ARC Press Release: The Unfree Market Has Failed

Ayn Rand Center's picture
Submitted by Ayn Rand Center on Fri, 2008-09-19 23:00

The Unfree Market Has Failed
September 19, 2008

Washington, D.C.--“Everyone is blaming ‘the free market’ for today’s financial crisis,” observed Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. “But we should be blaming the unfree market. The mortgage and financial markets have been thoroughly controlled by government--and that is why they failed.

“It was the government’s hand in the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Reserve Board’s inflationary policy of keeping interest rates artificially low, the irrational lending standards forced on lenders by the federal Community Reinvestment Act, and the quasi-official policy of bailing out large financial institutions deemed too big to fail, that contributed to creating a situation in which millions of people were buying homes they could not afford, in which the participants experienced the illusion of prosperity, in which billions upon billions of dollars were going into bad investments.

“We do not need more regulation or economic ‘supervision.’ What we need to do is remove the government’s power to coerce, bribe, reward and bail out irrational decisions. The unfree market has failed. It’s time for a truly free market.”

### ### ###

Yaron Brook is executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and a contributing editor of The Objective Standard. His articles have been featured in major newspapers such as USA Today, the Houston Chronicle, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Providence Journal and the Orange County Register. Dr. Brook is often interviewed on radio and is a frequent guest on a variety of national TV shows, having appeared in the new Fox Business Network, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, At Large with Geraldo Rivera), CNN (Talkback Live and the Glenn Beck Program), CNBC (Closing Bell and On the Money), and C-SPAN. Dr. Brook, a former finance professor, lectures on Objectivism, capitalism, business and foreign policy at college campuses, community groups and corporations across America and throughout the world.

To interview Dr. Brook or book him for your show, please contact Larry Benson:
949-222-6550, ext. 213
media@aynrandcenter.org

For more information on Objectivism’s unique point of view, go to ARC’s Web site. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”

  

Copyright © 2008 Ayn Rand® Center for Individual Rights. All rights reserved.


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Yes, Bill!

Prima Donna's picture

Every mind enlightened counts, so good for you, and keep up the good work!

My business partner said something very wise the other day. In speaking of revolution, he said "What we need is a revolution of integrity -- and we'll get there by appealing to the minds immediately around us first."

I so dig him. Smiling

Jennifer

Bill

Leonid's picture

If you can reach 1 or 2 people a year-than you are doing well. This is tremendous success! Ayn Rand said once that if she could reach 20 during her life time she would be happy and would consider her mission completed. In the most cases the course of history had been changed just by one person.

No Disrespect to Academics Intended

Rocketfuel's picture

I really wasn't being tongue in cheek when I stated that the academics doing their work lit the way. I do believe that. I suppose the ivory tower was a cheap shot but it was hard to pass up. And I do understand that philosophy shapes popular culture (albiet on a long time delay).

I simply wanted to point out that the creation of popular culture itself is probably the fastest way towards measurable change. And that is what I am working on myself - trying to decide what I can bring to the table and achieve in that arena.

I started teaching believing that I could make an impact by getting young people to think, but now I am not so sure. The system is very large and it is perfectly designed to get the results that it has always gotten.

I have come to measure my success in the class room and in coaching with individual students and athletes. Every year there are one or two that I believe I have helped and that has to be good enough. This is part of what led me to thinking about the influence of popular culture.

Another aspect was my own personal experience. When I was young I really liked the band Rush. I was drawn to the lyrics of the songs and had memorized most of their many albums by the time I had graduated high school.

It wasn't until many years later that I read Atlas Shrugged. I never attended college and had been carrying around a list of 100 influential books that I had found somewhere. I wanted to read all the books on the list as part of my self education. I was stuck at the airport, went to the bookstore, and there was AS, one of the books on the list. I picked it up and was absolutely blown away because it was the first time I had ever known of a philosophy that echoed my own beliefs so fully.

Again years later I found out that the lyricist for Rush was heavily influenced by Rand. So I still wonder if I was attracted to the Rush lyrics because I was already sympathetic to the ideas, or did the lyrics influence my thinking and make me more receptive to the ideas in AS? Probably some of both.

I just don't think there is enough material, like the Rush albums, that is accessible to young people and that combats the ideas in Robin Hood and all the other stories kids are told. So this is my own personal challenge - what can I do to change the status quo? What can I add to the discussion? 

Still working on an answer.

 

Bill Thomas

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rocketfuel

www.RocketfuelSigns.com

 

Doing vs. debating

Prima Donna's picture

Things change when people take action. We could post here day and night debating the virtues of capitalism and its demise in the US, but until we get out of the fishbowl not a whole lot is going to happen. The NZers here are prime examples of thought and action working together to get results.

That swirling fishbowl is one of the reasons I prefer to spend time *out there* instead of online, spreading ideas, encouraging thinking -- inspiring others to take action.

My roommate has never read Ayn Rand, but through extensive conversations with me and some very thorough, critical thinking, she has blossomed into one of the most rational, courageous people I've ever met -- and she will be a teacher who will inspire thousands of children. I have never uttered an objectivist buzzword in her presence, but she took on an entire graduate class of socialists last week and came out swinging. *That* is the fuel that keeps the momentum flowing.

So sure, this release from ARI could be better. But they sent it *out*. How many of you in the US have written/called/faxed to your congressmen to oppose the bailout? Taken action and made your voices heard?

If you haven't, you are simply engaging in a whole lot of posturing and mental masturbation.

Jennifer

The solution is in your hands, Bill

Leonid's picture

"what about taking the best ideas and sowing seeds in the popular consciousness through stories and music and movies? This is the way to influence public opinion."

You are absolutly right. It's called diffusion and it would work. But ask yourself who provides movie makers, song writers, journalists and politicians with ideas? They get them by diffusion as well. The source is the dominant philosophy which is shaped by philosophers. So every child in the world knows that superheroes suppose to be in selfless service for society (remember "Superman" and "Star wars"?).This is the job of philosophers to create new cultural atmosphere (as they created previously the current mess)and that what ARI is doing.You said "I am glad the academics are doing their work in ivory towers removed from the realities of society"- but that simply not true. They distribute half a million Ayn Rand books a year via schools, they organize essey contests on Rand works, they give public lectures in open forums, on TV, not to mention the Net, books, CD's and DVD's Don't take my word for it, check yourself on ARI site or Ayn Rand Bookstore. I know because I often buy from them. You as a teacher in the perfect position to make the difference- not by introducing the kids to Objectivism (that can come in the latter stage), but mainly by teaching them how to think. When they'll learn to value the reason they'll be Objectivists. Objectivism is not a religion and it doesn't seek converts, only the understanding of reality of the Nature and Man. This understanding had been badly distorted by religion and Kantian philosophy. That why adults would instantly reject AS. So the next generation is the only hope.

But I Have to Live Here... Now

Rocketfuel's picture

I understand this debate between wholesale cohesive revolution vs. pragmatic fix what we can politics.

I really don't see the former being possible in my lifetime. Or my children's. And I have to live now in this world.

I am glad the academics are doing their work in ivory towers removed from the realities of society - we need them to do that work! It helps illuminate the path.

But here in the real world we have to work with the tools at hand and the circumstances that are. I think society is actually a pretty amazing place to live right now -  I mean just go to the grocery store and look what is available to the average person - it's amazing! Have a question or need something? Go online. Wow! The world has some amazing things to offer.

But I do feel a backsliding towards darker ideas. (Yes I said feel... people mostly make decisions with their emotions and support them with reason - ask any salesman or advertiser) I don't want to lose what we have already to the more socialistic ideas I see as being popular right now in America.

So short of converting everyone to believing the doctrine 100% (sounds a little like religion anyway) what about taking the best ideas and sowing seeds in the popular consciousness through stories and music and movies? This is the way to influence public opinion. This is where most people get their ideas. Trust me.... they aren't going to read Atlas for the most part.

Even if you do get an adult to read Atlas, is it any wonder they reject the ideas out of hand? I mean think about it.... they have spent their entire adult lives making decisions based on an understanding of the world. Now you come along and tell them that their understanding was incorrect and therefore all the decisions that they made need to be reexamined in light of their new understanding. That is just way too painful and people will not make the shift. It isn't really reasonable to expect that they will.

I teach at a public technical high school (yes you feel my pain) and I can tell you right now the chance of every American understanding objectivist philosophy is about 0. Half the kids have trouble with the most basic thought processes and believe whatever they were told 5 minutes ago without examining the belief at all. But they are young and open to new ideas. And they can quote songs and stories and movies like you wouldn't believe. I think this is where the change needs to happen.

I am with Scott, my own personal goal is to seed as many ideas as I can, through whatever medium I find.

So, how do you create the Simpsons or CSI (entertaining, fun, popular) and add in a liberal (pun intended) dose of objectivist philosophy while not getting preachy? If you solve that problem you have a shot at making a much larger change than the ARI can with the general public.

mmmm....... Objectivist Survivor?

Bill Thomas

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rocketfuel

www.RocketfuelSigns.com

PS - And no, I don't consider myself to be a 'true' objectivist as this would immediately make me unwilling to work in the world today supporting the looters with my productivity..... But on the other hand, I don't see a lot of the 'true' objectivists growing thier own food and spinning thier own cloth in order to avoid this same fate so I don't feel too bad.

 

Robert

Leonid's picture

"But if you follow the template of the last successful American Revolution, you don't just talk about what liberty is. You also talk about how to achieve it."

I'm glad you mentioned American Revolution. This is very good example.
"The revolutionary era began in 1763, when the French military threat to British North American colonies ended. Adopting the view that the colonies should pay a substantial portion of the costs associated with keeping them in the Empire, Britain imposed a series of taxes followed by other laws that proved extremely unpopular" (Wikipedia)
Ask yourself, why revolution started in 1763 and not, for example, in 1713? Didn't Empire was as oppressive as it was when revolution started? Didn't British imposed laws and taxes fifty years before revolution? They did. The only difference was that ideas of John Locke (who died in 1704) of social contract and individual rights hadn't penetrated colonist society deep enough to create revolution. John Locke political party wouldn't have a chance to win in 1713. Revolution in people's head hadn't happened by that time. Politician, to win over people's hearts and votes has to act within current mainstream dominant philosophy of the given society. American and western dominant philosophy is shaped by 2000 years of Christianity (slightly secularized by Kant). For proof observe tremendous popularity of Sara Palin, who is Christian fundamentalist. The goal of Objectivist movement is to challenge this philosophy, not to win election, therefore Objectivists mainly educators, not politicians. And think, what would happen if Objectivists by some miracle could win the office? How they'll implement Objectivist program in society, whose dominant philosophy is turning around altruist-collectivist-mystic axis? Political power is physical force. Can you order people to be free or to use reason? If you think you can, than re-read conversation between John Galt and Mr. Thompson in “Atlas shrugged". Regarding the notion of pragmatism. This is exactly what represents foundation of modern mainstream philosophy. Pragmatism means negation of ideas, of principles and reason; it postulates an action on the spur of the moment. If American settlers instead of starting revolution were negotiating with the King about taxes and regulation, where would be America today? Pragmatism and Objectivism are simply incompatible, as Pragmatism is incompatible with any human action-and for the proof observe the current financial crisis. So what Objectivists should do? To form political party and to try to win the office? That would be futile exercise, for the reasons I've mentioned above. To form political party in order to educate during campaign? Political campaigns are short-living and the mainstream media will not expose Objectivism or will expose it in perverted way, causing tremendous damage. One can only imagine what kind of articles “Time" or "Newsweek" may publish about Objectivism! I think that what ARI is doing at present is the right thing to do. On individual level there are also many things which one can do. For example give the copy of “Atlas" to every friend and neighbour. Let Rand to do the job, she's good in it. And most important thing-don't give to anybody the "sanction of the victim."
And finally to answer your question "Why do I find out about the contents of Yaron's speeches through Chinese Whispers on the internet? "- I don't know. Maybe you prefer Chinese Wispers to ARI site.Here is the link for you to use http://www.aynrand.org/site/Pa...

Why do I have to learn of these strategies

Robert's picture

... and plans from an Objectivist?

Why do I find out about the contents of Yaron's speeches through Chinese Whispers on the internet?

Yes, it's true that I wasn't looking. But then there are a number of 'homeless' objectivism-friendly folks out there who aren't looking - mainly because of the stick up the arse thing.

A political party would be a good vehicle to get these people up to speed. Mainly because to carry it off, you need to remove the stick from your arse and think about communicating to people who can't quote von Mises, Peikoff, Rand and Aristotle verbatim.

Look, I don't mean to criticize those in the ARI/TAS who are trying to do something. Good for them. And once I've convinced myself that they are genuine, I will try to lend what meager assistance I can given that I'm not up with my reading and such.

My criticism is directed against those among ARI and TAS who dismiss the idea of complimenting the ARI/TAS activities with political activism.

Same old same old

Ptgymatic's picture

...from you, Scott. No substance. Emotional baggage. Pffft.

= Mindy

Let me be clear

atlascott's picture

Linz and PC do infinitely more to spread the ideas and effect political change than I do. Nothing in my post should be meant as a criticism of either of them. I SHOULD become more active. And perhaps I WILL.

Hope and faith are important. No great thing was ever done without hope and faith in the plan for their achievement.

But we cannot let hope and faith cloud reason when evaluating the plan and its chance for effecting any kind of change.

It is nice that ARI is presenting lectures to one another about their bold plans and strategies for changing the culture. It is certainly better than nothing. But presenting a paper at an ARI event or lecturing to other Objectivists has a negligible effect on anyone or anything.

Why do I have to learn of these strategies and plans from an Objectivist? Why aren't anyone but Objectivists being exposed to these ideas, reading these press releases, being convinced by the bold plans and strategies?

I am skeptical that any of these ARI efforts are going to amount to any more than they have in the past--not much. A high school essay contest here, a press release no one takes seriously there, papers and lectures presented back and forth in their own intellectual group.

I do not mean to denigrate the ARI, or its supporters, but I think we have heard this song before. It is a pleasant little diddy of a beautiful future world, but the words are immediately forgotten once the song stops.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Go fuck yourself, "Mindy"

atlascott's picture

I rant because I care. You sit your fat ass on these forums and nitpick, dispassionately, over absolutely nothing of any import.

I am a crackpot? No, I am the cement that holds society together. I am a productive achiever living, paying taxes, voting, and participating in the REAL world. And I understand what made this country great, and why those things are being systematically eliminated.

Yes, I get on here and rant on occasion. Because the world is pretty fucked up. I am hardly the only one who does it. It is called having a heart. Caring about the world. Understanding the import of ideas. Your dilettante's view towards ideas makes me ill.

I pity you and Objectivism is you are the model of what an Objectivist is. Ayn Rand would cry--I mean, literally CRY tears of sorrow to see what her movement has become, to see how little you care. You main goal is to piss on me, call my posts disorganized, call me illiterate.

What motivates a person like you to behave in such a fashion? To react to a passionate post and call to action with bile and petty criticism? I do not want to know any more than I do.

Troll.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

No

atlascott's picture

"There is also the reality that unless you go in and do a whole sale reform all at once; doing it piecemeal is doomed to failure. Why is it doomed to failure? because when you do it bit by bit, people get stuck in a rut, they don't think they need to continue the reform further - and thus you end up in a merky situation like New Zealand was 20 years ago when the Rogernomics reforms were put on hold."

Holding to this philosophy (I guess we can call it "Ruttism") means that nothing will ever change. And that nothing but a wholesale, 100% Objectivist society is acceptable. It is an excuse for not acting, and excuse for doing nothing. I do not accept it, I do not believe that there is support for it, and it is a prescription for nothing.

The pigs are at the trough. The Socailists are in the schools. The generations following my own are MORE collectivist than any Americans in history. Exactly HOW are you going to turn the tide and implement a nutty crackpot Objectivist political and social and economic system all at once? Blank out. Just like the ARI has been blanking out for 30 years on this point.

Essay contests are nice. More needs be done. The evils of pragmatism and the virtues of "Ruttism" do not dissuade me one whit.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Let's talk.

Peter Cresswell's picture

"...Exactly, that remains my criticism..."

And that of a lot of us.

My best suggestion is to convene post-election here in NZ and formulate our local plans, sans sticks, for the commencement of next year's NZ essay competition.

And speaking of elections ...

"Frankly, I'd rather give my money to Libz."
Which reminds me... here's how. Smiling

More than happy to eat my words...

Robert's picture

And I'm happy to help where I can on the Campus where I work. The only thing is that I could let a nuke off in Kansas and not harm a single objectivist of any flavor: ARI, TAS etc. And I'm only partly through the process of studying objectivism and testing for myself its validity.

As such, I'm not the one you want to act as a lightning rod in my area - and in any case, I don't seem to get along with US objectivists - judging by my online encounters.

Dead wrong? I'll take that on advisement. I'll mull on what you, Lance & others have pointed out, resolving to ignore my previous encounters with the certain ARI acolytes.

I accept that I'm guilty of misjudgment of Yaron Brook's ARI, that I've based my opinion on fragmented, incomplete information. Get involved? That will depend on what I find, both action wise and people wise.

Frankly, I'd rather give my money to Libz. Which reminds me...

Peter

PhilipD's picture

you patronising sod. ;)

'Wouldn't you like to be part of a 'Gramsci in reverse' in NZ?'

'and it's under way, it's working -- whether you want to recognise it or not -- and some of us would like to see if it's possible to effect the same programme here in NZ as well.'

What, I've given the impression that I wouldn't like to see the above? You haven't been listening, Peter.:?

Your last post makes a strong case. I have no argument with it. Actually I'm delighted by it and thanks for the alert and smack around the ear.

'I think Philip's point is that certain parties need to remove the sticks from their orifices.'

Exactly, that remains my criticism.

 

"The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools."

-Herbert Spencer 

You're still not listening

Peter Cresswell's picture

No, you haven't been listening, and you're still not.

It's more than "just the recommendation of 'writing, writing, writing" -- though that's obviously crucial.

And it's not just the books in schools, which is obviously excellent, as you so kindly observe.

It's that the 'books in schools' programme is just the first part of the plan outlined -- which is kind of like 'doing a Gramsci,' only in reverse.'

The books in schools, half-a-million per year, help to make the culture more receptive to reason, egoism, capitalism and Objectivism itself. Youngsters might not 'buy' the whole package themselves, but at least they know it exists, and is coherent.

Then there's the essay competitions, which encourage youngsters to examine the ideas for themselves, and which pluck out the talented youngsters who deserve further attention.

Then there's the Objectivist Graduate Programme (which would be much improved by re-hiring George Reisman), which selects and trains the talented youngsters to take their knowledge of Objectivism into their professions, and into acaddemia -- where change really needs to happen.

And then there's the academics themselves, who are being backed by the likes of BBT to the tune of $30 million to fund chairs in Objectivism at major US universities, and to encourage universities to add Objectivism to their curricula (and there's the likes of Stephen Hicks, too, who has similar support at Rockford College for his Center for Ethics & Entrepreneurship.

The aim is that in twenty years, academic and professional life is studded with intelligent, rational, knowledgeable Objectivists.

What effect do you think that will have on the culture?

So yes, there is a plan that's more than "just the recommendation of 'writing, writing, writing'" (though I would strongly suggest you drop the word "just") and it's under way, it's working -- whether you want to recognise it or not -- and some of us would like to see if it's possible to effect the same programme here in NZ as well.

Wouldn't you like to be part of a 'Gramsci in reverse' in NZ?

Hsieh's notes

Lindsay Perigo's picture

From Paul Hsieh's notes on Brook's lecture linked to by Irishman:

Our eventual goal should be a "culture of reason", one in which intellectual leaders have a deep respect for reason, the world is full of energetic rational producers, great and beautiful art abounds, and material prosperity is valued as moral. Not everyone in this culture will be an Objectivist, but the principles of Objectivist philosophy would be infused throughout this culture. It's hard to imagine such a culture now, but this can and should be our goal.

We may not live to see this future, but we can achieve a change in the right direction, moving us away from destruction and towards this future. There is no "magic bullet" to achieve this goal -- destruction is easy, whereas creation is hard. But we need to make this cultural U-turn over the next 20 years, otherwise it will be too late. And this goal is possible, if we are willing to work for it.

The goal is certainly achievable, and, if I'm not mistaken, we are not just willing to work for it, we *are* working for it. I think Philip's point is that certain parties need to remove the sticks from their orifices. Flair, personality and KASS are *not* the Culture of Reason's enemies, and it's a hideous perversion when such qualities are condemned as "emotionalism."

Peter

PhilipD's picture

 I meant a stirring outside of Objectivism.

Only an Objectivist could say look, 'wow' so much is happening and then point me to Lecture 3 as some sort of proof!

I can't watch the video so I am going off the summary you linked to. Lecture 3: It's rubbish. A rah-rah call nothing more, change a few words and it could be an address to an Amway convention. (apart from the religion bit) Nothing of substance except the books in school which is excellent.

Other than that there is the recommendation of 'writing, writing, writing.' More turgid ARI press releases and passionless pieces by Objectivist academics. Yep, that will do the job.

I haven't been listening? If you say so. Nobody else is either.

 

"The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools."

-Herbert Spencer 

Philip & Robert: You're dead wrong.

Peter Cresswell's picture

Robert, you said: "The ARI is very good at describing how to live a good life in the just city, but hasn't the faintest idea how to get there... Worse, they won't even acknowledge the need to."

Philip, you said: "Such a revolution [inside people's heads] hasn't happened yet? No kidding! And there is fuck all evidence of anything resembling a stirring either."

With respect, you're both dead wrong. You haven't been listening. They not only acknowledge the need to effect cultural change, they not only know what they have to do to get there, they're already doing it.

Have a look at Paul Hsieh's summary of Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate's lectures entitled "Cultural Movements: Creating Change" from OCON 008, especially of Lecture 3 summarising ARI's plan, already underway, to effect cultural change.

Have a read of my own commentary on the plan if you like.

And then watch the lectures, when you can, especially (on this point) Lecture 3,'The future of our culture; why and how Objectivists can engage in cultural activism.'

And then you can eat your words, acknowledge the stirrings, and perhaps take up the challenge yourselves. Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

NB: You can find all three lectures online at the front page of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights website. Each lecture is in three parts, and is totally free. (You can navigate to the various parts via the scrolling list that's just below the video box.)

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
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Thanks, Robert

Ptgymatic's picture

I wasn't expecting compliments, but I'll certainly accept that one.

= Mindy

 'Thanks, in part, to the

PhilipD's picture

 'Thanks, in part, to the half-literate, disorganized, vituperative ravings of people just like you, Scott.'

Mindy, I'm sure there are some grammatical and spelling errors in Scott's post, and equally I am sure you looked for and found them all.

For me, when Scott has a rave it's done with passion, it usually makes excellent sense and it's written as he feels it. Refreshing stuff.

You Mindy, on the other hand, would be an excellent candidate for the job of writing ARI press releases.

 

"The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools."

-Herbert Spencer 

Mindy...

Olivia's picture

but one that you should stop doing is finding contentment in blowing off steam.

It is imperative that Solo remains the sort of place where one can and should blow off some steam. You don't know where anyone's contentment rests, so be a good girl - go change your tampon and take some aspirin.

Objectivists are viewed as crackpots...

Ptgymatic's picture

Thanks, in part, to the half-literate, disorganized, vituperative ravings of people just like you, Scott. You want a party? Make one. Need support? Find it. Want to convince ARI? Try. With you, it's always, "...you need to start doing something..."

There are a lot of things you need to start doing, but one that you should stop doing is finding contentment in blowing off steam.

By the way, isn't that picture a little on the "haughty" side?

= Mindy

Leonid

PhilipD's picture

 'What Objectivism wants is to change the current political dispensation altogether, in other words , revolution. The precondition of such a revolution, as you mentioned, is "revolution in people's heads." Such a revolution hasn't happened yet.'

Such a revolution hasn't happened yet? No kidding! And there is fuck all evidence of anything resembling a stirring either. Christ, one article in Time brings out the 'well spotted,' 'bravos,' 'wows' and 'terrifics'. Talk about grasping at straws!

'Objectivists are an all or nothing lot, and therefore, you shall have nothing.'

Yep.

Leonid as you or I won't live to see the revolution that we seek, doesn't some sort of pragmatic freedom campaign have any appeal? 

 

"The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools."

-Herbert Spencer 

Join and support the Objectivist Party now

HWH's picture

Why dont you guys join and support the Objectivist party then ?

 

I've long maintained that this is the only solution in the long term...and have signed up to spread the word in Aus when in the position to do so.

 

I admit that reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers carried in the starless night, -- blown and flared by passion's storm, -- and yet, it is the only light. Extinguish that, and nought remains.- - Robert Green Ingersoll

Robert, Scott, and everyone

mvardoulis's picture

I like where this thread is going. I agree about 100% with Scott's observations as well as 90% of his reccomendations, and Robert adds some solid points as well. I differ only insofar as I see the war on drugs and government schooling as being worthy of an 'all or nothing' stand in a platform of this hypothetical political party under the assumption that incrimentalism might be part of how the hypothetical party would attain those ends. The rest of the points Scott mentions are exactly what made (and still contributes to) the Libertarian Party being useless - the NAMBLA/pedophile apologists, etc. Add to that the fact that the current version of the Libertarian Party has been taken over by neo-conservatives who are neither libertarian nor even remotely connected to Objectivsm.

Leonid...

Robert's picture

We don't disagree as much as you think. Yes, you do need to sow the intellectual seeds. But if you follow the template of the last successful American revolution, you don't just talk about what liberty is. You also talk about how to achieve it.

You talk of politics being the art of compromise.

Actually, successful politicians do not yield ground, they let their opponents do that. How do you think that the US got into this mess? Because those who wanted bigger government & more socialism 'compromised' by always allowing themselves to be talked into a 'slight' increase as opposed to a massive one. They won either way.

If you want to succeed in politics, then you need to repeat that strategy. Never back-slide, but instead accept an incremental increase in freedom each time.

Yes, it is slow. Yes, it requires people to remain ever vigilant, but the only other alternative is bloody revolution. And as any military historian will tell you - that's a huge gamble. You only need to divide the number of armed revolutions in history by the number of successful, long-lived, secular republics that have been formed to see my point.

Also..

kaiwai's picture

Scott, as you very eloquently explained, political movement requires compromise. Objectivism is a philosphy and objectivists are the lot who act on principle, not on pragmatic compromise since ,as Rand mentioned " in the compromise between good and evil only evil can win." Broad political movement could be only based on right comprehensive philosophy, not on populist slogans. You should understand the difference between ARI and Obama.

There is also the reality that unless you go in and do a whole sale reform all at once; doing it piecemeal is doomed to failure. Why is it doomed to failure? because when you do it bit by bit, people get stuck in a rut, they don't think they need to continue the reform further - and thus you end up in a merky situation like New Zealand was 20 years ago when the Rogernomics reforms were put on hold.

And with that stagnation, unless some crisis comes along to push people forward in these reforms, the country stays indefinitely in that one position. People have found their rut, they like their rut, and hell or high water, they aren't going to move from that rut. It is the same reason why it is difficult for 'reforming' parties in New Zealand right now to gain any traction - people perceive things as 'ok' and don't want to 'rock the boat'. Any party with a reform agenda will instantly be shut down by the voting public because they like their rut, they don't want the boat rocked, and perish the thought, they don't want to make any move forward that could potentially push them out of their safety zone.

Robert

Leonid's picture

"Their end game rests on the 'revolution in people's heads.' Sadly, that isn't enough to transform the world into Galt's Gulch. It takes much pain and effort to bring one's dreams to life."

Their end game is not to improve the current political system, to fight corruption, to legalize drugs and prostitution, to reduce taxes etc...This is liberitarian game. What Objectivism wants is to change the current political dispensation altogether, in other words , revolution. The precondition of such a revolution, as you mentioned, is "revolution in people's heads." Such a revolution hasn't happened yet. When it happened, the transition to Galt's Gulch would be much easier than you think. Do you seriously believe, as Scott does,that the road to Galt's Gulch is paved with pragmatism and compromise? If you do , than you should explain how do you say the difference between Galt's Gulch and swamp, between John Galt and James Taggart or between Ayn Rand and Barak Hussein Obama? And, in such a case, who need such "Galt's" Gulch?

Or in other words...

Robert's picture

The ARI is very good at describing how to live a good life in the just city, but hasn't the faintest idea how to get there. I agree with you Scott.

Worse, they won't even acknowledge the need to.

Their end game rests on the 'revolution in people's heads.' Sadly, that isn't enough to transform the world into Galt's Gulch. It takes much pain and effort to bring one's dreams to life. Just look at the way the Founders of this nation toiled in order to reform the world that they lived in.

The ARI's revolution will take at least that much sweat and tears to bring about, if not more. That goes double because they refuse to think about the specifics of transitioning from the swamp to Galt's Gulch. And, I suspect that if someone came along and did fill in the gaps - they'd castigate him as a irrational emotionalist or worse, a member of Libertarianz.

People invest in ideas based on two things. The quality of the idea and the ability to make that idea real. IMHO, The ARI gets an A+ for the first and a D- for the second and because of that progress is slow.

This is the reason I'm always banging on about objectivists forming a political party, because it would force them to think about the how and not just the why.

Scott

Leonid's picture

Scott, as you very eloquently explained, political movement requires compromise. Objectivism is a philosphy and objectivists are the lot who act on principle, not on pragmatic compromise since ,as Rand mentioned " in the compromise between good and evil only evil can win." Broad political movement could be only based on right comprehensive philosophy, not on populist slogans. You should understand the difference between ARI and Obama.

Let me explain, Lance

atlascott's picture

Every time a "bad thing" happens, I can predict with 100% certainty what the orthodox response is going to be. It is always skewed, never clear, always oblique, never going to be sensical to people other than those who have studied O'ism, and is more of the strategy that has gotten us nowhere--either here or in NZ.

Unscrupulous and stupid businessmen take phenomenal and obvious risks. I mean OBVIOUS. Construction in Chicago boomed for 10 years--they built $500k 2 bedroom condos in ghettos, built loft condos in for $1 million all over the previously vacant and desolate South Loop, all the while advertising "90% occupancy! Get Yours Now!" And I heard anecdotal story after anecdotal story of the waitress with the condo, the working class couple with the $400k condo, the new college grad with a tenuous hold on a job with a condo. I did not participate in any way--I knew the chickens would come home to roost.

And they have.

Politicians just as stupid and crooked as the businessmen are bailing out the businessmen.

Individual dummies who were lied to by the mortgage brokers have and are losing the homes they never should have had int he first place.

But the politicians get to looked like they care an that they are doing something, and the businessmen get a sure bet.

And the best mind at the ARI drones on in the typical response--"If the markets were more free, this never would have happened?"

Yes, I read the entire article. I know he goes into the other problems to some degree. But the basic theme is not center to the issue, imo. It is the tired repetition of a tired, oft repeated and never heeded argument. "If the markets were free, this never would have happened."

No shit, really?

Part of my frustration is the ARI's frequent press-releases--all yawners.

As the best known, best funded Objectivist organization, I want to know why the ARI does not form an alternative political party. There will be some pragatism involved here--the entire platform cannot be thrown in immediately.

Go aggressively after building a war chest NOW. Go after business money, private individual money, freedom loving foundation's money.

Find a candidate. Run on a platform of eliminating government corruption, term limits, and lower taxes for everyone. That's it--no career politicians, LOWER TAXES and ENDING government corruption and political favors. You can win the popular vote on this platform.

DO NOT run on NAMBLA friendly "sex with 14 year old girls is okay for a 45-year old if it is a mature 14-year old." DO NOT run on lowering the drinking age to 12. DO NOT run on legalizing ALL drugs (start with pot if you must, explaining that the same conduct which is illegal wrt alcohol will be illegal as regards the influence of marijuana), or by bad mouthing religion. DO NOT run on a platform of allowing 12 year olds to sign contracts. Try not to mention that you support eliminating public schools and mandatory education for those under 16 years of age. Try giving people the CORRECT Objectivist response on religion--your religion is your business, my religion is my business, and none of it is the government's business.

Objectivists are an all or nothing lot, and therefore, you shall have nothing. Your only support is the few who get it and a lunatic fringe that will scare everyone else away, screaming for the certainty of a Democrat or Republican. In short, Objectivists are STILL viewed as crackpots. Your candidate had better understand this and be able to communicate and spin issues.

And it is probably best if your candidate is NOT an Objectivist as the ARI defines it. You will never win bad-mouthing people for their religion. You will never win on elimination of public schools. And an ARI-defined Objectivist is much too haughty and morally superior to ever be able to keep his mouth shut at the first opportunity proselytize.

If you want to get these crooked motherfuckers out of office, you need to start doing something, and you need to start doing something NOW. Not later, not just words, and right fucking NOW. We are at the breaking point and when President Obama fucks things up worse, they may just pass the Pelosi bill to silence media criticism.

Think that isn't the direction we are headed? That it isn't "that bad"?

Running on issues that everyone supports and that are to our politicians as sunlight is to vampires is the only hope. Plan B is the eventual collapse of the country and the beginning of a long, dark period for freedom, innovation, and justice in the world.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Hat's off!

Robert's picture

Excellent work. Marvellous. Bravo. Encore!

Terrific!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Now, I wish he'd used KASS expressions like "Socialism 101" in the press release and used that line about the Soviet Union being stable, but, assuming it was the pr that got Time's attention in the first place, one shouldn't grumble too much. And where have KASSless been in all this?

Wow, that's nice to see.

Lanza Morio's picture

Wow, that's nice to see. Good find, HWH. And great work, Dr. Brook. I'm going to see if I can scrounge up a little money and help out the ARC.

Ayn Rand starting to influence mainstream opinion

HWH's picture

 This from Time

A great day the United States of America?

A reminder of what an great power can do when its back is against the
wall?

A historic move by a lame-duck administration many thought could no longer
solve any problems?

It will be some time before we know whether this week will go down in history as all,
or even some, of those things.

But as the largest bailout in government history unfolded in almost dizzying
waves over recent days, a very different view prevailed at the Ayn Rand
Center for Individual Rights, an outpost of free-market, anti-government
thinking located just a few blocks from the newly aggressive and highly
interventionist Department of Treasury in downtown Washington.

"It's a complete disaster," said Yaron Brook, the executive director of the
center. "Its a form of national socialism of the financial markets...This
is socialism 101."

Named after the Russian-born novelist who celebrated in her writings
the risk-taking individual (and put the black hat on a snivelling, forgiving
government that wouldn't let mediocre enterprises and their leaders fail), the
center is a lonely beacon of small government and private enterprise in
Washington at a time when big government appears to be on the comeback.
Black-and-white photos of the controversial writer sit on desktops here; her
many novels fill most of the bookshelves; in one office, a blowup of her
postage-stamp image (something Rand probably would have abhorred —government embrace of her work!) — adorns the wall.

Brooke argued that the Bush administration had opted for stability over free
markets and noted: "The Soviet Union was very stable too. But where does it
end?"

Looking across the various levers that Treasury has pulled, Brook was hard
pressed to say which bailout was the most egregious in Randian terms, but
suggested that the takeover of AIG by Treasury and the Federal Reserve was
particularly troubling because there is a chance that the government will
actually profit from the selective sale of AIG's assets someday. "The Fed
might make a lot of money on the AIG deal," he said. "We're turning the
Federal Reserve into a hedge fund."

Brook doesn't blame speculators, traders or financiers for the
market's near-collapse, but instead blames government for having
overregulated the markets
in the first place. The business leaders bailed out by government this
week
"are victims," he said, "and the government set it up." Washington
underreacted to previous crisis, let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac spin
wildly
out of control as quasigovernment agencies while taxpayers piled up
unsecured debt in their names. The crisis, he added, was "really fed
throughout by government policies."

Brook does not believe a Democratic administration — or a Democratic
Treasury secretary — could have moved as aggressively to intervene in
private markets as has Hank Paulson, a former Goldman Sachs partner.
"Because Paulson knows more about financial markets and is a Republican,"
Brook said, 'he's doing more than a Democratic would have."

And a lot more than Ayn Rand would have.

 

 

I admit that reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers carried in the starless night, -- blown and flared by passion's storm, -- and yet, it is the only light. Extinguish that, and nought remains.- - Robert Green Ingersoll

scan aperture cards

It is the Republicans...

Robert's picture

Yes indeed! Slap them too! Uppercuts all round I say.
Time for the ARI to put a few horseshoes in their boxing gloves!

They moved to Washington (I seem to recall) to make a bigger impact. This is not the time to be deferential to the political whores inhabiting the National mall (or given the events of the last few days, should that be National maw?).

If objectivists won't stand for government, the least they could do is raise a ruckus when they get on the soapbox!

You say that Yaron will expand on this point in the coming days. Excellent! All I ask for is a bit of starch in his punches. Certainly, avoid vulgarity if you choose but let's not forsake being firm and laying the blame where it belongs in order to remain polite and non-confrontational.

That's the TAS strategy and it doesn't work!
____

If I tend to favor Republicans over Dems in this election it is because the former is better (and that ain't saying a lot) on the War than the latter. That is all. Like Peikoff, I fear that this country might become a theocracy - an Islamic one.

And no, his point about creeping Christianity is not lost on me. It's just that the Islamists are obviously the faster moving threat.

The Community Reinvestment Act ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

.... had already been given a thorough airing by free marketeers before this rather belated and puny ARI press release. Plus the fact that it, the CRA, was a child of the Carter presidency, which no orthodox Objectivist is supposed to mention in this bizarre "Let Dem-scum off the hook" approach to the world.

This latest crisis is a sobering reminder to Objectivists, actually, that we have failed singly in our proselytizing. All of us except Rand. Decades of didactic efforts have failed to avert a situation where, when markets go wobbly, government INaction is unpalatable. I'd suggest a return to the drawing board.

It's true what they say about the Community Reinvestment Act

Ralph Blanchette's picture

Here is support from last February for Brook's view on the Community Reinvestment Act. I am not of the opinion that McCain is on the right side of this issue, but particularly noteworthy is the probable connection of the crisis with the activists at Obama's own ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/02...

--Ralph

 

Hi Robert, I always enjoy

Lanza Morio's picture

Hi Robert, I always enjoy reading your posts on here...

I can't imagine that the coming election is of particular interest to the ARI. The reason is that both candidates are plainly opposed to individual rights.

With Bush, Paulson (according to Wikipedia a Christian Scientist, interestingly) and Bernanke nationalizing Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and any number of banks, free market Americans do not have a political party to support.

It is the Republicans who have carried and extinguished the torch of Capitalism. I've seen enough.

By the way, Robert, I expect Dr. Brook to elaborate on this theme in the coming weeks and months.

Lance...

Robert's picture

Yaron is correct that government is the disease at the heart of this fiscal necrosis. But he didn't mention the opportunistic pathogens that exploit Government's infection of Wallstreet: cronyism and corruption.

And I assume that Scott is lamenting this omission.

PS:

Phil makes a good point.

Given that the cronyism appears to involve Democrats, why not point this out? It is a fair point that is easily proven with the added bonus of increasing the impact of the essay. Given that this is an election year, what do you gain by staying your hand?

Why not strike while the iron is hot? Timidity? Fear? Shortage of Coffee?

I have

PhilipD's picture

 no idea what a randroid is, but this ARI response seems typical.

Tepid, dull and Zzzzz.....

 

"The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools."

-Herbert Spencer 

Scott

Lanza Morio's picture

Scott, do you consider yourself an Objectivist?

I ask because I don't understand how you could come up with that response to Yaron Brook's message if you take Objectivist principles seriously.

You slam the messenger in your title "typical randroid response" and then what you write in your post agrees with the message itself.

typical randroid response

atlascott's picture

How about greed and stupidity by businessmen and a corrupt lobbyist-driven government?

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

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