Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quotations Of The Day: Why Rand Continues To Matter Edition

Paul Krugman uses an Eric Cantor tweet to explain how Ranidan thought dominates certain circles:
“Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.”

This all makes sense in the Ayn Rand intellectual universe, where a handful of heroically greedy entrepreneurs are responsible for all that is good. And if you live in that universe, your dividing line between makers and takers isn’t drawn at the point where people make enough to pay income taxes; everyone who isn’t John Galt should be grateful for what the Galts do, and we’re all takers by asking those heroes to pay any taxes at all.
Ed Kilgore illustrates how this Randianism to its logical conclusion:
Think about it. A large percentage of GOP economic policy thinking is based on the assumption that minimizing business costs is the alpha and omega of growth and competitiveness. Not only taxes and regulations, but also wages and benefits, need to be kept as low as possible. The whole idea of “human capital” being a national asset worth cultivating—a universally accepted notion in the 1990s—has all but been lost on the right.
Accordingly, if you don’t fall into the charmed circle of “job creators;” if you don’t own your own business, or have enough wealth to make significant capital investments; then your job, it appears, is to bear down, shut up, and do what you can to make life easier for your bosses. Abandon that union; stop asking for pay increases; gracefully accept that shift from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions, or from any pension to none; pay your taxes and stop worrying about the tax rates paid by your superiors—you’re lucky they pay them at all, given the fact you already owe them your daily bread, everything you own, and your very life.
Kilgore and Krugman should have added that the current Randian Republicans have decided to treat their theory as a categorical imperative, blissfully forgetting that Kant's first formulation includes treating people as an end unto themselves and never the means an end.

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