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Sociopathic America: Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan

April 23, 2011

Congressman Paul Ryan and his supporters evidently have no more  social conscience than Ted Bundy did.  That shouldn’t surprise us since, like Alan Greenspan, he worshipped at the shrine of sociopathic guru Ayn Rand.   Just remember that a major criteria of sociopathic personalities is an absence of conscience, a lack of empathy for others, an incapacity to experience normal guilt, shame, regret, or remorse. Is this starting to sound familiar? It should. Ayn Rand (1905-1982) developed an uber-capitalist “philosophy” to give intellectual gloss to such values. How ironic that a Russian-born writer who sneered at Christianity for its emphasis on compassion, mercy, and caring, should become the definitive Guru of the Bible-thumping, super-patriotic Right Wing of American politics. It seems the conservatives, the Tea Party, and the Libertarians just love the late Ayn Rand.

Who was Ayn Rand? She was born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum in Russia to a middle-class family.  Thanks to the Bolshevik Revolution opening the universities to Jews and women for the first time, she was able to attend Petrograd State University and could study everyone from Aristotle to Schiller and decide to become a writer.  Thanks to liberal US government  emigration laws she was able to emigrate to the USA in 1926.

According to Rand’s 1928 journals she had concluded “What is good for me is right,” a simple statement of narcissistic self-absorption. She openly borrowed that belief from a then-notorious torturer-murderer of children: William Edward Hickman. She called his mentality “The best and strongest expression of a real man’s psychology I have heard.” inspired by Hickman, she sketched notes for the character who would be the hero of her next novel, her ideal man: ” He would be someone “born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness–resulting from the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people….other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should.”  Psychopathic murderers, upon questioning, often admit that other people simply aren’t real for them.  They are just things to use or abuse for self-amusement and sadistic gratification. [these quotes came from Scott Ryan’s book  Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality, an in-depth analysis of how she missed the concepts or reason, logic, and objectiivty–another characteristic of sociopaths.]

She spent the rest of her life developing and promoting a “greed is good” mentality and insisting no one owed anything to anyone else. She promoted a massive myth of the gifted and talented  Self-Made Hero battling  inferiors who want to bring him down to their own level of conformist mediocrity. A  totally selfish, cut-throat mentality with complete contempt for others seems to have been her ideal approach to live.   Iconfess I failed to make it through either of her most renowned turgid tomes, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The characters and dialogue seemed so wooden, clumsy, and one-dimensional it was impossible to visual any of the characters as three-dimensional, living-breathing human beings.  Her heroes seemed to lack normal human emotions–or else expending all their effort suppressing them.  Even my mother, who idolized Gary Cooper, was appalled by his performance in the Hollywood movie version of The Fountainhead.  Unconcerned about the plot, she blurted out “What’s wrong with Gary Cooper? Why is he so wooden in this role?” I’d have to say he was playing a character who “had no organ for understanding” and such people are always oddly unreal when they are not pretending to be normal.

Ayn Rand ruled a bizarre cult-like group of devout followers with an iron hand in her later years.  Two escapees, Nathaniel & Barbara Brandon, left vivid accounts of the “dreadful atmosphere” inside the Rand Roost. He word was law. Her whims were  objective truth, by definition. She loved being called “a courageous man.” She crowed to Mike Wallace in a TV interview that she “was the most creative thinker  in America!” and said that among the great minds of the ages, she endorsed “only the three As: Aristotle, Aquinas, and Ayn!” Only the first two were her possible equals.

Like Milton’s Satan, her philosophy of life boiled down to “I want what I want and that’s the highest truth I know!”  Her ego, her whims, her desires, her prejudices, her impulses were raised to the heights of pretended philosophical profundity. Society was just an arena in which to act those out. The Conservatives, some of them anyway, adored her. She told them the lies they love to hear.

Despite their rugged individualism and vaunted self-reliance, Ayn Rand and her husband applied for and accept Social Security and Medicare benefits in their later years.

At her funeral was a huge floral display in the shape of a dollar sign, the god of Ayn Rand.

And now the memory of this stunted, twisted little mind is the major inspiration for tackling America’s problems in government,  finance, poverty, and regulation. Of course no one was ever elected or could be elected being an overt Ayn Rand disciple. But almost 30 years after her death, her tiwsted mindset is regarded as “serious thinking” and an important influence in American government.  

How un-American.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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