By Bill Crawford
Moochers and looters are destroying America. Many agree with this view today. But it comes from politically incorrect author Ayn Rand in her epic 1957 work Atlas Shrugged.
Early on, many Tea Party members ardently embraced Rand and her championship of anti-regulatory laissez-faire capitalism. Today, alignment with Rand has moved out of the public eye as more and more Tea Partiers realized she was an avid pro choice atheist.
In fact, the Russian born Rand rejected all forms of religion or supernaturalism. As stated in Atlas Shrugged, she touted “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
A disciple of Rand was Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Bank chairman who championed the concept that free markets are self-regulating and need little oversight.
Which gets us back to moochers and looters – those who live off the accomplishments of productive citizens. In “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand points to a national government with oppressive taxation and regulation, to non-productive masses who see themselves as victims, and, yes, to big businesses like the fictional Associated Steel that loot whole industries for profit. These are the enemies, she says, of “the motor of the world,” the heroic minds that drive job, economic, and societal growth and productivity.
Many, particularly businessmen, see Rand as a champion of the profit motive, i.e. get government off our backs so we can profit more. Not exactly. Consider this quote from Atlas Shrugged: “Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them…. Money is made possible only by the men who produce.”
To her credit, Rand first and foremost championed individuals, she called them heroes, who could build industries, produce goods and services, create jobs, and drive economies. Profit, while important, was incidental to what mattered most.
This is where Greenspan failed us and Rand. Rather than guiding his Wall Street and big business cronies to become Rearden Steel producers, he allowed them to become Associated Steel looters. Industry building, job creation, and production became incidental to profit. And so, hundreds of production industries and thousands of production jobs were outsourced to foreign countries for the sake of profit.
As presidential politics move toward the final bout, all the above becomes remarkably relevant. In one corner will be the champion of big government, moocher hero President Barak Obama. In the other corner will be the champion of big business, Republican contender and Wall Street looter hero Mitt Romney (Rick Perry called him a “vulture capitalist”).
Ayn Rand would not be surprised to see no true heroes of production and job creation on the fight card.
Bill Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.