Sunday, October 18, 2009

Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns

Here's a book I'll add to my shopping list - Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.

The author, Jennifer Burns, was just on the Daily Show to promote her book, but rather than act as a passionate supporter of Ayn Rand, she presented her as some type of character of interest or fascination for conservatives.

John Stewart proved once again why he just doesn't quite "get it" most of the time. On the one hand, he seems to frequently tear into politicians (however the target is more often right wing ones than left wing targets) and ridicule their nonsense and broken promises. Whenever he has the attention span to fact check a claim, he usually does a terrific job of making fun of it. But it seems like he doesn't have enough attention to understand why conservatives are skeptical of big government, and instead interprets it as a shallow trick to rouse emotions and opposition to Obama.

He seems to flippantly and casually dismiss libertarians and free marketers as an angry emotional and irrational mob, whilst senior Democrats like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi are treated like sincere, virtuous public servants who give themselves to the greater good.

How did John Stewart describe Ayn Rand ? As an "elite", an "intellectual" who has a philosophy that works for the elite but not for the rest of us. And he mentioned that she upset the mainstream conservative movement in the 1950's with her atheism.

And immediately after, he mocked 'conservatives' Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, saying that they are anything but intellectuals and therefore today's conservatives have nothing to do with Ayn Rand.

But all the while, he failed to acknowledge that the Republicans don't exactly always represent the libertarian school of thought, to put it mildly. And that those who associate themselves with the right are not necessarily traditional conservatives.

I sat aghast at the fact that the author, Jennifer Burns, sat quietly through this slanderous attack on the Ayn Rand and the conservative movement, and she allowed a TV host in the space of 2 minutes, to totally misrepresent the subject of her book, and the philosophy of liberty.

Liberty and individualism is not a system to benefit elites. In fact, communism is the only system which promotes the elites above the proleteriat.

Liberty and individual rights make sure that merit is rewarded and laziness is punished. Capitalism and free markets, as a system, doesn't "believe" in any kind of outcome. It does not promote the smart above the stupid, the strong above the weak.

It helps foster one very important outcome - that people face the consequences of their actions. And with that incentive, the capitalist economies have made people work harder, care for their families and build prosperity far more succesfully than any command economy like North Korea or Cuba.

John Stewart just doesn't get liberty, he even described it as a philosophy of extremist individualism, to be contrasted and compared with communism, another extremist ideology. And according to him ..... somehow, its up to today's talk show hosts, political pundits and talking heads to find the middle ground between freedom and totalitarianism.

I don't quite buy it.