AYN RAND, The Tea Party, Goebbels, Goldman Sachs, Greed and Government

“Goldman Sachs is a great firm—as good as you get on Wall Street and that’s the problem.”
Matthew Bishop, Business Editor, the Economist

The always amusing Matt Taibbi is again entertaining in this commentary on Ayn Rand and Goldman Sachs etc. He writes:

In the [Ayn] Randian ethos, called objectivism, the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (ie, the rich) and the “parasites” and “moochers” who wish to take their earnings through taxes, which are an unjust use of force in Randian politics. Rand believed government had virtually no natural role in society. She conceded that police were necessary, but was such a fervent believer in laissez-faire capitalism she refused to accept any need for economic regulation—which is a fancy way of saying we only need law enforcement for unsophisticated criminals.

Rand’s fingerprints are all over the recent Goldman story.

Great second to last line—and how damn obvious. It’s funny what some laws leave legal. The thing for me to remember is that Goldman Sachs and the ideology are, like a plant rising up in soil, a result of the soil, the seed, the sun, the geography, the geology, the advantages bestowed, disadvantages and the whole damn matrix. Human institutions are aspects of human nature, manifested from the mind and the opposable thumb—and some would include God or the Devil, or random selection, depending on their stock portfolio. What I’m trying to say, I’m not sure. But as sure as humans write poetry, they also write institutions.

The entire article in the Guardian is here. For the record, I too have never been able to get through a page of Ayn Rand, or a page of Das Kapital, for that matter. Terminally boring and over-wrought for my little brain. Hmm.

Lots of love to you,

Pete

PS Here’s that crude yet somewhat useful description of an aspect of what passes for legal—and, hey, for all I know, may be, in the words of the Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, “God’s work.” Hasn’t God got enough troubles with Hitchens and Dawkins breathing down his aged neck?

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And here’s a tongue-in-cheek bluesy, rock ‘n roll thing I wrote back in the 90s (remember them?) about conspiracy and/or truth, you be the judge: What’s Going Down. Some young video-savvy huckster/whippersnapper on line put this together and made a video out of it. The solo is actually Robbie Steininger playing the always raucous twelve string mandolin.

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2 Responses to “AYN RAND, The Tea Party, Goebbels, Goldman Sachs, Greed and Government”

  1. Sue says:

    Hi Pete,

    Great article. I heard something on one of the public radio stations down here (here being California) yesterday about the Goldman Sachs case. It’s frightening but they really and honestly still don’t believe that they have done anything wrong, despite the fact that–as the commentator pointed out–they made billions at the expense of their clients! Wouldn’t that put them in the exact same category of leeches, parasites and moochers that Ayn Rand allegedly deplores? Or is it different when wealthy bankers leech off the financial backs of 90% of the population because somehow wealthy bankers are so much better than the, er, “great unwashed masses”?

    I haven’t read any of Ayn Rand’s books, but my other half has. He summarized her books and her reasoning as being sophomoric and selfishly egocentric but highly seductive in that it appeals to each reader’s sense of him or herself as being “special”–one of the super persons as opposed to one of the “parasites”. Rand’s ideology would be described or labelled as neo-liberal anarchism–conservative fiscal policies combined with a major aversion to almost any kind of government regulation. Hmm, well we can see where that’s landed us in the last few years….

    I have read “Das Kapital”–many years ago for a political science course, and it is really no more than a very in-depth critique of capitalism. Marx pretty much sees the capitalists (the owners of production, land and resources) as the “parasites” because they further accumulate their wealth at the expense of the labourers who produce the final goods or work to convert the raw materials into the parts that are assembled into goods. All he was really arguing for was a more equitable redistribution of that wealth, considering who it was that was doing all the work. (We won’t even get into a discussion about the amount of unpaid labour that occurred in the process of the “reproduction of labour” (raising the next generation of worker bees). Autocratic, brutal, and repressive regimes were not even part of Marx’s ideology–he actually envisioned a voluntary and democratic redistribution of wealth and having shared ownership of resources which would help to make the playing field a bit more level. Somehow these key points were brutally lost in the translation from ideology to practice in most cases.

    You might find the following website to be of interest as it shows the political landscape as an intersection between two axes–economic (communism on the left and neoliberalism–as well as neoconservatism–on the right) and social (authoritarianism and libertarianism, with fascism and anarchism being the extremes on this axis). http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2.

    You and some of your readers might find this related video clip of interest. It’s an interview between Bill Moyers and the co-authors an new book titled “Thirteen Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover”. http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/bill-moyers-journal-watch-listen-pbs-2/ You might also enjoy Raj Patel’s book “The Value of Nothing” as it also looks at the problems of a completely unregulated market, allowing said market to determine the price of everything while many of the true costs are hidden so we don’t understand the full value of much of what we buy or use.

    Take care and lots of love to you too!

  2. [...] quoted Matt Taibbi a couple of times in my blog. He writes wittily and well, and aggressively, about the criminal disaster that [...]

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