9 Ways the Right’s Ayn Randian Experiment Screws Over the Young
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Conservatives keep claiming liberals want a “cradle-to-grave nanny state.” That rhetoric has distracted us from the real social re-engineering taking place all around us. The right, along with its “centrist” collaborators, is transforming our nation into a bloodless and soulless Randian State.
Their decades-long assault on our core social values is on the verge of consuming its first complete generation of Americans. Born at the dawn of the Reagan era, Millennials were the first to be fully subjected to this all-out attack on the idea that we take care of each other in this country, and they’ll pay for it from the cradle to the grave.
Some of us are the parents of Millennials. Who’ll fight with them, and for them?
The Simpsons made a running joke out of Springfield’s “ Ayn Rand School for Tots,” where toddlers fend for themselves in playrooms whose signs say things like “Helping is Futile.” That’s very funny. What is happening to our country isn’t.
A successful social contract has bound us together since the FDR era. The Randian State is an effort to dismantle it, replacing our nation’s web of mutual trust and support with a lifelong helplessness and dependence on the whims and generosity of corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals.
The Randian State is built in the morally depraved mold of right-wing über-heroine Rand, who reviled the less fortunate – and even those who tried to help them – as “ parasites,” while at the same time idolizing sociopathic killers.
That last statement isn’t rhetoric. It’s reporting. “He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman,” Rand wrote admiringly of child murderer and dismemberer William Edward Hickman. “He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’”
As Mark Ames points out, this echoes Rand’s description of her hero in The Fountainhead: “He was born without the ability to consider others.”
Hickman’s actions were certainly not those of a “nanny.” But, while most conservatives undoubtedly disapprove of his deeds, the glorification of sociopathic selfishness represents the mentality with which the Administration is perpetually seeking “compromise.” It has infected everything from the Beltway’s “bipartisan” consensus to the content of our national media.
Conservatives went into rhetorical overdrive last year after the Obama campaign released an “infographic” ad called “The Life of Julia,” depicting ways Obama’s policies help women throughout their lives.
A typical reaction came from self-declared moralizer, former Reagan official, and chronic excessive gambler William Bennett. Bennett intoned that “Julia’s entire life is defined by her interactions with the state … Notably absent in her story is any relationship with a husband, family, church or community … Instead, the state has taken their place and is her primary relationship.”
That’s deceptive, of course. The presentation focused on government because it wasabout government. The Obama campaign wasn’t proposing to marry her or drive her to church. But reason rarely intrudes on such arguments. The Romney campaign quickly prepared a counter-slide show and the “socialist” debate was on.
Curiously, “Julia’s” story seems to have disappeared from the BarackObama.Com and Organizing For Action websites now that victory’s been achieved. Old links to it are dead, and attempts to click on this introduction only lead back to the site’s main page.
Bennett’s phrasing was drawn from conservative avatar Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher represented a radically un-American vision of life which lacks either our sense of community or our bonds of mutual trust, and which denies even the existence of society itself.
“Who is society?” demanded Thatcher. “There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families …”