Quick Roundup 373

Monday, October 27, 2008

Audacity, yes. Hope, no.

This article at Daily Kos tells us a lot more about its author's ignorance of economics and the requirements for human life than anything else.

In the midst of a long rant against a caricature of capitalism inspired by Alan Greenspan's final sell-out of Ayn Rand, "Devilstower" -- why would one stow a devil? -- reveals an understanding of Objectivism that rivals in sophistication the tank top pictured in the next section of this roundup:

Chief Disciple Greenspan carried this torch for the next half-century and beyond. Pro-business conservatives (not surprisingly) found great comfort in a philosophy that said squeezing every dime out of the system was not only fair, but the only moral solution. Not long after the publication of his essays in Rand's book, Greenspan was invited to become an advisor to the Nixon administration. When Ford replaced Nixon, Greenspan became the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. And when Reagan took power, Greenspan was no longer the voice crying in the wilderness, he was the very center of the establishment. Objectivism and Conservatism had united in Market Fundamentalism, and that force was on a jihad against regulation of any kind.
"Chief disciple": If you have any firm convictions -- Greenspan doesn't, but we'll get to that -- you must be a mindless religious zealot. Reason can't lead to certainty. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm rational and that I am certain about nothing!

"Squeezing every dime out of the system": If material wealth isn't a fixed quantity, its production does not require anything besides brute muscle, and businessmen are just useless parasites, even if customers keep voluntarily rewarding the most efficient ones by trading with them. What makes "the system" work? Orders from government bureaucrats!

"Jihad against regulation": Never mind the fact that Greenspan -- a government regulator -- was attempting to exercise some control over the economy, we need much more regulation than we had, even under him.

If any decent analogy between religion and Greenspan's actions deserves to be drawn, it is that Greenspan was a hypocrite and Devilstower a true believer. But even that analogy is flawed since altruism, the religious morality, basically requires its proponents to violate it in order to survive.

The most remarkable thing to me about this whole tawdry affair is that Greenspan was cheating on a moral code that actually promotes life when practiced because, apparently, the approval of the masses is more important to him even than his own life!

If ever there was a gift horse that needed looking in the mouth, Greenspan's betrayal of Rand to the left is that horse. But the left is committed to the code that Greenspan was actually following, so that won't happen.

Devilstower saves his most egregious blunder for the end: "John Galt is dead. We can only hope he stays buried." To bring up a point of Ayn Rand's philosophy Devilstower conveniently ignores, if he has heard of it at all: In order to live, one must be free to engage in productive work, actually do that work, and enjoy the fruits of that work. A major point Rand made in Atlas Shrugged (It's a book.) is precisely that man must have freedom to benefit from living in a society with other men. Government regulation -- even from an alleged proponent of this idea -- abridges that freedom.

But Devilstower hasn't time for books. "John Galt -- farmer, miller, baker, shopkeeper -- stay dead, while I step over your corpse. I smell that pie Alan told me about!"

The Left's jihad against economic freedom will deliver us to a world where their mistaken vision of economics will become true: There will be only a limited "pie" available for everyone to eat, and we will have to fight tooth and nail over it -- or beg for it from a government official, as long as he isn't Greenspan.

That's what they call "hope" over on the Left.

Redneck Fashion

Some kinds of "creativity" deserve ridicule. This is one of them.

If someone hasn't told this woman about Goodwill by now, it might be because of a fear of ending up with even fewer teeth in his head than she doubtless has! (HT: the older of my brothers)

Honesty from the Left!

Well, okay. I'm calling a cup with a drop in it half-full.

In a sarcasm-laden blurb, The Village Voice does at least note that Yaron Brook of The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights denounced Alan Greenspan, and even provides a link to the story.

However, among other things, the blurb accuses Brook and his fellow Objectivists of being cultists. Coming from the left, that's easy to discount as psychological projection. How many readers will actually click through, much less read, much less critically evaluate the denunciation? The author obviously didn't!

In fact, stripped of the insults, the blurb actually has a decent summary of why Greenspan's words weren't even worth the paper they were printed on. And yet, it still attacks Greenspan, Brook, and capitalism. Why?

This blurb is an inadvertent confession. Just as we saw a Kossack confess that he equates certainty with dogmatism above, we also see a major liberal media outlet admit that the left does not care about the truth, specifically about its implications. Most glaringly, we have a leftist outlet saying, "We know that there is reason to believe that Greenspan was not an advocate of laissez-faire since he has basically just been called "King of the Regulators". But we want more regulation anyway."

And what did that just get us?

Now that I think about it, this is honesty about a journalistic fact being used to distract from dishonesty on a much larger scale. I'm sure that even Alan Greenspan would tell you, when asked, that the sky is blue.

-- CAV


Alfred Centauri said...

A refreshingly brave comment in the midst of that DailyKos comment thread:


Gus Van Horn said...

"Machado" does seem at least to understand Rand's philosophy as far as he explains it there. Too bad (in the short term) he starts off by making it clear he isn't defending it and ends with, "Yes we Can!"

But I have more hope for him than the guy who follows up that comment. He's positively crippled with cynicism.

Interesting. Thanks for pointing that out.

Brad Harper said...

I can't force myself to finish reading this or any of the comments. I get the beginning of a headache trying to parse it even if I only skim occasional sentences.

This segment of the left really frustrates me. They obfuscate essentials and lump together so many false premises that debate is virtually impossible as it would require volumes to counter all the errors/evasions they commit in only a few sentences.

I know people of their ilk exist, but reading them in such overwhelming numbers is a bit of intimidating. Tens of thousands of little Bertram Scudders blogging and commenting - these people are beyond reach and multiplying.

This Greenspan event is such adequate fodder for the haters of Rand, reason, rights etc. - they foam at the mouth for opportunities such as this.

Gus Van Horn said...

But it is still instructive.

Yes. Most of those people are beyond hopeless. And yet, they demonstrate something about why being very careful about praising Alan Greenspan and his ilk is so important.

While you can't go through life walking on eggshells about how they'll willfully twist some fragment of the truth, you can make it clear -- for the sake of anyone who IS reachable -- that they're wrong about Greenspan.

And if you're always careful, as I was, not to act like a Greenspan is what he wasn't, his lionization by the left, suspicious to begin with, becomes well-nigh instructive.

Valda Redfern said...

I'm not big on fashion, so I'm just checking: is that person actually wearing men's underpants on her top half?

I bet Greenspan wears sharp suits, to highlight his high social standing, bought at the expense of a little philosophical betrayal, a little obfuscation of the truth. May he have as much joy from it as Peter Keating did.

z said...

Speaking of refreshing, I checked out George Reisman's latest tonic. It ends like this:

"Today, they continue to play the same game. Always it is laissez faire that they denounce, and whose alleged failures they claim need to be overcome with yet more government regulations and controls. Today, the massive interventions not only of the New Deal, but also of the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society, and of all the administrations since, have been added to the very major interventions that existed even in the 1920s and to which Hoover very substantially added. And yet we still allegedly have laissez faire. It seems that so long as anyone manages to move or even breathe without being under the control of the government, laissez faire allegedly continues to exist, which serves to make necessary yet still more government controls.

"The logical stopping point of this process is that one day everyone will end up being shackled to a wall, or at the very least being compelled to do something comparable to living in a zip code that matches his social security number. Then the government will know who everyone is, where he is, and that he can do nothing whatever without its approval and permission. And then the world will be safe from anyone attempting to do anything that benefits him and thereby allegedly harms others. At that point, the world will enjoy all the prosperity that comes from total paralysis."

Check it out.

Gus Van Horn said...


To answer your question: Yes. There is some hope that this was done on a dare, but I am not so sure about that.

Regarding your sentiment: Hear, hear!


Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks, z!

Harold said...

Interesting that the author uses the term jihad here, but a search (of his writings, not comments) reveals he really doesn't use it to this extent in reference to Moslems--unless he's quoting someone.

You should see some of the postings on google finance. Ridiculous. I go there when I'm supposed to be working, lol.

It seems that many on the Kos website are very hateful people, and there's certainly an audience for that. I'm not sure where it comes from, but it's interesting to note.

Gus Van Horn said...

I usually don't pay much attention to Kos for the reason you name, but this post came to my attention -- I forget exactly how -- yesterday.

I'll remember to check out Google finance some time, though. It sounds like promising comic relief!