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Venomous Individualism: The Wrath of Ayn Rand

Published on Friday, November 11, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

The Wrath of Ayn Rand
by Firmin DeBrabander

Many have commented on the remarkable callousness fashioned by this Republican presidential field. Most prominently, Herman Cain maintained that the poor and unemployed are responsible for their own plight; Ron Paul claimed that people who refrain from buying health insurance but become debilitated should not be bailed out by government healthcare—they should just die instead, his audience helpfully suggested (or hollered, rather); and just about all the candidates have recommended ever harsher, ever more absurd measures to keep out poor immigrants on our border with Mexico: double fences, electric fences, even soldiers with ‘real guns and real bullets,’ as Herman Cain put it.

What’s driving this show of meanness? You might say it’s just what the electorate—or some loud part thereof—wants. It seems like there are some seriously angry voters out there these days, and I’m sure the recession is taking a toll on people’s patience and generosity. And yet, I suspect this is no fleeting trend, but something with deeper ideological roots. In short, I sense Ayn Rand.

Rand has always had a good following, but her popularity has surged in recent years as conservatives repeatedly invoked her to counter Obama’s “Socialist” agenda. She has an impressive roster of conservative devotees: Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ron Paul. Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul quoted Ayn Rand at length during a congressional committee meeting this past year—to argue against government mandates for energy efficient light bulbs, of all things. Congressman Paul Ryan, the rising star from Wisconsin who drafted the Republican’s celebrated plan to slash the federal budget, reportedly urges all his staffers to read her works.

This is a powerful fan-base, and many have feared the consequences of Rand’s influence. I think we are seeing it now, for there are clear strains of her venom in the excesses of the Republican candidates—and beyond. Her trademark callousness is increasingly evident throughout our political discourse regarding the poor and vulnerable of society. The congressional super-committee charged with agreeing on a trillion dollars in federal deficit reduction is reportedly contemplating cuts to food stamps, while Republicans remain steadfast that taxes not rise on the rich. This, as the recession lingers and poverty rates soar, and we witness the greatest concentration of wealth among the rich since the 1920s. The Republican stance is mind-boggling in these circumstances—but Rand would certainly approve; indeed, she might favor far worse.

Read the rest of the article here.


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You know where to find me

Mr Dunmore, I don't do "questionnaires" created by people who don't understand how to use apostrophes properly. In any event, you know where I would most likely end up on either of those "scientific" bits of fluff.

Off topic but...

Unusual approach that, checking questionnaires for apostrophic correctness before deciding whether or not to answer them; still I have but little doubt you have your reasons.

No matter, I answered one for you along the lines of what would  Fiona think based on what little I know of her. As valid an approach I guess as the compiler who rated Hitler, Stalin etc and put our Kevin in the "Right"/"Authoritarian" box.

Confession to make Justin,  so did I about four years ago but thought it might be a bit of fun.

Nietzschean denouements

 With Justin's last and the quote 'tis agreed.

From this, the nuance.

Rand could have meant, the person who does well without having to unnecessarily harm others

Or at least consciously trying to avoid harms.

But for a less-balanced individual it could mean, the person who does well, even, also trampling on others for the fun of it.

Context, here.

"Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue."

Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth, the man who would make his fortune no matter where he started

I'm starting to really love Rand now, iJustin has absolutely no need for money whatsoever (food, booze and shelter are another thing). It follows 'tis meek and humble moi who will inherit the Earth, and all its wealth, and virtue.

Narcissism, entitlement, isn't it glorious.

Seriously, DeBrabande's piece was written from the bias of a democrat it appears, fearful of Republican meanness. Yet it could be argued that democrats and republicans alike play the same game, manipulated (bribed) by the same club. Mr Jackoff would concur. US politics has reduced itself to pure theatre, entertaining the electorate with controversial clap trap engineered to keep them ignorant.

There ain't no left and there ain't no right anymore, just greedy bastards. But they try hard to keep the illusion alive.

It could be argued that the Tea Party is just a cynical movement engineered in the interests of selfishness and greed.

That said, a more informed Libertarian does make some very good points, when it comes to financial stupidity and foreign policy

It would be easy to suspect that Rand had, like the average Tea Party devotee, a very poor understanding of the nature of money, currency, banking and finance.

Now back to reality, if iJustin is not going to inherit the Earth, and all its wealth, then who do you think is?

Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum

The (rather pompous) motto of my Alma mater was "Neither to the right nor to the left"

It strikes me that the terms "Right" and "Left" capture a multitude of sins, and to have a meaningful discussion, we need to unpack the terms.

For example, I applaud Ayn Rand's championing of individual rights and responsibilities, while decrying the Left's inclination to think big brother knows best what is best for you, and little brother must be forced to eat his vegetables. The Right is more likely to treat the citizenry as adults, the Left as children

That is just my rather brief unpacking of one flavour, I'm sure others have other flavours and other interpretations.

A can of worms...

... or possibly Pandora's box. Be careful, Jay, of that which you seek. You've merely lifted the lid. You are correct to a certain extent about the "multitude of sins", sins they are not but I get your drift. My personal position is that of a liberterian anarchist but understand that if everyone was like me chaos would rule. I'm an outsider, Jay, despite Geoff's perception of me as a wet lefty. Left, Right? You are right to question the definitions of the terms because there is no simple explanation. Much of it comes down to pathological psychology. For instance have you noticed that when jocks, after their sporting careers are over and they decide to take up politics, they almost invariably align with the right?  A bell curve graph of Intelligence on the vertical axis and the proportion of the population inclined to either side on the horizontal will reveal that the right is largely the middle ground and the left the domain of the disgruntled disadvantaged and the true intelligentsia. This is not hard and fast. I headed a a blog some while ago "Alf Garnet Syndrome". Fiona as I recall took issue with my use of the word syndrome but I stick by it. Wally Lewis, the jock of all jocks, contemplated running for parliament under the Labour banner. (My spelling.)

Beware Jay, the right only seek individual freedom for themselves to do as they please with no respect for other's "rights" (ridiculous term). The others are to be manipulated with spin, selective reporting, and downright lies.

If you dare, lift the lid right open, let the wasps out, and feel their sting.

Wet lefties step to the left please. Anarchists to right.

Scott, when I use terms like "wet leftie" "dream liberal/left" "gutless left bastard" etc I have in mind everyone on the left who is not actually a signed up card carrying (or underground) member of one of the official cults(Trotskyism, Stalinism etc).

Therefore the term includes the Australian Greens but now excludes most of the ALP except mainly for some nasty people around the fringes of some branches who hang around like blowflies waiting for a sausage sizzle fundraiser.

Therefore the term most certainly includes a liberterian anarchist , especially if you are a liberterian anarchist of the Brian Laver, Black and Red bookshop type. But even if you were St Paul the Hermit you would still be a "wet leftie" to me.

Just sorting out some definitions for everyone's benefit.

Fiona: Geoff, you know why I have edited your post.

Like a drain...

Scott Dunmore, Justin Obodie, thank you. I shall seek my pillow with laughter on my mind.

Goodnight all.

There are none so blind...

Yes it's been a while now and in explanation all I can say is "lack of motivation". After all where's the satisfaction in preaching to the converted; zero impedance hence no feedback or butting my head against the brick wall of blind, mindless fanaticism?

Nevertheless I notice this thread has been hijacked by the usual suspect and hopefully, in my altruistic way, will try to bring it back on track for the benefit of those who would engage in relevant point, counterpoint.

Paul, if Geoff were on Master Chef he would introduce his signature dish as "The just cause of Israeli ethnic cleansing" and for desert, if it's sickly sweet, "Lefty wet dream" or if spicy, "The evil of Islam". (If I've got your attention Geoff your wrong on two counts, (well dozens but I don't have the time, to equate the likes of Assad, Hussein etc to islam is to equate Hitler with christianity or the terrorist Irgun and Stern to judaism and for your information old son, Wombats are the most intelligent of the genus Marsupial.)) Curious about my use of parenthesis? I'm a programmer.

Well, now that's over, back to the point.

I confess to having read both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in my callow youth and been impressed by the apparent logic reinforced by an attractive narrative style but (before simplistic became part of my lexicon,) realised something was missing. It beggars belief that so called "Objectivism" still has currency but then again, maybe not.

Even the most rudimentary student of Economic History, (I'm in that number and it should be compulsory material,) will have seen the pendulum swing from regulation (left?) to de-regulation many times over in industrial age economics. Nothing is ever in balance except for a brief period in the transition from "lunatic left" to "rabid right".

That the rabid right has the ascendency in this day and age is not surprising; the natural order of things is hierarchical and the only force that changes it is entropy. Long overdue but the coming is inevitable and we will see the continuum until humanity self-destructs. The power of big business media to shape policy is self-evident but to quote James Thurber, " You can't fool all of the people all of the time." The "Occupy Wall Street" movement is evidence of that. My vision is bleak but not without foundation: the more complex a system the more vulnerable it becomes. We are all aboard Apollo XIII and more to the point, it is a curious trait of humanity not to abandon long-cherished beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Even among the intelligentsia, new discoveries that put accepted theory to flight are not initially analysed for potential veracity but immediately challenged and ridiculed. How could I have been so wrong? It's like a personal insult but only reflects the individual's personal insecurity, egotism if you like, that we are born with the sum of all knowledge and if you are wrong you're somehow diminished. How foolish.

At some point we will see a resurgence of the left because at this time it is virtually non-existent. It died in this country with the demise of the Whitlam administration, when old-school socialism was replaced with the realpolitik of the likes of Hawke, Keating, the fat fool Beasley and now Gillard with her ludicrous carbon tax paying homage to "The Gods of the Market Place".

Why is it that open-mindedness is such a rare commodity?

Well, my demons age as I age but occasionally will not be denied. Amen.

Just getting one thing straight

If I've got your attention Geoff your wrong on two counts, (well dozens but I don't have the time, to equate the likes of Assad, Hussein etc to islam is to equate Hitler with christianity or the terrorist Irgun and Stern to judaism

Actually Scott, the term I have always used is Islamism (or something stronger depending on the strain). Assad, Hussein etc belong to an entirely different type of fascism entirely by the way. If you think I think this is about religion then I don't believe you've understood a word I've written.

One of the many bones I have to pick with the Greens Left faction is how quickly and seamlessly they abandoned the secular Muslims, along with women and everybody else, when they adopted the extremist Islamist cause even to the extent of supporting Iran. It's not just the Jews who demand freedom from Islamism. So do all sane Muslims and they say so when they are allowed.

It is straight out of Orwell that Green Left activists routinely appear on PressTV. This one for example. Look at this lady. She could be my aunt. Here she is helping the official propaganda arm of  one of the most ruthlessly woman victimising regimes in the world and history and she is so deluded about the desperate need to destroy the Jewish state as soon as possible, or whatever, the very thought of the plight of the women of Iran, let alone Palestine, does not for a second cross her mind.

Now back to hounding the ghost of Ayn Rand true leftie pack style. As you were.


Where to begin, Geoff? I'll take your points one at a time. We've been conversing for a good few years now (despite your earlier denial,) I had to push you declare your position and without you mentioning the word I assume you're a zionist.. This is where I have a problem in determining why you should take such a stance because from where I stand, if you're areligous what other motivation is there but racism? (Just another belief system based on no logic, the same as religion.)

"I think this is about religion then I don't believe you've understood a word I've written."

The opposite is true, Geoff, that is precisely the point I was making but if in other circumstances I misunderstand you it is bcause of your rhetorical style and my inability to interpret it. I accept the possibility that a lot of the time we talk at cross purposes.

I'm sorry but I rarely follow links so you're wasting your time and if you think I'm deliberately avoiding counter evidence of my position, you're wrong. I've seen it all before in one guise or another: stupidity, violence, cruelty, the whole gamut of human aberration. "Secular Muslims", by the way, I consider to be a contradiction of term. I totally agree with all you have to say about the victimisation of women, I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember.

I don't consider this to be off topic because it's about belief systems and I'll take it further.Now back to hounding the ghost of Ayn Rand true leftie pack style. As you were.

Now here's where I take serious objection. Don't ever (if you care to avoid my ire) lump me in with any pack. I am Phaedrus, a lone wolf and as such condemned to desperate survival without a pack.

As to the attack on the ghost of Ayn Rand what more can I say? The evidence for the flawed philosophy is out there for everyone with half a brain to see. I've stated this before. Reagonomics destroyed much of the wealth of the American middle class. The "devil take the hindmost" philosophy exported "Silicon Valley" to Asia, and the US went from the world's biggest creditor nation to its largest debtor. The murderous dumb Thatcher destroyed Britain's manufacturing industry and in the context of the aforesaid being part of an economic union where is it it now? In crisis and threatening to bring the rest of the world down with it.  None of this stuff is quantum mechanics; it is "uncommon sense". The so-called "bottom line" never was. Short-sighted - it was barely half way down.

If anyone believes you can live on credit forever they are delusional. The US is an economic basket case, ditto Europe, and yet the dopes still believe that US bonds are a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains. Are both nett credit operations or the opposite, and what brought them to this point?

1930s all over again. For some European countries the "lunatic left" took control, with the consequences we now see. For others it was the opposite with the "laissez faire" attitude that saw the crash of 2008. A global financial institution that was ever reinventing itself with derivatives. Constructs to make money with no productive purpose and in the process impoverishing people outside the loop.

It's now late, maybe there's more I could say but a warm bed beckons.

We are all Hamas now

Just in case there is anyone in the CommonDreams Left that is still in the slightest doubt about exactly what they are supporting when they support the Palestinian cause. It is less than two minutes and it really should be all you need to know.

Thank you my precious Lotus

Hey Geoff, iJustin watched the whole video, but couldn't understand a word of it.

It would have been easy to trust the sub-titles but I didn't, especially when I read a little about the translator:

According to tax records, in 2001 MEMRI had an operating budget of just under $2 million. By 2009, operating expenses reached just over $5 million, decreasing to $4.5 million in 2010. Aside from salaries, MEMRI’s largest operating expense during 2010 was for translation services, for which it paid $1.3 million to its long-standing Jerusalem-based contractor Yesodot Shalom (Foundations for Peace).

About MEMRI’s Founders

Yigal Carmon served in the IDF Intelligence Branch from 1968 to 1988. In that capacity, the Romanian-born Carmon, served as acting head of the civil administration in the West Bank from 1977 to 1982. He served as counterterrorism adviser to premiers Shamir and Menachem Begin (the latter a founder of the Likud Party) from 1988 to 1993. In 1991 and 1992, Carmon was a senior member of the Israeli delegation to peace negotiations with Syria in Madrid and Washington.

Thank you my precious lotus for a little more enlightenment.

Jackoff's jolly jerk off - wet dream$ galore

Remember Jack Abramoff (AKA Jackoff), recently released from gaol having been caught nocturnally emitting all over the show?

This what he had to say about the wet dream$ of both the left (sic) and the right (equally sic) US legislators.

No doubt Ms Rand would have embraced Jackoff as one of her heros, had he not been done in by his mob.

Jackoff on 60 minutes.


I watched the first two or three minutes of that video, Justin. I get the message. Jackoff is the best name for that bloke.

Job offers and feelers are floating around that environment all the time I am sure. Why would they be any different to any other place? Of course it is legal. How else would the world work. Only an idiot would think this corrupts anybody. Jackoff's corruption claim assumes the targets of his "job offers" are all so quick to grab the money from his outfit, one of hundreds I'm sure, that they have been bought from that moment. They are his.

You have just seen the corrupt mind at work; indeed the corrupt stupid mind. Only a crook would think that people think that way. In fact a stupid crook. That is why he has just barely got out of the can after some years. Maybe it was too soon.

Anyway Justin, interesting I'm sure, but was the point of you linking that video? I'm not quite sure I get it. Was this meant to be a witticism directed at the spelling of my name? I haven't heard any of those before so maybe you should signal that.

is mylanta yourlanta? (shares)

So, the thread has drifted from a consideration of Ayn Rand and her weird philosophy well co-opted by the capitalist Right. well thumb-nailed by Justin Obodie as to distilled essence, to another heartrending Leon Uris romance from Geoff over - you've guessed it - poor little Israel, again.

Fiona Reynolds: "...we are in the greatest danger of causing harm to others and damage to ourselves when we refuse to accept our own (and others') capacity for evil."

Except if a person is so inwardly dead as to not be able even to care.

Of course, Michael Talbot is right: the system breeds a pack mentality. In that sense Geoff Pahoff is right, although not in suggesting that his precious USA and Israel are exempt from the evil others are allegedly capable of. How could that be if we are all human?

The question is, do you just sit back and fatalistically, chthonically, glory in the evil, as some no doubt might be over twelve more killed at Tahrir Square, or, like others on this page, try to move beyond just mutely accepting history as chopping block, to a use of history to try for something better, as Jay suggested in one post?

In the wrong box

With respect Paul it had already drifted. I used the term "pack animal", in the sense of the "human pack" ,in a conversation with Jay that itself arose out of a conversation about the connection between humans and animals (and the planet probably) on the BDS thread which itself is one of the themes of this blog involving most notably Justin and occasionally Jenny.

Fiona/Paul I let the metaphor run longer than perhaps it should have because I do like dogs. They are capable of forming nasty feral knots of killers if not trained and controlled by a human pack leader. Or at the very least a responsible canine leader. Someone responsible anyway. They are also capable of the most amazing feats of cooperation with one another and with humans. This is the hallmark of both our species. They are wolves that we have genetically modified and they have probably genetically modified us just as much or more. That is all.

I do however have a bone to pick with the Greens and frankly the "rape pack" metaphor is more appropriate in regard to that than perhaps Fiona appreciates. It astonishes me that the Greens, or whoever it is who is barracking for "Palestinian human rights", or for the Islamisation of Norway, Sweden and the rest of Europe, or whatever, do not get that. My reaction is just as visceral.

It is wrong to say that I am claiming that Americans and Israelis are immune from these instincts. However it is far worse to ignore that the Islamist regimes are based on these instincts and in a very literal sense when it comes to women. This is a video that will make you sick or maybe put you in an empty cold rage. Be warned.

I do not understand how standing up to Islamism, in all its guises, is not a feminist issue. I do not understand how supporting an Islamist movement, such as Palestineism, is not a feminist issue.

Maybe we can get back to talking about Ayn Rand if you want but Jay and I were not really talking about her in the first place.  

Mind you I can see how the post below may jar a little here. Perhaps it would be more comfortable on the other thread. Anyway, in a day or two, I will submit anoth thread starter; this time on post-Osloism. That should ease the pressure somewhat.

Fiona: Your previous post was off-topic, Geoff. If I hadn't had an early night, I would have DNP'd it as such. Would everyone please note that all off-topic posts will be DNP'd. And could we now get back to discussing the unpleasant pack behaviour of the badly brought up rabid fascist Right?

The Censorship of Webdiary

When Webdairy [Ed.: sic] started, its founding principle was open, uncensored discussion of ideas. It did however, start with a very few banned topics (which I felt was unfortunate, but since they were rather obscure and avoidable, was prepared to live with. The argument put forward was that it leads to endless circular discussions, but let's face it, most of the discussions are still endlessly circular - rules don't change that).

However, they have slowly grown. The latest, however, goes far beyond any of the previous ones (and the decision itself appears to have been made in a rather arbitrary fashion). An Editor can now steer a conversation, by simply not publishing a post deemed "off-topic".

I recognise that the editors volunteer their time. But equally, those who write also take a lot of effort, and if some of the posts arbitrarily vanish, it is a very direct feedback - Webdiary doesn't work anymore.

So folks, you've been instructed: The topic is: "the unpleasant pack behaviour of the badly brought up rabid fascist Right". Alternate perspectives will be censored.

Fiona: Bullshit, Jay. There's a huge difference between censorship and telling people to discuss topics on the appropriate thread.


And while I'm "considering" your bit of rodomontade, Jay, Margo was death on anything that was off-topic - far more so than Richard or I have ever been.

How power corrupts

Along with Ayn Rand's novels, I enjoyed Orwell. In Animal Farm, he describes how power corrupts, and censorship creeps in, to silence dissenting views.

Consider the parallels to this exercise of  censorship . A person starts a thread in which they express a strong emotional commitment to an idea.  The person who started the thread also acts as editor. When others use the same logic to prove that the issue is not so black and white, the editor decides that such discussions are "off topic". Invariably, the majority of posts considered "off topic" just happen to be those that vigorously differ from the editor's viewpoint.

Editorial policy explicitly states what is censored, and "off threads" are not listed. Claiming that another editor was a worse offender is not an excuse.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.


How frightfully noble of you, Jay.

Where did I ever write that I would not publish certain comments ever ever?

All that I wrote was that I would not publish comments where they were off-topic of the particular thread - something which has always been a policy of Webdiary (even if unwritten - because commenters are (or, at least, were) supposed to have enough intelligence to understand that one doesn't start discussing home renovation in the midst of a thread about the MRRT).

As soon as Geoff submits his latest thread about Israel I shall (once I have done the usual subediting) transfer the appropriate "off-topic" posts to that thread - as all Webdiary editors have done before, and as I hope we shall continue to do.

So do stay eternally vigilant, Jay.

Meanwhile, I won't hold my breath waiting for your apology.

Thank You Fiona

Quite happy to apologise Fiona, but would much rather thank you for so decisively stepping back from a very slippery slope.

Fiona: It was your imagination that provided the slope, Jay - but pax, and thank you.

Who's up for a bit of fun?

Here's an aid for you Jay to unpack your boxes and maybe provide a bit of entertainment for us all. A little effort is required and honesty. What I have in mind is that all who like me, don't take this stuff too seriously, take either or both of these tests and publish the result. My guess is that few will be surprised; my assessment of myself as a liberterian anarchist but me bang in the middle of a box and that's where I am, in close company of the Dalai Lama which, given his religiosity and hostility to alternative sects, makes me uncomfortable but it's not an exact science if science at all.

I notice no one spotted my deliberate? mistake of getting the axis' arse about face in my last post but then maybe it got the attention it deserved.

So come on you chaps, Marilyn, and Alan since you're paying attention. Especially Dr Reynolds. I've got a bone to pick with you my girl. What's the point of me indulging in my favourite pastime of Geoff  baiting if I'm denied the full enjoyment of labours? The more vitriol the better I say.

Here's the tests, you'll see they're not comprehensive and there's no room for "well, in certain circs.." but they'll do for fun. http://www.allthetests.com/quiz15/quizpu.php?testid=1123475739=Political%20Personality


Stuart - the Caveat Emporer

I did the test yonks ago Scott, and on completion it informed iJustin that he was an anti-semite (among other things), placing me somewhere near Theodor Herzl and Adolf Hitler. I think that website must have been run by one of Geoff's mates.

But the good news was I spied a banner on the site advertising pet turtles, it was hard to resist, so I bought one, named Stuart.

The bad news was that is was not a Stuart turtle, it was a Geoff turtle.

Woof WOOf Woof - WHALING Walls & One divisable INDIVIDUAL

May I suggest dear Pysch, that Webdiary considers Father Park's suggestion, and offer my favourite lotus a perpetual Wall of his very own, at least he can do what he does, all on his own, until the cows come home, until the moon deserts the sky, and all wet dreams run dry. Geoff will have a Whale of a time, and Bob's your uncle.

Speaking of Father Park I must confess iJustin and his feral incarnations have not confessed for some time now, so I suppose it would be healthy to get all this dirty water of our chests. 


Yep, we have all become devotees of self-interest and like our guiding idol we have signed up for social security. We don't need the money (just like Rand) but it would be in our self-interests to grab as much as we can as quickly as we can. We have no idea why but it does seem quite natural and moral.

Now, I suppose you think that this brilliant menegarie of incarnations would never be allowed to receive hand outs, having the ability to beg for our own tucker and all. But all we had to do was front up at the dole office and get the customer service (sic) guy to log on to Weird Dairy.

We then challenged the guy to read some of the stuff that we had written - he did, but only a few lines.

We are now the proud receipients of disablity pensions, along with old age pensions, carers allowances, a free bottle of muscat, a bag of dope, and some very pretty pills carrying the inscription HCN.

Now you tell me, if that aint looking after one selves then what is?

Amen - Hereith endeth the confession.

Don't you just love Catholicism? It is the best of all religions for sinners like us; created by a recovering Jew for poor bastards who can't let go of their ugly habits.

Now, hit me with the piss, er penance, dear Father Park.

PS. Does any one know what CofA euthanasia allowances are? Maybe we should give them to Geoff, but then again that would be altruistic.

Off topic

Now Jay, as you being a longtime contributor to Webdiary would be aware Fiona and I have "history"  but in this instance she is totally correct. I get pissed off with people who try to hijack threads to promote their own agenda: Read my earlier post. If you want submit your own thread: I'm sure it will be accepted for discussion. (Private joke, now I know, giggle giggle.)

Mr Pahoff responds

Dear me, Fiona. Spoken with the passion of someone determined not to see the point.

I really do not think I need a lecture on what humans are capable of. Do you?

That's my point. We have a choice; as a species, as a nation and as individuals. We are forever at the crossroads and nowhere among the several hundred thousand words I have written on this blog will you find one that suggests we will necessarily choose smart.  On the contrary, I am driven by the fear that we are choosing dumb and that no one, at least on the wet dreams liberal/left, has the slightest inkling how dumb and dangerous their blind and cowardly choices are.

I am not about to talk about Iraq. It is a matter for the Iraqis whether they prefer their Iraq of today to that of Saddam Hussein's, and if so, whether it was worth the price. It is also a matter for the Americans; after all they have done most of the bleeding for the allies. Besides the era of the dangerous fascist Arab military dictators is nearly at an end. We kicked in the door that ended in the ugly demise of the first. The demise of the most recent was even uglier. Assad's might be the ugliest of all. 

Arabs in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine and yes, Iraq,and across the Middle East, are just as much at the cross roads as the rest of us. Pretty much it is some form of democracy, or at least an arrangement that respects peace and human life, or it is one of the forms of Islamism each competing with one another in violence, outrageous compulsory superstitiion, the suppression and enslavement of women, xenophobia and the waging of war. There is nothing in the human condition that exempts them from the consequence of  bad choices. The same goes for the wet dreams liberal/left.

You know what it is that I particularly despise about the wet dreams liberal/left. It is because they have been so willing to accommodate Islamism and in extreme cases form alliances with it. They did the same with Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad ... It is because even in its mildest forms, it has bought the transparent and blatant lie that Israel is the problem in the Middle East lock stock and barrel when in fact Israel is so obviously  the brightest and most optimistic , in every sense, spark of humanity in the Middle East and its best hope of dragging it into some form of modernity.

It is because not even now do they have the guts to admit that the "Palestinian cause" has been a major blunder for those who profess so mightliy to be champions of peace. All we get is silence. The Australian Greens are a classic example. All of sudden the "human rights" of the Palestinians has gone from the top of the agenda of the Greens profile to a silence so deep they may as well be a party of mummies meeting in a museum at midnight.

Thanks to Condoleezza Rice and an unprecedented forced new age of honesty on the part of Fatah and the Palestinian "President", they don't even have the excuse that the Palestinians are in good faith about a two state solution. The situation is openly now the same as it has been all along right from 1917. The Jews position is that they don't care how many Arab states there are so long as there is a Jewish state. Like then; like now. That was the Zionist position then. That is the Zionist position now. It is also the Jewish position now for those who at this stage of this old and terrible game still want to argue the toss on the difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

The funny thing is that was also the Arab position, or much of it, at the start. It is after all so reasonable. But it soon became what it is today. Never you mind how many Arabs states there are. It is none of the despised West's business.The Arabs will war that out for themselves or whatever. Just so long as there is no Jewish state and if there is we will gang up on it like a pack of wardogs from hell and hound it to the end of days. Oslo was pipedream. Dare I say it a wet pipedream. It wasn't even a distraction and it certainly wasn't a pause. The killngs went on even more relentlessly than before and Israel brought the condemnation of the world upon itself, largely mobilised by the disgustingly wet wetdreams left/liberals, to stop it.

If you have read this far Fiona then I will come to the point of why I have really grown to despise the global wetdreams liberal/left, and since Marrickville its Australian branch,  the Australian Greens, and it is not just because they have gone into a speechless, no media allowed, moral fugue since their flagship, "distinguishing it from the other parties", foreign affairs policy, has been exposed by the Palestinians themselves as nothing more than a demand for war. Indeed nothing more than a determined demand for the genocide of the Jews of "Palestine" and the submission of the survivors to a primitive violent superstitious political order run for the neverendiing neverchanging privilege of a tiny few.

Don't they really wish now everybody would shut up about Israel. Why is that?

As bad as that is, it gets worse and its not really about Israel or the Jews.   It's about the wetdreams liberal/left and how easy it was for them to abandon any concept of human rights for others and romanticise causes that are fired by the worst human pack instincts imaginable, including the packs you have described, and how they are behaving now.

It is about the choices they make at the crossroads and how easy it was for so many of the Wetdreams to choose the path that ends, and can end quickly, in a new dark age so frozen and miserable that it will take a thousand years of global warming to thaw. As if there would be anybody around to care.  

nocturnal remission impossible - inspite of a cure

Too liquid. Geoff, far too many nocturnal emissions, mate - it's not healthy.

Once again, you point the finger at those you hate and completely disregard the wet dreams of those you champion - all things being equal.

Geoff, it is obvious you have been practising a cure for wet dreams. Well done, but it would be good if you didn't do it so repetitively in public - lad, you must be exhausted.

Notes for Mr Pahoff

Geoff Pahoff, although both Justin Obodie and Paul Walter have covered – with considerable eloquence – the points that I should have made a couple of days ago, I will make a brief comment on packs, and dogs.

Yes, I do like dogs – provided that (a) they have been properly brought up, and (b) accept that I am much higher in the pack than they are. And sure, empathy is something that comes from our social relationships with each other. That said, it is foolish beyond permission to dismiss the malice of which packs are capable, not only with respect to other packs of the same species, but also when packs turn on one of their own. Such malice may not be “cold dead”, but it sure can be damaging, even lethal. Ever been bullied, Geoff? Ever been raped? Both these little escapades can happen when one or more members of the pack turns on one of their own – let alone when members of a pack turn on other packs.

With the greatest respect to Jay’s psychology, and to your own (somewhat surprising) optimism, we are in the greatest danger of harming others and damage to ourselves when we refuse to accept our own (and others’) capacity for evil.

Now, to other, related, matters. You might find this of interest:

I can’t shrug off this flight from reality and responsibility as somebody else’s problem. I belonged to this movement; I helped to make the mess. People may very well say: Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you work in the George W. Bush administration that disappointed so many people in so many ways? What qualifies you to dispense advice to anybody else?

Fair question. I am haunted by the Bush experience, although it seems almost presumptuous for someone who played such a minor role to feel so much unease. The people who made the big decisions certainly seem to sleep well enough. Yet there is also the chance for something positive to come out of it all. True, some of my colleagues emerged from those years eager to revenge themselves and escalate political conflict: “They send one of ours to the hospital, we send two of theirs to the morgue.” I came out thinking, I want no more part of this cycle of revenge. For the past half-dozen years, I have been arguing that we conservatives need to follow a different course. And it is this argument that has led so many of my friends to demand, sometimes bemusedly, sometimes angrily, “What the hell happened to you?” I could fire the same question back: “Never mind me—what happened to you?”

So what did happen? The first decade of the 21st century was a crazy bookend to the twentieth, opening with a second Pearl Harbor and ending with a second Great Crash, with a second Vietnam wedged in between. Now we seem caught in the coils of a second Great Depression. These shocks radicalized the political system, damaging hawkish Democrats like Hillary Clinton in the Bush years and then driving Republicans to dust off the economics of Ayn Rand.

[my emphasis]

This is David Frum writing, Geoff, not someone from the “wet dreams/liberal/left”.

Oh, by the way, have you read this tsunami-like and very public orgasm about Andrew Bolt? Truly the “left” can never hope to emulate the “right”...

Merry Christmas Ayn Rand

"I wish to be left alone,'' said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned (prisons and workhouses): they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.''

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die.''

"If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

"It's not my business,'' Scrooge returned. "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!''

Humanity - at least someone got it right

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature. Voltaire.

Fancy that coming from an argumenative shit stirer like Voltaire; far too idealistic don't you think?

But this about the nicest (and realisticest) thing iWinne has to quote about homo-sapiens:

Humanity I love you because when you're hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink. C.C. Cummings


Here's to the mange - thanks very much!

Humanity giveth. Humanity taketh away.

We've spoken about this before, Justin. The mange wasn't out fault and even if it was it could have been worse. You could have been farm animals or otherwise of some commercial value apart from providing photographs for new stamp series. It could have been worse still. It could have been us.

Get over it. Stay cute and furry, and non-infectious, and you're in with a show. Maybe not a television series mind you.  It was hard enough finding a dozen kangaroos with enough personality to play Skippy and that included the stuffed ones. Let's face it, kangaroos aren't exactly  the stand up comedians of the animal world but they make wombats look like Bob Brown with a  party hat and whistle. And that's without the mange.

More rather than less

Yes, Geoff, I agree with much of what you say.

We need to understand how we are constructed, and we have the genes of pack animals. And we also have the genes of the crocodiles, the selfish loner, the cold-blooded killing machine.

But we are more than that, we have the social genes and intellect that allowed us to come together to work for the greater good, and build great civilisations.

And yes, it is easy to follow the path of least resistance, like the crocodile. But, we have a higher degree of consciousness and will. We have the ability to feel the rich sensuousness of a triple layered chocolate cake and resist it.

Yes, leaders such as Obama and Gillard are mere mortals. They are selfish and are willing to debase their morals to get reelected. But equally, in many ways, they also strive for the greater good. None of us are simply black or white. 

Why settle for less than we could be, Geoff? 

Much more

My sentiment exactly, Jay. I am a huge fan of the human species. You can take every vile act we have ever committed since we first learnt how to use a stick as a club and I still say we are magnificant beyond all language.  Our future could the greatest light in the universe or it could be a cold long dark totalitarian superstitious hell on earth of our own making as it so often has been in the past and is still across large swathes of the planet.  Or extinction. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about the issues I am.

The animal packs of the left

I have to admit I found both those two brick novels too boring to finish back in 1973 but on the basis someone hated so much by the wet dream left can't be all bad, I did a little checking.

She's seems a remarkably thoughtful, resourceful and gutsy person to me. I suspect that as is so often the case with the wet dream left, it is not Ayn Rand or her writiing they hate, it's some warped wicked image of their own creation, a kind of mirror image Marx, or Trotsky, that they have trained one another to hate -- true pack style.

Horst Wessel Lied

Firstly, Geoff Pahoff and his infatuation with pack animals - too many  Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger moves, Geoff!

Don't forget the role of "pack animals", pack mentality and valorisation of self and ego in the rise and operation of the Third Reich, or have you developed a sudden taste for Nazism?

He talks the language of fascism, but doesn't know it..

My views - surprise, surprise are more in sync with others here and the term psychopath so describes the US Right and here: Koch Bros (John Birch), Murdoch, Goldman-Sachs and so forth.

Aynn Rand is sanitised Mein Kampf. After the failure of the Third Reich, Western elitists lost their poster boy, Hitler and the script/warrant had to be rewritten after the horrible truth about Nazism in ww2 came out.

It's taken nearly a lifetime for the lesson of fascism to be forgotten, including by Geoff Pahoff, of all people.

But it survived at least partly due to Rand and thrived the last decade: even governing centrist politicians like Gillard and Obama quail at its power.

But Rand's rubbish is the same rubbish, "self-will run riot", paranoia insecurity and subjectivity, valorisation of self, narcissism, denialism and urge to control, with its SocDarwinist power hunger, as Hitler wrote. And it is a lovely excuse also for opportunist scum ( as with the nazis) on the margins after a quick buck, regardless of harm done to anyone else.

But we needn't worry about concentration camps, why, the Third World is a giant open-air concentration camp! After all, it's not US who suffer, no sign of anyone coming after us yet. Like Niemoller back in the 'thirties, I guess we'd just better keep "mum" about events across the rest of the world, including the lunacy from the T-partiers and Republicans in the US. Doesn't affect us yet!


It's not all about Stalin, Hitler and Islamist hate

Calm down Paul. It's not as if I'm Paul McGeough or something. I would never suggest we are hyenas.

A human pack can rape a CNN reporter in Tahrir Square because they mistook her for a Jew or they can listen in sublime emotional commonality to a brilliant orchestra or anything in between. Packs are just as capable of love and rescue as killing and war.

A selfish bitch to the bitter end

Ayn Rand claimed she was the greatest philosopher since Aristotle, whom she admired. The funny thing is you will have a hard time finding anything she says, or I suspect pens, that is Aristotelian in the empirical scientific manner; rather, she lives in the world of ideas (fantasy) in relationship with a screwed up (narcissistic) intellectualism that gave birth to this bastard child called individualism.

I'm alright Jack

And yet time soon or later makes hypocrites of us all. Rand, a heavy smoker, paid the penalty, and spent the latter years of her life accepting social security, albeit begrudgingly, her supporters claim, but nevertheless the self-proclaimed greatest philosopher since Aristotle, that great individual who hated collectivism, socialism and handouts, accepted the goodwill and cash of those individuals she held in disdain, all in her own selfish interests.

At least she was consistent to her very selfish miserable end.

Maybe having children would have done her the world of good. It just might have afforded her the experience of loving somebody else more than she loved herself.

Free Trade

I was disappointed to read the 1967 quote. I read a couple of her novels way back and liked them. But what you can admire in the drastically simplistic world of her novels, a simple personal independence and self-reliance does look pretty nasty when it becomes hatred of the starving and the dying.

And what you could say in 1967 when the world's population was 3 billion you could not say today when it is 7 billion.

Perhaps. But then, perhaps there is an urgent and immediate need to reduce the world's population to a tenth of its present number and Ayn Rand is showing us how.

But I suspect that the real villain is free trade, which our Prime Minister, our local Ayn Rand, has loudly embraced in recent days. In other words, globalization. In the name of full employment for us and starvation for them.

What is wrong with protectionism? Well, it prevents powerful friends from selling us their pharmaceuticals for ten times the price we currently pay, for starters. So it is bad.

And means huge areas of marginal Australian arid lands would not be turned into desert by being raped for export, gouging crops that we don't need. So it is bad.

Free trade is predation. Protection is protection. The first is good, the second is bad.

So that's that

Glad we've got this one settled, boys. So - given that we are pack animals, and the slaves of contagious emotions - we should just lie back and enjoy it.

Thank goodness for that: I was getting terriby tired of trying to be a better person.

For a start ...

Not at all Fiona. But it is part of the start and in my experience it is always better to start with the truth rather than easy and comfortable delusions.

Besides, what's wrong with pack animals? I like dogs; don't you? It's not just fear, hate and anger than can spread through a crowd like the worst virus from outer space. We feel empathy because of the pack. There are no political parties or religions among jellyfish swarms, just cold dead malice, and given a choice between the pack and the herd, we are far better off with the pack. 

Being a better person comes with an understanding of who we are and really it should not require a struggle against our nature. It should need no effort at all.

Love thy enemy

I believe that most psychological theories see the move from selfishness to the recognition and care for others as a maturational process, stages of development. Even after reaching a maturity level, people can regress, and the emotions of fear and anger.

There is also increasing awareness that emotions are contagious. And being with people who are fearful or angry makes one more inclined to be more fearful or angry 

One of my favourite books is Enders Game. It's a science fiction story in which a young strategic genius annihilates a race of alien invaders. One of its many gems is that it takes the principle that to defeat an enemy, one must know the enemy, learn to think like them. And by learning to think like them, one learns to understand and love them, and he ultimately ends up destroying those he loved. 

Beyond empathy

There is also increasing awareness that emotions are contagious. And being with people who are fearful or angry makes one more inclined to be more fearful or angry .

This is absolutely correct Jay. It is an important insight into what we are and the implications define us. Humans are pack animals. Just like our allied species the canines. That's why we understand each other so well.

Charity clearly begins at home...

… from the POV of the 0.1% (the graph in particular).

Just an old-fashioned girl...

Dear Geoff, I'm so pleased that you managed to get "quaint" and "old-fashioned" into the one post.

I have no shame about being either. They both sit rather well, in my opinion, with other old-time notions like compassion, considerateness, and charity.

Psychopathic behaviour

"As such, psychopathy may be characterized ... as involving a tendency towards both dominance and coldness. Wiggins (1995) in summarizing numerous previous findings... indicates that such individuals are prone to anger and irritation and are willing to exploit others. They are arrogant, manipulative, cynical, exhibitionistic, sensation -seeking, Machiavellian, vindictive, and out for their own gain. With respect to their patterns of social exchange (Foa & Foa, 1974), they attribute love and status to themselves, seeing themselves as highly worthy and important, but prescribe neither love nor status to others, seeing them as unworthy and insignificant. This characterization is clearly consistent with the essence of psychopathy as commonly described.

It seems psychopathic behaviour is quite common. To live in a world without empathy must be soul destroying.

One can only feel sorry for Ayn Rand and her followers.

How quaint

 "To the contrary, she declares, when civilized man “discovers entire populations rotting alive in such conditions” he should not feel pity, but “a burning stab of pride” for “the achievements of his nations and his culture…” Amazingly, Rand fails to acknowledge how much the civilized nations have prospered at the expense of the global poor thanks to imperialism. Would she have us applaud the imperialists for their opportunism and exploitation?" [my emphasis]

I'm not sure that Ayn Rand actually said this, especially if by 'pity' Firmin DeBrabander meant "compassion" or "empathy". Pity, with its hint of superciliousness and contempt, is not the most noble of human instincts even if it inspires religions and some hare brained political parties.

Whatever; because either way Ayn Rand is far closer to the truth  than Firmin DeBrabander ever will be as he just demonstrated.  Some systems and cultures, especially political cultures but take as you like, are better than others, sometimes a lot better. The wet dreams/liberal/left can stay in denial if it wants to, or it can move on to anger and bargaining and then depression. That's progress.

There's something quaint and old fashioned about this piece; like a Trotskyist blog. I remember Ayn Rand enjoyed a brief period as arch villian of the wet dream liberal/left in the seventies and that whine about "imperialism" being the cause of the failure of  most post-Imperial states across Africa and the Middle East is almost a comical parody of 1970's thought. It is almost funny.

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