It is our eternal shame as country that such intellectually weak sauce as Ayn Rand should attain an almost mythical status among the very people who should revile her the most. But attain it, she has, and it’s got to be pushed back on. Vigorously.

I have shrieked for years that if something wasn’t done to disembowel the mystique of this legendary mistanthrope, her fast food fascism would nourish future generations of video game addicts who are more far comfortable reacting to ideas than having or ever questioning them.

While many a social writer has taken stabs at her over the years, George Monboit has carved up this phony icon with a economical precision in a all-too-brief essay entitled:

How Ayn Rand’s Bizarre Philosophy Made the New Right so Toxic
Rand’s psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats.

Without mincing any words, George gets to the point straightaway:

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the post-war world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Of course, no discussion of Ayn Rand can even begin without mention of her most famous manifesto, the ponderously overwrought, yet absolutely seminal work for the “Only Job Creators Matter” Tea party crowd:

Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, depicts a United States crippled by government intervention in which heroic millionaires struggle against a nation of spongers. The millionaires, whom she portrays as Atlas holding the world aloft, withdraw their labour, with the result that the nation collapses. It is rescued, through unregulated greed and selfishness, by one of the heroic plutocrats, John Galt.

If you never really knew this, it is from her wretched political screeds that too much of the churlish partisan drivel emanating from Fox News,, TheBlaze, Rush Limbaugh, and most other celebrated wingnut emporiums of hate and mindless greed is so often derived.

And turning a blind eye toward its appeal to the uneducated and culturally embittered has helped lead us down a path of pure evil. And the trail guide on this trip into an ahistorical black hole, from which a healthy American middle class may never emerge? Why none other than that pied piper of objectivist voodoo economics, Mr. Alan Greespan:

There is no need for the regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as “the ‘greed’ of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking … is the unexcelled protector of the consumer”. As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a “superlatively moral system”.

While Monboit gets right to the core of this cancerous legend very efficiently,  one essay can’t counteract the impact of her screeds on our culture, if not our planet. Recognizing the power that this seducative pap has had with people who get their world history from cereal boxes, I’d like to create a site that helps educators teach high school students why her rancid polemical fiction is not reasoned political philosophy, nor even valuable social commentary.

Rand’s works are little more than the angry ravings of a cold-war era, anti-collectivist relic who knew how to make mean-spirited cliches into compelling narratives for people who have rarely read more than one book. It’s the perfect propaganda for a dumbed down electorate that values feelings over facts, and will alway high-five some plutocratic diatribe, while being outwardly dismissive and hostile toward anything bordering on mature pluralism and dialectic process.

Progressives cannot laugh at this kind of thing any longer. It has much too much traction already, and it’s only growing. If you want to help me discuss how we might make tools that can mitigate some of her ruinous impact on younger—or just vulnerable—minds, if not our entire culture, please post a comment, or contact me on Twitter.




Remember all that hysteria from the pro-left

…about how the Supercommittee would be the end of social security and medicare as we know it? Well, many pragmatists (like me) were trying to explain that the entire concept came about because Obama totally outmaneuvered the Republicans, forcing a deal that would result in precisely nothing, or at worse, massive cuts to defense tied to token cuts to the very wasteful medicare provider payments that no one likes anyway (and which are the source of most fraud and abuse), and some COLA tweaks that would get offset by many ACA provisions anyway.  And that’s precisely what seems likely to happen.

Don’t take my word for it. These folks say it better, and they have some credibility with the same people who spent the past 6 months telling you the world as your grandma knew it was about to end in a supercommittee apocalypse.

From EJ Dionne:

Here is a surefire way to cut $7.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Do nothing.

That’s right. If Congress simply fails to act between now and Jan. 1, 2013, the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush expire, $1.2 trillion in additional budget cuts go through under the terms of last summer’s debt-ceiling deal, and a variety of other tax cuts also go away.

Read more 

New York Time’s Economist, Paul Krugman

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a complete turkey! It’s the supercommittee!

By next Wednesday, the so-called supercommittee, a bipartisan group of legislators, is supposed to reach an agreement on how to reduce future deficits. Barring an evil miracle — I’ll explain the evil part later — the committee will fail to meet that deadline.

If this news surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention. If it depresses you, cheer up: In this case, failure is good.

Read more

Or maybe they make a deal. That TOO will be a win…

@ThePeoplesView explains:

Just as We Thought: Debt Deal Forcing Tax Revenue Increases

You might have noticed that lately, the Supercommittee in Congress, charged with reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion or face the country with huge automatic cuts to defense and entitlement provider payments, has been a subject of buzz. That’s because the deadline for the supercommittee to reach a deal and vote on it is exactly one week away. Something interesting is happening: Republicans are still by and large opposed to tax revenue increases in any significant way, but they offered, as the opening offer, a $300 billion increase in tax revenue by closing some loopholes for the top income earners. Sen. Pat Toomey, the super anti-tax, anti-government Republican even suggested a similar plan while lowering the overall top rate from 35 to 28 percent.

From Ezra Klein

In the past, I’ve talked about the “do-nothing plan” for deficit reduction: Congress heads home to spend more time with their campaign contributors, and the Bush tax cuts automatically expire, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act’s scheduled Medicare cuts kick in, the Affordable Care Act is implemented, and the budget moves roughly into balance. It’s not an ideal way to balance the budget, but it helps clarify that the deficit is the result of votes Congress expects to cast over the next few years. If, instead of casting those votes, they do nothing, or pay for the things they choose to do, the deficit mostly disappears.

Read more

So in closing…

Can we please remember that some liberals are sincere in wanting to “push Obama and Democrats to the Left.” But far more of them have been dedicated to stylish shredding of this administration, no matter how shrewdly they calculate or negotiate.

The left is its own worst enemy. We’ve allowed the same minority of perpetual Democrat-haters who have pissed on every Democratic president since FDR to poison the national progressive mood at precisely the time we need it to be most hopeful and engaged. It was a big factor in losing the House in 2010, and may well cost us the Senate and White House in 2012. And that would be a calamity on a global scale.

But perhaps this new development will discredit a few more of the left’s own version of Safire’s nattering nabobs of negativity, and we can get back to finding ways to save those institutions and keep the Republican criminals from driving America further into this very deep and depressing ditch.

See Also



People are using Flat Tax vs Fair Tax interchangeably. And as usual, our congenitally lazy media is happy to oblige any and all misunderstandings by virtue of not understanding it themselves. So here’s a few links that will help you have this annoying discussion with anyone, especially wingnuts who won’t understand any definition you give them until Fox News tells them what they think they understand.

I am only going to rough this in, for now. If you have good debunkers or definitions to add, please post them as a comment, and/or Tweet them to @shoq. If you have time for this now, just read this, and help stamp out moronic tax propaganda and gimmicks from the radical right.

Flat Tax vs. FairTax

Neither the flat tax nor the FairTax plans are radically new ideas. The U.S. implemented a flat income tax for a short time after the Civil War. Many states and countries use a flat tax today, but the specific plan for the FairTax is relatively new and dates back to the mid-1990s. Read more from Marshall Brain’s “How Things Work.”

Tax Definitions and Debunkers

  • Definitions

 Demagoguing Those Flat and Fair Taxes

See Also”