Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Ayn Randian Douchebaggery From the Wall Street Journal

Yaron Brock, the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, weighs in on the relevance of Atlas Shrugged in today's The Wall Street Journal in a piece titled "Is Rand Relevant?"
The novel's eerily prophetic nature is no coincidence. "If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society," Rand wrote elsewhere in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal," "you can predict its course." Economic crises and runaway government power grabs don't just happen by themselves; they are the product of
the philosophical ideas prevalent in a society -- particularly its dominant moral ideas.
F**k you! The dominant economic philosophy of absolute laissez-faire capitalism is what got us here. The financial system imploded because too many people believed the Ayn Randian bullshit espoused by Alan Greenspan that said that the best people to police the financial markets are the players in the financial markets.
Rand also noted that only an ethic of rational selfishness can justify the pursuit of profit that is the basis of capitalism -- and that so long as self-interest is tainted by moral suspicion, the profit motive will continue to take the rap for every imaginable (or imagined) social ill and economic disaster. Just look how our present crisis has been attributed to the free market instead of government intervention -- and how proposed solutions inevitably involve yet more government intervention to rein in the pursuit of self-interest.
F**k you! How the hell did AIG and Lehman Brothers get away with writing hundreds of billions of dollars in unregulated credit default swaps that they couldn't make good on? It was because free market Randophiles like Greenspan believed that the "rational self-interest" of the counter-parties was a better check on inappropriate extensions of credit than government regulation. The economic meltdown was generated in the areas of the market where the government refused to intervene.

Why do we accept the budget-busting costs of a welfare state? Because it implements the moral ideal of self-sacrifice to the needy. Why do so few protest the endless regulatory burdens placed on businessmen? Because businessmen are pursuing their self-interest, which we have been taught is dangerous and immoral. Why did the government go on a crusade to promote "affordable housing," which meant forcing banks to make loans to unqualified home buyers? Because we believe people need to be homeowners, whether or not they can afford to pay for houses.
F**k you! The loans were made by mortgage brokers pursuing their rational self-interest of generating fees and commissions for themselves while ignoring little things that weren't in their self-interest like the ability of the borrower to repay. Those loans were repackaged into collateralized debt obligations by executives at investment banks who were pursuing their rational self-interest of huge bonuses while ignoring little things that weren't in their self-interest like the long-term viability of their companies.

Yes Rand is relevant. Everyone needs to understand her glorification of unregulated capitalism and everyone needs to understand that the financial system collapsed as the result of people putting her ideas into practice.

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