Marry me, Bill

I hope that this election is neither a referendum on Barack Obama nor a (stark, of course) choice between two competing visions for America. I hope instead that this election is a referendum on the collected works of Ayn Rand.

Paul Ryan in 2005:

I always go back to, you know, Francisco d’Anconia’s speech, at Bill Taggart’s wedding, on money when I think about monetary policy.

Dave Weigel explains:

The problem, says d’Anconia, is that statists — looters and moochers — see dollar signs and think they can, must redistribute them. “Whenever destroyers appear among men,” he says, “they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: ‘Account overdrawn.'”

Now, take all of that and apply it to our current debates about the Federal Reserve. Since the Nixon years, the dollar has been de-linked from the price of gold. The Federal Reserve can print money and use it to buy up government bonds — which it has recently, in several rounds of Quantitative Easing. It does this because Congress gave the Fed a dual mandate to fight inflation and to reduce unemployment. Creating “free” money helps with that latter goal. I hope it doesn’t surprise you that Ryan, since at least 2008, has wanted the Fed to abandon the employment madate. He doesn’t say this in a stupid way, like Rick Perry. He says it by citing Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand is simply “Lord of the Rings” for wingnuts. Fine, everyone is entitled to their own fantasy books, even adults.

But when was the last time you heard a liberal say that every time he considers military action, he always thinks of Frodo’s speech about the danger of the lure of power?

97 replies
  1. 1
    liberal says:

    IMHO the Georgist critique of Rand is the most powerful (as it is the most powerful critique of all things libertarian).

  2. 2
    Bobby Thomson says:

    In before Obligatory Kung fu monkey reference

  3. 3
    mistermix says:

    I have to wonder about the sanity and taste of someone who could not only read those endless fucking speeches in that awful book, but actually quotes them. The only things I remember from that book are a trainwreck and some rape-y sex.

  4. 4
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Ayn Rand is simply “Lord of the Rings” for wingnuts. Fine, everyone is entitled to their own fantasy books, even adults.

    At first, I read that as “Lord of the Flies” and thought, “well, duh.” Then the coffee kicked in.

    ETA: and “wedding speech”? WTF?

  5. 5
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Why would anybody read those doorstops. I tried reading the Fountain Head, when I was a teen, I could not make it beyond pg 50, very boring. Wasn’t Ayn Rand from Russia? So I can see where her fear of collectivist ideologies comes from.

  6. 6
    Misterpuff says:

    Exciting wedding speech.

    Glad, I just sent a card.

    Should have given gold, I see.

    But really, what DO you give to the MOTU?

  7. 7
    Valdivia says:

    Sort of OT: Via Politico, I refuse to give it the click: Dan Senor is now one of the lead advisers to Ryan. Ha ha ha ha.

    Also, too. Re Bibi and Iran: new poll out in Israel that 46% of Israelis are against an attack. All the war noise this week is truly about selling the war product and it ain’t going well.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    ETA: and “wedding speech”? WTF?

    Remember, the audience is a bunch of Ayn Rand characters. For them, it was probably more inspiring than Shakespeare’s version of Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech.

  9. 9
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    cause you know how useful gold is, since you can eat it like paper money, can’t be speculated on and it’s not like the ocean are full of it.

  10. 10
    jrg says:

    It’s amazing to me it never occurs to some people that if we used gold as currency (or gold-backed currency), we’d still have central banks.

    That would probably introduce an entirely new set of problems, like the wealthy taking a lot of gold out of the economy to create artificial scarcity, then flooding the market and cashing in.

  11. 11
    quannlace says:

    How anyone past the age of nineteen can stand reading Rand is, well, beyond me.
    There the kind of books that you read between classes on the college quad; and gets you feeling all inspired and noble. A few years later you think back on them and realize what utter tosh they are.

  12. 12
    SatanicPanic says:

    He doesn’t say this in a stupid way, like Rick Perry. He says it by citing Ayn Rand.

    I understand we’re not talking about Dave Wiegel here, but I don’t even know what to say about this.

  13. 13
    Comrade Mary says:

    (Psssst! Can anyone vaguely techie and awake check your ads? There’s broken code showing all over the place.)

  14. 14
    Violet says:

    How are the Paulites feeling about Ryan? I know they want their boy Ron to be the candidate, but other than that, do they like his Randian impulses? Anyone know?

  15. 15
    Mark S. says:

    for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence

    I know that no real philosophers take Rand seriously, but dear god, but has anyone ever advocated such an incredibly stupid materialistic philosophy such as this? Rand was the Bobo of her day when it came to name-dropping and loved to pretend she was the intellectual heir to Aristotle, but even Aristotle at his most aristocratic would never say having a lot of money was the prerequisite to a moral existence.

  16. 16
    Comrade Jake says:

    I knew of Ryan before his VP selection mostly because of his budget. Obviously that will get plenty of attention in the coming months (rightfully so, IMO), but I do wonder if his record will also be scrutinized.

    The fact that his voting record scores him to the right of Michelle Bachman, and that (of course) he has fairly extreme views on abortion are pretty fucking damning when you consider them.

    Any Republican vice presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.

    I wonder how much Team Obama will make a point of this kind of wingnuttery.

  17. 17
    Rick Taylor says:

    Everyone here has likely seen this quote by Krugman, but it’s too appropriate to pass up.

    Paul Ryan requires that his staffers read Atlas Shrugged. I mean, I was inspired by Isaac Asimov, but I don’t think I’m Hari Seldon — whereas Ryan, it seems, really does think he’s John Galt.Time to bring out the classic quote:

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  18. 18
    quannlace says:

    an incredibly stupid materialistic philosophy such as this? Rand was the Bobo of her day w

    She also spent the last years of her life living on Social Security.

  19. 19
    iLarynx says:

    I’m just the messenger.

    Rogers (via TBogg):

    — There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  20. 20
    Punchy says:

    What did Sully think of Bill Taggart’s wedding?

  21. 21

    Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced.

    See, this right here is something I don’t understand. Why is gold any more “objective” than, I don’t know, silver, bismuth, copper, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, or lead or tin or any other metal? Wouldn’t food or clothes or shoes or something like that be far more “objective” than gold? Who needs gold to live? I’ve met people in Honduras, old people, who, I would bet, have never even seen gold, yet they’re still alive, they’re still getting by. What is gold, really, other than an arbitrary standard we’ve chosen to stand for wealth?

  22. 22
    Valdivia says:

    More to the point of the post, that quote about money being the base of moral existence is mind-bending. But doesn’t it just fit perfectly with Romney’s whole tenor for the campaign?

  23. 23
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: It is also known as “The Love Of Money” speech, psychopathic Wall Street bankers knows this speech in their hearts like Bible Thumpers know the 23rd Psalms.

  24. 24
    jibeaux says:

    Look, don’t tell anyone, but I have to give a wedding speech next spring and I’ll probably give it on monetary policy, too.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Yeah, let’s stare at the gold market and describe how much it is tied to “wealth produced.” Gold, like paper, is only worth as much as those who accept it make it worth, not those who supply it. Like money, in order for it to be a stable form of currency, has to be backed by a large enough number of people and enforced by an entity, which we call a government.

  27. 27
    Mark S. says:

    Gold was an objective value

    Even though she called herself an objectivist, Rand didn’t know what objective means.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Mary says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Exactly! I never understand people who insist that the gold standard is somehow an objective measure. Gold has no inherent value! It has no practical use that I am aware of. Its value is based entirely on what we are willing to pay for it.

  30. 30
    iLarynx says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    I see now that you beat me to the classic Rogers quote. You’re too quick for me.

  31. 31
    beltane says:

    LOL, the Ryan honeymoon, such as it was, is already over: http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....ayle-Lower

  32. 32
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mark S.: Shouldn’t that drive every Christian over the edge?

  33. 33
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    DougJ @ Top:

    But when was the last time you heard a liberal say that every time he considers military action, he always thinks of Frodo’s speech about the danger of the lure of power?

    To be fair, I have heard people (not me) quote Gandalf when arguing against the death penalty:

    Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill [Gollum] when he had the chance.
    __
    Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.

    .

  34. 34
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @jibeaux: I LOL’d

  35. 35
    quannlace says:

    LOL, the Ryan honeymoon, such as it was, is already over:

    Who was it, I think Eric Erickson, who insisted that Romneyland would get an 11 point bump from the Ryan addition. Humm, in what dimension?

  36. 36
    Xboxershorts says:

    While the dollar has in fact been delinked from the hard commodity known as gold. As the international reserve currency, the dollar has numerous semi-hard pseudo-links to all commodities traded.

    For instance, the dollar is heavily linked to oil.

    While the American currency does float. It tends to float on a (shrinking) sea of oil.

  37. 37
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    But when was the last time you heard a liberal say that every time he considers military action, he always thinks of Frodo’s speech about the danger of the lure of power?

    __
    Which would actually be a good deal less silly than quoting Rand re: monetary policy, seeing as how The Lord of the Rings was written by a war veteran who spent time in the trenches of WW1 and lost many of his friends to that conflict, and who was at the time the LOTR was under composition widely recognized as the leading scholar of the poem Beowulf, which amongst other things contains the oldest written account of hand-to-hand combat in all of English literature. In other words, somebody who actually knew something about the subject under discussion, both from personal experience and from long and intense academic study.

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Think about how valuable guns must be: The effective price of gold becomes zero with enough weapons.

  39. 39
    Valdivia says:

    @beltane:

    can’t.stop.laughing.

  40. 40
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    arguingwithsignposts:

    ETA: and “wedding speech”? WTF?

    This is what people mean when they call Rand a romantic.

    .

  41. 41
    nwithers says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):
    I actually found a good reason why we use gold (as well as silver) as an ancient currency. tl;dr reason, gold hits the sweet spot between rarity, easy refining, and low reactiveness for it to be used as an exchange medium in ancient times.

    Why Gold? Why Not Argon?

  42. 42
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @JGabriel: Lord of the Rings has some validity about war since Tolkien based on his own personal experience of war.

  43. 43
    WaterGirl says:

    @quannlace: Maybe he wasn’t totally wrong.

    I read yesterday that only 27% if of people had a favorable opinion of Ryan. If you add 11%, that would be 38%, not far from the 39% in the survey from after the announcement.

  44. 44
    Ash Can says:

    I for one am genuinely looking forward to a political campaign in which Ayn Rand is hung around the neck of one of the major participants (and, by extension, his running mate).

  45. 45
    Bill Arnold says:

    @quannlace:

    How anyone past the age of nineteen can stand reading Rand is, well, beyond me.

    Paul Ryan’s father died (heart attack) when young Paul was 16.
    According to a story on NPR this morning, Paul got through his grief in part by reading conservative tracts, including Ayn Rand, Hayek, and a third I don’t recall.

  46. 46
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Ayn Rand is simply “Lord of the Rings” for wingnuts. Fine, everyone is entitled to their own fantasy books, even adults.

    But when was the last time you heard a liberal say that every time he considers military action, he always thinks of Frodo’s speech about the danger of the lure of power?

    This is actually the exact analogy I use when explaining how stupid the worship of Ayn Rand is. Sure, you’ve got some stories about a world that is made entirely of looters for… some reason, whatever. But why would you read her books and decide that it is a reflection of the real world? It’d be like reading Lord of the Rings, then hiring some midgets to hurl jewelry into a volcano the next time there’s a war.

  47. 47
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I agree. I actually thought the Gandalf line I quoted was nice take on the death penalty discussion too, when a friend of mine used it in argument with someone else.

    .

  48. 48
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Bill Arnold:

    Paul got through his grief in part by reading conservative tracts, including Ayn Rand, Hayek, and a third I don’t recall.

    Mein Kampf?

    (Yeah, yeah, cheap shot, I know … but I couldn’t resist! I’m weak!)

    .

  49. 49
    Woodrowfan says:

    Gold standard? Anyone who looks at the economy in the late 19th century and early 20th should be horrified at the very idea. Six Flags would kill to have a roller coaster that had as many severe dips and upswings and dives as the economy between 1865 and 1933.

  50. 50
    Wag says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    And someone who wrote the book and sent each chapter to his son who was fighting nazis in North Africa.

  51. 51
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mary:
    Gold does in fact have a number of medical (including dental) as well as industrial applications, such as in electronics manufacturing. It’s useful for certain things like any other material; but if it didn’t look so pretty as jewelry, it might not be so desired and so pricey.

  52. 52
    Roy G. says:

    Destroyers seize gold government programs and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper vouchers.

    Updated, for today’s moochers and looters.

  53. 53
    shortstop says:

    I always go back to, you know, Francisco d’Anconia’s speech, at Bill Taggart’s wedding, on money when I think about monetary policy.

    Jim Taggart. Is there no simple fact Paul Ryan can’t fuck up, even when it comes from his semen-stained copy of AS?

  54. 54
    Bill Murray says:

    @Mary: gold has many uses. Its high value (from the gold bugs)means it is rarely used for these uses.

    http://geology.com/minerals/go.....gold.shtml

  55. 55
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’ve kinda sorta said that about Frodo. But… it was in response to Rick Santorum using Lord of the Rings as a metaphor for Bush’s foreign policy. The US right actually made some warmongering use of Tolkien metaphors in the early to mid- 2000s, based mostly on the movies.

  56. 56
    Sly says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):

    See, this right here is something I don’t understand. Why is gold any more “objective” than, I don’t know, silver, bismuth, copper, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, or lead or tin or any other metal?

    Because goldbugs confuse objectivity with tradition, and think gold’s utility as a currency from the Bronze Age to the early 20th century imparts it with some special value. The reality is that gold was the only substance usable as a currency that humans had access to (rare but not impossible to find, has a relatively low melting temperature, and isn’t toxic) until 20th century. The only other substances that came close in terms of rarity were silver, which corrodes easy, and platinum, which we didn’t even have the technology to melt until the early Industrial Era.

  57. 57
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:
    He was a WWI combat vet, wasn’t he?

  58. 58
    gf120581 says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    It’d be like reading Lord of the Rings, then hiring some midgets to throw jewelry into a volcano the next time there’s a war.

    That is priceless.

    I have many reason to hate Ayn Rand (she was a truly horrible person), but speaking as a writer, a big reason is that she was just a terrible writer. Reading Atlas Shrugged is the literary equivilent of having root canal without Novacaine. I’d rather try reading any of the Twilight series again than trying to slog through that nightmare again.

    Another thing about Rand; she was a hardcore atheist and violently contemptuous of any religion of any kind. Which makes it even odder that good Catholic boy Ryan and so many other “pious” conservatives end up as her groupies.

  59. 59
    Comrade Mary says:

    @beltane: I wouldn’t say that the honeymoon was over. Most Americans don’t know much about Ryan, and a split of 42% calling him fair or poor , versus 39% calling him pretty good or excellent, ain’t exactly a shellacking. And Republicans currently seem pretty happy about the choice:

    The poll also finds 17% of adults say they’re more likely to vote for Romney in November because Ryan is his running mate — about the same impact Palin had for John McCain four years ago among registered voters.
    __
    Republicans, however, see the appeal in Ryan, who was hailed this weekend as a bold, innovative thinker by party stalwarts. The poll finds 36% of Republicans are now more likely to vote for Romney. In 2008, only 3 in 10 Republicans said the choice of Palin made them more likely to vote for McCain.

    Assume nothing. Do not get complacent. Turnout and GOP attempts to suppress Democratic votes will be real factors this November.

  60. 60
    gf120581 says:

    @Bill Arnold: Just a thought, but reading Atlas Shrugged is not reccomended as a coping mechanism by any grief counselors I’ve heard of.

    I’d think Rand’s works are best recieved by egomaniacs who think they’re God’s gift to the world and need confirmation from Rand that they are superior beings and don’t have to live by the rules of the simple masses.

    Which makes it weird that Romney’s not a Rand lover. It seems right up his alley. But apparently his favorite novel is Battlefield Earth.

  61. 61
    Mark S. says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    No kidding. It also shows how painfully slow recoveries are when you use no fiscal or monetary tools.

  62. 62
    Origuy says:

    @Mary:

    Gold has no inherent value! It has no practical use that I am aware of.

    My teeth and my computer disagree with you. Gold is an excellent, non-corrosive conductor. It has other physical properties that make it the best choice in certain applications. None of them, however, mean that it should be the basis of a monetary system.

  63. 63
    Mary says:

    @Amir Khalid: @Origuy: @Bill Murray: Thanks for the info. While I hate being wrong, I do enjoy learning new things. :)

  64. 64

    Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced.

    “Gold is the corpse of value” (Goto Dengo, from Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon).

    Objectivists were the first real-world goldbugs I encountered (in my very early 20s). It takes about 30 seconds for a reality-based person to see through the conceit: Why would the value of some lump of substance be absolute and objective, just because the lump is comprised of (Au) instead of (Fe), or (H2O), or even… a piece of paper with some special green ink on it. (Your ‘value’ might be even more abstract: a few voltage signals inside a silicon chip, for that matter).

    Whatever you value, that value is completely inside your head. “Objective” value just means that other humans have a similar construct inside their heads. That doesn’t make the ‘value’ any more objective, or intrinsic.

  65. 65
    liberal says:

    @Origuy:
    Yeah, unlike e.g. silver the stuff doesn’t tarnish. Pretty amazing.

  66. 66
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    According to a story on NPR this morning, Paul got through his grief in part by reading conservative tracts, including Ayn Rand, Hayek, and a third I don’t recall.

    This really is Poe’s Law at work.

  67. 67
    mechwarrior online says:

    @gf120581:

    Go far enough down the atheist rabbit hole and you end up with a lot of values and concepts that are extremely similar to various religions.

    Atheism can have an extremely nasty streak that’s devoid of any sort of compassion and doesn’t see much value in life. Rand is the best example of this, but it has a mirror image in prosperity doctrine Christianity. Where the atheist can simply argue they are genetically better than the poor and thus entitled to more than they are certain Christian sects believe those gifts come from god and thus they are superior towards you.

    A lot of the nastier sides of atheist are in lock step with some of the more doubious branches of Christian thought.

  68. 68
    mechwarrior online says:

    @Origuy:

    Yeah gold is used in all electronics, diamonds as well. And gold vs copper vs silver is actually really interesting when talking about things that conduct electricity or things that conduct heat. Copper is a great material for heatsinks yet you can’t top gold for things like audio cables.

    It’s not worth what people think it is and there isn’t a shortage of it either.

    We certainly have enough uses for gold, diamonds, whatever that keeping them in vaults and thinking of them as money is a pretty stupid idea.

  69. 69

    @liberal:
    I don’t know. That reads as freaky as a goldbug tract. I admit I didn’t get all the way through it, but unless there’s a big surprise at the end this guy treats land as if it were the only and all-defining variety of capitol, and everyone has the option of going off and becoming a self-sufficient farmer. In the real world, none of that is true. Still, if you upgrade his obsession with land to capitol in general, he’s poking a big hole in the failures of Libertarian philosophy, the Marxist.

  70. 70
    jurassicpork says:

    Ayn Rand is simply “Lord of the Rings”? More like “Lord of the Flies.” What happens when a bunch of capitalists get stranded on a place like Wall Street with no adults to supervise them? 2008 is the answer. Which is why Jamie Dimon Needs to Go Fuck Himself With a Microplane Nutmeg Grater Now.

  71. 71
    Josh G. says:

    I always go back to, you know, Francisco d’Anconia’s speech, at Bill Taggart’s wedding, on money when I think about monetary policy.

    That’s James Taggart, not Bill. He can’t even get his own favorite book right!

  72. 72
    dead existentialist says:

    @Mary: Stinking liberal.

  73. 73
    Josh G. says:

    ETA: and “wedding speech”? WTF?

    It’s been a while since I read that book (thank God), but IIRC the situation was that someone at the wedding party made a comment about money being the root of all evil, and Francisco immediately got in his face with this multi-page speech. Were we supposed to assume he gave the speech completely extemporaneously, or that he just knew some “looter” was going to say that cliche at some point and had rehearsed the speech for that particular situation?

  74. 74
    HL_Guy says:

    I read “Anthem” when I was 13 or so. Having read some other (good) dystopian lit, I went along for the ride for awhile. When the two protagonsists, with fakey names I don’t remember, ‘escape’ from the collectivist state, they went out into ‘the forest’ and found a conveniently fully-functional house, where they read books and become empowered individualists (yay!). At that point, even my limited 13-year-old critical mind had bells go off… where did the books come from? Who left them a house in perfect condition to take advantage of? A *true* “You didn’t build that” moment, as it were. Never bothered to read any of the long Rand novels, because with plot holes that big in a novella, I wasn’t interested in scaling that experience up.

  75. 75
    Josh G. says:

    Oh, when that Slate article was first posted, there was a bit at the top about how Rand’s works are now increasingly popular in India. (The caption has since been changed, though the same photo is there.) I found that hilarious, because Rand hated India. I mean, completely despised it. To Rand, India was basically the living embodiment of “mysticism”, which is why you see John Galt referring to “germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges” and so forth.

  76. 76
    redshirt says:

    @mechwarrior online: I am not familiar with many atheist rabbit holes as such, and using Rand as an example of atheist thinking is a mistake in many ways.

    There’s no set of beliefs associated with atheism. But if you want to reach, then look to Science for a belief system. Science is NOT like religion in any way.

  77. 77
    Ruckus says:

    @Misterpuff:
    But really, what DO you give to the MOTU?

    Syphilis was the disease of choice a number of uprisings ago but that, one would actually have to “give” to them and that entails all kinds of unthinkable issues.

  78. 78
    rickstershierpa says:

    @iLarynx: I was looking for this John Rogers witticism from “Crooked Timber.” Having read both books about that age I found it hilarious. Of course, come 20 January 2013, we may be crying in our beers (those of s who can afford beer.)

    P.S. After reading late Paul Fussell’s “The Great War and Modern Memory” I realized that the “The Lord of the Rings” was really about the “the Great War,” at least the Frodo and Sam parts. And of course with its message about self-sacrifice for other, for the “Community” (the Shire), it is, for all its reactionary feudalism and religion, the antithesis of Rand’s work.

  79. 79
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):

    None of these fuckwits have ever read and understood Smith, who knew exactly what money, in all its forms is.

    A fiction used to simplify swapping cattle around.

  80. 80
    rickstershierpa says:

    And just a comment on the ridiculousness of the “wedding speech,” “Gold” itself has no value except as a cultural object. One can’t eat it and Iron, copper, and many other metals are far more useful. Its entire value and myth is cultural, as it has no “objective value,” whatever that means.

  81. 81
    redshirt says:

    No item has objective value save for calories and children.

  82. 82
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @mechwarrior online:

    This is one of the most stupid posts this blog has ever seen.

    That’s saying something.

  83. 83
    danimal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: IDK, agree or disagree with Mech’s post, it’s nowhere near “the helicopters are laughing.”

  84. 84
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @gf120581:

    Which makes it weird that Romney’s not a Rand lover. It seems right up his alley.

    LDS is prosperity-gospel plus what you might call in-group collectivism: tithing and MLM isn’t really a Randroid thing.

    (Though it is interesting that 20th-c Russian emigres like Rand projected their own extreme idea of anti-communism onto the US, a kind of inverted Stalinism.)

  85. 85
    jake the snake says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    They must have stopped teaching that. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “love of money is the root of all evil” or ‘it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter heaven.”

  86. 86
    Hungry Joe says:

    @quannlace:

    Who was it, I think Eric Erickson, who insisted that Romneyland would get an 11 point bump from the Ryan addition. Humm, in what dimension?

    Why, the fourth, of course:

    “He had a penis eight hundred miles long and two hundred and ten miles in diameter, but practically all of it was in the fourth dimension.” – Kurt Vonnegut, “Breakfast of Champions”

  87. 87
    Hungry Joe says:

    @jake the snake:

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “love of money is the root of all evil”

    Me, I wish I had ten million dollars for every time I heard “love of money is the root of all evil.”

    Make it twenty.

  88. 88
    gnomedad says:

    Who was best man at Ryan’s wedding? Grover Norquist?

  89. 89
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @gf120581: Rand wasn’t just an atheist, in the sense that she didn’t believe in anything and didn’t think anybody should.

    Rand thought Jesus was EVIL. She thought Christianity, and any other ethical tradition that tried to get people to feel obligations towards the rest of humanity was EVIL.

    Richard Dawkins, on his pissiest day, doesn’t get close to Rand. It is the great mystery of our time that she has somehow been adopted by allegedly “Christian” politicians in the US.

  90. 90
    Hidden Heart says:

    @Comrade Mary: The article you quote says “The poll finds 36% of Republicans are now more likely to vote for Romney. In 2008, only 3 in 10 Republicans said the choice of Palin made them more likely to vote for McCain.” This is classic bullshit reporting. 36% is 4 in 10. It might even be 3 of 10, given margins of error. What it really says, therefore, is that Ryan is having very little more influence on Republican voters than Palin did.

    That’s still not grounds for complacency, but it is a great example of how to mislead by abusive presentation of stats.

  91. 91
    hitchhiker says:

    Her appeal is to the finely developed sense of unfairness that most 15-year-olds bring to the world.

    People who grew up and out of that phase know that the books take small, obvious ideas (it’s more fun and more interesting to build stuff and solve problems if you can than to wait around whining for someone to come along and take care of your needs) and extend them miles beyond their natural reach.

    Her heroines — women of the ’50s — never get pregnant, tho’ they seem to have a fair amount of disturbing rape-me-please type sex. There are no kids and no elderly and no infirm people in her fantasy world, so it’s impossible to know how she might have dealt with them. We do know Ryan’s plan.

  92. 92
    AA+ Bonds says:

    He doesn’t say this in a stupid way, like Rick Perry. He says it by citing Ayn Rand.

    I hope everyone will remember this every time they read Dave Weigel, who is one of the worst people writing on politics today

    Here’s how I imagine him saying that out loud

    He doesn’t say this in a stupid way, like Rick Perry. He says it by citing Ayn Rand.

    and by this point he is leaning over the table and he has an aroused, flushed look in his face

  93. 93
    AA+ Bonds says:

    ♪ Paul Ryan ♪
    ♪ Is the worst Catholic ♪
    ♪ He thinks God made capitalism ♪
    ♪ And his budget was denounced by the bishops ♪
    ♪ Paul Ryan: he’s shit ♪

  94. 94
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I was really hoping that when he said “oh no I don’t read Ayn Rand I read Thomas Aquinas” that a Boston reporter would raise his hand and ask “so is the worm that torments the damned corporeal, or what”

    Because Ryan apparently knows the weddings in Rand’s tracts backward and forward so presumably he would have a working knowledge of the Summa Theologica, right

  95. 95
    Matt says:

    Never quite figured out the whole “GOLDS IZ REAL MONEYZ” obsession – apart from the pain-in-the-ass part about getting it out of the ground, what makes it “equivalent to wealth produced”? You can’t eat it, you can’t make anything USEFUL out of it (thinking in terms of the 17th-century that goldbugs always have a boner for), it’s easy to debase, etc.

    The only things it seems to have going FOR it is: (1) it’s rare and (2) already-rich people love to show it off.

  96. 96
    Sean says:

    Just came in here to say I appreciate the Laura Nyro reference in the title. Nice job.

  97. 97
    Chris Andersen says:

    There are so many things wrong with the Gold > Paper argument that they can’t be listed in a single comment. But I think the critics make a mistake in focusing so much attention on the wrong-headedness of the idea that paper money is evil. While that argument is stupid, what is equally stupid is that gold is a sign of pure wealth.

    Things have value only in the sense that people want them. If people want fruit, then fruit is valuable. If people want gold, then gold is valuable. If people want little pieces of paper, then little pieces of paper is valuable.

    None of these things have inherent value separate from the desire of people for them. The Gold > Paper argument is predicated on the false idea that gold has inherent value. It’s long past time that people who advocate otherwise were laughed off the stage.

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