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The WMail Newsletter Essays
Volume IV - Issue #32: February 2003

"Standing On Ayn Rand"


        Ayn Rand's philosophy is called Objectivism because she abhors the subjectiveness of what usually is called philosophy. Descartes made a mess of things, followed by Immanuel Kant, and few recent philosophers have produced a system that you can sink your teeth into, to use in any attempt to solve the problems of Mankind. The Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment stands on Objectivism, but also on existentialism, primarily the ideas of Albert Camus.

        Ayn Rand was born in Russia and was just twelve years old and living in Petrograd during the twin revolutions of 1917. She left Russia in 1926, and retained her hatred of the Commu-nists' oppressive rule in the name of the masses.

        Ayn Rand's enemy is the Collective, the do-nothing masses who are taught to expect to survive without effort. She also calls them Looters. In both her fiction and non-fiction, she describes contemporary leaders – they have not changed in the half-century since – as pandering to the masses in order to attain power.
        She describes the Priests of Religion, who threaten a horrible eternity unless the Individual bows and obeys and surrenders power to the priests. In return, these priests promise salvation from this predicted future (which is an illusion, a bogeyman, a chimera).
        She describes the Priests of War, who threaten a horrible subjugation to foreign rule unless the Individual bows and obeys and surrenders power to the warrior-priests. In return, these strutting pseudo-warriors promise salvation from their predicted future (which is an illusion, a bogeyman, a chimera).
        (WMail Issue #16 of October 2001 described the Priests & Prophets of Commerce, who threaten a horrible economic fate unless the Individual bows and obeys and surrenders power to the business-executive-priests. In return, these execs promise salvation from their predicted economic future – which is likewise an illusion, a bogeyman, a chimera.)

        If I had to recommend only one book by Ayn Rand as a must-read, it would, of course, be "Atlas Shrugged". Second is the book and movie "The Fountainhead", and third would have to be "The Romantic Manifesto", wherein she describes the necessity of the romantic ideal in art and other pursuits. She defines romanticism as the generation of art – characters, visuals, movies, anything – as descriptions of mankind as we should be, not as the often-terrible animals that our Puritan-American heritage blames us for being.

        In her writings, Ayn Rand points out the existence of those who would rob the Individual of his/her inherent and natural Power, because the Ruler/Priest has no other source of Power. The subjective Ruler/Priest knows that Power comes from being an Individual, which is a terrifying Responsibility, and so they must rob the Individual or live a life in terror of an Objective, existential world that refuses to bend to the will of the non-Responsible, non-Objective coward.
        The Ruler/Priest generates subjective pseudo-logic that defines his listeners as victims, and him/herself as a rescuer. But an ignorant populace has no way to defend against the subjective onslaught, especially in these times of the mass media, and so the masses agree to become victims of the Ruler/Priest, and their victimhood – surrendering their Power as an Individual – keeps them in the state of victimhood.
        Look at the content of modern media from an Objective viewpoint, and the victimhood of the masses is evident: buy this or you won't be cool, you won't be loved, you won't appear to be successful – do what the media instruct or things won't turn out as promised. The Culture-Structure has destroyed the educational system, so that the masses are mired in ignorance – and, guess what?: they are then permanent victims of the System. The average person is on a treadmill trying to get the System to give them back what they surrendered when they agreed (thru unconscious inaction) to coast along by obeying the System.
        Thus the vicious circle, the tedium, the fear and stress of modern life.

        In "Atlas Shrugged", Ayn Rand wrote her prediction of the result of massive victimhood, of institutional irresponsibility. The leaders of the Looters take from the Producers in order to satisfy the demands of the teeming unproductive masses, until John Galt finally enrolls enough of the Producers to mutiny, and the result is the collapse of civilization: If there is no one to rob, the Looters cannot feed and clothe the Collective, those volunteer slaves who gave up their Self-hood for empty promises. The masses insist that they have a subjective right to the unearned benefits of those who actually produce. John Galt and his fellows close shop and refuse to be further victims of the Looters, and set up an Objectivist economy in Galt's Gulch, and then Galt commandeers the radio networks and tells the voluntary victims what he has done – without mercy.

        Ayn Rand held that the intellect, Reason, effort are the only means to the survival of Mankind, that abdication of the responsibility to Think, to Reason, to Produce is the moral equivalent of suicide. Only the Individual can produce – whether flying an aircraft or cooking a hamburger or designing a building or writing a song, even running a country or a corporation. The present economic crises, and those to come, are the result of attempting to remove the Individual from the equation, to replace the producers with voluntary slaves.
        But a society of victims cannot sustain itself. All cultures that based their economy on slavery prospered for a while – at least for the rulers – but each suddenly died off because they lost the ability – and the will – to Reason.
        If you raise a lion in captivity, it loses (or never gains) the skills required for the hunt. A generation or two of illiterates, of watchers and followers and hopers, of subjective, passive victims leaves nothing to pass on to the next generation. This is the situation at the beginning of "Atlas Shrugged" and also at the beginning of the XXIst Century: millions of Americans who can't add a column of numbers, can't tell the difference between television and reality, think that multi-level marketing and chain letters will make them a fortune, and after successive failures, are incensed that the Good Life has not been handed to them, that they and everyone around them will never experience the goodies promised by the Culture-Structure. They are angry, and most important, have no clue what to do about anything.
        Our so-called leaders tell us that we will be taken care of, but they can't even provide jobs that are above slavery or have any moral (productive) value. We buy what we are told to, what we are told will make us happy, but we are all deeply in debt [victim!] and fear each tax season that we are worse off than before.

        We know that things are NOT working, but the only input that we get is to maintain our victimhood, then we'll get happy, reach the Promised Land, live on Easy Street.

        Ayn Rand, with her biting personality and other supposed faults, was nonetheless a shining beacon of Reason, spoken into a culture of anti-Reason. The few that can hear what she has to say may yet survive in the long run, because they obey not subjective promises, but Objective Reality. If the lion should somehow attain Reason, it will learn to hunt; if Mankind uses its ability to Reason, then it will manage to survive. Otherwise, "Atlas Shrugged" will turn out to be a very accurate prophecy.

        Has anyone seen John Galt lately?

*          *          *          *


        Well, Dubya doesn't stand. The current President of the U.S. of A. is snuggled comfortably in the hip pocket of the Oligarchy, from whom he gets his orders.
        Only two years of his term as President has produced the following results:

==   Increased the U.S. National Debt from $5,727,776,738,304.64 {or 5.73 trillion dollars) on 20 January 2001 to 6,387,841,175,651.97 {or 6.387 trillion dollars} on 21 January 2003 – per the U.S. Treasury Dept – a net increase of 11.5 percent in the annual extortion money paid to the Oligarchy.

==   U.S. residents received copies of their W-2 tax forms a few days ago, according to law. Add up your gross wages for 2002 and compare to your gross wages for 2000. Did YOU get any 11.5% increase? Did the number even stay steady? Did your stock value or investment portfolio value go up? Or are you moving backward financially with startling momentum?

==   Well, even if your wages stayed the same, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the dollar lost 4.5% in buying power from 2000 to 2002 – according to http://data.BLS.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl.

==   A net loss of 2 million jobs in the two years, per the Los Angeles Times Front Page 11 January 2003, and that article says that the bottom has not been reached.

        So Dubya's 'best move' to deal with the above is the Republican panacea of more tax cuts for the wealthy. With two more years in office still to go, Dubya may well complete the destruction of the U.S. economy – and the world economy with it – as was attempted by the Reagan-Bush administration and yet was forestalled by Democrat Bill Clinton.
        No sex scandals in two years with Dubya at the helm, just record-setting loss of jobs, a failing economy with farther still to fall, and those pesky war drums getting louder – the term "anticipatory self-defense" is an oxymoron, and very scary.

        Can America survive two more years of Dubya's misfeasance?

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

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