Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Going Galt part two: others point out the stupidity.

As UUbuntu pointed out in comments to the previous Galt post,

Steven Colbert rips apart the Going Galt theme in his Rand Illusion sketch. I'm afraid the ironic humor might not mean as much to folks who come back to this in later years.

In addition, In Contempt comics has an excellent "Galt Gestalt" comic with accompanying commentary that will make clear the issues to folks who come late to this contretemps. If you don't have the background for Colbert's sketch, read this first.

A friend of mine, early internet jokester Rich Rosen ("we are all Rich Rosen"), sent me a link to his essay: When Atlas Shrugs, People Listen... But Why? He does have an indignant, serious side.

Hoisted from his comments is The Last Person On Earth To Turn To Now Is Ayn Rand by Johann Hari at the HuffPo. He points out at length a number of Randian idiocies.

Building on a response to that last one, I'd say that Ayn Rand was the unattractive Ann Coulter of her time. Except worse in that she was a cult leader, was even more divorced from reality, and a horrible writer.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Going Galt: the latest propaganda.

Hilzoy writes: It's a reference to the famed Ayn Rand novel "Atlas Shrugged," in which protagonist John Galt leads the entrepreneurial class to cease productive activities in order to starve the government of revenue....

I agree with Hilzoy about the reference. He says it's strange that the producing entrepreneurs seem to be staying in place.

Much more obvious is that it is not the Randian Ubermensch that are dropping out: it is the workers/consumers. They've closed their pocketbooks and ceased spending as much, starving the entrepreneurs who now have unaffordable overhead on their idle productive capacity.

The interesting thing is that Rand had wrong in so many ways if you want to consider this analogous to "Atlas Shrugged". The causes were a real estate bubble and interlocking dependencies between banks. The players are essentially all from publicly owned corporations, rather than privately held corporations led by the owners. I haven't read Rand in 35 years (who could stand it as an adult?), but I don't think she mentions bubbles or bankers or non-owners as causing the collapse.

So if anybody is using the term "Going Galt", they're WAY OFF, and probably trying to pretend they're powerful in this crisis, rather than helpless. They'd like our supplication, not our scorn.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Libertarian From Nazareth?

The Libertarian From Nazareth?

Thanks to Paul Trombley for pointing this one out. A perfect illustration of "Spiritually baptize the deceased as libertarians because they cannot protest the anachronism" from my Libertarianism in One Lesson.

The simplest reason that Jesus was obviously not a libertarian is because he does not condemn slavery: instead he tells slaves to be like their masters. A five-second google search for "jesus" and "slavery" turned up SLAVERY and the BIBLE, which details all the missed opportunities Jesus had to condemn slavery.

If I wanted to be as stupid and anachronistic as the author, Butler, I'd also point out that Jesus doesn't preach for a right to keep and bear firearms. Or any more temporally-correct form of weapons.

It's been added to my Make Or Break Views Of Libertarianism as an example of amazingly awful reasoning crossing the line into self-parody. Not to mention Libertarian Revisionist History. The idea that Jesus was a libertarian is one of the most amazingly stupid anachronisms I've ever heard.