Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rand vs. Hayek

Mark over at The League makes an interesting point:
"This is why, for all the bluster about “death panels,” and health care reform
being an irreversible step on the road to socialism, it is the Randian vision of
the world that animating the Right’s position on reform at the expense of the
far more rigorous, thoughtful, and classically liberal vision of Hayek."

I'm more familiar with Rand's work than Hayek's, but I suspect there's a good point here. How anyone could find Rand compelling is beyond me--she's every bit as dogmatic and unmoored from reality as any of her Communist antogonistes were. The major difference, so far as I can see, is that at least Marx and Lenin were trying to solve problems of social justice, and while their solution was deeply flawed it's not hard to see how it appealed to a lot of poor and powerless people. Rand pretty much dismisses any notion of social justice and prefers to see the world as a brutal, zero-sum struggle between people where helping others is merely a sign of weakness, and it's always obvious where her sympathies lie--with the virtuous rich instead of the scum-sucking poor. I'll admit this though: she did have a comprehensive worldview, as the sex scenes in her books can show. Ugh.

What I find interesting about the right's enduring Rand crush is that Rand was a notorious antitheist, and her philosophy is essentially a negation of the entire Christian enterprise. Rand would have thought Christ an idiot because he chose to sacrifice himself for others, instead of feeding his own desires and not letting people stand on their own two feet. How can one believe both of these ideas? I guess it's not new news that conservatism isn't exactly a coherent philosophical system, but the irony here is delicious.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.