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Ayn Rand – Why Agreement Does Not Mean Devotion
-By Caleb Jones
Before I go on with the real subject of this post, let me state for the record, yet again, that I am not a conservative, not a Republican, never vote for Republicans, and never will. Though I think the odds are Romney will be the next president of the United States, I think that's a terrible thing and I believe he will make a terrible president. (Of course, I think Obama is also a terrible president, and his continued governance would also be bad.) I've given up on voting many years ago and will be moving out of the United States some time in the next decade, likely when my kids are grown. I'll let my fellow liberal and conservative Americans vote themselves into bankruptcy, war and oblivion while I sadly observe the slow catastrophe of my homeland from far away.
Okay. What is interesting is the hoopla over the fact that Paul Ryan has said he's a big fan of Ayn Rand (and later backpedaled on this when the outrage came). It's no secret that I too am a fan of Ayn Rand, though as a libertarian, individualist, minarchist, anti-war agnostic, my agreement with Rand comes from a much more genuine place than Ryan's does, himself being a hardcore Christian neoconservative.
When hearing that Romney's VP pick was the evil Paul Ryan(!), architect of the evil Ryan Budget Plan(!) that throws those old people and poor people out on the streets(!), liberals predictably went berserk. When hearing that Paul Ryan actually likes Ayn Rand(!), liberals went apeshit berserk.
To liberals, Ayn Rand is the personification of all evil. With the exception of her atheism, Ayn Rand is the exact diametric opposite of everything liberals stand for. Anyone who supports Ayn Rand also supports child murderers (since Ayn Rand once admired one doncha know!), racism (since Ayn Rand said Muslims were savages doncha know!), the abandonment of handicapped children (because Ayn Rand said helping the handicapped will handicap society doncha know!) and all kinds of other psychotic shit.
I'm not going to defend Paul Ryan. I hate the guy. Instead, seeing how I personally and strongly agree with Ayn Rand's core philosophy, I'm going to explain a basic concept that people often like to ignore. Here it is. Ready?
Just because you strongly support a person's core views does not mean you support every word that comes out of that person's mouth.
This blog is a good example. If you read the comments, they're often guys who strongly agree with me on the overall basics concerning things like monogamy, women, seduction, and even politics. However often there will be strong disagreement about something specific I say, even from these guys. That's good. While I think my views on how men should live would be helpful to men and to the world if more men adopted them, the last thing I want is an echo chamber here, which is why I sometimes go out of my way to promote dissenting views.
To give another example, I am a HUGE fan of a man named Harry Browne. His writings were the north star of my life starting in my early 30's. His book How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World is on the short list of books I think every man should read. I love the man, love his writing, love his concepts, strategies, concepts, and worldview. His principles have created great value in my life, and my heart was pained when he passed away just a few years ago.
Does this mean I agree 100% with every view he's ever espoused? No. There's one part of How I Found Freedom, written way back in the early 1970's, where he actually recommends that if your kids are a pain in the ass, you should give them up for adoption. Do I agree with that? Fuck no. That's insane advice. You made those kids. You need to raise them even if it makes you unhappy to do so. This is one of the very, very few exceptions to your primary goal of long-term happiness. Are there odd exceptions to this? Sure. If your 6'3", 240 pound 15 year-old son is trying to murder you with a butcher knife, then okay, kick his ass out. If your kid is an infant who was just born and you're a poor, stupid, immature, single teen mother, then yes, please give it up for adoption instead of ruining that poor baby's future. But like I said, those are the odd exceptions. Be a man, take responsibility, and raise your kids. I do.
My point is that some guy who hates me could read that I love Harry Browne and recommend him, then could crack open How I Found Freedom, go through it with a magnifying glass, find that particular paragraph, then scream to the world "OMFG! Blackdragon admires Harry Browne! Blackdragon supports kicking your children out of your house and giving them up for adoption if you don't like them! It says it right here in this book! What a fucking asshole!"
Yeah, it sounds dumb and petty, and it is, but that's exactly what liberals did to Paul Ryan. It happens all the time.
Hey, I love Ron Paul. I'd vote for him for President in a heartbeat (which could never happen; America's two-party dictatorship would never allow him to get far enough even if he had the money to do so). I agree strongly with his core stances. However he has some views about the gold standard and the US border that I disagree with. Again, just because I strongly agree with him doesn't mean I agree with everything he says.
Let's get back to Ayn Rand. Her views on things like individualism, property, government, and collectivism I absolutely 100% agree with. Strongly. But when she goes off the reservation and says (or implies) you should not help people because weak people don't deserve help, she's being delusional. I donate 5% of my income to charity regularly. One of my biggest financial goals is to someday get that to 10%. I feel very strongly about doing that and I think everyone should do that. What I don't believe is that some third party called "government" should break into your home, put a shotgun to your face, pull cash out of your wallet, then walk across the street and give it to your neighbor who can't pay his bills because he watches TV all day instead of working. That's where I 100% agree with Ayn Rand.
Agreement, even strong agreement, does not usually mean blind devotion. Never assume such.
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Peter 2012-08-23 16:16:17
Off topic, but what country(ies) do you plan to go to once you're through with America, and why?
Socialkenny 2012-08-23 16:39:22
I'm heavily into politics(I'm a Liberal),and over the past weeks,I've been hearing on MSNBC about Paul Ryan and this Ayn Rand person,but I never delved too deep into it to find out who she was or stood for. The clarification appreciated. Agreement doesn't mean blind devotion. Who would believe so?
Jack 2012-08-23 19:37:37
Leaving Ayn Rand aside for a minute, your second paragraph was very sad, disempowering, and hopeless. Where are you going to go, BD? Where will you run while the rest of us supposedly die in a fiery oblivion? If you're looking for a country more capitalist than America, you won't find one, unless you count China, but you wouldn't be able to live with the absolute totalitarianism and constant government monitoring of the Internet over there. Do you plan to learn another language, or are Canada, the UK, and Australia (you know, those socialist "paradises") your only choices? You know what I think? This is all staged. The economy was deliberately crashed by powerful men for a purpose. I have no clue what that purpose is (world government maybe?), but once that purpose is fulfilled, the economy will magically get back up again. The men who did this deliberately will will also undo it just as deliberately once the purpose of it has been fulfilled (I'm betting on 2018). The economy will come back slowly or quickly, as they choose. When this happens, while you're watching from Japan(?), you'll be shocked. And it will somehow be logically explained at the last minute. This is all fake. Money created out of nothing is just paper, or numbers on a computer screen that exist only in our imaginations, and the only reason these things have power is because we choose to believe in them (like the tooth fairy). Fictional things have no power, apart from the power your mind gives them, or majoritarian consensus. Maybe this will lead to a transition to a different economic system (with different currency) that we will all be forced to believe in, I don't know. Imagine all the debt getting suspended because we have a different currency now and we're starting over with a wave of the bankers' magic wands. LOL! All the doomsday economists will say "that's cheating!" Yeah it is. They're bankers. That's what they do. I really don't know any of this, of course. What I do know is this: It's one big psychological lab experiment and we are the mice! Economic disasters are artificially inflated and scientifically engineered as part of a careful mathematical equation. In the meantime, there is no use leaving the country (this is global), and there is certainly no use being this pessimistic about a fictitious game that is ultimately well within the control of those who designed it.
Snow 2012-08-23 23:30:02
Jack, sounds mighty close to a lame conspiracy theory. It's not a handful of people at the top who deliberately crashed in some sort of sadistic experiment. It's millions of people who are spending less money in the international economy because gas is too high, because cost of living has increased while wages remain stagnant, etc, etc.... And BD will probably go somewhere with a flat tax rate, like Singapore. He's worked too hard for his money to be okay with giving upwards of 37% of it away for programs he doesn't believe work. That being said, I wonder if he'll find happiness over there. Despite it's problems, I think the US has a better deal than most other places in terms of material comforts, infrastructure, and quality of life. We shall see.
Blackdragon 2012-08-24 10:04:03
Damn, I didn't expect all these questions about me moving. I'm getting them in my email too. I'll make a post about it.
Matt T. 2012-08-25 07:55:16
@Jack - of course money is fake. It always has been fake, but people will ALWAYS trade goods and services with one another with or without money. The whole "lab experiment" thing you're feeling comes from Keynesian economics. It's literally a controlled monetary system that "scientists" (Central Bank chairmans across the world) tweak, observe, and draw conclusions. Before Keynesian economics, the monetary system felt more natural, more free, and less like a "lab experiment".
Jon 2012-08-25 08:09:10
I like Jesse Ventura's idea about putting "None of the Above" on the ballot so people who don't agree either candidate can still participate in the voting process and express their dissatisfaction with the choices we're given. As it is, I just vote for the person I dislike the least. Going back to the John Kerry comment, his tax rate was also slightly lower than Romney's. Republicans made a big deal about him not paying his "fair share" back then just like the Democrats are doing with Romney now. It's easy to get people to feel a sense of moral outrage when you focus solely on the tax rate. Would it seem as unjust if we used dollars instead? I'm sure most people squawking about this pay several million dollars less in taxes than either of these guys, which makes me wonder "Who's paying their fair share now?"
Randian Hero 2012-12-02 15:24:59
I think it comes more natural for leftists to attack character rather than concepts. They attach feelings to ideas. And then listen to somebody they trust and then judge things from what that authority says. It´s not like they actually read any of Ayn Rand´s works... They call me a socialist hater and fail to realize that I actually present explanations to WHY socialism fails, and that I actually present reasons to why it´s also morally wrong. That´s not being a hater of the poor or whatever.
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Johnny Ringo 2016-12-25 18:27:59
It's a great point. Friends of mine often like to call Ron Paul "my daddy", because they think I'm his acolyte. 🙂 I do mainly agree with him, but there are more than a few points I have heavily disagreed with him on over the years. As for BD's article, a great example of the racist argument WAS used against Ron Paul, as the media would always pull his "racist" newsletters where there was a paragraph attributed to something racist. It was written under his name, and he didn't do a good job at all of explaining who it was, or what happened, (I think Ron was covering for someone or himself), but the media ran crazy with it. Every show he was on, he was asked about the newsletters. I had friends that said..........oh...........you support the racist, that guy that is an isolationist right? That corny gold standard dude? Slap my head. It's like this with so much in life.