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 ~ George Monbiot, describing the ideology of Ayn Rand's Objectivism (an ideology that Libertriansim is derived from) as quoted in his 3/5/2013 article A Manifesto for Psychopaths. George Monbiot (dob 1/27/1963) is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism.
Who is John Galt? an unoriginal Ayrn-Rand-worshipping Objectivist Libertarian-voting individual whose blog I was recently banned from asks in one of his latest posts. John Galt was a poor oppressed rich person from who the government wanted to steal an invention from that could benefit mankind greatly. This invention of Mr. Galt's produced virtually unlimited amounts of free electricity. Although this Galt fellow was already a wealthy man he wanted to use his invention to grow even wealthier. The oppressive socialist government simply wanted to seize it (or that is my understanding, as I have never read Atlas Shrugged).
Mr. Galt could not believe it that the government wanted his invention to use to the benefit of all mankind. He didn't care if the poor of the world struggled and died if the wealthy elites sucked up all the wealth. Rational self-interest told him he should have it all... or at least as much as he could get, the rabble be damned. So Galt suggested to all the other rich people that they go on strike. Now, in reality, if this actually did happen... perhaps there would be some pain initially as the world adjusted, but eventually others (non rich people) would step forward and fill the gap (the gap created by the wealthy withdrawing their money from the economy).
Worker cooperatives formed by laid-off workers (the socialist government would take the idle factories and give them to the workers instead of allowing society to collapse). The workers would do the work (as they had done before) but now they would reap the rewards of their labor. Instead of the wealthy elites siphoning off a majority of the money that came from the fruits of their labor, the workers would distribute it among themselves and spend it into the economy. Soon everyone in the lower economic classes (the middle, working and poor) would all be much richer.
Everyone would be grateful the wealthy elites went "on strike" and tell them to get lost. Seeing as they no longer wanted to be a part of American (and refused to pay their taxes, I'm guessing)... perhaps they could be deported. That would be my happy ending to Atlas Shrugged, in any case. Instead, as depicted in Ayn Rand's fantasy novel, everyone else finds they are hopelessly lost without the "productive people" and they beg John Galt and the wealthy a-holes who joined him to end their strike.
Thus the evil Socialist government is toppled. Although the tome doesn't mention who cooks and cleans for the rich "makers" while they are on strike. Apparently they find some traitors among the "takers" to sell to them (food and other essential supplies)... but how the hell does food (or other essential goods) get processed or manufactured if the rich shut down their factories because they are on "strike" and everyone is helpless without them?
The book does not say (apparently). How they can cut off their noses to spite their faces and not suffer any consequences is not addressed by Rand (as far as I know). This is why many who become interested in Rand and Objectivism as young adults most often abandon it as adults. They wake up to the fact that the ideology is filled with huge logical holes (just like Rand's novel). One such individual is Progressive Talker Thom Hartmann. I have heard him mention a number of times on his program that he was a Conservative (due to the influence of his father) when he was very young; moved on to Libertarianism, and now calls himself a Democratic Socialist... although he claims his program represents the "radical middle".
According to Mr. Hartmann Libertarianism represents a new feudalism, and regarding this perspective I am in agreement with him. Thom laid out his argument in a rant from the June 24th airing of his program... an argument I have transcribed below (with minor edits made for reasons of brevity and clarity)...
Thom Hartmann: [Caller] you have an antidote for the Ayn Rand thought virus?
Caller: I think it would be good to ask these people who have been infected and they don't realize it. Do we the people have the ethical authority to regulate our economy, to determine how our natural resources are used, and to set a fair tax rate?
Thom Hartmann: No. Not according to Libertarians. We do not have that authority. That should be in the hands of the free market. They define "liberty" as economic liberty, exclusively. You don't have the freedom to not be hungry. You're not free to not freeze to death in the winter. You shouldn't be free from the worry about going out into the workplace without a decent education. There are a whole host of freedoms that I would submit that Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson worked very hard to give us. Those are freedoms that are not recognized by Libertarians.
Unless you were born wealthy like the heroes of Atlas Shrugged... your daddy having built a railroad or having been given it by Abraham Lincoln. The Commons is the place where these guys always fall apart in any kind of rational argument, although they don't realize that they're falling apart. What they argue that the Commons would be best served if it was all privatized and we tried that. It was called feudalism.
The feudal lords were not the kings, they were not the political actors of their day, they were the owners. The feudal lords owned everything. They owned the roads, they owned the forests, they hired private sheriffs to make sure that anyone who shot anything in the forest had to pay a tax on it or give a piece of it to the local lord. Feudalism was all about property rights and placing them above human rights. (Excerpt from the 6/24/2013 broadcast of the Thom Hartmann Program, 11:32 to 14:00 of hour 3).
My Commentary: Let me add that it isn't just Libertarians that have this "entitlement mentality"; in that they feel they are entitled to the labor of the workers at as low a price as they are able to "negotiate" (i.e. force workers to accept)... Conservatives very much share this same entitlement mentality and both greed-based ideologies desire to impoverish the workers so that money can be transferred to the phony "job creators".
The difference between Libertarians and Conservatives is that Libertarians believe government should get out of the way and allow the plutocrats to rule, while Conservatives believe governmental politicos should help the plutocrats (while enriching themselves, of course). Both ideologies call for the further screwing of the workers and are attempting to achieve that goal by demonizing workers as lazy and idealizing and raising up for worship the wealthy leaches who profit from the labor of the workers as "job creators" (when it is actually demand that comes from the consumption of the workers that creates jobs).
Both Libertarianism and Conservatism are poisonous ideologies that seek to destroy the liberty and wealth of the workers to the benefit of the plutocrats. It is time to stop blaming workers for their inability to stop the wealthy elites from taking advantage of them. What we need to do is empower workers via increased unionization (make unionization easier via legislation like card check), make the formation of worker owned cooperatives easier and by decreasing the unfair advantage gained by offshorers by increasing tariffs.
Raising taxes on the wealthy (the wealthy who have benefited greatly by underpaying the workers who created and continue to create their wealth), and redistribute that wealth. This, contrary to Conservative and Libertarian claims, would put money back in the hands of the workers who earned it (but from who it was taken), not to give "unearned handouts" to those who don't deserve them. Until we take these steps we will continue on down the road toward neofeudalism.
And we won't take these steps so long as the gullible masses buy into the propaganda and spin coming from the plutocratic class and their stooges... true believers and deluded fools (like the followers of Ayn Rand who are still repeating the question "who is John Galt"). The bottom line is that Americans need to wake up and start supporting and electing progressives and populists (one in the same, IMO) and stop buying into the self-serving wealthy-worshiping Conservative fairy tale nonsense that relies on victim-blaming and lies about the "evils" of socialism and who REALLY creates the wealth of a country (the workers). If not we will surely end up as vassals of the wealthy feudal lords (even more so than we are now).
- Further Reading
- Atlas Shrugged - Left Behind for Libertarians by Grey Fedora, Daily Kos 10/7/2013.