Ayn Rand world: introduction
Gary Weiss (Ayn Rand Nation: the Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul) fears what an “Ayn Rand world” would look like. We should all fear a “Gary Weiss world,” or rather, strive to get out of that world. More to the point, an Ayn Rand world would not be nearly as horrible as Weiss and his fellow travelers make out. One need only “think outside the box” to imagine not only how an Ayn Rand world would work, but that it would work, and work well.
The Ayn Rand world as Gary Weiss sees it
Space, not to mention that copyright law of which Ayn Rand was an even more passionate defender than are most conservatives, will not allow a full direct quote of the Gary Weiss vision. A short list will do:
- Government having only three functions and agencies: police (mostly local), military (mostly national), and judiciary (all levels)
- No government regulations.
- No “entitlements.”
- No government schools, nor government hospitals, either.
- No public institutions of any kind. This includes the Post Office, “pure” science programs, Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. (C-SPAN might survive as an institution of Congress.)
- No building codes.
- Unplowed, pockmarked streets; bridges falling down.
- No public parks or other public lands.
- No air traffic, because the government-run air-traffic control system would cease.
- No search-and-rescue. (He says that the Coast Guard would not operate in stormy weather.)
- Forests burning out of control, widespread pollution, clear-cutting, etc., as evil capitalists lay waste to the environment.
- Global warming and consequent rough weather
- No weather-disaster relief
- Poor and elderly left to die
- Cheap and exploitable labor on a par with “fourth-world kleptocracy.” (Thieving rulers? Like those we live under now?)
- No more consumer-protection laws.
- Mass transit systems stop running.
- Bad drugs from big companies, just because those companies are big.
- No government regulation of stock and other securities trading. Insider training rife.
- No income taxes; workers paid ten cents per hour.
- Inherited wealth concentrating in the hands of a few “American royal” families.
- No more philanthropy; non-profits fade away, except those that satisfy the vanity of a few donors.
How the Ayn Rand world would really work
CNAV will not try to analyze all of the above in one column. Instead, CNAV will take those points one-at-a-time, in future articles. Some of the above items are incorrect. Some are correct, but the Constitution demands them, so one must ask what is wrong with them. Many would redound, not to the detriment of society, but to its health.
Two of Ayn Rand’s more famous characters, architect Howard Roark (The Fountainhead) and steel magnate and metallurgical inventor Henry Rearden (Atlas Shrugged), answered their detractors thus:
I could say that my way serves your constituency better than you can or do. But I won’t, because I serve myself, not you or anyone else.
True enough: the government should never ask a person to serve anyone apart from, above, and against his interest. Government exists to tell a person not to start a fight to rob or hurt others. But someone should say that a government that intervenes in everything does not serve the public good. The public needs to understand this, especially this year. Four years ago, the American people elected “Mr. Thompson,” the Head of State in Atlas. This year, they have a chance to remove him. They need to know why they should.
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