Excuse me a moment.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *gasp, deep breaths* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Oh, that’s beautiful.
I don’t want the Libertarian Utopia to fall apart because it’s a scam, though. That’s not satisfying. It doesn’t provide any sort of disproof of the concepts, it just means that the people trying to implement them were cheats. It’s no more a refutation of right-libertarianism than North Korea is of Marxism.
No, I want the Libertarian Utopia to die out in an epidemic caused by tainted meat that would have been prevented with proper agricultural regulations.
I think the author of the piece gets it right: Of course a community founded on selfishness and self-delusion can’t even get past being a scam. THEIR ENTIRE WORLDVIEW IS A SCAM
That’s not entirely fair, though. It’s not so much that Ayn Rand was a massive scam artist as that Ayn Rand possessed exactly zero capacity for any sort of introspection or self-awareness. Her worldview wasn’t primarily a scam so much as it was a religious experience with gods carved out of the iconography and ideology of Hollywood.
It’s madder than a box of lunatic frogs, mind you, but the thing that is most interesting about it to me is that it’s manifestly not malevolent. That’s where its seduction lies.
Now, I’ll readily grant that the people pushing Randian ideology in the political sphere are largely con men, although I don’t necessarily rule out that there are plenty of true believers in the mould of Rand herself.
But I don’t think it’s fair to call libertarian ideology a scam, especially not in the Randian sense. It’s far, far weirder than that.
I’m going to agree with Froborr here (as uncommon as that is). It purports that there is a way to live without social responsibility. That a man (or woman) is themselves an island. And that`s a lie. A scam. It tells narrow minded and selfish people that THEY are special after all. THEY are the ones that deserve success and that it is kept from them by parasites and hangers on. They might believe it to be true, but believing a scam doesn`t mean your money is any safer with the snake-oil salesmen.
I mean, and I say this as someone with an intense aesthetic fascination with the idea of consciousness as an evolutionary blind alley, that’s just not true. Or, at least, the way you’re phrasing it indicts pretty much all of the post-Hegelian philosophical tradition.
I mean, the Galt’s Gulch scam was clearly not based entirely on “man as island” fantasies, because it is, after all, a community. They weren’t selling private islands. That’s a different trade entirely, and one that isn’t all scams.
I don’t think Rand is advocating for social irresponsibility at all. I really don’t. I mean, she’s adamantly opposed to any collectivist assessment of society, but even that just stems out of her underlying theological embrace of radical individualism, which is almost Heideggerian in its approach. I mean, I think you can make a strong case that there’s no meaningful difference between Rand’s romance of the individual and Dasein, and that Rand really is just Heidegger turned into a garish 20s/30s Hollywood studio film.
Which is certainly socially irresponsible, but in an almost incidental sense. It’s socially irresponsible in the same way that Christianity is irresponsible towards the gods of the forest, which is to say, it mostly just fails to notice them as it tramples them underfoot.
The central fantasy of Rand isn’t that people deserve success. Rather, it’s that you, if put in a situation where success and failure were determined entirely by your own actions and your own merits, are someone who would succeed.
I mean, yes, in general “would you like an acre and a half of land in my Chilean utopian commune” is probably an investment opportunity that a prudent person should decline. But the problems with it aren’t the same as the problems with Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand is far more interesting than a generic real estate scam.
Having been subjected to an unfortunate number of Ayn Rand books in my youth, “interesting” is not the first word I would have picked.
I think she’s interesting in the same way that thewomanreplies thinks that really gnarly wounds are interesting.