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Saxo Bank CEO Fears The Broad Relevance Of Ayn Rand In Today's Society

Tyler Durden's picture


One of the biggest mistakes we can make, Saxo Bank's CEO warns, is to assume that rationality will prevail, that just through superior economic performance, freedom will capture enough peoples' hearts in a democracy to win the day. In the last of his three-part series (part 1 and part 2), Lars Seier Christensen focuses on the broader relevance of Ayn Rand in society today, noting that she remains among the few that recognised with crystal clarity, that we will not win the battle through just proving that freedom and capitalism works. This, he warns, creates a major problem for those of us that like to argue rationally, rather than emotionally.

Excerpted from Saxo Bank CEO, Lars Seier Christensen's blog,


[The current irrational world] creates a major opportunity for politicians that intuitively know that in a rational world, there would be little demand for their services. Only in an irrational, emotional universe, where opportunists can gain access to media and visibility to express “feelings” and try to take the moral high ground, no matter how unfounded in reality it is — only in such an environment can you survive without having to produce practical, productive results, and instead prosper and benefit from empty talk and third-rate acting performances.

This tendency, unfortunately, has only strengthened during the recent crisis. There is often a complete disconnect between the reality and the words used to describe it, the actions pretending to deal with it. In particular, this is very noticeable in the Eurozone these days.


Ayn Rand has gained renewed relevance and attention, because her predictions have been fulfilled in many different areas.

First, the politicians assign ever greater powers to themselves, as they manage to convince the citizens of the need for even more interference, although the problems are created by interference in the first place.

There are endless examples of this in both the US and the Eurozone, where one mistake invariably leads to call for even more powers, leading to new mistakes.

Second, freedom and capitalism, the only real answer to the current crisis, gets ever more restricted and prevented from working efficiently, meaning that the underlying strength of human ingenuity and creativity is stopped from working and becomes increasingly powerless to pull us out of the morass we are in.

Another of Rand's predictions of business people using government favours in return for giving up their independence, has sadly been confirmed better than anywhere else in my own industry. It is embarrassing to see the extent the banking industry has relied on support from governments, and how ruthlessly it is currently exploiting the offers of cheap money available from the central banks.

Very little of the bailouts filter down to the real economy...


Pick-a-winner, corporate social responsibility, employment rules, affirmative action, the creation of fictional jobs and plain political popularity and obedience will then rule who prospers and survives in all industries, not just banking. Beware of this development, it is poison to capitalism, growth and to prosperity for all of you.


In fact, the undemocratic, power-grabbing, emotional, populistic Washington that takes over in Atlas Shrugged is today most closely resembled by the EU and the Eurozone in the real world.


In France, we now have a President that by his own admission, hates the rich. So much so that he is trying to circumvent his own constitution to introduce punitive taxes on them, although illegal.


Well, it seems that the rich also hate their president, judging by the number of them leaving — famously spearheaded by Gerard Depardieu — for places like Belgium, that amazingly actually acts as a tax haven for the French in spite of all the EU rhetoric, or Switzerland, where inflows of new immigration requests are, according to my sources, at record highs, particularly from Scandinavia, UK and France. Depardieu, of course, chose Russia, which speaks volumes as to the deep trouble Western Europe is in.


This leads to a very interesting question, a question full of hope. Is there indeed also a solution to the problem, such as the one Ayn Rand foresaw with the flight to Galts Gulch? It will be difficult to find a place entirely outside of the reach of aggressive governments eager for tax dollars, as Switzerland has learned to its misfortune.


So nowhere seems safe from populism and irrationality any longer. It is difficult to see the necessary reforms forthcoming, and sadly, we may have to go through a much more severe economic collapse before change will be forced upon us. Unfortunately, that change may also be totalitarian in nature, of course. In fact, that is the more likely outcome in the short run.

I don't believe the battle will be won by economic rationality. This goes out the door, once more than 51 percent of the voters live off the government — and probably even long before.


If we don’t succeed in changing the values and direction of at least the next generation, I fear the full prediction of Atlas Shrugged will become reality and while that may hold some promise for the distant future, it is not something that I think people of my age feel like going through if we can avoid it.


Read Christensen's full Ayn Rand discussion here (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)


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Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:02 | 4309740 HedgeAccordingly
HedgeAccordingly's picture

Can see that... Many similaries. many differences.. 1 being fatherless kids . - 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:08 | 4309759 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Saxo Bank has a wonderful on-line trading platform where you can open an account and trade FX, and or Silver, too. It's a great Bank.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:22 | 4309790 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

Ayn Rand was an idiot.  Reading "Atlas Shrugged" is an exercise in tolerance for poor writing.  Her characters are so one dimensional, her plots so predictable and asinine, it's really no wonder she has the audience she does.  No thinking person can actually take her seriously, but like religion, her work is a tool to control the stupid through simple mantras that can be absorbed by simple minds.   Maybe I'm being "emotional" or "irrational" by not agreeing with the banker.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:22 | 4309803 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Sin is a never ending battle within itself.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:35 | 4309844 Fredo Corleone
Fredo Corleone's picture

Arguing rationally: Jim Rogers, Jeremy Grantham.

Arguing emotionally: Jim Cramer, Paul Krugman.

Rational lucidity shall always triumph over subjective emotion. It is incumbent upon the investor to discern between truth and folly.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:48 | 4309876 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Jim Cramer..."successfully selling a natural gas boondoggle to XOM." hahahahaha. gotta love it. Not as good as "striking it rich under XOM's headquarters" though. (EOG.) I mean seriously..."it's all about the work"? Really? These clowns stood out there window all day with billions of barrels of oil under their feet...and someone decided to actually drill for oil there and they became rich because of it. Believe me...that HQ was on that spot for a reason: precisely to NOT allow that to happen. "but once you blow up the real estate market" that puts a lot of things in play that were not in play before. Turns out there was more oil...and natural gas...than this country ever needed...but instead it was "play with paper trades." Fed Ex coming to the debt markets to buy back two billion in stock? I mean you really can't make this up. Although apparently someone thinks these things can only just "go up." Didn't that "just not work" last summer when the Fed announced taper? "No, not at all" seems to be the answer.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:31 | 4309986 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

When education was lost to conservative, Constitutional ideas, we lost everything else along with it.  It's only now we're feeling the effects.  When your economics professor is teaching you about the glories of Marxism, you'll never question those politicians' fanciful promises of fairness and prosperity for all under the wise and benevolant hand of the government.

It's over.  We lost long ago.

The sheep (rich and poor alike) have been well trained to feed from the government trough.  They don't even venture out in the meadow any more.  They've been told there are nothing but wolves out there and the grass is too sour to eat.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:03 | 4310246 gwar5
gwar5's picture

And how come Marxists never produce a single positive result to improve the human condition yet they scream at capitalism for not making all poor people go away?




Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:31 | 4310342 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

On that note, I think it might be time to start drinking beer.


Wed, 01/08/2014 - 16:28 | 4312723 A is A
A is A's picture

A is A...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:29 | 4309983 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

more useless grand sounding paeans and platitudes rising like clouds of secular insense to the idols of scientific materialism and positivist triumphalism. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:08 | 4309925 Dinero D. Profit
Dinero D. Profit's picture

There is no such thing as sin. 

There is moral (a general rule of right living) and immoral, ethical and unethical, lawful and unlawful.

~I~ have never sinned in my life, and I insist upon that.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:53 | 4310057 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Who among us is qualified to define "sin"?  Not me, for sure.  I'm pretty damn sure that the folks who wrote and compiled the various "holy books" weren't either.  If we have a Creator, and I'm certain we do, It knows damn good and well that we aren't even remotely qualified to make such judgements.

Now, there are things I don't like, things I don't condone, and things I downright refuse to participate in.  Are those things sins?  I have no idea.  I didn't make this world.  For all I know, everything's exactly as it should be.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 03:49 | 4310762 Simplifiedfrisbee
Simplifiedfrisbee's picture

The conscious is qualified. Every human being inherently knows good from bad. Do not complicate these matters. Rather, they are meant to be simplified.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:48 | 4310976 acetinker
acetinker's picture

You know your perceptions, that is all.  Same is true for each of us.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:40 | 4311104 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Sin is knowing the difference between good and evil, yet choosing to do evil.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:33 | 4310348 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

The avoidance of sin for one person, is the general rule of right living for you.

Where do your definitions of moral, ethical and lawful behaviour come from? If you say yourself, you're giving yourself too much credit.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:04 | 4310450 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

I define morals as a biological-cultural adaption that promotes the survival of the group in which they developed.

The hunter-gatherer morality, the pharaonic morality, and the freedom morality do not benefit the survivability of each other.

So, the rational thing to do is to separate them so that each does not have authority over the others.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:23 | 4309807 Soul Glow
Soul Glow's picture

I find her fiction as poor as you do, but I do like watching her in interviews.  She does have great ideas, however poorly developed they are in her fiction.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:27 | 4309818 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

I'm not sure anybody enjoys watching her, as she was ugly as sin, but I agree, she spoke better than she wrote.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:34 | 4309842 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

Are you dissing Yellen, Hillary, or Madame Halfbright?

The USA loves butt ugly women, they're the salt of America.

TPTB loves putting ugly women in positions of FAUX power, so that nobody actually thinks about their policy.


What the hell does her look have to do with her ideas?

Me thinks the GOVERNMENT ASSHOLES that infest ZH, don't want anybody to discuss her ideas.

It's all about her ideas folks anything else is cheap trolling from PRO-USA bot's.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:51 | 4309861 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

What the hell does her look have to do with her ideas?

They're both really bad. did you read the book? I suffered through the whole thing and it's her philosophy.  Virtue of selfishness is more tolerable, but not much. Ugly was just on topic.

GOVERNMENT ASSHOLES that infest ZH, don't want anybody to discuss her ideas.

Oh shit.  You discovered my secret plan.  I spent years and years on ZH just waiting for this thread to tell you how bad this woman's book is. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:58 | 4309897 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

My secret plan is to discuss how bad her ideas are every day.  And people think I'm crazy to think that a large number of individuals in power think she's all that.  Welcome to the middle class getting fucked by CEO's and telling us all it's a good thing.  Rand created a blueprint for oligarchs taking over the world and minions who "rational[ize]" that behavior as somehow positive for us all.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:11 | 4309933 putaipan
putaipan's picture

i'm just constnatly amazed by the ability of these assholes to conflate neoliberal chicago school of economic swindlerisms with freedom and capitalism. and i blame ayn rand for that.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:17 | 4309944 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Did you actually read her stuff?

It doesn't sound like it.

Why on Earth would someone who hates a philosopher so much take her name as part of his nom de plume here?

What the hell is wrong with you, LTER?

How much is wrong with you?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:17 | 4309952 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Why is everyone's response to criticism of Rand to ask if I've read it?  Oh right.   Think about that.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:24 | 4309970 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Because it doesn't sound like you have?

Or else you have, but your ability to express yourself greatly exceeds your understanding?

I think I'll go with #2.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:36 | 4310001 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Do you feel that Greenspan did not understand what he co-wrote with her, or is it a more plausible explanation that I am right and you are wrong about what she looks like in practice?  If you reject the latter, on what basis?  Because he didn't "do what he said?"  Where have I heard that before?  A philosophy that falls apart when put into practice is not worth following. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:44 | 4310023 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

See below -- I think.

I actually think that guy was Francisco d'Anconia.

You know -- she didn't make anything up.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:48 | 4310026 akak
akak's picture

Greenspan NEVER claimed to be following Ayn Rand's philosophy or principles when he entered the belly of the Fed beast --- in fact, he shied away from and all but disavowed his prior connections with her, and with them.  This is the one fact that you consistently refuse to acknowledge in your kneejerk, irrational hatred of Ayn Rand and her works (none of which, I am convinced, you have ever read in any event).

Greenspan was a hypocrite and a sociopath for selling his soul, but not an Objectivist in doing so.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:54 | 4310060 Spanky
Spanky's picture



Greenspan NEVER claimed to be following Ayn Rand's philosophy or principles when he entered the belly of the Fed beast... -- akak

Yes, he did... in one of his recent books, published just after he stepped down as Fed chairman.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:57 | 4310070 akak
akak's picture

I challenge you to find any such quote.

And even if you can, it would represent nothing but a bald-faced lie anyway.

Millions of Crusaders and other Christians have over the centuries slaughtered and killed tens of millions while claiming to do so in Christ's name --- did that make them good and honest Christians, and were they thereby automatically following Christ's Biblical teachings merely because they claimed to be doing so?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:15 | 4310123 Spanky
Spanky's picture

Millions of crusaders, including our modern ones, killed in Christ's name... What do you think his followers believe? Love thy neighbor? And yes, they were (and are) considered good and honest Christians. The real test of a philosophical, religious or ideological system lies not, necessarily, in the words of the prophet, but the acts of his followers.

And even if you can, it would represent nothing but a bald-faced lie anyway. -- akak

I find your ability to automatically dismiss any quote I might dig up interesting... Emotionally invested in your adopted ideology? 

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:17 | 4311212 gaoptimize
gaoptimize's picture

Given the situation of Christians in the ME today, I'm inclined to answer "Yes, they were".  It was likely the same struggle back then, without the PC, butt kissing leadership we have now.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 01:54 | 4310674 fazsha
fazsha's picture

Here you go, buddy:

"Ayn Rand and I remained close until she died in 1982, and I'm grateful for the influence she had on my life. I was intellectually limited until I met her. All of my work had been empirical and numbers-based, never values-oriented. I was a talented technician, but that was all. My logical positivism had discounted history and literature -- if you'd asked me whether Chaucer was worth reading, I'd have said, "Don't bother." Rand persuaded me to look at human beings, their values, how they work, what they do and why they do it, and how they think and why they think. This broadened my horizons far beyond the models of economics I'd learned. I began to study how societies form and how cultures behave, and to realize that economics and forecasting depend on such knowledge -- different cultures grow and create material wealth in profoundly different ways. All of this started for me with Ayn Rand. She introduced me to a vast realm from which I'd shut myself off."

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 03:11 | 4310746 Serenity Now
Serenity Now's picture

Good job.  I remember this crap from Greenspan's book that I read a few years ago.  He should have stayed a musician, his first semi-career.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:01 | 4310900 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

Good quote, thanks.

So, he says his association with Rand caused him to "look at human beings, their values, how they work", and so on.  That makes her one of his influences; but that's a very different thing than saying that he necessarily arrived at the same conclusions that she did, or that his subsequent actions at the Fed were based on her philosophy and beliefs.

Based on her consistently scathing criticism of governmental meddling in the economy, I suspect she would have been very unimpressed, to put it mildly, by the "Greenspan put" and by gov't bailouts of banks and others (AIG).  Haven't been able to find any quotes from Rand herself about Greenspan (not surprising, since he wasn't appointed Fed Chairman until five years after her death), but other Objectivists such as Binswanger have been highly critical.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:34 | 4310173 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Co-option is not new, Rand.  Greenspan used Rand as long as it was beneficial to him.  Once he got what he wanted, he abandoned her and her philosophy.  Politics 101.

I am flummoxed by your (and your fanbois') castigation of Ayn Rand.  It seems as if your "education" prevents you from recognizing cold, hard facts.  Forgive me if I am wrong, but you sound like a recent graduate of a lesser liberal arts college.  Note that I do not ask for your forgiveness- you don't much matter to me.  However, if you are middle aged, or technically minded at all, I have missed those nuances and ask the forgiveness of the larger community.

So, Christensen pisses you off 'cos he's a banker?  I generally hold bankers in low esteem, but when one speaks truth, it makes me happy.  Likewise, John Galt was wrong for correctly identifying the flaws in Marxism and acting in his own best interest?  Dagny Taggart is to be reviled for inheriting a huge railroad and trying (in vain, I might add) to actually provide value to society?  Rearden was one of the "bad guys"?

It follows then that Wesley Mouch was a champion of the people, huh?

Jeezus!  Has Richard Branson announced plans to colonize Mars yet?  I'll work for free.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:51 | 4310215 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Again, with the Rand/Greedspank, guilt by association horseshit. This is simply hasty generalization fallacy. Now cut it out. Work on a better argument.

A philosophy that falls apart when put into practice is not worth following.

Exactly, where and when was it practiced? Evidence please?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:54 | 4310058 malek
malek's picture

She (LTER) doesn't have read it, at least not attentively.

I a few times sprinkled in less known references to Atlas Shrugged in postings replying to her and LTER completely ignored them. Case closed.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:45 | 4310192 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

She doesn't have read it, doesn't I have?  And your idea of an ad hominem is to call me a female while you spout obscure Randisms that you have committed to memory?  Truly pathetic.  I mean, seriously pathetic.   But indicative of your belief system and those who upvote you.  Let me quote chapter __ of book ______.  Sound familiar?  That cunt is a fucking religion to you people.  How do you not realize how fucked up that is?

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:50 | 4310578 malek
malek's picture

LOL, being called a female is now an ad hominem? I've read better from you.

How other people go overboard about it doesn't change shit on my view of the book, thank you.
I wrote a quick summary which aspects I dislike of "Atlas Shrugged" in a post here 2 or 3 weeks ago, look through my postings if you like. Unfortunately you were never able to present a coherent critique in that way.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:20 | 4310134 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

Because you have NO fucking idea why you hate her, like Pavlovs dog you salivate at her name but don't have a clue why.


I remember the same thing in the 1980's I used to go to a bar that Ron Paul guys hung out, I have nothing against anybody, but as soon as the resident house 'liberals' heard that the group over in the corner was RON-PAUL, they would yell "NAZI" at the top of their lungs?

I was thinking for what? Ron Paul walked and talked more about 'liberal' values than any of these liberals, ... for years I keep on them tell me why do you hate paul, and finally one dark night over a beer a cute little gal whispered into my hear, ... she said "We hate Ron Paul, because he is a Repuglican"

There you have it not a fucking thing about ideas, all about PAVLOVIAN political responses.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:21 | 4310303 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Funny, because I wrote in RP.  Once again, you are wrong.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:43 | 4310386 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Naw, it ain't funny at all.  You wrote in Ron Paul 'cos you DIDN'T know what you wanted.  Rand, you are a lost ball in the tall weeds.  Good luck!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:55 | 4310424 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Thanks for the brilliant response.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:06 | 4310460 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Look up.  You have had many brilliant responses from folks much more enlightened than me.  Still, you cling to your indoctrination.  Go forward, Rand.  Just know that you will henceforth do so without my support.  Godspeed!

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:04 | 4310453 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

It would appear LTER that you are mentally challenged by Rands genius. She pulled covers on liberals, conservatives and the clergy like no other. She was truly brilliant. She understood Statism, as it's residual effect always ends in dictatorship and destruction.


Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:52 | 4311141 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

LTER believes that highways cannot be built without the benevolent guidance of the State.

In other words, people are too stupid to do anything without the help of Big Brother.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:19 | 4309959 Soul Glow
Soul Glow's picture

Greenspan can say he studied the Randian school, but I'm not sure he implemented it, as he fudged with gold as much as anyone.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:44 | 4310018 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

I think he can actually say "I studied under Ayn Rand."

Those must have been some interesting parties.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:49 | 4310038 Spanky
Spanky's picture

Isn't Alan Greenspan a big buddy of Ayn? He certainly brags about his close and intimate relationship with her often enough... And credits her for his philosophical point of view.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:08 | 4310078 akak
akak's picture

"Guilty by association" is as intellectually and morally bankrupt a concept as statism.

Anyone bringing up Greenspan's past association with Ayn Rand as a condemnation of HER is a fool and a hypocrite.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:24 | 4310144 Spanky
Spanky's picture

I'm not condeming anyone. Just noting that a devoted acolyte ran the Fed... Actions speak louder than words.

Again, why the emotional defense of a simple ideology?

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:06 | 4310194 Spanky
Spanky's picture

Let's test your "guilt by association" in Greenspan's own words:

Ayn Rand became a stabilizing force in my life. It hadn't taken long for us to have a meeting of the minds -- mostly my mind meeting hers...

Rand's Collective became my first social circle outside the university and economics profession. I engaged in all-night debates and wrote spirited commentary for her newsletter with the fervor of a young acolyte drawn to a whole new set of ideas. ...

Ayn Rand and I remained close until she died in 1982, and I'm grateful for the influence she had on my life. I was intellectually limited until I met her. All my work had been empirical and numbers based, never values-oriented. ... Rand persuaded me to look at human beings, their values, how they work, what they do and why they do it, and how they think and why they think. This broadened my horizons far beyond the models of economics I'd learned. I began to study how societies form and how cultures behave, and to realize that economics and forecasting depend upon such knowledge... All of this started for me with Ayn Rand. 

Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence, pp. 51-53

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:07 | 4310905 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

As I wrote above, that's a long way from saying that he reached the same conclusions as Rand, or that his work at the Fed was in any way an implementation of Rand's ideas.  I expect she'd have disagreed most strongly with the latter.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:44 | 4310966 Spanky
Spanky's picture

Perhaps, but it is interesting to note that Ayn accepted payments (SS, Medicare) from the government, even though she decried the same for others. 

Moreover, an argument could be made that Greenspan saw himself as "helping" the Galts of the world with his monetary policy. That view might not sit well with this crowd, but if you define the "titans" of industry and finance as "Galts", it then makes perfect sense... And I've noticed a real affinity for Ayn at the top of the heap, among those whom consider themselves "self-made" and "masters of the universe". They also seem to have a taste for government subsidies, while decrying the same for others...

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 11:14 | 4311428 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

That's just hypocrisy, plain and simple.

Some of these "titans" may think of themselves as "Galts", but if they were to re-read Atlas Shrugged they'd find plenty of anti-heroes whose views much more nearly resemble their own.

It's surprising to learn that Rand accepted money from gov't programs such as SS and Medicare.  I suppose she'd have argued that this is money that's been wrongly taken from you by force over the course of your working life, and that recovering at least a part of it is therefore justifiable.  Presumably you'd want to make sure never to draw more than the total amount taken from your wages, plus interest.

(Personally, I'm hoping to retire solely on my own means, and to donate any and all SS-equivalent payments to pro-freedom groups such as the EFF, Liberty UK, etc.)

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 17:26 | 4312922 A is A
A is A's picture

Exactly. Besides, if getting back what was stolen from you, i.e., what you paid into SS, is hypocritical and antithetical to the beliefs of capitalism, what do you call the only alternative, not taking it and voluntarily leaving it in the hands of the very state you denounce??? The people who use these arguments expose themselves for the intellectually bankrupt human beings that they really are. Period.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 22:14 | 4313902 Spanky
Spanky's picture

We agree that accepting those payments, while simulatenously denoucing same, is hypocrisy. But the real question here is what is the effect of Rand's ideas -- to whom was she writing? You and I and the many millions of average Joes? Or the strong, rich "self-made man" whom feels put upon by an injust world?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ayn's contempt for the millions of average Joes is quite telling. Her logic justifies the strong taking from the weak, if the strong man ought not be constrained by the mores and values (not to mention laws) of society.

Turning to circumstances -- political, economic and financial -- we now face; does not this now appear to be the case? Is Jamie Dimon using his position to benefit himself without regard to the rest of us? Have he and other "titans" used their power to satisfy themselves at our expense? Isn't this exactly what you and I are complaining about in this forum? Isn't this exactly what Ayn advocated, that the strong ought be free of the shackles of society and rule of law?

You minimize the obviously significant contributions Alan Greenspan made to Ayn's ideas and publications via her "Collective". Of the lasting importance her ideas had upon him (and others whom now occupy positions of high authority in both the establishment and governance). To do so ignores the basic reality of how her ideas have been put into practice, by whom, and for what purpose.

How exactly does that logic play out in Objectivist terms?

Hypocrisy indeed.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 08:22 | 4314753 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

To whom was she writing?  To the "average Joes" at least as much as to the self-styled Nietzschean Übermenschen.

I'm not sure where in her writing you find the idea that "the strong ought be free of the shackles of society and rule of law", or that they should be free to prey on the weak.  This is not at all what she advocated.  Instead, she railed against the initiation of force; laws prohibiting this must be obeyed by everyone, no matter how powerful.  Thus, she'd support the notion of "negative rights" which can be taken away only by the threat of force: freedom of speech, freedom of association, and so on.

On the other hand, she opposed "positive rights": the supposed "right to" something, such as housing, education, health care, an iPhone, etc.  One person's need (however defined) does not somehow place an obligation on any other person to provide it; that's slavery.  Everyone, not just the strong, ought not to be constrained and shackled by laws of this sort, no matter what proportion of "society" decides they'd like to vote to give themselves a piece of someone else's work/assets/life.  Moral, civilized adult human beings should interact with each other by mutual consent, or not at all.

(As a practical matter, while laws of this sort affect a wealthy individual disproportionately, since he has more to be stolen, in the aggregate it's the squeezed middle classes who have borne the brunt of redistributionist policies.  And we're clearly not done yet, as over-indebted govt's thrash around looking for anything and everything else they can grab; witness Cyprus, for starters.)

I'm afraid I don't know much about Greenspan's place in, or contributions to, Rand's "Collective", so I'll stop now.  I just note that his essay on Gold and Economic Freedom, which appeared in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and was thus presumably endorsed by Rand, seems very much at odds with his later behaviour at the Fed...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:47 | 4310206 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Again. She addressed the process of getting fucked by CEO's with the relationship between Wesly Mouch, James Taggart, and Oren Boyle.

I suggest you re-read, and digest it.

The leap she couldn't seem to make was the notion that government, and free enterprise can peacefully coexist.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:56 | 4311152 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"Government is NOT reason, it is NOT eloquence, it is FORCE!" -- George Washington

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:42 | 4310377 Emergency Ward
Emergency Ward's picture

Gee, I thought it was clear that near the top of her "Most Despised" list were crony-capitalist oligarchs and conservative-Republican types.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:58 | 4311160 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Progressive-Socialist Decepticrats were also probably on that list.

Both political parties have abused the levers of power once they got their hands on them!

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 07:05 | 4310850 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

LTER, you are usually quite rational, but the ways in which Rand's ideas are misused, misapplied and miscontrued by the greedy, the ignorant, the weak, and the evil, have no relation to the basic intellectual merit of her ideas. Most philosophies are misapplied in these ways, which explains the disaster that is generally organized religion. Rand was trying to speak principally about courage, and how natural ability may ultimately triumph over the usual monied interests and power.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 07:34 | 4310862 eclectic syncretist
eclectic syncretist's picture

while she was brilliant and insightful well ahead of her time, in her utopian society alternative the people of true ability would come off as assholes to everyone else.   Fix that and it's all good.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:00 | 4311163 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Well yeah, every child ends up hating their parents for not giving in to their every whim/desire!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:15 | 4310120 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

Think about "JANET RENO" murdering Branch Davidian Children incinerating them in their own home, Would CHENEY have gotten away with this? FUCK NO

Put an UGLY WOMEN on a pedestal and you can get away with MURDER.

Thats why I'm telling you PEOPLE once you get PREZ-HILLARY, and YELLEN running the FED, the streets of America will run with blood, and everyone will say "The victims had it coming"


Everytime I see an UGLY woman in Political Power in the USSA I know that someone is going to die, and soon. With YELLEN&HILLARY&FEINSTEIN&PELOSI the streets of America will run with blood, not seen since the USA civil war.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:05 | 4310444 Crawdaddy
Crawdaddy's picture

Ugly women (sometimes internally ugly, often externally) only get away with it because our values are corrupted by efforts laid down earlier. Our culture is under attack through the schools, media, churches, et al. My old man would never trust any politician, much less an old ugly broad spouting colectiveist nnsense. Eventually because of PC-think people shy away from true judgment. Fast forward to today and now I have to work to explain things to my kids.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:40 | 4309847 NIHILIST CIPHER

BK and Soul Glow       In the 70's I read "The New Left: The AntiIndustrial Revolution" and I knew she was THE messenger. TPTB always tell you of their intentions ahead of time, even if it is 40 or 50 years. I think people who lash out at Rand saying her books are weak really don't look at them in the right way. If you get a chance read The New Left, her lectures were generally based on that book.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:53 | 4309874 Soul Glow
Soul Glow's picture

I've always thought the Messenger was Aldous Huxley, and for the same reason I suppose you think Rand was too.  Huxley's Brave New World is trite and over simplistic, I never found the characters to be interesting, and the plot builds like a lump of mash potatoes.

I know that the characters are suppossed to be on sedatives but there needs to be room for some emotional connectivity between them.  It seems like Huxley actually believed people would enjoy living in such a boring lifestyle.

He of course did a bunch of acid and shrooms in the 60's, as he should, because he believed the elite class should be able to do drugs, whereas the poor should not because they would never understand the enlightening experience.

He was probably an asshole, his grandfather sure was.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:13 | 4309943 NIHILIST CIPHER

Soul Glow   I have read "Brave New World" many times and read Huxley just as I do Rand , they are harbangers giving you a look into your future. I also read for enttertainment (ZH) but you are missing the boat if you read these authors looking for entertainment. Kubrick's films are sooo much more than just the storyline, he builds in a window to see many things if you know how to see them, just as Huxley and Rand do with the written word.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:23 | 4309969 Soul Glow
Soul Glow's picture

Kubrick was an artist, the other two are not.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:20 | 4309947 akak
akak's picture

You may laugh at me for making the comparison, but if you can, go find and read a copy of the book "This Perfect Day" by Ira Levin (yes, the author of "Rosemary's Baby").  It is a largely unrecognized classic, as good in its own way and as hauntingly prophetic as "1984" and "Brave New World", yet even a child could easily read it, as well as grasp the essential message.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:29 | 4309985 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

1984 was a warning,

brave new world, is a temlate, a projection to show you the real future,

HUXLEY is/was part of the system to enslave you,

Today we live in Huxley's world, the USA is the Brave New World.

Huxley was just telling you about how the future would be.

Orwell was depressed about where he saw things going.

Huxley was proud where he was taking you.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:18 | 4309955 Dinero D. Profit
Dinero D. Profit's picture

I thought the Messenger was Ginsberg... HOWL

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:18 | 4309956 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

Huxley's Brave New World is trite and over simplistic

That's why you read it in high school.  Most philosophers are hacks at novels anyway, not just Huxley or Rand but Nietzche also,  Zarathurstra is a painful read, even though I'm a big fan of his other work.  Like actors in bands I guess.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:26 | 4309979 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

Funy that you mention, I remember the schools wanted you to read 1984, and brave-new-world, but they didn't want you to read Ayn Rand.

I agree 1984  was an easy read, but Orwell was a genius,

Anybody here read his 'down and out in Paris', about the restarurant biz i the 1920's?? Great fucking book.

Like I said, Ayn Rand is up there with Kunstler, .. BORING, ORWELL was fucking great, 'Brave New World" huxley was boring, but I thnk most like the system wants to feed you HUXLEY as he was an insider.

But ORWELL hated the GOVERNMENT just like Ayn Rand.


All these arguments fall back to one thing ... DO you hate or love the fucking government?

If you love the government, then you are an asshole. If you work for the government you are a bigger asshole.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:38 | 4309999 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

Agreed on all points.  Odd how revolutionary books became standardized in schools, kind of an homage to the old american spirit.


I hate the fucking government but it needs to be there, for the others.  Never worked a gov job in my life, self employed since 23.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:25 | 4310322 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

NO it doesn't need to be there,


The USA consitution says "THE PEOPLE have at all times the right to abolish their government"


Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:41 | 4310556 lewy14
lewy14's picture

I hate the fucking government but it needs to be there, for the others.

Aaaand it's right there that you declare yourself to be hostis humani generis.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:47 | 4309871 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

She would have benefitted greatly from an honest and direct editor. 

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 02:48 | 4310723 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

Rand's novels are written as philosophical treatments. It's not the ideas which are developed poorly in these books, it's the characters. So yes, they are poor as novels. As works of philosophical discourse, however, they are quite brilliant.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:28 | 4309823 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

When I was a kid I found the books unbearably boring.

When I got older and considered the situational insanity I became awed by the foresight.


My god how right on, as a business owner I saw it all too many times FED coming in and stealing everything and anything and if they did leave you with anything, they taxed the hell out of it.

The real question is why do statist apologists for the 'FREE SHIT ARMY
" HATE what Ayn Rand had to say about all criminal governments?

Like the characters in "ATLAS SHRUGGED", none of them could have a real job,  create, start a biz, all they could do is brown-nose and talk shit, and work to rob another man of his biz,

Eventually entrepreneurs say FUCK-IT and do  a "GALT", .e.g. bail to some place over the rainbow


How could anybody any entrepreneur NOT love this story?

If you don't love this story, then it means you are a FREE-SHIT-ARMY brown nosing fuck-head.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:31 | 4309833 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

If you don't love this story, then it means you are a FREE-SHIT-ARMY

Ayn Rand is the hero of failed businessmen everywhere, the universal scapegoat for people too stupid to succeed. "I'd a been fine if it wasn't for the gubmint"  Right.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:56 | 4309893 GovernmentMule
GovernmentMule's picture

Perhaps you should personally send a very large check to the "gubmint" over and above your tax liability. That way you will feel so much better about yourself and your participation in an unjust system.

Yes, that will certainly help the poor downtrodden, oppressed victims of capitalism, and help sustain the citizen soldiers of the FREE-SHIT-ARMY...

They are waiting...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:00 | 4309904 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

You see, that's the problem.  I for one think Rand is a shill for oligarchs, but I also want to shrink government.  It is not a binary equation, though Rand followers tend to view the world in that light.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:21 | 4309957 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

I like her ideas,

But at the end of the day, she is NOT unlike KUNSTLER yesterday, kunstler is a prolific writer of FICTION, and most of it is boring,

Kunstler is fixated on peak-oil since the 1970's,...

Ayn Rand was fixated on collectivist government, ... she is fucking right, and unless you have had a business  you wouldn't know.

The problem here is when folks talk about 'failed biz', they have no fucking idea as an employer how many taxes, and fee's and fines, there are to pay, ... and agencys, and 1,000's of branches of gubmint out to fuck you, anybody that has a business knows this and eventually unless they go insane, or Bankrupt, they do a GALT, and run with their life.


I say again the only people who can oppose RAND are people who are wage-slaves.

WRT to GREENSPAN, he might have read the bible too, does that make the baby-jeebuz bad?

Greenspan never held a real job in his life, he was brown-nosing asshole that sucked the tit of government his whole fucking life, in no way does he represent Ayn Rand and her love of entrepreneurs.


All this is about one thing, race horses or entrepreneurs to today its 'bankers', the poor, the weak and the stupid, and those with nothing sitting at keyboards are JEALOUS of men who have made something of theyselves, the MORONS collude with the government to destroy good men,

That's ok, us good men do a GALT and get the fuck out of the USA,

Eventually the USA grinds to a halt cuz all the inventors bail, and   its already started long ago, ... that's why all the manufacturing is gone, ... why bother making REARDON STEEl in the USA for what?

[ Reardon Steel was a fictional company in her book, where an inventor came up with the ultimate metal, light, strong, and rust-free, and everybody in GOVERNMENT wanted to steal it from him. ]




Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:55 | 4310230 gwar5
gwar5's picture

That's what cracks me up about your avatar, you know absolutely jack. You certainly can't speak for people who have actually read Rand. If only out of self respect please just read some Cliff Notes, or something.


The antagonists (bad guys) in her books are the crony capitalists and amoral oligarchs who keep down the little guys (protagonists) with corruption and mindless Byzantine bureaucracy -- even when the little guy in Atlas had a free energy machine to offer the world. 

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:10 | 4311191 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

A cannot be A AND not A at the same time!  Sorry, but reason is definitely binary:  True and False are absolutes.  Knowing which is which however, especially with faulty Human brainz leads to all the gray areas in-between.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:08 | 4309924 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture


I pay 40%.  Every April, like a damn fool.  Doesn't mean I agree with Rand.  That last post was a bit callous, but the attention and glory her books get is baffling when you actually read her work, not just Francisco's speech.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:20 | 4309963 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

I actually read a few of her books.  Atlas Shrugged, the Fountainhead, and Anthem.

The attention she has received is not a bit baffling to me.

Less so with every month.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:27 | 4309978 akak
akak's picture

I am one of the rare ones for whom "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" was the introduction to the writings of Ayn Rand.

And yes, in did include the famous essay on gold by Alan Greenspan.  How a man could write THAT and then go and do what he subsequently did ... well, let's just say that it defines the very essence of hypocrisy, at least, if not sociopathy itself.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:35 | 4310000 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Can you think of anyone who did more to destroy the system that Ayn Rand and (young) Alan Greenspan hated?

When it all comes apart, if there are survivors to write histories, don't you think they will point at him first as the man who sent it off the rails?

What better way to take it all apart could you find, beyond giving them what hey want, and plenty of it?

Who is Francisco d'Anconia?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:54 | 4310059 akak
akak's picture

I really don't and can't believe that Greenspan's selling-out to the central bankster establishment was part of some pre-planned, multi-decade subversive if heroic plot to bring down the Fed and kill the US dollar/fiat currency stranglehold on the world.  There would have been and are FAR too many variables, risks and unknowns in such a scheme, and aside from that, does the global impoverishment, corruption and concentration of power in the hands of a sociopathic elite thereby enabled possibly justify such a hypothetical scheme?  Would YOU have been willing to take it on, or would you have not tried to take a stand of honor and fight the system directly instead, as Greenspan initially did when he wrote his pro-gold essay?

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:15 | 4311206 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Touché!  Only time will tell if your thesis is correct.

[EDIT]All right, how did my comment end up here?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:28 | 4309981 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

Her philosophy is basically a drunken Adam Smith.   The concept that we can divide the world's population into producers or moochers really takes a shallow mind to entertain.  There are plenty of better arguments for individuatlistic vs collective societies, consider the success of capitalist democracies, the concepts of natural selection, the Nash Equilibrium, etc...  There are a lot of good arguments, hers is just second rate.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:38 | 4310006 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Well damn, I guess I must be shallow then.

Arguments that require ad hominem attacks and name-dropping are the mark of a really first rate thinker.

Congratulations on your brilliance.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:44 | 4310019 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

Oh come on. You're acting like an elitist asshole with your posts. Great... You're well read and hate Rand, congrats nobody fucking cares.

Atlas Shrugged was an incredible novel. It's had an immense impact on my life & for that I'm grateful she took ten years to write it. Is it a perfect book? No... But all books are what you make of the,.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:15 | 4310121 Bazza McKenzie
Bazza McKenzie's picture

Wow, the "Nash Equilibrium".  Anyone who throws off terms like that, with no substantive argument, tells you they're in love with their own imagined brilliance.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:28 | 4310161 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

Well I kinda figured everyone saw Beautiful Mind so i threw it in there.  and to be elitist.  I'm wearing my elitist hat, staring down my nose at you.  lookit you down there.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:35 | 4310176 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Her philosophy is that it is objectively immoral for people like you to mug people like Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, John F. Nash, Henry Ford, and the guy down the street just trying to run a mom and pop pizza parlor. 




Wed, 01/08/2014 - 07:16 | 4310853 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

The Nash relations are matters of demonstrable mathematical truth in the field of game theory. They have applications also to business and negotiation, but are unrelated to the topics of your post, and wholly irrelevant to collectivism.

Did you read Rand and Nash?


Rand said that the world, whether we like it or not, IS divided into sources of wealth and creation, on the one hand, and those who merely benefit from this creativity, on the other. The perversion of the modern world is that we are told the primary indicator of the creative source class is money itself. This is the kind of absurdity that suggests there are no idiots and incompetents among the rich. We are told that Ronan Farrow got into Yale Law as a teen because he is a genius, and expected to ignore that his parents are famous and worth $400 million. That's the problem, not Rand.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:31 | 4309989 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Oh crap, I forgot We the Living.

You know, in some way I think that one may have been best.  She was thirty years old and writing her heart out.

That one -- it makes me hope with all my hope that Americans will never submit the way the Russians did.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 18:12 | 4313118 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Guilt by association is another kind of meaningless argument.

Learn to think.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:18 | 4310129 gwar5
gwar5's picture

You're baffled

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:29 | 4310153 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

that must be a new word for it.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:59 | 4309903 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

If you are correct, her popularity should be growing give increasing number of failed businessmen. And I'm sure you are right in that our government policies have nothing to do with it. I mean afterall there is no excuse for failure, just like all those black people who were complaining about racism holding them back with Jim Crow laws. Right, dumbass. The economy is going down the shitter because we are all just a bunch of whiners.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:47 | 4310022 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

Right, dumbass. The economy is going down the shitter because we are all just a bunch of whiners.

No, it's because we listened to Rand loving ideologues who said everything would be fine if we just deregulated the whole system and it fucking crashed, remember? Dumbass?  Yes, lets let wall street run wild, let's all be Gordon Gekko, greed is good.  Until it's not.  Until the whole system crashes and we fucking broke it for being greedy.  We threw away superpower status.  For nothing, for the Hamptons.  For Big Business. Let's do that again, lead the way sir.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:49 | 4310037 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

You missed it.

When you read a work, you can't criticize it effectively until you love it.

Then you can hate it, if you still feel that way, and then your hate will mean something.

I believe the Martian word is grok.


Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:02 | 4310321 Spanky
Spanky's picture

Speaking from experience; you'll never objectively criticize something (or someone) you love (or hate). To be objectivist means literally removing all your emotional bias (of which love and hate are simply the most extreme examples) and rationally ordering and ranking facts by relevance and importance such than a pattern emerges from the chaos and an objective decision can be reached.

Objectivity? In ideology? By humans? It'll never happen. It's an ideal, like anarchy or "pure" capitalism, neither of which exist in the real, objective, world.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 18:13 | 4313126 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

It will happen.

In my time, it has already happened.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 22:19 | 4313959 Spanky
Spanky's picture

I wouldn't hold my breath...

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 02:01 | 4310682 The Wisp
The Wisp's picture

Up Arrow for Grok... :)

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:56 | 4310065 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

Clearly you haven't read any of her work because that is not what she wrote about..... At all!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:16 | 4310082 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

@Mick  When you read a work, you can't criticize it effectively until you love it.

That's deep... or retarded... or a little too brilliant and elitist for me to understand.

@Charles "you're acting like an elitist asshole"

are you new here?  I am an asshole, but being well read doesn't make you elitist.  I like to read.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:16 | 4310127 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Spiderman thanks you.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:27 | 4310158 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

Yeah, I like to read as well. I'm just not one of those assholes that has to tell everyone.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:37 | 4310183 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

what kind of asshole are you?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:24 | 4310140 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

No one suggests we should have no laws. You surely do not believe that we need more given the economic burden the legal system imposes on us already. There are countless laws and regulations, most all of which require substantial legal interpretation to even begin to fathom. We do not lack regulation, we lack accountability and transparency that this government, regardless of ideology, is incapable of providing. We saw the SEC fail to recognize huge corruption and illegal actions and still does, with no accountabiity, prosecutions or even firings. We see this in every branch, division and honeyhole of government, and they are all enabling criminality in the private sector. And you want more regulation. Sure, lets just pass more meaningless laws that will be circumvented to benefit favored groups and individuals, if not directly written into law. Have you not seen the effects of our most recent "laws". Can you say "Obamacare". Is that enough regulation for you.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:59 | 4310239 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

No one suggests we should have no laws

Ok, so we're not ideologues.  It's a matter of where between lawless and nanny-state we are.  Obamacare sucks because it involves insurance companies. Health insurance is extortion.  If the doctors and hospitals were billed by the government directly we wouldn't need the bloodsucking insurance industry.  It would just be doctors and patients, you go see your local doctor and he bills it.  

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:54 | 4310407 Spanky
Spanky's picture

I've argued for single payer healthcare and publicly-owned utilities (as geographic monopolies, I esp. favor co-ops) for a long time (but not here, on ZH as yet).

And I'll agree with Oldwood about many (if not most) regulations being un-necessarily complex and costly to comply with for small and medium sized businesses as a result of regulatory capture by the big boys who want it all (corruption). In fact, as regulations were "eased" on Wall Street to allow what we daily discuss, rampant criminality, regulations increased in every other sector and became far more costly, esp. to small businesses...

Our government problem is a corruption problem. But I've noticed a marked reluctance to discuss the "nuts and bolts" of just how this corruption operates at an organizational and instutitional level, except for the most basic and simplistic criticisms of the FED, Presidency, Congress, Courts and .gov generally. All fine and good, and true, but not terribly useful for targetting purposes.

The "establishment" that stands behind this corruption is our actual target.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:22 | 4311239 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals.  Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.  One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:28 | 4310935 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Again, another rationalization that central planning is good and only requires more "efficiency". The problem is that centralized power inevitably leads to corruption. You cannot separate the two. And surely you jest that the problem with Obamacare is private insurance. The whole concept that you can buy insurance for less than the actual healthare costs demonstrates its fallacy. Insurance is a wealth redistribution scheme from healthy to sick and young to old. Those pushing for insurance are wanting something for nothing, just like everyone sucking from the teet of government, always relying on someone else to pay.Tax the rich, tax the young, tax the healthy...they don't deserve what they have. Socialize health like everything else, spreading the wealth around. Its always so easy to rationalize why you deserve what others have. Obamacare takes this whole theme to a whole new level and then doubles down with absolute corruption and ineptitude.....and you want more, single payer government monopolly to make sure there will be no accountability, no hope of ever fixing anything until it collapses from its own weight.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:50 | 4311218 Spanky
Spanky's picture


For... sarcasm.

Tax the rich... they don't deserve what they have. -- Oldwood

Certainly -- they have an outsized voice in our governance, and are corrupting that governance for their benefit. Certainly tax them more if this be the case. You bitch and complain about the .1%'s greedy and corrupt behavior as much as the rest of us. Or do you prefer to pay more tax yourself to fund their corruption and schemes?

Wasn't taxation without representation a battle cry once? The elite's twin-party politicans certainly do not represent me, based on the "laws" I see being passed.

But I understand your other meaning as well: The power to tax is the power to destroy. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:15 | 4310122 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Tell that to the Keystone Pipeline. On a losing streak, keep it up. 

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 02:53 | 4310737 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

But there are failed businessmen everywhere. Even the ones appearing to succeed are usually on life-support, corporate welfare, crony pork, or are outright frauds. Is your idiotic position therefore that all these failed business people are stupid?

Rand wrote poorly if one views her books as novels, but that is the only valid and legitimate criticism of any significance.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:29 | 4309987 therevolutionwas
therevolutionwas's picture

spot on with that one.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:46 | 4309868 Dr. Destructo
Dr. Destructo's picture

I agree with you. Her view on humanity was callous at best, sociopathic at worst. Look at the way Eddie Lampert runs Sears -the company culture is cutthroat and he believed that was a 'rational' way to boost profits; which you can see how well that did for Sears' performance. The man is good with numbers no doubt about it (The man became a billionaire at a relatively young age), but when it comes to the human aspect he's completely off-base.

Ayn Rand may have some good points, but goddamn so much about her was cold, absolute zero cold.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:09 | 4309927 akak
akak's picture

Being a staunch intellectual supporter and advocate of freedom, even if a bit hypocritical in her later years, is not in any way being "cold".

Now, willingly being fucked by Alan Greenspan, on the other hand ...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:10 | 4309930 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

There is nothing callous about taking care of your interests. If it wasn't for all those out there busting their buts to have a better life the libs would have nothing to rob to fund their "good works". There is a problem with people who are confused as to what is a persons best interest and the full understanding that A equals A goes a long way towards clarifying that. The fact that so many are living well beyond their means demonstrates this. The fact that criminals have taken over our government does not diminish the fact that "individuals" pursuing their own best interests within the confines of clear, rational and irrefutable laws provide the greatest societal ?ealth, far superior to any redistributionist scheme can do.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:26 | 4309977 Dr. Destructo
Dr. Destructo's picture

"There is nothing callous about taking care of your interests."

I hope that I didn't give you the impression that by taking care of one's interests is callous. We all have to look out for ourselves without question. However in the "Eddie Lampert" example I presented Eddie went above and beyond looking out for his interests. His interests were taken to the point where it was hostile to the interests of his employees. A surgical and justified kick in the ass is needed every now and then, but he took the "cage fight" method to Sears which caused a great company to plunge even further into the ground.

My point was simply to recognize the interests of one's employees, and take care of them to the point where it's rational, and not parasitic.

Tyler Durden would agree.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:31 | 4309988 akak
akak's picture

It is ironic that the statists and their philosophical supporters have so successfully managed to pervert the meaning of "self-interest" to "selfishness" and sociopathy, when THEY are the true sociopaths themselves.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:46 | 4310204 Dr. Destructo
Dr. Destructo's picture

Are you suggesting that I am a philosophical supporter of the statists, or was this a general statement?

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 02:41 | 4310719 akak
akak's picture

Oh no, I wasn't trying to imply anything against you Doc.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:36 | 4310002 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

When a person's greed allows them to destroy the very source of their prosperity they have abandoned their self interests in the same way a drug addict dies of an overdose. Any paradigm can be taken to its logical extremes of self destruction. I would suggest that society as a whole is a long way from any self destruct of a Randian persuasion, compared to the ideology of Marx. I see no successful agendas from a proRand perspective.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:53 | 4310221 Dr. Destructo
Dr. Destructo's picture

I did read through the Communist Manifesto and was intrigued by his viewpoint on the bourgeoisie/proletariat relationship, but then when he got into his solution such as the abolishment of family, personal property, and so on he certainly didn't factor in human nature.

Though this discussion certainly has brought some interesting points such as the difference between self-interest and selfishness. Maybe I'll read a bit of C.S. Lewis tonight.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:10 | 4310110 malek
malek's picture

It always amazes me how people read complete coldness or even sociopathy into the successful characters of Atlas Shrugged (successful as a doer, not as talker) while completely ignoring the even bigger sociopathy of not just the politicians and "leaders" but also the majority of the novel's working class. (And she's correct with that depiction.)

I mean I do agree that successful people (the truly ones) should act as role models, but that doesn't extend to them being solely responsible for all social decay -
that's just your way of scapegoating.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:36 | 4309997 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Rand's book is written for the John Gault type reader. There is no comforting "everybody's a winner" message within it. If it speaks to you, then you've known the message long before touching the first paragraph. If it falls on deaf ear, then you might be the very kind of social parasite the novel is criticising.

Nitpicking about the style of presentation? You won't find writing more concise from a typical American who's been living and studying here all his or her life, nevermind a Russian immigrant woman who got into the country at the age of 21, back when most peope couldn't tell you the meaning of the word "emancipation".

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 07:29 | 4310858 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

Her style of presentation is the illustrated philosophical treatise. It is clear that her publisher insisted these were novels, so they could be sold as pablum for the sheeple.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:15 | 4310916 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

Agreed - but an automatic -1 for the idiotic "sheeple".  Please drop it.  It makes you look bad.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:31 | 4311266 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"'I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago,' said Dr.
Hendricks. 'Do you know the skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless,
excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill?  That was what I would not
place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity
to spout fradulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing
their wishes at the point of a gun.'  I would not let them dictate the purpose for
which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice
of patients, or the amount of my reward.  I observed that in all the discussions
that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything — except the
desires of the doctors.  Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with
no thought for those who were to provide it.  That a doctor should have any right,
desire or choice in the matter was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to
choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’  That a man who’s willing to work under
compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards never
occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the
healthy.  I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right
to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to
stifle my mind — yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an
operating table under my hands?” - Dr. Hendricks, on why he went Galt, Atlas Shrugged

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 21:45 | 4310017 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

not only an idiot. the psychopathology so endemic to the insecure fanatics who find the Nietzchean will to power so attractive leads to the positing of one's naked impulses as not only the source of trancendence but also the final arbiter of human experience. the resultant moral degeneracy is mistaken and enshrined as freedom. in Rand's case it became her infamous and notorious fascination and subsequent idolization of the forger, kidnapper and serial murderer William Hickman whose credo of "what is good for me is right" prompted the sadomasochistic uberfrau to enthuse "the best expression of a real man's psychology I have heard" Rational? Hardly.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 07:35 | 4310863 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

Rand would have said that among the mistakes of Hickman was a gross misconstruction of what was indeed good for him. Rand, as well as, say, Buddhist philosophy, has been misused by many among the weak and simple.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 22:28 | 4313986 Spanky
Spanky's picture

Apparently that is not what Rand said about him though...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 22:04 | 4310089 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Try staying within the lines of your coloring books before you attempt a long book without any pictures.


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