I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 12 or 13, and again when I was 19. It was overwhelming at first, but the core tenets of objectivism never struck home with me. The super ego, the hyper-individualism, were just over the top. On the second reading I was struck by the utter disdain for the common man - and the literal reading of this philosophy has inspired years of misery for him. I encourage you to click through and read the entire essay.
Summary: Alan Greenspan, a devotee of Ayn Rand and contributor to her book of essays on capitalism (little c these days), carried the torch of objectivism to the highest reaches of power and eventually destroyed the very foundations of their misguided philosophies.
“No one person did more to spread Rand’s message of unregulated markets, unconstrained free trade, and unlimited power for corporate officers than Alan Greenspan.
Then just this past week, his absolute faith slipped just a little.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami” has engulfed financial markets and conceded that his free-market ideology shunning regulation was flawed.
“Yes, I found a flaw,” Greenspan said in response to grilling from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “That is precisely the reason I was shocked because I’d been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”
For years, other economists had been predicting that the hands-off approach Greenspan advocated and the derivatives he praised would have disastrous long term consequences exactly because they encouraged short term risks no matter what the damage to the system.
Greenspan said he was “partially wrong” in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn’t protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.
For Alan Greenspan to admit to being “partially wrong” about market regulation, is like the Pope announcing that the church is based on a little white lie.
A casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that discovering that the desires of corporate officers didn’t always run parallel to those of investors as being so obvious a dead parrot might notice. But then, a casual observer doesn’t have a lifetime invested in a philosophy that says otherwise. With the financial industry handing out over $120 billion in bonuses over a span of just five years, Greenspan seems never to have sensed that executives might act for personal gain, despite damage to the companies they control. He apparently never noticed that the desires of individuals, the security of corporations, or the needs of societies in which those companies were embedded don’t always lie side by side. He never saw that the incentives built into his more pure system, were aimed at tearing the system apart.
Rather than reveal some ultimate truth of Objectivism, Greenspan’s new revelations show only that for forty years, his indecipherable proclamations — those Palinesque chains of detached verbs and adjectives — haven’t been the carefully-parsed parables of a financial oracle. They’ve been the nonsensical mumblings of a blind believer. Alan Greenspan may admit to being “partially” wrong, but he’s wholly guilty of spreading a creed for which the hard evidence was always wanting. Far too many — on the left as well as the right — are guilty of believing it.”
I really try not to be political on here, but this is crazy regardless of who your voting for.
Yo McCain supporters! These are your bro’s. Ignorance is bliss right.
“The divisive nature of this campaign has brought out into the open what is usually discussed behind closed doors. It is a reminder that hate and fear are still powerful forces in American society.”
….it’s not enough for just some of us to prosper — for alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we’re all connected as one people. If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there is a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief — It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.
E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one.”
from Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC speech.
There’s something happening here, and what it is, is all too clear. McCain - Palin rallies over the last few days have disintegrated into festivals of hate, and the two candidates at the center of this are encouraging it.
There were shouts of “Nobama” and “Socialist” at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin. … In recent days, a campaign that embraced the mantra of “Country First” but is flagging in the polls and scrambling for a way to close the gap as the nation’s economy slides into shambles has found itself at the center of an outpouring of raw emotion rare in a presidential race.
Standing at the center of the crowd, McCain and Palin drew on the crowd’s energy as they repeatedly trained their fire on Obama.
McCain and Palin are soaking in the crowd’s anger, amplifying it, and feeding it back.
“Senator Obama has a clear radical, far-left, pro-abortion record,” McCain said after being asked about the issue.
The answer prompted a shower of boos from the crowd members. They booed again when he mentioned William Ayers, who bombed U.S. facilities to protest the Vietnam War as part of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground. They booed again at the mention of Rep. Barney Frank, a liberal from Massachusetts.
And McCain is promising more than anger. He’s promising that he will name names. He’s promising a new economic black list for Wall Street — and for Capitol Hill.
“Will you assure us,” one woman asked, “that, as president, you will take immediate action to investigate, prosecute and name the names of the people actually responsible?”
“I will,” McCain answered.
“The same people that are now claiming credit for this rescue are the same ones that were willing co-conspirators in causing this problem that it is,” he said, raising his voice to be heard over the crowd. “You know their names. You will know more of their names.”
Just look at that statement for a moment. Two weeks ago, John McCain suspended his campaign and trotted back to Washington, claiming he had to help shepherd in the bailout agreement. Two days ago he was bragging about it. Yet here he is saying that the people “claiming credit” for this agreement need to be prosecuted.
The language McCain and Palin are using: “radical,” “palling around with terrorists,” “willing co-conspirators” is growing more heated by the day. It’s language that’s compounded by the “dangerous” commercials McCain is running across the country. It’s the kind of language that you use in describing an enemy in wartime. It’s the kind of language that not only excuses violence, but encourages it. More and more it sounds as if McCain has inhaled the ghost of Joseph McCarthy and is exhaling the fevered rancor of Charles Coughlin.
The “Straight Talk Express” long ago left the station. “Country First” is the last thing on their minds. Nothing remains of John McCain’s campaign but a tight little ball of festering hate. Considering the volatile nature of the country at the moment, and the fear so many are facing as they watch their life savings evaporate, that hate is all too easy to spread. There are millions of Americans looking for someone to blame for this disaster, and McCain is desperate to give them a target. He’s said many times that he wants to reach across the aisle, and he’s doing that, but he’s holding a knife in his hand.
Maybe it’s guilt over McCain’s decades of voting for and evangelizing for the deregulation that brought on the crisis. Maybe he’s desperate that the mob not look at his own record for the source of their troubles. Maybe he’s simply angry because he sees his chance slipping away. Whatever it is, it’s ugly. And getting uglier. Any decent candidate — any decent human being — would be working now to tamp down that ire, not raise it.
What John McCain is doing is no more responsible than tossing lighted matches into a tinder dry forest. Someone is going to get burned.
from today’s dailykos