Summary of the Day: on Ayn Rand

Michael Gerson:

Rand’s novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. “The Objectivist ethics, in essence,” said Rand, “hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”

If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence.

Based on my own experience with real life Objectivists, this strikes me as pretty much on target.  (And likewise, with my ongoing experience with adolescents).

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    It’s a case of arrested development that some never recover from.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    As someone who was a big Rush fan in his adolescence, I’m not sure I can tell the difference either.

  3. Chad S says:

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Not being able to finish Atlas Shrugged changed my life. I highly recommend doing so.

  5. hey norm says:

    which is all well and good…unless you have a big time acolyte using the “philosophy” to guide government ideology…er…i mean policy.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    PD,

    Never even tried Atlas Shrugged. I did slog my way through most of Fountainhead before I became bored with the plot, unconvinced by the philosophical arguments, and horrified by the actual writing.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    I read the one with the trains. Was unable to finish as my brain was threatening to kill itself if I didn’t stop.

  8. hey norm says:

    Chad S.
    That’s a funny quote you stole.
    Is it John Rogers?

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    Yes it is John Rogers.

  10. george says:

    I’ve never been able to get through the first chapter of any of Rand’s books … not for any political reason, but just because they seemed so stilted. Tolkien on the other hand I devoured as a teenager. So I guess I fit into the quote above. BTW, Tolkien wrote another quite entertaining (at least as a teenager) book unrelated to his middle earth stories – “Farmer Giles of Ham”.

  11. Axel Edgren says:

    Reason is everything – Yes, assuming it is reasonable to assume reason is what it is described as and is even available to the human brain as it is defined. If you don’t apply reason to the concept of reason, you are not testing the strength of reason enough. Philosophy is to take criticism to the absolute end – Rand couldn’t even get a fraction of the way.

    Religion is a fraud – No, religion is science in the absence of scientific theory. We used astronomy to figure out the workings of the sky, but before that explanations stemmed from religion. Religions are also ideologies, meant to preserve ideas and values beyond their expiry date. Fraud indicates one person is aware that there is fraud afoot, but in religion everyone are equally duped as they follow the same religion.

    Selfishness is a virtue – No, it is an instinct, you Russian cow. Is it virtuous to be horny?

    Altruism is a crime against human excellence – Altruism is a perverted expression of selfishness and proof that there is no excellence there to begin with. The excellent are never altruistic. Altruism cannot corrupt the excellent.

    Self-sacrifice is weakness – No, sacrificing yourself is an act of true strength. Labor is slow death or deferred death, while sacrifice is a great death. He who chooses to starve to death rather than do a job he looks down upon is sacrificing himself and transcends the wage slaves.

    Weakness is contemptible – As is sophistry and fooling yourself that any ideology or philosophy can be a perfect guide for all situations and striving. The only constant is change, so there is no “Answer” or “System” that always works – anything else is religious thinking for the lazy or fearful.

  12. jwest says:

    Atlas Shrugged will be in 1000 theaters next week (due to the per/screen sales), so you don’t need to slog through the book anymore.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    There’s nothing in history or anthropology or primatology to suggest anything Rand says is true. Quite the contrary.

    Let’s take Og, a fairly normal cave man. The first day he converts to Objectivism, Og determines to do his hunting on his own, because he’s by far the best hunter in the tribe and why the hell should he share?

    So he goes out to hunt a nice juicy pig and is killed by a leopard because there was no one watching his back.

    Don’t like that version? How about this one.

    Og goes out and proves he really is the best hunter. He kills all the best game around and falls to sleep, content. At which point, Ug, the second-best hunter and his six friends stab Og to death for being a douche who grabs everything for himself while they starve.

    In either case, Ug lives to reproduce. Og, not so much.

    Co-operation is essential to survival and to civilization. Contrary to the frequent misinterpretation of Darwinism, success doesn’t go the baddest animals, it just goes to those that best adapt to the environment. Which is why tigers are nearly extinct and bunny rabbits aren’t.

    Human survival is not a result of our individual prowess, it’s built on our ability to communicate, to pool knowledge and efforts. That should be obvious. But what Objectivists try to do is peel the individual off from the species and imagine a world in which survival of the individual is the goal. Unfortunately, evolution doesn’t give a damn about individuals, it just adds up the pluses and minuses for a species.

    And that’s where Objectivism, for all its atheist pretensions, reveals itself as closer to a religion. It asserts — on no logical or scientific or “objective” grounds — the primary importance of the individual. It’s just asserted, as a sort of self-evident truth. Unfortunately a million years of human evolution reaches a very different conclusion. Science, logic, evidence, all those “objective” things, demonstrate the greater importance of the species and the key importance of a degree of self-sacrifice in pursuit of survival.

    In cave man terms, Og dies unless Ug has his back. And vice versa. Watching each other’s backs, they both may live to spread their DNA. Which is really the only objective measure of success or failure in evolution.

  14. george says:

    Co-operation is essential to survival and to civilization. Contrary to the frequent misinterpretation of Darwinism, success doesn’t go the baddest animals, it just goes to those that best adapt to the environment. Which is why tigers are nearly extinct and bunny rabbits aren’t.

    Actually success in Darwin’s terms just means surviving long enough to reproduce. Beetles are much more successful than either rabbits or tigers … perhaps they’re Rand’s ultimate ideal?

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    Co-operation is essential to survival and to civilization. Contrary to the frequent misinterpretation of Darwinism, success doesn’t go the baddest animals, it just goes to those that best adapt to the environment. Which is why tigers are nearly extinct and bunny rabbits aren’t.

    lolI thought it was because man fears and kills tigers and likes to eat and preserves rabbits. lol, maybe your right, maybe it was teamwork on behalf of the rabbits….

    Man, talk about novels that socially crippled adulthood….

  16. tom p says:

    For the record, I only read the “Fountainhead”… anybody else here know how useless an architect is? They draw pretty pictures that we look at and say, “So much for the funny papers, how we gonna build this thing?”

    Seriously, architects are useless. Take my word for it.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    george:

    Or bacteria. They’re wilier still.

  18. Neil Hudelson says:

    You know what’s often missed in discussions about Rand? Yes, her philosophy was infantile. Yes, her books were boring. Yes, her characters were wooden. But she was also just a really really bad writer. She could string together a sentence, but had no concept of what true literature was. She was the Stephanie Meyers of her time.

    Look at the opening paragraphs of the Fountainhead. She goes to great lengths to describe the physical aspects of Roark so that the reader knows, without a doubt, that what he is physically is showcasing his inner strengths.

    Now imagine if Shakespeare went to great lengths to describe Claudius as a decrepit, warted, deformed hunchback with a droopy eye, and Hamlet as essentially the character Two-Face from the Batman universe; wouldn’t the rest of the world judge that play as being absolutely horrid?

    The irony, of course, is that by being a horrible author yet finding success through a group that judges her not on her actual work and achievement but through the lens of fanatical belief, she belies her entire philosophy.

  19. mannning says:

    She was yet another arrogant, self-centered atheist trying to justify herself, her thoughts and her actions to the rest of us poor and deluded religious people, perhaps in the forlorn hope of converting us to her anti-religion religion, and to have us join her “movement”. This is heady stuff to teenagers, who naturally want to rebel against their parent’s religion and philosophy, but then rather shortly comes the multiple, devastating disappointments in Rand and in atheism which eventually sets them down a far more positive, sensitive and understandably human path.

  20. Chad S says:

    @hey norm: Its a pretty famous quote, didn’t steal it and thought everyone knew it.

  21. Hey Norm says:

    You know Manning…the concept of atheism requires theism to be real. That strikes me as ridiculous. If there is not one god, and there is no proof that there is one god, then theism exists as a false construct. I’m not about to define myself as being anti-something that doesn’t exist. If we need to explain our beliefs it would be that you are superstitious. Your superstition has no bearing on me…other than I will defend your rights to your beliefs to my last breath.
    This is similar to the false dichotomy that zealots pose about abortion. I’m pro-life. Who isn’t? I’m also pro choice. My best guess is that you are anti-choice. Of course you are pro-life…who isn’t?
    Anyway…to slur those who don’t share your superstitions just because Rand didn’t share your superstitions is tantamount to me slurring you as a pedophiliac because other Christians rape young boys. That wouldn’t be fair…would it?

  22. Southern Hoosier says:

    The industrialists and artists of Atlas Shrugged suffer the same flaw that elitist have suffered throughout the history of mankind, ego. The world can’t run without me. After abandoning the world to its fate, did they really think that the world would welcome them like gods coming down from heaven? Did they really think all the petty warlords that were fighting to consolidate their turf would bow down before them and accept them as the saviors of the world?

  23. Hey Norm says:

    Hoosier…ask Paul Ryan

  24. Drew says:

    You’re right. I think the better systems are all ones based on the notion that the Universe is a magic trick played upon us by an invisible ghost for inscrutable reasons.

    Imbeciles don’t like Rand because she doesn’t enable them to feel superior to their superiors.

    Degenerates don’t like Rand because she doesn’t excuse their dissipation.

    Parasites don’t like Rand because she disarms them.

    Criticism of the theory itself is usually mired in identification with one or more of these groups. Dislike of Objectivists is based on, well, meeting them. Try not to confuse the two.

  25. Southern Hoosier says:

    Reason is everything.

    I read in Michio Kaku book Physics of the Future how reason without emotions is meaningless. Without emotions people can not put value on things and make choices.

  26. george says:

    I read in Michio Kaku book Physics of the Future how reason without emotions is meaningless. Without emotions people can not put value on things and make choices.

    Einstein said the same thing – reason tells you how to navigate the ship, but it doesn’t tell you where you want to take it.

  27. […] Outside the Beltway […]

  28. mannning says:

    @ Hey Norm

    “Anyway…to slur those who don’t share your superstitions just because Rand didn’t share your superstitions is tantamount to me slurring you as a pedophiliac because other Christians rape young boys. That wouldn’t be fair…would it?”

    I really struggled with your words. One factor was the word slur. You seem to have taken “disappointment in Rand and atheism” as a slur, when it is simply a comment from personal experience. A second factor is your “because” statement. Perhaps reversing what I wrote to be “atheism and Rand” would help, since my disappointment was with atheism far, far before I read Rand and her minions Peikoff and Branden, so none of my view was strictly speakingbecause of Rand. She merely put her atheistic views in writing for all to see and thus provided a context for this thread, and my comment.

    That I have personally found belief in God to be much more satisfying (a far more positive, sensitive and understandably human path) than exclusively cold and objective reason belongs to me and not necessarily anyone else. Finally, I find much of history to be rife with horrors on all sides of the question of religion or the non-religious religion that is atheism, so to compete in finding examples of horror such as you cited is not very enlightening.

    That said, who was it that put Jesus to death?

  29. Gerry W. says:

    Einstein said the same thing – reason tells you how to navigate the ship, but it doesn’t tell you where you want to take it.

    Do you mean, we don’t know where to take the economy? What is the goal of our economy?

  30. mannning says:

    A further comment. It is typical for atheists to use the word superstition as often as they can when referring to theism. It appears to satisfy their desire to denigrate (slur, as you did!) theists and put them on the defensive. I embrace Christianity and the Bible as an admixture of both superstition and settled fact, a dichotomy that allows me not to take offense at the atheist’s struggle to define theism as superstition. At the heart of the subject is the occurrance of miracles, which can be put down as superstitous delusions of many crowds, or just perhaps not, which is an interesting contretemps for atheists if they have even a half open mind.

  31. george says:

    Do you mean, we don’t know where to take the economy? What is the goal of our economy?

    Actually, though you’re probably being ironic, that’s correct. Do we want an economy where everyone has a minimum standard of living? One which is totally based on what individuals can make from themselves (no gov’t assistance, but also no inheritance)? Is it one where everyone has the same results, or same opportunity? Do we mind people starving on the streets? Or stealing to make ends meet? These are emotional decisions, based on culture, philosophy, religion – reason only comes into it when we look at the actions taken to get to the goal.

    In terms of reason, there’s nothing particularly special about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – a computer doesn’t care about any of those, though one can be programmed to reason quite well. Its emotion that makes them worth having.

  32. Gerry W. says:

    I would think that we should ensure an upward movement for everyone. Some may be rich, middle class, or poor, but you have to have the right structure for “to navigate” and to meet our end goal. For today, we do not have that upward movement. The people who praise capitalism forget that at times capitalism needs help. If we assume free markets work, then throwing 2 billion cheap laborers into the free market says it won’t work. So we have to deal with it instead of ignoring it. If we have an limited supply of oil or the threat of a limited supply, then shouldn’t we have a goal to get away from the ups and downs of oil over the past 30 years. What is our plan?

    The goal of Bush was to have tax cuts and everything would be okay and ignore the problems. The plan of Obama is just spend more money in the wrong areas.

    We do what we can for people on the streets, but to limit that catastrophe, we should be able to navigate and have goals on the higher end so that you have that upward movement. But all that upward movement is lost if you are not dealing with the problems of globalization, deficits and debt, and letting the infrastructure fall apart.

    It seems like the parties don’t know what they are doing?

    Tax cuts and not dealing with globalization is not navigating, it is just failed ideology. Spending money on casinos, cash for clunkers, and extension of unemployment benefits is more emotion than navigating. We should have long term goals and not party ideology. The problem with long term goals is that you have elections, lobbyists, and party ideology that gets in the way.

  33. michael reynolds says:

    Drew:

    Objectivism is rejected because it is philosophically . . . how do I put this politely . . . asinine. It’s the cargo shorts of philosophy. Guys think it’s cool, but it’s just stupid. And, like cargo shorts, you can kind of forgive it on a teenager, but when you see a grown man wearing them it’s just sad.

    It’s not because it’s rigorous. It’s because it is utterly lacking in rigor. It lacks evidence, it’s lacking in logic, in anthropology, even in biology. It’s drivel for dumbasses who want to think they’re deep. It’s one step short of Scientology.

  34. Southern Hoosier says:

    Yes, the 3rd world is full of cheap labor. But would you invest millions building factories where there is no infrastructure , no skilled work force and no stable government? We have lost a lot of unskilled jobs, like textile, to the 3rd world. But we have also gained a lot of high tech jobs from foreign companies.

  35. jwest says:

    “…would you invest millions building factories where there is no infrastructure , no skilled work force and no stable government?”

    You’re talking about Detroit, right?

  36. Gerry W. says:

    Maybe the ratio of lost jobs is 10 to 1 or even 50 to 1. And you are talking of lost unskilled jobs. As George was pointing out. Do we have jobs? Do we put people out on the street and forget about them? Do we give them government assistance? What is the goal of our country and economic system. Doing away with jobs in one area, and gaining in another area is not an answer. The high tech jobs will not come to my town, my town was a factory town and has little left. Is that an answer?

  37. jwest says:

    The only way to have a thriving middle class is to promote manufacturing. We can’t compete with labor costs around the world, so some of the other factors that impact profitable operations need to be changed.

    For the U.S., the obvious answers are to institute the Fair Tax plan, so that corporations want to locate here and have a competitive advantage in exports, and to reverse the current thinking concerning energy policy.

    No economy will ever grow if the emphasis is on energy conservation. We need the government to look at energy as we look at roads and other infrastructure. Electrical energy needs to be so abundant and cheap that wasting it is a non-issue. By federalizing a program to build 500 identical nuclear reactors, owned by the government with power distributed by privately held utilities, industry would have the second competitive advantage it needs to dominate the world markets.

  38. Davebo says:

    For the U.S., the obvious answers are to institute the Fair Tax plan, so that corporations want to locate here and have a competitive advantage in exports, and to reverse the current thinking concerning energy policy.

    Jwest, seriously? You think that enacting a massive increase in corporate taxes will make companies want to relocate to America?

    How much did General Electric pay in taxes last year?

  39. wr says:

    jwest’s plan: “By federalizing a program to build 500 identical nuclear reactors, owned by the government with power distributed by privately held utilities”

    In other words, tax dollars build the plants. Tax dollars run the plants. Then we give away the power to private companies and let them make huge profits selling back to us what we’ve already paid for and they haven’t. A better example of contemporary Republican economics I’ve never seen.

  40. Drew says:

    Mr. Reynolds, with respect, you are wrong. It would not take an educated man much effort to trace a line of evolution from Thales to Aristotle to Montaigne, Nietzsche and Rand. I understand you don’t like Rand for deeply personal and probably shameful reasons. That is your error and failing. It says nothing about the philosophy itself.

    I’m sure this magic-beans based discussion will continue to echo with indignation at the only unique and liberal philosophy of the 20th century. Have fun, kids, and when you still haven’t figured anything out, read the Virtue of Selfishness.

  41. Southern Hoosier says:

    How much did General Electric pay in taxes last year?

    Comrade Obama rewards his friends and punishes his enemies.

    Obama’s favorite CEO gets GE out from paying any US taxes

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/25/obamas-favorite-ceo-gets-ge-out-from-paying-any-us-taxes/

  42. Ben Wolf says:

    The best reason to reject Rand is that she was a child murderer groupie.

  43. Southern Hoosier says:

    Jwest, seriously? You think that enacting a massive increase in corporate taxes will make companies want to relocate to America?

    How much did General Electric pay in taxes last year?

    Not all CEOs sleep with Comrade Obama and get such a tax breaks. If we had a Fair Tax as been suggested, then GE would have to pay taxes like everyone else and not get a sweetheart deal.

    According to a study by the Tax Foundation, America’s combined federal and state rate of 39.2 percent is only out paced by Japan’s rate of 39.5 percent – which Japan plans to lower next month. Without Japan in the lead, America’s 39.2 percent will render it the corporate tax rate leader in the developed world, aka the countries comprising the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/16/america-to-have-the-highest-corporate-tax-rate-in-april/#ixzz1KNbEqi00

  44. jwest says:

    Davebo,

    The Fair Tax eliminates all corporate tax and makes the U.S. a tax haven for foreign investors.

    Wr,

    Normally, my conservative leaning wouldn’t permit me to suggest government ownership of power plants; however, nuclear power is unique in the stifling regulations and liability requirements. By having the federal government own them and the sites they will be located at, 99% of the time and money wasted on compliance would be saved.

    Local utilities would still distribute the power. The closer you are (either personally or your business) to a nuke plant, the lower your power costs. Only those communities that voted for allowing the plants would receive them. So, if your 85 year old grandmother lived within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, she could heat and cool her home (with the windows open year round), cook, have hot water, lights and run her electric chain saw for about $60 per year. If you happened to own a steel mill and located within a couple miles of the plant, your energy costs (which are the major expense of making steel) would be about 5% of what they are now.

  45. jwest says:

    As I mentioned to Davebo, the Fair Tax eliminates all business taxes. This gives companies that locate in the U.S. a competitive advantage by reducing approximately 28% of their costs through embedded taxes and compliance. When exporting, U.S. goods would cost less than those made in other countries.

    This helps eliminate our trade imbalance and allows employers with U.S. wage-level employees to compete with countries like China and India.

  46. Southern Hoosier says:

    Exactly what taxes are abolished?

    The FairTax is replacement, not reform. It replaces federal income taxes including personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes.

    http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_faq_answers

  47. Ben Wolf says:

    There’s nothing liberal about Objectivism, Drew. Rand’s vomitous web of putrefaction is merely the latest ode to the Will to Power, a dark and dystopian vision of the future in which humans are enslaved by their base desire for domination and instant gratification.

    Those of us with the slightest semblance of an ethical code will continue to embrace the more elegant truth of Eudaimonia.

  48. Gerry W. says:

    Without taking a month to study the fair tax, we were sold by the right wing that tax cuts would create jobs, lower deficits, and create prosperity. It didn’t happen. The fact remains is that there is an additional 2 billion cheap laborers into the system. Stores are full of junk and we have closed down 57,000 factories. Our infrastructure is falling apart. And programs need to be cut. We can’t afford to take another pie in the sky ideology, if it does not work. Or at least hanging our hopes on some good outcome.

  49. jwest says:

    Gerry,

    If you ever want to get back to surpluses instead of deficits, you need to get back to near or full employment. Not only that, the jobs created need to be good paying, secure jobs.

    History has shown that the best avenue for people to enter and rise through the middle class is by manufacturing jobs. With the low labor costs in China and India, we can’t and don’t want to compete by lowering wages, so some other area of competitive advantage must be found. The two we have control over are energy and taxes.

    By converting to the Fair Tax, we eliminate not only business income taxes, but the expense of compliance. One simple tax on retail sales of new goods and services places the collection burden on outlets already equipped to deal with the transactions, while producers are left to produce. Employees get to keep the entirety of their paychecks with no deductions whatsoever.

    The best way for the government to increase revenues is though full employment and growth. With the Fair Tax, almost all lobbying is eliminated because there are no chances for special tax breaks. Foreign tourists, illegal aliens and the underground economy all end up paying into the system eventually.

    This is the way to go.

  50. tom p says:

    Parasites don’t like Rand because she disarms them.

    wow Drew, you hate every CEO on top of multi national banks as well….

    I take it back Drew, you are not as stupid as a box of rocks after all.

  51. michael reynolds says:

    Drew:

    Dude, I’m sure you understand numbers very well. You know dick-all about philosophy.

    And I note that you cannot actually either explain or defend her. Don’t feel badly, nobody can. But if you want to walk around flaunting your cargo shorts, go for it. Call it a fashion statement. Rock that look.

    Just please God don’t drag poor Nietzsche into it. He’s already been mauled by every college sophomore. The mand had his issues but he deserves better than to be attached to a cult leader (and staggeringly awful writer) like Ayn Rand.

  52. Gerry W. says:

    jwest,

    I guess I would not have a problem with a fair tax. To me it is tit for tat. How much it creates in jobs is anyones guess. China wants jobs as well as Egypt and there is not enough jobs to go around.

    I do agree you have to have jobs. You cannot solve one thing without jobs. I also believe that it is not taxes alone that drives our jobs away. It is cheap labor. And since there is not enough jobs to go around, I still think we have to invest in our country, in our people, and in the future through government spending. And eventually it will all go to the free market. Such as investing in our infrastructure, air traffic control, and energy independence. Such as retraining people, and investing in the future with federal grants for new sciences. I don’t think the private sector can create the jobs. There simply not enough jobs to go around until the third world countries start consuming as we do.

    What needs to be done in China is to have a lot of people go back to their homes and create jobs there and not go to the coast and take our jobs. The cat is out of the bag, we live in a world of globalization, and cheap labor reins. I also feel that all jobs are vulnerable. Vulnerable like we have never seen before. Cheap labor, automation, lean manufacturing, and the internet changes how we work and live. And in ten years, for China, they will automate too, and what will they do with the millions that lose their jobs. We need to have new areas to invest in. New areas that will create new products and jobs that will be not as vulnerable to the global economy. I don’t know what that is, but ignoring the rest of the world as our politicians have seem to do, is the wrong thing to do.

  53. george says:

    Two main differences between Nietzsche and Rand:

    Nietzsche was a genius. And he was an extremely good writer. Even if like me you don’t agree with much of his philosophy, its hard not to be moved by the way he expressed it … I’ve heard it said that the beauty of his writing actually hindered his philosophy, as people got caught up in the words themselves rather than the ideas. It strikes me as very plausible.

    Rand on the other hand was neither a genius, nor a good writer.

  54. jwest says:

    Gerry,

    The Fair Tax sets the stage for increased business, but the switch from conserving energy to unlimited electricity would provide the means for the next big expansion. By quickly building 500 identical reactors (and planning the expansion of 500 more) the U.S. will be ready for a new industrial age.

    All base manufacturing and the vast majority of secondary manufacturing rely on energy. By having nearly free power, new processes can be developed to further increase our competitive advantage. Whole business sectors that have never been dreamed of before could be created once the paradigm shifts on electricity.

    Desalination of sea water suddenly makes sense on a grand scale. Roads and bridges could be heated for snow removal instead of using corrosive salt. Maglev trains go from pipe dream to the logical choice. Products and services that no one even imagines now will be the drivers of new business.

    This would be the proper role for government. Using the collective power of the country to establish infrastructure that would allow individuals to create, grow and prosper.

  55. Gerry W. says:

    I think it is worth looking into. It will take many things and not an ideology of the two parties. We need energy independence and that may be part of it. It may be possible to get costs down to where we are competitive. Anything can happen and thinking outside the box helps.

  56. Southern Hoosier says:

    Gerry W. says: Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 10:33

    Do you mean, we don’t know where to take the economy? What is the goal of our economy?

    The Soviet had a 5 year plan for their economy and that didn’t work out to well.

  57. Gerry W. says:

    Seems like Bush and the republicans had a plan, and that was tax cuts and look where we are today. You cannot go by an ideology and ignore the problems. You still have to deal with globalization and the lost jobs, the infrastructure which will require some 2 trillion dollars, our deficit and debt, energy problems, and also figure out what will create an upward movement for the middle class. If you are for laissez-faire or an Ayn Rand type of economy, then it is just ignorance and the money goes to the rich and the middle class loses. I have seen nothing in answers from the right. Tax cuts, the constitution, gun rights, religion, and God and country does not address the problems. It is all talk and never trickles down.

  58. An Interested Party says:

    The Fair Tax sets the stage for…

    My goodness, it will do so much! What about healing the sick, raising the dead, and giving everyone a magic pony?

  59. jwest says:

    Interested Party,

    The Fair Tax could clear up that pesky acne, too.

  60. An Interested Party says:

    Ahh, now I understand why you favor it so much…