Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Ayn Rand Primer
AJ Robinson

I didn’t know anything about Ayn Rand until I saw the movies based on her books. Then I was totally mystified. As a writer, I’m used to the idea of creating new worlds within which to tell a story, but her visions of America seemed beyond belief. And that’s coming from an author who dreamed up an America with a Vampire Bill of Rights!

What confused me about her world was that it was one where the government was crushing business. To an extent, I could understand her concerns; she saw her personal world destroyed by the communist takeover of Russia. So, she wanted to warn America of the potential dangers of such things, and as an author she certainly has the right to tell whatever kind of story she wants. However, what I cannot abide are people today warning that her stories are coming true; that she was somehow being prophetic, when she wrote her books. They see government takeovers around every corner, government sapping business and creativity at every junction, and government conspiracies under every rock!

Government taking over and crushing businesses with taxes and regulations: are these people delirious?

Let’s look at some facts, shall we? As of right now, government regulations are at an all-time low. Government taxes, as a share of GDP, are likewise low. American corporations are sitting on something like two trillion dollars of assets. The rich are richer than they have ever been, and they control a larger portion of the nation’s wealth than they ever have! American workers are more productive, while working at stagnant wages, than ever, and take less time off than the workers in any other industrialized country.

Where is this nightmare world of Ayn Rand?

What I find truly reprehensible are the people who, essentially, worship at the “altar” of Ayn Rand. They point to her beliefs concerning government and business, and insist that we must adhere to her views in order to save the country. And yet, they do not truly want to follow her ways. Rand believed in a very, very strict laissez-faire system. This is a belief that government must maintain a strict hands-off system when dealing with business and the economy.

If you follow that rule, that means there would be no bank bailout. The whole idea of “Too Big to Fail” would be tossed aside; let the banks go under. There would be no saving of the auto industry; just let it go bankrupt. There would also be no massive annual subsidies for the oil industry, and no huge government payments to the corporate famers. There wouldn’t be big tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, or any tax breaks at all, for that matter. No, there’d just be one, simple basic corporate tax.

How many followers of Rand would be willing to give up all of those nice juicy government perks? Class, do you have any thoughts?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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