between the  important economic decision of naming a new individual  to chair the federal reserve and just two months  before the government reaches the end of  its fiscal year, his refrain on decisions to grow the economy and the middle class couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

But Republicans are not regaled.

“Washington has taken its eye off the ball with an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals and it is time to stop,” is  Obama’s strong affirmation, but this too is greeted in denial by his opponents.

Mitch McConnel

Mitch McConnel

“Manufacturing jobs, investments in research, science and education and transportation and information are the cornerstone of the middleclass” he further asserts, but in a distressing contradictory tone, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) labels it as “preheated rhetoric.”

Moreover, in an attempt to deny economic reality and fostering a “dictatorship from the extreme right,” House speaker John Boehner further exalts his allegorical version of the Obama’s idea as “an Easter egg with no candy inside” and lauds his   claims   of ‘delaying elements of the 2010 health care law and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as’ instant antidotes for the economy.

Obama argued that “none of this adds up to an economic plan” and while he seeks to paint the economic portrait of rebuilding the middle class, affordable healthcare, inexpensive higher and early education, the housing market and retirement security, Congressional and House Republicans are choosing to create their own economic myths and adopting their ‘Randian’ premise of objectivism as a foundation for promotion of their own self- interest on the economy.

Ayn Rand as a young woman. (Public Domain)

Ayn Rand as a young woman. (Public Domain)

It may be true that  “speeches do not unclog the system,” but the Republicans denial of economic reality and their resort to objectivism not only places them on a murky depth of ‘22 percent among public approval,’ according to McClatchy-Marist polls, but also shows that objectivism is a philosophy that glorifies elitism. In a society dominated by religious and political scruples, it is difficult to see how objectivism provides any form of intellectual foundation for balanced standards of truth and value where the economy is concerned.

Yet they remain immune to logical reasoning.

Although critics emphasize that Obama “has focused too much on reducing equality rather  than increasing growth,” it also should be mentioned that  policies such as the ‘American Job Act’ and increased infrastructure that  the President proposes to increase growth only continues to meet with sharp opposition  from House  Republicans.

And so it is time that Republicans realize that we cannot live in an Ayn Rand ‘fictional world. Instead of adopting Orwellian euphemisms like ‘new normal’  cavorting fear, delaying progress and focusing on controversies that offer distractions from the real issues, engage in bipartisan debates on how to grow the economy and the middle class.

“If Washington shakes off its complacency and set aside some of the slash-and-burn partisanship we’ve seen in recent years, then our economy will keep getting stronger.”

Thus is the array of economic policies as they unfold in Washington.


About the author

Rebeca Theodore

Rebeca Theodore is a national security and political op-ed columnist based in Washington DC. Her work has appeared in various newsprint throughout the Caribbean, Canada and the US. Follow her on twitter @rebethd. Contact the author.
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  • Rayosun

    Whenever you see comments by defenders or promoters of Ayn Rand chances are that they will claim that her critics are doing her an injustice because they have not read enough of her writings. I am not intimidated by that challenge because I HAVE read some – not all – of her writings. And one of the most powerful impressions that I got from one of the few works of hers that might be considerly “scholarly”, i.e. her little book “The Virtue of Selfishness” was that the author was the very personification of “sophomoric”. She PRETENDED to know the thinking of any number of great philosophers who had preceded her, yet never quoted an actual word that they had written. The tiny number of her footnotes refered to her own or her allies works.
    Check out my http://Great-Liberal-insights.org.Org/AynRandPhilosopherforDummies.html for much more on this sophomoric “thinker”.

  • Sam West

    It is moronic to attribute actions of the Republican party to Objectivism. It is unfair to Ayn Rand to judge her philosophy by what the spineless politicians like Boehner do. If the author really wanted to know what Objectivism is about she would go to the source – Ayn Rand’s own words http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_intro. She does not. For her education I can name these two Ayn Rand’s political views off the top of my head: “The Conservative movement is dead” and the idea that Republicans are virtually indistinguishable from the Democrats and give people an illusion of choice while there is none.

  • jackdoitcrawford

    Many many people read Ayn Rand and do not get her ideas. Republicans and Democrats both are altruists who urge you to put others first. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is selfishness incarnate. If I weren’t an atheist, I would say, “God bless the founding fathers.” I think I’ll say it anyway.

  • Jshnayer

    Here’s the most incoherent takedown of Ayn Rand that I’ve seen this year…

  • The Christian Egoist

    You seem to imply that the Republican party has officially adopted the tenets of Rand’s Objectivism and is following her philosophy in their economic and political agenda, but you don’t mention any actual link between the two (between Ayn Rand and Republicans). Do you know of any? I would love it if that were the case! But, alas, it seems more likely that the Republicans (and the Democrats) have no real clue about economic or political theory — and are rather just pandering in mindless hope to appeal to the largest amount of mindless voters.

    You also seem to imply that you know what Ayn Rand’s philosophy is about (at least pertaining to politics and economics), but all of your commentary in the article says otherwise. Have you actually read anything by Ayn Rand — and if so, did you read it in full context?

    You want “an intellectual foundation” for truth and values concerning the economy? Try this:
    “The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man—or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.” -http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/politics.html

    If you agree, then you are in support of Rand’s politics. If you disagree, then you are in support of thuggish, elitist, criminal initiations of force against innocent individuals.

  • MortenOlaisen

    Although I desperately wish she’d been right, the claim that the GOP have adopted Objectivism is nothing short of ludicrous.

    A Republican party fighting for a complete and consistent recognition of the inalienable rights of all Americans would have been a formidable force. Alas, their current understanding of politics, morality and economy is hardly any better than their socialist opponents.

    I suggest the author actually read some books by Ayn Rand before making assumptions about her philosophy. I’d start with the bestselling, fiction classic Atlas Shrugged and continue with two of Rand’s definitive non-fictions works, The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

    • Rayosun

      Morten, I haven’t read Rand’s fiction, but I HAVE read her “Virtue of Selfishness”, which was more than enough fiction for this professor of logic! Rand showed no evidence of actually having read anything but her own writing. She dropped names, but quoted NOTHING of other thinkers she had the gall to think she could best. Check out my http://Great-Liberal-insights.org.Org/AynRandPhilosopherforDummies.html

      • MortenOlaisen

        That is a rather weird criticism.

        Her target audience was much wider than academia. If you prefer footnotes, references and quotes, I can sympathise, but that doesn’t make her claims and conclusions any less right.

        The gall and the fiction, I’d say, is yours alone, professor.

  • txtist

    Give Republicans are no different than Obama & his cronies, why would anyone think the GOP has individual rights, nonviolence, let alone logic, as values?

  • Burke

    American capitalism created the middle class as we have known it. Before that one became successful chiefly by conquest. And the middle class is disappearing as capitalism here is disappearing, victims of a growing looter class that produces nothing and steals everything.

    As Ayn Rand noted.

    • Timbini

      Capitalism isn’t disappearing in America! That’s ridiculous! Big business tax rates are the lowest in decades, the CEO-level management is now making far more than than big business management did 40 years ago and the income gap has increased ten-fold in that time span.

      If there is a looter class it’s the class of people at the top of the economic food chain.

      As Ayn Rand didn’t note.

      • James

        You are kidding right ??? Read Atlas Shrugged before you look even more of a fool than you are now for writing that…

        • Timbini

          One doesn’t need to read anything by Ayn Rand to know who comprises the so-called “looter class.” Facts don’t lie and the facts are this: income for the 1% has gone up 200% and for the rest of America our wages either remained stagnate or they went down.

          You can continue living in your Ayn Rand fantasy world, but that doesn’t change reality for the rest of America.

          • James

            If you won’t read Rand and find out what she was really about then please don’t comment on her because you are 100% wrong about what she said..

  • Shaun

    Uh. Read the story again. Most of the bad guys were RICH corporatists and most of the good guys were MIDDLE CLASS. John Galt himself wasn’t rich, and turned away possible riches to do his own thing.

    You either didn’t read it or weren’t paying attention when you did. Either way, this kind of blind partisanship is what’s wrong with politics in America. People are drooling over the ability to throw cheap punches at the “other team” so much they couldn’t care less what the reasoning is.

    And I’m not even remotely an Objectivist.

    • James

      But well spoken like one. Yes….this is another beat up by someone clueless as to what Rand actually wrote and advocated for…

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