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Ayn Rand And The Sociopathic Society or ‘How I Learned To Stop Loving My Neighbor And Despise Them Instead.’

A fat, smug bastard friend of mine (that’s his chosen nickname, The FSB) pointed out to me some time ago that pretty much ALL conservative politics are selfish at their core. Take any conservative position on a social or economic issue and boil away all the rhetoric and what you are left with is “I got mine, screw you.”

I thought about that for a while. I suppose its simplicity struck me as being a little too easy, a little too sound bitey.  So I sat down and made a list:

  • No gay marriage – Homosexuality makes me uncomfortable (due to misguided religious influence, poor upbringing or both) so gay people should be punished because of my beliefs. Stoopid homos…
  • No welfare, food stamps or Medicaid – I’m not poor enough to qualify for these programs so my tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it. Stoopid poor people and by poor I really mean black…
  • No health care reform – Why should I help pay for other people who are sick when I’m not? Stoopid sick people…
  • No environmental protection – Environmental laws makes things more expensive for me and that’s bad. I also don’t understand the concept of long term impact; I want cheap gas and gadgets now! Stoopid…ah, you get the idea…
  • Don’t raise my taxes – EVER. The government can find its own money to pay for stuff.
  • Medicare – Young conservatives: Why should I help pay for old people and the disabled? Older conservatives: Keep your government hands off my Medicare!
  • Social Security – Young conservatives: Sacrifices need to be made, people should take care of themselves, not depend on handouts from people like me. Older conservatives: Sacrifices need to be made BUT DON’T YOU TOUCH MY SOCIAL SECURITY!
  • No abortion – The government should tell women what to do with their bodies because Idon’t like abortion.
  • No prayer in school? – GOVERNMENT OVERREACH!! I like Republican Jesus™ so everyone should have to listen to my prayers. No Muslim prayers, though. That’s indoctrination.

This list goes on for some time. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. A conservative society is a borderline sociopathic society.

Dictionary.com defines a sociopath as: a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

Conservapedia says a sociopath is “someone with a personality disorder characterized by an antisocial behavior and an absence of moral responsibility or social conscience.” (I would have cited Wikipedia but we all know they’re a liberal front for George Soros, I think I heard that on Glenn Beck)

The key words here are “moral responsibility” and “social conscience”. Conservative politics lack these essential characteristics. In their place we find greed, hate, lies, an inability to empathize and an overblown sense of entitlement and self importance. In other words: all the indicators of a seriously disturbed person. Except it’s a political philosophy and it has millions of disciples.

But Justin, you filthy liberal scum, how can you say that?

Well, that’s kind of easy. Who is the guiding light of conservatives (and Libertarians) all the way from corrupt CEOs down to easily manipulated Tea Party fanatics? Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand’s specific worldview was that “The pursuit of his (man’s) own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” This is in direct opposition to a functional humane society where the whole must be cohesive in order to provide for its weakest and most vulnerable. You’ll notice my inclusion of the word “humane”. You can have a perfectly functional society without a shred of humanity in it. Take, for example, the Industrial Age societies. They literally built the foundations for the world we know and yet they allowed or even encouraged child labor; essentially the slavery of children. Speaking of slavery, they had THAT, too, and no matter what Haley Barbour, Pat Buchanan and the other apologists revisionists would have you think, it was horrible and inhumane.

Ayn Rand’s ideal world is one where society has no say in your actions short of you physically assaulting another person. “The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force.”[ii] One is forced to wonder what she would make of Wall Street’s Epic Fail. Rand was a big champion of no regulation at all. Close your eyes and imagine what Wall Street could do with even less regulation than it had before. Think of all the possibilities. Taste the freedom.

Are you done vomiting yet?

Do you know why Rand’s laissez-faire utopia would fail? It’s the exact same reason a socialist utopia would fail; people are imperfect. We are greedy, envious, petty and selfish. There will always be some among us who will better themselves specifically to the detriment of others because they simply don’t care. There will always be those who, as they gain power and wealth, will want more at any expense. We saw this in action in communist Russia. It was rife with the kind of corruption described so very well in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Everyone was equal, but some were more equal than others.

We see it today in that bastion of capitalism: America and its budding Oligarchy. As wealth and power becomes ever more concentrated, the rest of us suffer. Any attempts to remedy the situation by imposing restrictions on the rich and powerful to keep them from fleecing the country is met with howls of “class warfare”, “Socialism” and “government overreach.” Any attempts to remove any of the sweetheart deals in place allowing those same anti-government rich and powerful to pay less taxes (or no taxes at all) or to reap billions in unnecessary subsidies are also met with more howls of unfair treatment.

Now that’s what I call having your cake and eating it, too.

These people are sociopaths, pure and simple. As long as they get what they “deserve”, it doesn’t matter what happens to anyone else. Homeless families are not their problem. Malnourished children are not their problem. Uninsured sick people are not their problem. The elderly reduced to abject poverty (as they were before the advent of Social Security) are not their problem.

Ayn Rand and her delusional rantings provide a rationalization for this immoral behavior. After the Enron scandal and again after the crash in 2008, CEOs started to reread Atlas Shrugged. “CEOs put the book down knowing in their hearts that they are not the greedy crooks they are portrayed to be in today’s business headlines but are heroes like the characters in Rand’s novel.”[iii]

Heroes? Really? Is that so?

I would love to walk a group of Wall Street executives out to a Tea Party rally and have them explain to the crowd all the ways these “heroes” have stolen away the TPers money and future. Then announce that it’s OK because Ayn Rand says self interest and greed are good so whatever these “heroes” do in pursuit of that goal is morally just, even necessary. I figure the cognitive dissonance would make at least half of the crowd’s heads explode.

Mahatma Ghandi said a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. By this very simple criterion, the conservative sociopathic society would be found wanting and yet the conservative movement claims to be the party of God, family and human decency. It is none of these things.

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21 thoughts on “Ayn Rand And The Sociopathic Society or ‘How I Learned To Stop Loving My Neighbor And Despise Them Instead.’

  1. Jane Read Gherardi on said:

    Bravo!

  2. Oh how I wish I had written this. Spot on! Or as someone said to me recently, “The ‘Christian Right’ is neither.”

  3. What astonishes me, personally, is that none in the televise news media have talked about Rand’s so-called “moral goods” to the GOP who espouse her views when being interviewed! I found Rand’s view that it is “morally good” for the wealthy to cause utter and TOTAL unemployment, as well as for the wealthy to cause mass starvation by sabotaging the roads and railways to prevent the dispersal of food, water, and fuel to be absolutely disgusting! Yet, few seem cognizant of that and uninteresting in nailing such a senator for supporting a woman who held these wretched views!

    • Robyn Ryan on said:

      Even for the devoted, Rand is a slog through vapid blathering. Tv gave up reporting news when Walter Cronkite retired.

      We get the entertaining fluff predicted by Neil Postman.

      Fortunately for us, few people under 40 get their news from tv.

  4. SaylinGurl on said:

    Thank you for putting it so clearly and rationally. I’ve believed this for some time and I’m living and working with a hot nest of these greedy people. Turns my stomach…

  5. andrea longoni on said:

    I try to respect the beliefs of others because they believe in what they believe as much as I believe in what I do, but the party of God does seem to be somewhat heartless.

  6. grom on said:

    “Yes, sociopaths can feel emotions like anger, jealousy, satisfaction, and hatred. But not guilt.”

    http://youmeworks.com/sociopaths.html

  7. If you were a 50 y.o. woman I would ask you to marry me.

  8. Kimberly Ann Hess on said:

    well said!!

  9. When I think of these conservatives and get really upset, I try and remember that they despise what they fear – and being weak and dependent is what they fear the most. And often people who align with this conservative movement (even though they don’t have any money really) are waiting for that magical day when they ‘get theirs and want to make sure the liberal scums don’t take it from them. Fear and greed are very powerful forces however caring and compassion for one’s fellow man are much more powerful. Hating the haters doesn’t create any more love in the world – and every time I waste of precious minute of my life upset over their antics – they win. I just have to think of them as verrry confused people and remember to vote.
    PS – Ayn Rand had to use Medicare and SS to help her pay for her cancer treatments

  10. Reblogged this on While you were sleeping and commented:
    The “sweetheart” of the Republican Party – How they tie Rand and Christanity togeather I’ll never understand for they are polar opposites…

  11. Nice posting. I love the debates I have with Libertarians or disciples of Ayn Rand. Most of them are injured souls in some respect; particularly the Randians, otherwise why practice idolitry?

    I like simple models and the debates they engender. For this reason I’ll post my model of government (the purpose of government at any time in human history).

    Government has only two core functions: 1) protection of wealth; and 2) redistribution of wealth. The only question of relevance is: Who benefits?

  12. EJ Rotert on said:

    Exactly why `communist’ Russia wasn’t communist, but rather a malignant brand of socialism. Communism is an ideal. Never has a true communist walked the face of Earth.

  13. Jerry on said:

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, it is
    evident from several of this guy’s summary bullet points that he knows
    almost nothing about it. He attempts to present Rand’s philosophy and
    today’s “conservative” movement as if they are one in the same when in
    fact there are serious philosophical differences between the two.
    Here are three examples…
    “No gay marriage – Homosexuality makes me uncomfortable (due to
    misguided religious influence, poor upbringing or both) so gay people
    should be punished because of my beliefs. Stoopid homos…”
    “No abortion – The government should tell women what to do with their
    bodies because I don’t like abortion.”
    “No prayer in school? – GOVERNMENT OVERREACH!! I like Republican
    Jesus™ so everyone should have to listen to my prayers. No Muslim
    prayers, though. That’s indoctrination.”
    Rand’s philosophy was fiercely anti-Christian and anti-religion to the
    point of even declaring that “faith, as such, is extremely detrimental
    to human life: it is the negation of reason.” Objectivism, the
    movement she founded supports an “absolute right” to abortion at any
    time during pregnancy, including partial-birth abortion. Ayn Rand’s
    philosophy and followers also support a right to same-sex marriage,
    and opposed California’s Proposition 8 defining marriage as between
    one man and one woman. She was a major proponent of the separation of
    church and state and was strongly opposed to prayer in schools, or to
    any other infiltration of religion into taxpayer funded entities.
    I believe that if you write a blog/article in which three of your nine
    bullet points are completely and verifiably wrong, and the others are
    grossly misinterpreted, you should be banished from using the computer
    in your parent’s basement and forced to retake high school english.
    People like this to me are the equivalent of intellectual vandals.
    They vandalize ideas and philosophies by spewing baseless ad hominem
    attacks. They completely ignore and/or or reject the basic
    responsibility that most of us feel to at the very least gain a basic
    working knowledge of what it is that they are attacking.
    This guy’s intellectual sloppiness and laziness is a good example of
    why it is still important to read books, and not rely on Internet
    blogs or graffiti on bathroom walls as sources for information about
    the world.

    • Ah but I never said Ayn Rand would have agreed with modern conservatism, did I? Just that they were basing their greed and lack of compassion on her work. Go ahead, reread it and find the part where I say “Ayn Rand would love the crazed religious fervor of the Tea Party.” I’m willing to bet that if she were still alive she would have rejected her own premise because she would she, first hand, that corporations and the rich do not behave like her characters at all. The do not enrich society at all but rather distort it to suit their needs at the expense of all others.

      Your poor reading comprehension is unimpressive as an argument. Run along now and pretend you’re a self made man that never relied on anyone for anything. Libertarian fantasies are always so adorable!

  14. Did I say somewhere in my response that I am “a self made man that never relied on anyone for anything”? Where did that come from? I wasn’t even arguing FOR Objectivism or Ayn Rand as much as I was pointing out the flaws in your argument.

    It is hard for me to take an article seriously when it starts with a disfigured image of Rand, who was a staunch atheist, and presents her, explicitly or implicitly, as some kind of darling of the Christian right.

    Religion is one of the main pillars of today’s conservative movement; atheism is one of the main pillars of the Objectivist movement, which while some on the right may be sympathetic to Rand’s views on certain issues, I would call that a pretty significant philosophical dichotomy which almost guarantees that the Christian right will never fully embrace Ayn Rand or Objectivism.

    • “It is hard for me to take an article seriously when it starts with a disfigured image of Rand, who was a staunch atheist, and presents her, explicitly or implicitly, as some kind of darling of the Christian right.”

      And yet, it is indisputable that the Tea Party, the indisputable force behind conservative politics for the last three years, have idolized Rand. That they don’t understand her is something you’ll have to take up with them yourself.

      Thank you conceding, BTW, that you were wrong about me claiming that Rand would have supported modern conservatives. Your lack of response to that speaks volumes. Ta.

  15. Rand frequently attacked the modern conservate movement. She hated conservatives more than she hated liberals. Here is an example…

    • Maybe I’m off track, but it seems like this debate is off track. I thought the original point was how the conservatives have twisted Rands CONCEPTS to justify their own greed. I didn’t think this was about Rand, herself, or her specific set of believes. It’s no stretch here to tie her base theories to conservatism’s “every man for himself” mentality. And that is not leading to a better society. THAT is what Rand should be here to see.

  16. I believe the relationship between modern conservatives and the Tea Party is tenuous at best and that most people would take away from your article that Rand supported the conservative movement or the religious right; she clearly did not. I’m almost certain that if she were still alive she would not support the Tea Party movement either, mainly due to their lack of concrete principles. I have read a lot of articles/blogs with themes similar to yours in which people mention that she is admired by many conservatives/Tea Party types but they always fail to mention that she was a staunch atheist, and actually hated the conservative movement. These are very significant points.

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