Ayn Rand: How-to-Do-It Manual for Psychopaths
stolen from Marcella Mroczkowski at the Huffington Post
I am the very model of the rational Objectivist
Arrogant, obnoxious, full of insults and invective-ist
A form of mental illness both contagious and infective-ist
But absolutely rational, not mystic or collectivist.
Ayn Rand's Objectivism is basically a how-to manual designed to teach a normal person to think like a psychopath. First, Objectivism teaches the pupil the basic thinking of the pathological narcissist, to regard his own viewpoint as absolute, objective reality and any other person's viewpoint, to the extent it conflicts, as a figment, a fantasy that he need not consider at all. Objectivism then proceeds to "elevate" the pupil to true malignant narcissism by demonizing "altruism" -- Rand's term of art for all the empathetic values -- and lionizing sadism.
Adam Smith was a deeply compassionate moral philosopher whose other great work besides The Wealth of Nations was The Theory of Moral Sentiments. His concept of the free market was not at all that of Ayn Rand or other laissez-faire advocates. Adam Smith did not regard an unregulated market as a true free market: the ruthless and powerful would quickly rig it. Like the Founders, Smith worked to expand and secure the rights of the less powerful. Though Smith and the Founders were minimalists as to government power -- what's the least amount and type of government power necessary to achieve desirable and legitimate ends -- they were not anarchists. And they did not go to so much trouble to articulate and defend the rights of ordinary citizens and to design governments that would protect the rights of those ordinary citizens only to throw those citizens and their rights under the bus in the face of the abuse of private power.
One problem we have in this study is that Smith and the Founders wrote and worked a century or more before the founding of modern psychology and psychiatry. The words "empathy" and "altruism" did not yet exist, although the concept embodied in those terms, in the form of the Golden Rule, is as old as human nature and appears in almost all cultures and religions. The language with which they spoke of these values is somewhat different than the contemporary idiom and this has posed some obstacles to scholarship. It is not difficult to overcome and it must be overcome. This minor linguistic obstacle has also unfortunately provided the advocates of the psychopathic worldview with another advantage.
This difference between the deeply empathetic values of Adam Smith and the flagrantly psychopathic values of Ayn Rand is also reflected in devastating changes in this country's business culture, particularly in the structures and values of the management of our largest corporate enterprises.
The executives of the Greatest Generation, forged by their experiences in the Great Depression and World War II, were much more compassionate. The structures of corporate governance were built on a system of checks and balances that reflected the institutions of democratic governance. Truly independent boards of directors, empowered shareholders and union-empowered employees acted as a check on management. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, the executives of the Greatest Generation believed they were building a great nation, not just great companies, and that they had a responsibility to use their power to make this a better nation for all its people, not just line their pockets. Though we started from a much poorer place, the morality of their leadership helped make possible exponential growth in both prosperity and civil rights that uplifted the middle class, the working class and the poor.
By contrast, today's large corporations are run like banana republics by tin-pot dictators. The checks and balances are gone. The replacement of the Greatest Generation's empathetic values with psychopathic values is evident in the manner in which executive salaries have skyrocketed past all possible justification while rank and file wages and benefits have been eviscerated and jobs ruthlessly outsourced. The devastation they have wrought on lives and communities is further exacerbated by their relentless corruption of government at all levels into a kleptocratic source of revenue. They have become intolerable parasites.
And it is all empowered and reinforced by an ideological juggernaut of psychopathic values and the media machinery of demonizing hate -- the very demagoguery that Plato's Republic and the Federalist Papers warned us would destroy our republic.
Best book on the phenomenon of Randopathy
Unintentional portrait of Ayn Rand by "The Genius" -- A. WYATT MANN