Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ayn Rand & Jared Lee Loughner: A Match Made in Hell

by Caleb T. Maupin

The media has focused a great deal of time on examining the motives of Jared Lee Loughner, the 22 year old who opened fire on a political rally in Tucson, Arizona. Much emphasis has been put on his listing of Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” among other books, among his favorites.

A Sinister Philosophy

However, another book stands out on the racist killers reading list. That book is “We the Living” by Ayn Rand. The fact that this book was listed says a great deal about the personality of this racist murderer, and how he views other human beings, himself, and politics.

Ayn Rand was a right-wing intellectual of the Post-WWII era. Her books all serve to preach an ideology called “objectivism.” Rand bragged that this new “philosophy” she had invented could rationalize pure free market capitalism, while no other moral code could. She may be correct.

Regardless, Rand became a household name during the time when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), along with Ronald Reagan, purged Hollywood of leftist screenwriters and actors.

Rand testified against her co-workers in the film industry, and was rewarded with book contracts and publicity.

Rand’s novels reek with capitalist worshiping sociopathy. Her novel “The Fountainhead” has a scene portraying rape as a moral act. Her most highly praised work “Atlas Shrugged” tells of the capitalists of the world going on strike in protest of “the mob” i.e. the working class, somehow persecuting them with government regulation and wealth redistribution.

Rand’s non-fiction is even more twisted in content. One of her many texts is titled “On the Virtue of Selfishness” and preaches that compassion for other human beings is a form of weakness. Another book, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” claims that the bankers and capitalists are “the most persecuted minority”, a laughable concept at best!

Rand’s writings have received a great deal of promotion in the present times, as the wealthy use them to propagate the ideas of the “Tea Party” and other ultra-rightist movements. FOX news, Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty, the John Birch Society, and countless other ideological ultra-rightist organizations view Rand as prophet, proclaiming to humanity the merits of ruthlessness, and the need to hand complete power over to the “great men” who drive the capitalist economic system.

"We The Living" vs. Real Soviet History

The particular novel that was so adored by the ruthless Arizona murderer is particularly interesting. “We The Living” is Rand’s first novel, published before she became famous. It is an ugly, deceptive attack on the heroic Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

Rand wrote the novel after moving to the United States, leaving the USSR. Her hatred of the USSR was largely based on the fact that her wealthy father was forced to share his mansion with working class people by the Bolsheviks. The injustice and persecution Rand felt at seeing workers get a share of the wealth they produce never left her.

The novel portrays the Soviet Union as a hellhole of starvation and corruption, and slanders the leaders of the Bolshevik Party as corrupt and incompetent.

At the time this novel was published in 1936, the Soviet Union was an economic powerhouse. The Communist Party’s five years plans had brought with them full employment, free education for all, and quality medical care. Soviet life expectancy triple during this period.

At the same time, the rest of the world was in the grips of the “great depression.” While thousands of workers in the U.S. were unemployed and starving, the Soviet Union had a labor shortage, and hired thousands of workers from the U.S. and elsewhere to help them in a boom of socialist construction.

Mighty collective farms drove starvation into the pages of history. The first steel mills in the region pumped out tons of sturdy metal. The world’s largest hydro-electric power station, the Dniper Dam lit up the countryside. Railroads connected the far off Siberian territories, and the isolated villages of Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus to the world.

The Bolshevik regime was the first country to legalize homosexuality in modern Europe. Abortion was likewise made legal, and birth control was given on demand, without apology.

Illiteracy was abolished as members of the Young Communist League and the Young Pioneers poured into the countryside.

While capitalist countries like Germany, Spain, and Italy embraced fascism to save capitalism, and lynch mobs waged a reign of terror in the Jim Crow U.S. South, the USSR stood tall as a shining light of social equality. Women managed factories and held seats in the Soviet Government. Paul Robeson visited the USSR and proclaimed “I am at home” as the racial discrimination so common in the U.S. was non-existent.

The portrait portrayed in the piece of fiction so beloved by ruthless, racist killer Jared Lee Loughner is not consistent with reality.

The Danger of "Revolutionary" Rightism" & Fascism

The lie that the USSR and other Socialist Countries were horrid and impoverished has long been used by the ultra-right. Glenn Beck and his ilk have even tried to convince workers that the misery of unemployment, home foreclosures, and economic suffering they endure is because the U.S. is “socialist.”

Just as Hitler referred to the Weimar Republic as “Marxist” in order to discredit revolutionaries in 1930s Germany and win angry working people to a right-wing position, now the ultra-right does the same in painting Obama as a “Socialist” and a “Marxist” as he presides over bank bail-outs and massive tax cuts for the super rich.

The lies that are peddled by the ultra-right, including hitmen like young Loughner are deceptive fascist poison. The cause of the massive suffering so many feel in the present time is not immigrant workers, oppressed people, “socialism”, or the President of the United States.

The cause is the ruthless capitalist class, who lives by exploiting human labor and foments war and destruction around the world.

The only hope for working people in the U.S. is to cast off rightist lies like those peddled by the Loughners and Becks of the world, and build a revolutionary movement to bring this ugly system down, and win real justice.

Loughner and his ideological co-horts are a tragic symptom of the decline of capitalism, and the lack of true revolutionary organizations to defend workers interests.

To many young working people are unaware of Marxism-Leninism and its path to a brighter future of working class power and equality. Instead, the poison of Fox News, Ron Paul, Ayn Rand, or the Tea Party fills the void. These fascistic, ultra-rightist “movements” connect with young worker’s rage at their material conditions, but also manipulate this rage into disgusting racism, bigotry, and eventually confused depression and insanity.

What young worker’s need more than ever is a strong revolutionary movement confronting the capitalist system, and demanding jobs, education, and healthcare for all. Furthermore, they need to join with the battle to abolish capitalism, and fight for World Socialism as the capitalism dies a fiery, explosive, and destructive death.


Anonymous said...

I love how you link to North Korea's mouthpiece as a "news source." Yeah, the same government that's responsible for the deaths of millions of its own horrifically subjugated citizens.

I don't even know where to start with you.

Gregory Higley said...

I've subscribed to your blog in the "comedy" section of my RSS reader. I'd like to believe you're sincere, but most of this article represents evasion on a massive scale.

First, to call the Bolshevik Revolution "heroic" is absurd. Yes, yes, many who supported it did not understand what they were getting themselves into, and it is undeniably true that many were better off than under the Tsar. But that is not the way you intend it. You imply that it was ideologically noble. Am I wrong?

Yes, industrial output improved, so did literacy, education, and so on. Much of that was diverted directly or indirectly to the military, of course. And then there's Lavrentiy Beria and of course Stalin. I'll say no more about them, because nothing needs to be said.

Now, as for Rand, it's apparent that you are familiar with her works only in the most superficial way. You really don't understand anything about her. I've been a student of Marxism since I was barely into my teens, though I'm not an adherent of it. (I once was.) I understand it very well, especially the minutiae of its economics and the class struggle concept.

But you have made no effort to understand Objectivism or Ayn Rand. (For the record, I am a former Objectivist, and still sympathetic to much of it. I am currently a Rothbardian anarchist.) Absolutely NOTHING of what you've said about Rand's philosophy or attitudes is accurate. Nada, zero, zilch, zip. It is simply the left's (and some of the right's) regurgitated tripe.

You have no business criticizing a philosophy without a fairly intimate understanding of it. That is the essence of intellectual honesty. Not straw men. I read extensively about Marxism-Leninism and its variants and carefully consider its arguments so that I can argue effectively against (or very occasionally agree with) it. That is intellectual honesty.