Home > The Economics Profession > Foot-in-mouth disease — Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan

Foot-in-mouth disease — Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan

from Lars Syll

Now, I don’t care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country. I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country …

Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights—they didn’t have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal “cultures”—they didn’t have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using …

What were they fighting for, in opposing the white man on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence; for their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched—to keep everybody out so they could live like animals or cavemen. Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it’s great that some of them did. The racist Indians today—those who condemn America—do not respect individual rights.

Ayn Rand,  Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, 1974

It’s sickening to read this gobsmacking trash. But it’s perhaps even more sickening that people like Alan Greenspan consider Rand som kind of intellectual hero.

Re Greenspan, yours truly can’t but agree with Paul Krugman — he isn’t just a bad economist, he’s a bad person. What else can one think of a person that considers Ayn Rand — with the ugliest psychopathic philosophy the postwar world has produced — one of the great thinkers of the 20th century? A person that even co-edited a book with her — maintaining that unregulated capitalism is a “superlatively moral system”. A person that in his memoirs tries to reduce his admiration for Rand to a youthful indiscretion — but who actually still today can’t be described as anything else than a loyal Randian disciple.

  1. Dave Raithel
    August 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    If you’ve never seen the use of images of American aborigines in the pro-gun loving propaganda dispensed by the heirs of Rand – The Teabaggers, who actually run states like Missouri – you’ve missed one of the more sublime ironies of incoherent political philosophy. If dem redskins and (and subsequently, dem nigger slaves) had only had their 2nd Amendment Rights (which merely makes explicit a Natural Right to weapons), ‘Merica would be a free country, unoccupied by Nigerian Muslim Commies. I shit thee not.

  2. John McDonald
    August 6, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Besides her pathetic logic, Rand also reveals her ignorance of the typical native American’s great desire for freedom, both at the individual level and tribal.
    I think a libertarian’s underlying notion of individual freedom is simply the desire not to have to use self discipline – freedom is really all about “my freedom.”

  3. davetaylor1
    August 6, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Rand also seemed to lack the understanding that, in the days before trains, planes and cars for everyone, the natives learned from the animals and migrated south for the winter. The need for hunting, shooting and fishing along the way would been very problematic given private property in the post-reformation English fashion. But then, what do Randy modern Americans know or care about pre-reformation English history? Their world began with them.

  4. August 7, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Libertarian “freedom” means nothing more than “freedom” for capital to do whatever it wants in furtherance of profit maximization. Give Ayn Rand credit for one thing — she enunciated that with unusual clarity.

  5. January 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    A Counterpunch article “Ayn Rand: the Tea Party’s Miscast Matriarch” shows that corporations are pouring millions of dollars into popularizing her by funding the Ayn Rand Institute — on its own, the movement would have died a quiet death. This is not a surprise; the only social problem, according to Ayn, is that the government regulates business and is unfair to the wealthy. As Greenspan, a devotee of Rand, infamously stated before the 2007 global financial crisis: “It is precisely the ‘greed’ of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking, which is the unexcelled protector of the consumer.” ARI claims to have put this corporate money to good use: “more than 1.4 million copies of these Ayn Rand novels have been donated to 30,000 teachers in 40,000 classrooms across the United States and Canada. — we estimate that more than 3 million young people have been introduced to Ayn Rand’s books and ideas as a result of our programs to date.”

    RationalWiki provides and especially harsh and humorous critique of Ayn Rand, and her “philosophy” Objectivism.

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