The Republicans today are led by disciples of Ayn Rand, the philospher-novelist who argued for a world free of altruism and totally motivated by self-interest. Ask Representative Paul Ryan. He promotes Rand's writings. It is mandatory that his staff reads "Atlas Shrugged", "The Fountainhead", and other books in the Rand scriptures. Of course, the Republicans don't like to mention Rand's outspoken atheism. It would make their townhall meetings a bit uncomfortable, one would imagine.
But, say Romney does become president. Ryan most certainly would have a pivotal and influential voice in his administration. What would our country be like in four years?
In his epilogue to "Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle For America's Soul", journalist and author Gary Weiss evokes this nigthmarish vision:
"No government except the police, courts of law, and the armed forces."
"No regulations of anything by any government."
"No Medicare or Medicaid."
"No Social Security."
"No public schools."
"No public hospitals."
"With industry no longer restrained by carbon-emission standards, the earth would bake in self-generated heat, ice-cap melting would accelerate, extreme weather would become even more commonplace, and seacoasts would sink beneath the waves. Communities ravaged by hurricances, floods and tornadoes would be left to fend for themselves, no longer burdening the conscience of a selfish, guilt-free world."
"The poor and elderly, freed from dependence on character-destroying, government-subsidized medical care, would die bravely and in as generous quantities as in the romantic novels of a bygone era."
"Minimum wage laws would come to an end, providing factory owners and high-tech start-ups with a pool of cheap labor competive with any fourth-world kleptocracy."
"All laws protecting consumers would be erased from the statute books."
" Mass transit would grind to a halt in the big cities as municipal subsidies come to an end."
"Corporations would no longer be enslaved by antitrust laws, so monopolies and globe-spanning, price-fixing cartels would flourish. The number of publicly held corporations would be reduced to a manageable noncompetitive few. Big Pharma would manufacture drugs without adequate testing for safety and efficacy."
"Income taxes would end, so the lowest-paid, ten-cent-an-hour, non-OSHA-supervised factory workers would enjoy wages taxed at the same rate---zero---as their billionaire bosses in distant cities and foreign lands. Dynasties of American royalty would arise, as fortunes pass from generation to generation, untaxed."
"Non-profit organizations, apart from those serving the egos and social calendars of the self-indulging rich, would see their funding dry up as government support vanished. The super-wealthy, having repudiated their 'giving pledge', would now enjoy their riches without guilt, no longer motivated to share their billions with the poor. Philanthropy would be an obsolete relic of discarded moral codes and forgotten history."
"Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York would become like Cairo and Calcutta, with walled enclaves protecting the wealthy from the malnourished, uneducated masses outside."
This kaleidoscope of misery is not inevitable. Unless we insist on being Rand-dumb.
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