Dystopian Dreams: Part II
For Part I of Dystopian Dreams, written on January 25, 2012, click here.
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was recently discovered making disturbing comments, essentially writing off an entire mass of people, at an Ayn Rand gathering in 2005.
His comment was similar to Romney’s comment on the 47% of Americans that he says are freeloaders.
But it’s said that Ryan’s comments are worse and they reveal a deeper meaning. I suspected before that Paul Ryan subscribed to Randian ideas but this recent article verified my supposition.
Paul Ryan outright admitted in the past that he thinks of Randian fictional works like “Anthem” or “The Fountainhead” when thinking of monetary policy. He also stated that he requires his staff to read these works, effectively brainwashing them into his beliefs.
It is most troubling and potentially dangerous that high-ranking elected officials are influenced by works of fiction. The author Rand is suggestive of violence in the case of defending the wealthy and their wealth. She oversimplifies and separates people into two categories, creators (businesspersons) and parasites (workers). She is completely detached from the concept of helping others and instead she encourages all to fend for themselves and to not feel guilt for being wealthy.
Sound familiar? “It’s not a crime to be wealthy,” said Mitt Romney. True. But not helping others is.
What is revealed now is the result of this Randian way of thinking. There is a pattern of politicians that cite her works as models for their policy making. There is far right “Libertarian” (extreme right) senator Ron Paul, who luckily, did not advance farther in his presidential campaign. But there is also his own son that he named Rand. It’s just amazing. Rand Paul who I expect to see running for the presidency in the future. It wouldn’t surprise me.
So we see a pattern of right-wing extremism in recent years, a pattern that reveals the state of the Republican party. When the most visible members in the party all subscribe to Randian ideas, there’s a major cultural problem within the party. Verily, comments like Romney’s 47% comment or Ryan’s recently found comments reveal the author Rand’s being out of touch with the rest ideas.
There is this troubling pattern of over consumption of fictional works that have the potential to twist minds. That is exactly what Ayn Rand wanted but she was a product of communist Russia. She saw the negative impacts of her environment and she reacted strongly against that through her writing. We’re talking about works from before the second World War.
It is a danger to isolate oneself in a world of fictional works. It is a danger to be overly individualistic. It is a danger to society for its leaders to not be, at least, cultured or worldly. But not all can be diplomats, some are warmongers and others work to destroy aid like social security and medicare.
We’re seeing too many “individualists,” or loners, that have turned out to be mentally unhealthy and destructive. Why do random acts of nonsensical violence, like the attack on Gabrielle Giffords, happen in this country? It is, in part, because of antisocial behavior. It doesn’t help to push an isolationist or ultra nationalist (Republican) view on the entire country. There is a great world out there to discover. So things like not learning another language or not being open to other cultures contribute to detachment from the rest of humanity.
It can be too much of a challenge to ask some Americans to be open to the rest of the world when some can’t even be open to fellow Americans.
Ultimately, too much isolationism or individuality, the type that Rand pushes in her writing, is destructive.