Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Wordism Won’t Work

There is a giant revival of Ayn Rand going on.

Ayn Rand is the perfect focus for today’s frustration. She has brilliant criticisms of the liberal mentality. You get to object to your heart’s content. But in the end she is harmless. She demands an and to all of a bugaboo called “government.

I was here when they had the last big Rand, “Objectivism,” boom, in the 60s. No one was allowed to take on the assumptions behind the New Frontier, Great Society, hippy liberalism of the 60s, so Rand was perfect.

There was a group called Preform. It was to get or build an island for a group of people who would live according to the Book of Rand. There was to be no government, only contracts between individuals.

The world would leave them alone, because they were a sovereign area. Preform Island would have no military. Any attack would presumably defend itself by a spontaneous posse of individuals. Here is one of the obvious cracks in the religion of Objectivism.

The idea was that this army of total individuals would contract with each other to fight. Remember this is a Wordism based entirely on personal advantage. It is made up of people who are not just totally self-interested, but whose ONLY motivation is self-interest. Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, a number of strong characters opposing the universally milk sops leftists. But not one of them had or planned to have any children.

Rand’s husband had himself sterilized.

I haven’t been in a lot of combat. The WWII Generation says my little firefights were not REAL combat. They tell each other that Korean War vets were in “the police action,” not in a Real War. But I can’t imagine, in the fights I was in, that a Completely Self-Interested Individual would honor an impersonal CONTRACT in those crucial minutes when he could just get off the firing line. How could Randian Wordism justify someone in going right into the fire to make it possible for an isolated buddy to fall back?

They can’t even justify LOYALTY to their own children, much less a stranger they made a contract with.

Similar to Randianism, and my own field of special study in my doctoral work in economics, was the field of Public Choice, in which two of my professors got Nobel Prizes. It comes to many brilliant and accurate conclusions, as Rand does. It sees voting as the outcome of self-interest on the part of voters.

But its first failure is similar to the one I just cited for Objectivism, it is so simple and fundamental that, for people like so many BUGS commenters, they instantly get away from it and go on to less simplistic subjects.

This is that failure: under the assumptions of Public Choice, it is not rational for an individual voter to vote AT ALL. It costs time and effort to vote. If your vote is entirely for your own self-interest, there is no way in the world to justify your standing in the voter line for one minute.

People vote be because they want a say in how THEIR SOCIETY will go. The idea of getting some INDIVIDUAL to go to the polls on the basis of his own personal self-interest is absurd. The idea that the world would ignore Preform Island is absurd, and the idea that a group of totally self-interested vigilantes would hold together under fire without LOYALTY is a concept only a hypnotic Wordist can take seriously.

That is why the establishment allows Rand to be published in massive editions in the new craze. That is why Public Choice is allowed to get Nobel Prizes. Both of them deny racism or nativism or any other loyalty. And the priesthood of Political Correctness has no fear of anything but LOYALTY.



The Lesson of New Amsterdam

Posted by Bob on June 10, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Historians love to talk about the extreme tolerance of New Amsterdam.

Governor Peter Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam was astonished when the first shipload of Jews arrived there about 1640. He immediately informed the Dutch company that owned the colony the he had told them to leave, without the slightest doubt that they would agree.

Stuyvesant was astonished when the company instructions arrived from Holland telling him to let them stay. New Amsterdam was for EVERYBODY, they said.

The Dutch on the island were merely a large minority.

Historians love to talk about this incident. They never mention what happened afterward.

When the British fleet came in to take New Amsterdam from the tolerant Dutch AND the tolerant company that owned it, Stuyvesant tried to organize a defense. He was met by a delegation of citizens of New Amsterdam which was led by his own son.

This delegation reflected the exact sentiments of the Dutch who had founded the place and the company that owned it. They told the Governor that they were not about to fight the British. They said that, as far as they were concerned, it made not the slightest difference who governed the place, as long as it was a stable power, like England, that would allow business to go on as usual.

So the Dutch lost their profitable colony and the company lost every guilder it had put into the place, all without a shot fired.

A melting pot has no loyalty.


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