New Elan Journo Essay

Ayn Rand Center's picture
Submitted by Ayn Rand Center on Mon, 2012-10-22 23:55

Ayn Rand Center fellow, Elan Journo, has a new essay up on our website. The title is "Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand and U.S. Foreign Policy."

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has credited philosopher Ayn Rand with inspiring him to enter politics—and made her 1,000-plus-page magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, required reading for his staff. "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," he said in 2005 at a gathering of Rand fans. "The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism." It is a theme that pervades Rand's corpus. While Ryan has distanced himself from Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, he continues to express admiration for Atlas Shrugged.

Read the full essay here:

Watched a DVD this morning

Rick Giles's picture

Watched a DVD this morning and learned that my comments above have been part of a feature film!

Turkey is indeed secular!

Jules Troy's picture

But not for long...

Kyrel Zantonavitch

Leonid's picture

"Muslims are humans first, and brainwashed followers of the false and evil ideology of Islam second."

This is true, but they haven't been forcibly liberated by the West. You cannot order people to be free. The major American fallacy in the Middle East is that they tried to do just that

Dirty bomb terror threat breakthrough

Marcus's picture

Dirty bomb terror threat breakthrough: British scientists build machine to detect smuggling of nuclear materials

Technology expected to be rolled out across Britain's ports and airport as part of the UK's secret Cyclamen nuclear monitoring system.

"British scientists have created a machine that can detect terrorist attempts to smuggle nuclear material through ports and airports - even if it has been shielded from giving off radiation.

The Independent understands that prototypes of the machine - developed using a technique first established by experiments using the Large Hadron Collider - have already been tested by researchers at Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment.

It is now expected to be rolled out across Britain's ports and airport as part of the UK's secret Cyclamen nuclear monitoring system."


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Doug -- I mean the term "isolationism" as a neutral description, without any negative connotations. But I do think Muslims can easily be converted to libertarianism with a strong enough philosophy (i.e. a mercilessly "pure liberal" philosophy, as I would put it). Turkey is already quasi-libertarian, and Tunisia has legalized bikinis, rock 'n' roll, whiskey, and prostitution(!). Muslims are humans first, and brainwashed followers of the false and evil ideology of Islam second.

I disagree

Doug Bandler's picture

Thus certain wars of rescue and liberation have profitable, win-win, self-interested results, which are also socially beneficial as a natural and normal bonus.

This is not possible in the Islamic world.

The freedom-fighters just have to be surgical, careful, perceptive, insightful, and wise in their war-making. Just kill the current dictators and threaten potential future ones, while promoting libertarianism straight-up and without apology.

Islam will NEVER allow "libertarianism". You would have to police such a transformation and that is not possible.

BTW, "Isolationism" is not the way I would frame a rational Islam-realist foreign policy. I would call it "Isolate and Quarantine".


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

This is a relatively high-quality article by Elan Journo, but he shares the isolationist foreign policy views of the Founding Fathers and Ayn Rand, which are limited. Few or no Objectivists and libertarians may understand this, but it is possible to rescue and liberate an enslaved nation in a non-altruistic, non-crusading way, which costs the rescuer and liberator little in the way of lives and money, and which results in a formerly slavery-loving, aggressor nation being converted into a liberty-loving, friendly one. Having fewer Muslim, communist, and Third World dictatorships in the world results in fewer current and future enemies for the semi-civilized West, and greater current and future friends, allies, and free trade partners.

Thus certain wars of rescue and liberation have profitable, win-win, self-interested results, which are also socially beneficial as a natural and normal bonus. The freedom-fighters just have to be surgical, careful, perceptive, insightful, and wise in their war-making. Just kill the current dictators and threaten potential future ones, while promoting libertarianism straight-up and without apology. And to be fully successful, the freedom-fighters also have to loudly, proudly, intellectually refute and morally abominate Islam, communism, Third World tribal savagery, Christianity, welfare statism, and the Judeo-Christian ethic, etc.

once again I quote Auster

Doug Bandler's picture

I’ve been saying for months, and I said again last night just before the debate, that Romney cannot effectively criticize Obama’s Mideast and Arab Spring positions, because he essentially shares them. Well, Romney did me one better: not only did he not criticize Obama’s Mideast policies effectively, he barely criticized them at all, even, amazingly, avoiding any mention of the burning issue of the moment, Benghazi. No, he did me two better: not only did he barely criticize Obama’s Mideast policies, he spent much of the evening agreeing with them. He even expressed his support for Obama’s ouster of the Mubarak regime, a step which, as all Islam realists understand (and no neocons or establishment Republicans understand), guaranteed the Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy.

Auster's excellent identification is that essentially everyone, Leftists, mainstream Conservatives (Romney) and NeoConservatives and Republicans, all share the view that Islam is not central to the violence in the Middle East. They believe that the Muslim world can have something called "democracy" and become stable. I even like Auster's expression : "Islam realists". Yes that is what I am and what I wish the Objectivist movement in total was. But sadly it is not. AND MR. JOURNO IS NOT. IS DR. BROOK?

However, it’s not just that Romney shares the neoconservative policy of promoting the fatal chimera of Muslim democracy, which he does; it’s that he goes beyond the neocons in not drawing any connection between Muslim democracy and the spreading “tumult” in the Mideast of which he repeatedly complained. The neocons draw some connection between the democracy and the tumult, in that they say we should have pushed Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya toward democracy, but that we also needed to “manage” these democracies so that they would not democratically elect “Islamist” (i.e. Islam-compliant) governments, and they fault Obama for not engaging in such management, a failure which, they say, allowed Islam-compliant governments to take over. Romney does not (at least explicitly) make that neocon argument. He just says that the “tumult” is due to a generic lack of American “strength,” which was the one point on which he criticized Obama’s Mideast policy. But, like Obama, he does not trace the tumult at all to Muslim democracy.

Notice Auster's precision of thinking here. Yes, he's a Christian, but a smart one. Look, when someone is right, they're right.

The upshot is that, like Obama, Romney is even more uncritical of Muslim democracy than the neocons are. The neocons promote American-managed Muslim democracy, a position which implies that Muslim democracy without American management will lead to bad things. Romney supports Muslim democracy, period. He draws no connection between Muslim democracy and Muslim jihad. He simply blames the jihad, the spreading “tumult,” on a lack of American strength in the region.

The neocons will consider Romney’s position (“America must be stronger in the Mideast”) close enough to theirs to be happy with his performance. And they won’t mind his lack of implied criticism of Muslim democracy, because their own implied criticism of Muslim democracy is meaningless. They never acknowledge that Muslim democracy MUST result (whether there is U.S. “management” of it or not) in Islamic sharia rule, suppression of non-Muslim minorities, particularly Christians, and increased anti-Americanism and anti-Israelism. They want the fig leaf of U.S. management so that they can blame the disasters attendant on Muslim democracy on Obama’s failure to manage it correctly.

A final point: among Romney’s criticisms of Obama’s weakness in the Mideast, he complained that Obama has not pushed forward the Israel-Palestinian “peace” process. So we can expect that a President Romney will strive to restart the “peace” process. This is a further index of how deeply and unthoughtfully Romney is immersed in conventional false views of the Mideast.

This is a fair criticism of Romney. But the only thing I would add is that I do consider it an outside possibility that Romney would LISTEN to his better advisers. Romney is not an ideologically blinded man like Bush; Bush who was blinded by his democracy spreading dreams based on his naive and foolish view that "everyone loves freedom". Romney IS a smart man. Perhaps he can be convinced of at least some suspicions of Islam. Bush couldn't.

Journo's analysis is flawed

Doug Bandler's picture

I don't like this. It ignores Islam's role. For example Journo says this:

Part of what has magnified the tragedy of 9/11 is the failure of policymakers to properly identify and vigorously pursue the enemy that attacked us.

True but then Journo describes the enemy this way:

It was not simply the hijackers' al Qaeda cell, but the jihadist movement, spearheaded by Tehran and bankrolled by Saudi wealth, which had been waging attacks against us for years.

What the hell is the "Jihadist movement" if not literal Islam? That Journo won't say that it is Islam that is the motivating influence in Jihad terror tells me all I need to know. Why won't the ARI pin this on ISLAM?

Journo does seem to oppose the nation building, democracy spreading elements of our foreign policy but he offers no overarching policy toward the Islamic world as such. That's because he doesn't see our enemy as Islam as such. How can the leading Objectivist organization NOT see Islam as the enemy at this late date?

Yes Journo gets the easy things right: defense of the 1st Amendment, opposition to the Rules of Engagement, opposition to altruism and international welfare statism. But that's easy. Where is the detailed, realistic understanding of the Islamic world. IT JUST ISN'T THERE. Journo is relatively USELESS as a Middle East commentator.

I say this to all SOLO readers, pound for pound the best commentator on the political aspects of the war against Islam is Larry Auster. I adamantly do not agree with his positive philosophy of Traditionalist Conservatism, but his understanding of the evil of Islam and the evil of modern Liberalism is second to NONE. I wish an Objectivist were his equal on that subject but there is none. Ed Cline is coming close and he gets more anti-Islam every week. Lets see where he goes.

Another EXCELLENT writer on the Middle East is Diana West. I discovered here through the recently departed John Lewis. Diana West is a one woman army when it comes to showing our cowardice and pro-Islam sentiments in our war efforts. READ HER BLOG and her weekly column and you will understand how FUTILE and USELESS and COUNTER PRODUCTIVE our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are. You will get sick from the pure self-sacrifice of our soldiers lives and limbs in an effort to "win the hearts and minds" of Islamic populations.

9/11 part II-will Americans ever learn?

Leonid's picture

In his essay Elan Journo says:"In Libya, in what looks like a meticulously calculated assault, the self professed soldiers of Allah managed to murder the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans...What inspires not fear but contempt in the hearts of our Islamist enemies is the meekness of American foreign policy across decades."

Indeed, as an American support of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1979 leaded to 9/11 attack in 2001, so this deadly attack on the American embassy in Benghazi was an end result of long American policy which supported Al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan terrorists. As Clare Lopez, who is a senior fellow at and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, observed :

"During the 2011 Libyan revolt against Muammar Qaddafi, reckless U.S. policy flung American forces and money into the conflict on the side of the rebels, who were known at the time to include Al Qaeda elements. Previously the number two official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Christopher Stevens was named as the official U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition in March, 2011.

Stevens was tasked with helping to coordinate U.S. assistance to the rebels, whose top military commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, was the leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). That means that Stevens was authorized by the U.S. Department of State and the Obama administration to aid and abet individuals and groups that were, at a minimum, allied ideologically with Al Qaeda, the jihadist terrorist organization that attacked the homeland on the first 9/11, the one that’s not supposed to exist anymore after the killing of its leader, Osama bin Laden, on May 2, 2011.

Although Belhadj reportedly now has moved on to Syria to help lead the fight against the Assad regime being waged by the Syrian Free Army (SFA), other Libyan fighters, who were formerly members of his LIFG and other Al Qaeda affiliates formed a new terror militia in Libya (and elsewhere) called Ansar al-Shariah (Supporters of Sharia/Islamic Law).

According to an August, 2012 report from the Library of Congress and the Kronos organization, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” Ansar al-Shariah is an Al Qaeda franchise operation, established in Libya with the assistance of senior Al Qaeda operatives dispatched from Pakistan specifically to supervise the set up of a new clandestine Al Qaeda network in Libya that would refrain from using the Al Qaeda name.

The Derna, Libya Ansar al-Shariah cell is led by a former GITMO detainee named Sufian Ben Qhumu. The September 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi consulate compound that killed Ambassador Stevens, his staffer Sean Smith and the two Navy SEALs was directed and led by Ansar al-Shariah. "

Not only Obama's administration failed to protect Americans in Libya or properly retaliate-it's actually funded and reared their murderers-radical jihadists. However not all Muslims in Libya support Al-Qaeda. About 30000 of them participated in pro-American demonstrations, and condemned the terrorism in much stronger terms than President Obama did. They denied that killers represent Benghazi or Islam. They said:" "We disapprove/condemn the humiliation of the prophet but NOT with Terrorism."

Actually they did what Obama was suppose to do-they retaliated.

"In a show of mass frustration at the armed groups, protesters seized control of several militia headquarters on Friday night and handed them over to Libya’s national army in what appeared to be a coordinated sweep. They also stormed the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia, a hard-line Islamist militia that has been linked to the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans."

So maybe Americans can learn a thing or two even from devoted Muslims.

Vice presidential candidate

Rick Giles's picture

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan
inspiring him to enter politics
Atlas Shrugged, required reading for his staff
he said in 2005 at a gathering of Rand fans.

Presidential campaigner tells audience what they want to hear.

7 years later they're still talking.

In other news, birds seen taking flight. I mean...come on? Be we dopes? Other philosophers, other political hues, sure. But we?

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