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The Power of the Collective
Ayn Rand - The Ideal Capitalist
Ayn Rand the Ideal against Reality
Twice before I have written about the struggle between the Capitalist struggle to produce the wealth of goods and service and the responsibilities of a Democratic government to meet the need of all its citizens. These articles were written on my other Blog. I have decided to try it again with a different perspective from a new platform.
In my youth I was an idealist. I believed that every man had the power and the responsibility to determine the path of his own life. I had abandon my desire to be a minister in my mid teens due to a conflict between my religion and my love of Science & Math. Science & math won the day.
To inject a little autobiographical material, I finished High School in 1960 and left to serve my country in a draft induced stint in the US Air Force. Luckily I managed to slip in between Wars and was discharge in 1964. In 1966 I entered college due to the generosity of the Government and the GI Bill.
That is about when I began my love affair with Ayn Rand and and her Novels and her Philosophy of objective individualism. I had justified my use of Government Aid by believing I had earned it by service to my Country. I also became a devoted Republican when it was still a matter of "Wandering in the Wilderness" in my beloved South. But When Richard Nixon and Harry Dent turned the party into a collective for White Christians verses Black Voters after the Civil Rights Revolution, I became unhappy with the new Republican Party and once again entered the wilderness of political persuasion.
My love affair with Ayn Rand had not yet ended. Even though "Atlas Shrugged" was her philosophical masterpiece, the characters were to pure to represent the true nature of man. The motivator in Capitalism is Greed. Greed does work well for men who bargain for their for their fair share of the pie based on a fair evaluation of their contribution in the baking of the pie. Unfortunately, unfettered capitalism opens the door to the use of fraud to steal the pie as opposed to performance to produce the pie.The most recent example of this phenomenon is the Bernie Madoff Scheme and also the practice of over leveraging the Banking System in the Housing Bubble that almost broke the back of the Capitalist System.
Her novel "Fountainhead" was a beautiful love store exploring the advantage of personal convictions in conflict with conventional wisdom in the field of architecture. But it too revealed the flaws in ambitious men, who are after all the true practitioners of capitalism.
Her first novel,"We The Living" had in the end become my favorite. That was a tragic love story evolving out of the relationship of a young women from a prominent wealthy family and an idealistic young Communist. If it did nothing else, it revealed that not all communist were evil men and that not all capitalist were in control of their destiny in the face of adversity. Many Communist truly believed that what they were doing was going to bring objective salvation to the oppressed. Unfortunately, greed is also the kink in the Communist Armor and their dictatorship gave no room to change the system in a way that would have promoted efficiency of production of goods and service. The Young women died in the end, shedding her blood in the cold Russian winter snow.
I still believe that capitalism is the best economic system for America, as long as we remember that capitalism is an economic system and not a form of government. We must preserve Democracy if we are to know true freedom. We must not allow the power and corrupting force of the Love of Money to destroy our concern for the well being of all our citizens. We must allow the least capable among us to contribute all that they can to produce goods and services to the whole and require the most capable among us to share the greater burden while reaping a greater reward in return for what they do. Their is never a moral reason to abandon any individual to death along the highway of life, while some living on that highway reward themselves with more and bigger homes and more and faster cars to show the world how deserving they are. Just because our Village has gotten bigger does not mean we can abandon our responsibilities to the villagers.