11.13.12

Tribal belief in WhiteManistan

Posted in Extremism, Psychopath & Sociopath at 2:15 pm by George Smith

“People work their asses off to get where they are, and they get punished,” [a hedge fund manager] said. “I wanted to fly my friend to Davos this year, and people were like, you’re not going to fly the jet to Davos, are you? How will that look to the Occupy people? I’m like, what the fuck are you talking about? I worked hard for this!”

The supposed victimization of America’s financial elite in the last few years has been almost entirely self-imagined … —NY Mag


“We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity,” Peter Morrison, a Republican Party of Hardin County (Texas) treasurer, wrote. “But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity.” –TPM


“Dear Lord:

“The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals [sic] of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance.

“We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.

“My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom.

“The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, “To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.”

“Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.

“Amen.” — Murray Energy CEO’s letter to employees, 163 which were symbolically fired from the coal company, a day after the election

More Dickensian than Jesus-y.

A snapshot, today, of a sampling of news stories and letters using the takers and makers shtick, most from the right:

A month or so ago I broke out an old copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Struggling, I made it through to about 750 pages, around the time where Dagny Taggart is stranded in Galt’s Gulch and being shown the marvelous perpetual electricity machine that extracts power from thin air. She cannot get into the room housing it, John Galt tells her, because she is not yet ready. The machine’s room is guarded by a special, almost mystical lock, that will only open when the person trying to get in is of the right Objectivist mind and can utter the appropriate incantation. Any attempt by infidels to force entry will result in the destruction of the building.

Right then I quit.

For hundreds of pages, Rand’s characters do not converse. They exist as props to make the woman’s speeches and rants about the virtues of selfishness and the perfidy of government parasites sucking off the talents of a handful of gifted industrialists.

To be fair, the characters are not as cartoon awful as anyone now on public display in the Republican Party. Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden are occasionally even likable. And there is no blowtorch hatred aimed at non-white people.

All the good characters are stern, tall, and strong Teutonic hero types. All the bad are ugly weasels. The portrayals often seem unintentionally laughable.

Atlas Shrugged is so screwed up, so turgid, it’s difficult to imagine many of the denizens of WhiteManistan getting through it. The Tea Partiers, for instance, have never struck me as readers with the necessary determination to crawl through interminable books not written by Stephen King or Tom Clancy.

I suspect Rand has been the beneficiary of a cultural abridgment in story-telling. That is, a condensed version of Atlas Shrugged has been communicated verbally to the many in WhiteManistan.

And in so doing it has become a corrupted lore, all twisted up into whatever they have wanted to make of it, a rationale for being a gold bug (gold only shows up a few times in the thousands of pages, once as a solid bar and as the only accepted currency in Galt’s Gulch), a resonance with the paranoid feeling that your precious cash money and economic purity of essence are being siphoned away by moocher-takers, and the childish belief that the world is so dependent on the genius of American business and industry that the withdrawal of 50 engineers, tycoons and some of their assistants will bring on world collapse.

Even a bum portrayed in Rand’s book becomes a convert to the cause.

The bum has lost his job because he joined a parasitic union, which caused the company he worked for to go under. And in his bumming around the country, he has come to see the error of his ways. When he finally meets Dagny Taggart on a train, the repentant bum recites a long denunciation of the bloodsucker class and his lapses in judgment. In reward, he is redeemed and Taggart makes him a conductor on her train.

Everything the followers of Galt produce is superior, even the cigarettes. Marked by a silver dollar sign, they are the most exquisite smokes in the world.

Anyway, if you hacked 750 or so pages out of Atlas Shrugged it could probably be made into a decent piece of accidental satire.

It is trash and it’s hard to imagine anyone not thinking so, even when it was published in 1957. Alan Greenspan was apparently one person who thought it was fabulous. Matt Taibbi, much more recently, called Greenspan “The Biggest Asshole in the Universe” in his book, Griftopia. So there’s that.

The ROTFLMAO nature of Atlas Shrugged is best represented by a short speech given by Ragnar Danneskjöld, a pirate who robs from the poor to give to the rich:

Ragnar Danneskjold: But I’ve chosen a special mission of my own. I’m after a man whom I want to destroy. He died many centuries ago, but until the last trace of him is wiped out of men’s minds, we will not have a decent world to live in.

Hank Rearden: What man?

Danneskjold: Robin Hood …. he is not remembered as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity. He is the man who became a symbol of the idea that need, not achievement, is the source of rights, that we don’t have to produce, only to want, that the earned does not belong to us, but the unearned does. He became a justification for every mediocrity who, unable to make his own living, had demanded the power to dispose of the property of his betters, by proclaiming his willingness to devote his life to his inferiors at the price of robbing his superiors. It is this foulest of creatures – the double-parasite who lives on the sores of the poor and the blood of the rich – whom men have come to regard as the moral idea … Do you wonder why the world is collapsing around us? That is what I am fighting, Mr. Rearden. Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive.

Danneskjold then gives Rearden, who is already fabulously wealthy, a gold bar.

“I have always lived by the philosophy I present in my books …” Rand writes in one of two end notes to the reader.

“If you are the kind of reader who knows that for 1084 pages he has lived in the atmosphere of John Galt’s world — if you now feel regret at the necessity of returning to the gray hopelessness of a culture that is truly bankrupt …” she continues in end note #2.

2 Comments

  1. Mike Ozanne said,

    November 16, 2012 at 2:54 am

    “A month or so ago I broke out an old copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

    Struggling, I made it through to about 750 pages,”

    Why would you do that to yourself…..:-) I got further into Finnegan’s Wake than I got into that load of old bollocks….

    There’s a perpetual motion machine in it? don’t tell the Navy…

  2. George Smith said,

    November 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Why would you do that to yourself…

    Because it felt so good when I stopped?

    Yeah, a perpetual motion machine. It got put in the movie too. There’s something of an obsession with free energy schemes in the far right. You see it in those dimwit internet ads for how “using this weird trick a man now doesn’t have to be hooked to the grid.” If you have AdSense ads streamed to posts, which GlobalSecurity does, then whenever something is written about preppers or the survivalists, I see them.