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Robinson writes: "Make no mistake: all this Ayn Rand libertarian me-first-and-the-rest-of-you-go-to-hell stuff - the there's-no-government-like-no-government theology that's now being piously intoned as Holy Received Truth by everybody, male and female, in the GOP - is, very precisely, the kind of politics you'd come up with if you were a 16-year-old boy trying to explain away his dependence on Mom."

Ayn Rand. (photo: Barnes and Noble)
Ayn Rand. (photo: Barnes and Noble)

Ayn Rand-Loving Right Is Like Teen Boys Gone Crazy

By Sara Robinson, Alternet

12 May 12


f, as George Lakoff says, we view politics through the metaphor of family, then Mother's Day is a good time to ask the question: Where's Mom in this picture? What are all those dirty socks and pizza boxes doing in the living room? (Seriously: it looks like a frat house in here.) Who's been drinking the beer I hid in the basement fridge?

And, sweet mother of God: how did we end up letting the 16-year-old boys take over the entire household?

Make no mistake: all this Ayn Rand libertarian me-first-and-the-rest-of-you-go-to-hell stuff - the there's-no-government-like-no-government theology that's now being piously intoned as Holy Received Truth by everybody, male and female, in the GOP - is, very precisely, the kind of politics you'd come up with if you were a 16-year-old boy trying to explain away his dependence on Mom.

Parents? I don't have any parents. I raised myself, on roots and berries and small vermin I dug up in vacant lots. That lady hanging around, feeding me and nagging me and picking up my socks and driving me to practice? She's just the nanny state. That bitch. I hate her.

Society? There's no such thing as society. There's only what I want right now, which is the ultimate good in my universe. And what I want right now is more time on the XBox, pizza money, and the keys to the family car.

The future? If I pursue everything I want now, then the future will magically take care of its self. Dinner will appear. So will clean socks and the next-gen XBox.

Obligations? I am God's gift to the world. I don't owe it anything. In fact: it owes me - just for being so magnificent, cute and special. (Even my mom thinks so.)

On behalf of America's mothers, let me say: I have had enough of this. I don't care how cute they are: it's high time these so-called "libertarian" freeloaders get off the couch, stand up, and show some respect to the rest of us who've done the hard work that makes their cushy lives possible.

You know what I want for Mother's Day? I want these so-called "self-made men" to grow up and get a life.

No More "Nanny State" - Ever

Also: I'm putting them on notice: I don't ever want to hear one more word about the "nanny state." Not one. Not ever again.

First of all : It's ugly. It just reeks of that 16-year-old boy being told to clean up his mess. The big sigh. The dramatic eye-roll. The drawn-out, agonized, "yyezzzz, mommmm..." that lets you know you're about to spend the rest of the evening in a passive-aggressive battle during which your teenager will generate enough inertia to bring the rotation of this and several neighboring galaxies to a dead stop.

The "nanny state" is making you do the dishes, and then it wants you to clean out the garage. You poor persecuted darling. Go dial 1-976-WAAAAAH.

Second of all: It's sexist as hell. Anti-feminist at its very core. It says that the concerns that we most identify with mothers - cleaning up your crap, minding your manners, not annoying other people, taking responsibility for your actions - are intrusive and unwarranted infringements on your essential freedom, instead of the basic adult responsibilities that are required of everybody if society is going to remain free and functional.

It says that the power and authority by which mothers - "nannies," in this construction - set the rules within the family is illegitimate. It belittles women who are bossy enough to insist on adult behavior from men.

It suggests that the things women are stereotypically most bossy about - politically, this would be issues like child welfare and education (looking after your little brother), the environment (housework), and peace and social justice (playing fair and being nice) are beneath the attention and dignity of men. You can almost hear John Wayne: "Don't you worry about what your Mom says, boys. Dad's here, and he'll set her straight. (Big fat wink. Deep chuckle.) You go right on ahead with what you were doing."

(Of course, when the Duke said stuff like this, the result was usually a shrieking, hair-pulling fight with Maureen O'Hara, which always ended with her turned triumphantly over his knee. And then, after a good, sound spanking that put the little lady firmly back in her place, he'd wrestle her tiny hands away so she couldn't slap him, and kiss her until she stopped struggling. And she'd love every minute of it, because in this deranged view of gender relationships, that kind of manhandling is just what all pissy women are really secretly asking for.)

It implies that Real Americans are honor-bound to resist any and all exercise of female bossiness in the sacred name of preserving their almighty "freedom."

And then, as the final insult, it identifies all government action with that exaggerated feminine weakness. Corporations: the domains of independent, active men who are busy creating a better world for themselves - and therefore, automatically, for everybody else as well. Government: the domain of dependent, passive women who are fussing about everybody's business, insisting that they clean up their stuff, eat right, play nice, and get to bed at a decent hour.

Government, like Mom, is a real buzz-killer. And also powerless. You can safely ignore her. After all: all she can do is yell at you, ground you, and dock your allowance. And Dad (or, in the case of government, his lawyers and lobbyists) is the truly sane and powerful one around here, and can be counted on to set her straight when he gets home.

How to Tell the Men From the Boys

Conservatives completely fetishize masculinity. They idolize sports heroes, warriors and the Manly Jesus of modern evangelicalism. They eagerly seek the trappings that will buttress their sense of maleness in their own minds - guns, big trucks, enough money and power to push other people around. The further right you go, the more exaggerated this focus on hypermasculinity becomes.

Psychiatrist Stephen Ducat explained this phenomenon at long length in his book, The Wimp Factor. Ducat's research shows that right-wing men are so obsessed with the external trappings of maleness precisely because they've failed to develop the inner qualities and accept the obligations that are required of actual adult men. It's all show, with nothing solid on the inside to back it up. And the more fragile their masculinity feels to them, the more exaggerated the outer display they put on is.

Given the insecurity that lies at the heart of this sad compensation, it's especially ironic that they've got the whole country buffaloed into thinking this is appropriate adult behavior. We've ended up with a culture of maleness that emphasizes the objectification and degredation of women, a lack of male accountability for anything that happens in the culture, and a definition of masculinity that's all about empty shows of dubious might - like peacocks preening on parade.

For the record: This is a comic-book stereotype of manhood as it's imagined by little boys. But it's not the real deal - not even close.

The essential difference that separates the men and the boys is that men understand and accept that they have an obligation to the greater good, and are willing to unflinchingly step up to that responsibility. They commit to their families. They work to improve their homes and communities, so they're safe and nurturing places for everyone to be. They take the long view as they plan for their kids' future. They look out for people around them who are weaker than they are. And they respect and cherish the co-parents of their children as their equal partners in that effort.

Adult men do not resent being asked to contribute to the collective whole. They know that their actions have consequences, and that they are responsible for the impact of those consequences on the greater good of the community.

As a veteran mom, I understand that it's totally developmentally appropriate for a teenage boy to desperately struggle to separate from his female parent as he begins to find his way toward his adult male identity. But at some point, that oppositional process is supposed to come to an end - usually in the early- to mid-20s, with a reconciliation and renewed acceptance of Mom as a useful guide in his life. And, if he's straight, there will be a mature acceptance of his obligations to a female partner and their children as well.

A 50-year-old CEO who's still whining because Big Bad Government is asking him to clean up his shit, look after his little brother, and not act like a psychopath in public is flat-out suffering from arrested emotional and social development. He's not a grown man, despite his thousands of employees and millions in salary. He's still that teenager, hating on Mom because she dared to remind him that he's still deeply dependent on the resources of provided by his larger family. And as a mother, I'd invite other moms to join me in calling out this immaturity for what it is, wherever we see it.

What I really want for Mother's Day is for America's Lost Boys - the libertarian Peter Pans, the free-market feral children, the neo-liberal ramblin' men - to stop pretending that they're something special and uniquely free because they've managed to disassociate themselves from women's care and women's concerns.

I want respect for the role mothers play - both in our personal families, and in our national one. I want some recognition of the fact that the issues that are typically dismissed by the masculine fetishists as "women's issues" or "nanny-state meddling" are, in fact, the issues that the future of our country most depends on. And I want the common wealth and the common good - the health and wealth of our national family - to get the same kind of loving respect that all mothers are entitled to.

Flowers and chocolate and a nice brunch are appreciated, too. But they're a meaningless insult - a sop to authority we don't have, and aren't seen as entitled to - long as we let the 16-year-olds run the household the other 364 days out of the year.

Sara Robinson, MS, APF is a social futurist and the editor of AlterNet's Vision page. Follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to AlterNet's Vision newsletter for weekly updates. your social media marketing partner


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-51 # HerbR 2012-05-12 11:10
....and she would claim to be embarrassed by that adulation and "criticize" it severely.
+74 # Lisa Moskow 2012-05-12 11:14
Interesting observation.

I found Ayn Rand interesting when I was a
very immature 18 year old.

You can do it all yourself! Self-surgery,
computer repair, road-paving--th e whole ball of wax.
+64 # barkingcarpet 2012-05-12 12:07
It is all well and good, built on hard work of course... Unfortunately however, it is all built with the commons of nature and all life, which belongs to itself, and has more value undisturbed or turned into landfill and disposable products, under the god of money, at the expense of life or a healthy future.

The role and place of government, should be policy and regulations to protect the commons, which belong to everybody, and are not there to be exploited for our whims.
+13 # Doubter 2012-05-12 21:25
Hell, I read and saw through her as an immature 16 yr. old, and I remember when her movies came out I thought they were enjoyable as comedy! (parody? science fiction?)
+30 # doneasley 2012-05-13 01:42
Quoting Lisa Moskow:
I found Ayn Rand interesting when I was a
very immature 18 year old.

The comments here are not enough about the woman herself. These ultra-religious patriots - Paul Ryan in particular since he controls the budget - have bought into the philosophy of a woman who was a sociopath and atheist. She cared about no one and let no one get in the way of her ambition. Married, she took on a lover and convinced his wife and her husband that it was the right thing to do. But, after preaching selfishness all of her life, her final hypocritical act was to apply for Social Security and Medicare when she became eligible.

Did you ever stop to think that one unelected Right-Wing zealot, Grover Norquist, is using the Rand philosophy to control our economy? In his recent speech at the CPAC convention, Norquist actually said:

"All we have to do is replace Obama... We are not auditioning for fearless leader... We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget... The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate... Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States..."

Sounds to me like they want a robot to sign their unhinged egocentric legislation. Mitt Romney - whose 5 strapping sons never came close to military duty - sure qualifies for that role.
+16 # rockieball 2012-05-13 08:25
Same here. I read a couple of her books in the 60's and thought to myself, "I don't know what she is smoking but I'd like to give it a try."
It strikes me funny that a political party like the Republicon's can't make a statement with invoking that God told them to do this or that and then religiously follow the writings of an atheist
+99 # Yakpsyche 2012-05-12 11:15
Yes, the boys are at play.

Some may recall that Robert Bly, the poet of the 1980's mens' movement, called it "the sibling society".

There are no adults left in leadership positions. We are so caught up in pathological narcissism, hypnotized by money, power and toys that we no longer even recognize adult status in our public discourse.

The sense of social unity and cohesiveness has been deliberately destroyed through the "Divide and conquer" pollitical strategy. We have allowed ourselves to be hypnotized by marketing strategies that foment desire and suggest they are needs. Our technologically based ease has seperated us from nature and its inevitable consequences. We have psychologically and sociologically cocooned ourselves into small units which dehumanize others by putting them at a psychological distance so they can be named and identified as conceptual objects, usually through the disorting filter of our own projections. Where then is community? Cohesiveness? How will our emerging global society refrain from cataclysmic or implosive self destruction? How can we realize the harmonious global society of which we are capable?

We don't even have an agreed on vision of the world we want, no less agreement on what "the problem" is. All we can agree on is that the economy is in trouble. Even there we are misdirected and confused, since the foxes not only guard the henhouse, but also control the media.
+15 # Doubter 2012-05-12 21:34
One cause ?symptom? is: Everyone out for himself. Wanting to be first and only and for all others to fail; King of the Hill. Impossible to build anything worthwhile with that as the general/common attitude.
There needs be, as said, maturity and also common goal(s).
-48 # DaveM 2012-05-12 11:27
"get off the couch, stand up, and show some respect to the rest of us who've done the hard work that makes their cushy lives possible." That was almost precisely Ayn Rand's sole theme. Virtually all of the "horrors" you describe are everywhere in her novels--as characteristics of "the bad guys". She called them, variously, "second handers" and "looters".

If you read the section of "Atlas Shrugged" which takes place in "Galt's Gulch", you will find an excellent tribute to the nobility of motherhood:

"They (my two children) represent my particular career, Miss Taggart," said the young woman in answer to her comment...."The y're the profession I've chosen to practice, can't practice successfully in the outside world....I came here in order to bring my sons up as human beings. I would not surrender them to the educational systems devised to stunt a child's brain, to convince him that reason is impotent, that existence is an irrational chaos with which he's unable to deal, and thus reduce him to a state of chronic terror".
+71 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-05-12 16:19
Except that most of the man-boys who seem to populate the ranks of Rand's fans have not done the hard work that makes their cushy lives possible. Rather they live off OTHER people's hard work and then pretend that their privilege is somehow related to competence. If they had to depend on their own wits rather than others' exploitable labor, they wouldn't last a week.
+16 # doneasley 2012-05-13 14:34
Quoting Texan 4 Peace:
Rather they live off OTHER people's hard work and then pretend that their privilege is somehow related to competence.

... and other people's MONEY. My IRA, along with millions of others, took a huge hit from the man-boys in 2008, and nobody, but nobody has been made to pay. Now these idiots (Wall St. bankers and the GOP Congress) are crying for LESS regulation and no consumer protections? Just this past week JP Morgan declared a $2 BILLION LOSS, which reportedly "stunned" Wall St. The only reason they were stunned is because the man-boys got caught again.

Now I'm wondering just who the idiots are - the thieves or us, the overburdened American taxpayer.
+24 # sameasiteverwas 2012-05-12 19:30
How about the nobility of the mother in the same book who held her grown son, dead of hunger, in her arms at the side of the tracks? Maybe if all the "good old boys" hadn't run away to the Gulch to escape their responsibilitie s, if they had bothered to loosen up the money and be actual "job creators," the little mother in hiding could have raised her children in the real world without fear; if they had cared to help provide excellent public education, she wouldn't have had to worry about "stunted brains." How do you square the pitiful job that private education currently rolls out -- no evolution, no climate change, no nobility for the good of mankind -- with un-stunted brains and potent reasoning faculties? Dwarfish brains and stunted souls is what you end up with.

I read all of Rand, and while I admired many things about her, was never ensorcelled by her philosophy. For all her well-written, glittering, character-drive n propaganda, I remember most that mother by the right-of-way, holding her son and grieving in the face of hopelessness and despair -- and the fact that Rand's women gloried in rape and abasement to the almighty male. Ugh.
+67 # hd70642 2012-05-12 11:46
Obviously if you could ran a car on snakeoil You could cure the energy crisis several times over , Ayn Rand's nonsensical gibberish contains more BS than Texas and Argentina combined
+79 # Susanna-Asheville 2012-05-12 11:54
How true it is. The best commentary I've read in a long time.

Like many of us, I've had it with the non-stop whining from the wrong wing wimps. They don't owe their wealth to this country? To its infrastructure? Its support of the sciences that made and make so much of what they can do today possible? Its people, their employees? Shame on them!

But, when cast in the context of adolescence it makes perfect sense.

The question is, can the grown-ups regain control of the ship of state before these reckless juveniles run it into an iceberg? (Excuse the overused metaphor...)
+1 # Mrcead 2012-05-15 03:58
Brilliantly put! In the bridge building days of America, the early to mid 1900's, when a bridge needed to be built the government gave men 2 choices. Either pick up a shovel and help out or finance the bridge. As you can see, there are bridges everywhere. Do you think that could happen today? The man-children would weasel out of paying for the bridge so they can invest their money on "better things" and start a smear campaign on why the left is evil (even though the smart people see through this every single time since narcissists are incapable of seeing things from other people's viewpoints and that flaw is laced throughout their entire commentaries on ...... well everything).

What they don't realize is, as you've said, the people before them paid into and made a system that brings forth opportunity to those who wish to seize it (try to to climb the ladder in any other country without the proper pedigree and get back to me on how you did) but these whiny clowns don't want to take turns and push the other kid on the swing who wants a go.

Everyone, take the time to consider what had to be done to build bridges like the George Washington bridge between NY and NJ and other such projects as you drive over them, then look at the self important wanker speeding in his car and be glad that at least you get to benefit from what was built before you and that you're happy to give back.
+74 # erogers 2012-05-12 12:05
The Tea Party, Ayn Rand loving nutcases are a bunch of big talk with no backbone to do the work. I love hearing these idiots mouth off about government in their lives. Get rid of the federal government, no government is best nonsense is spouted throughout the country. But when it comes to a major wildfire, a major hurricane, an outbreak of tornadoes who is the first to scream for help from the government they hate? These very same wack jobs. Put out that fire before it burns my 5000 sq. foot vacation home, repair my vacation home on the beach, predict those damned tornadoes and fix my wrecked home. These spoiled rotten punks are a bunch of hypocrites. I say identify each one and refuse them all those services from a government they hate.
+35 # Art947 2012-05-12 15:48
The research has continually shown that the Tea Party states tend to take the most from the Federal budget, while the states that are more progressive tend to be the providers of the money to give to these grubs. I am sure that they will be the first ones complaining when the don't get their government subsidies for things such as water supply, electric service, flood relief, transportation improvements, etc. It is a shame that we can't cut them off from these corrupting funds, they might then change their tune.
+24 # rblee 2012-05-12 12:25
The Duke. Maureen O'Hara. The Quiet Man. Sexist, yes, but, sniff, I LOVE that movie! The "boys" we are speaking of here are more like Hitler Youth in suits. Hmm...sounds like the Republican candidates.
+32 # Art947 2012-05-12 15:50
It is interesting that John Wayne's name was brought into this discussion. I have always despised the hypocrisy of this man. He was certainly gung-ho for war as long as it was others who were doing the fighting!
-8 # kelly 2012-05-12 17:56
The one where he put her over his knee was McLintock. But The Quite Man was lovely too.
+12 # kelly 2012-05-12 17:57
But I also agree with your assessment about his hawkish ways.
+32 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-12 12:30
Nice article, Sara.

One can point to Lakoff's metaphore of 'nation as family' and note that the family has become rather dysfunctional especially since the advent of the industrial age (although wll before that too, of course) when men were expected to go off somewhere to work, in the centralized factories instead of working as part of the home environment (farm, home industry, etc.) -- or go off to war -- and being an active part of the family, and the integrated community.

This exaccerbated the schism between man as the 'breadwinner' and just normal living as found in simpler and more natural societies.

It also involves dissociation and loss of meaning in the worker, as Erich Fromm wrote about in The Sane Society as he becomes just a cog in the machine. Manhood then involves the schizoid, unemotional, 'tough guy' who can bear being separated from the inner self (as just a machine cog -- or a soldier).

The Ayn Rand libertarian ideal is an unemotional 'rational' machine, and quite dehumanized.
+52 # Lolanne 2012-05-12 12:36
Woo-hoo! Let's hear it for Sara Robinson!!! Best job of calling out these over-inflated, egotistical, selfish, greedy adolescent-beha ving JERKS (this is a family site) I've read anywhere. Best Mother's Day column ever!

The sober question is, when is the country going to wake up to what they really are? When is the repuke base going to open their collective eyes and see that their emperors have no clothes? What will it take to make that more glaringly obvious that it already is to so many of us?
+57 # pagrad 2012-05-12 12:42
I read Ayn Rand when I was a teen-age student. But I had good Economics and History teachers. After finishing the book, I said to myself: "Hey, this doesn't make any sense. This is a fairytale for kids."

That's why kids can't vote!
+5 # No Man is an Island 2012-05-14 07:40
Good points, pagrad, but many kids already see through Ayn Rand's libertarian rubbish but can't yet vote -- while too many so-called adults hold themselves in her thrall, and in voting their deluded fantasies by the millions, are largely responsible for the mess America is now in!
+39 # Peach14 2012-05-12 12:56
erogers you are so right. Take away their "welfare" and hear them scream!
I will always remember the Tea Party member holding a sign which said "Keep the government out of my Medicare!
Grow up all of you "no-government" dupes! It is only through government that the services YOU depend on can be delivered. Democracy OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people.
+16 # ALinSTL 2012-05-12 14:56
But, Peach14, they see that differently...t o them it is," a Govt of "US" people, by "US" people, & for "US" people," and their "US" doesn't include any of us...we're just the help: unappreciative, surly, mouthy, don't-know-our- place help who have delusions of grandeur allotted only to the TRUE "US".
+12 # pfagereng 2012-05-12 13:11
I remember about five or six years ago the right-wing news site Newsmax was bragging about the "triple alpha male." It was really funny.
+26 # jwb110 2012-05-12 13:25
The downfall of the US is the "cult of the individual."
+12 # Glen 2012-05-12 14:21
The flip side of this is there are men who grow up dependent on the mother, spoiled by the mother, expected to do little, and even bringing laundry home as a 25 year old for mom to wash. They are forever tied to her and constantly asking for money, while at the same time claiming to be the very type of man described in the article. They would never admit their dependency on that mother. In fact, they profess a dislike of women and are never satisfied with a wife or their girlfriend.

In other words, there is a neurosis in the land, both citizens and those right wingers. But what of those left wingers who either step aside for it, or encourage it.
-41 # jazzman633 2012-05-12 14:28
I am a proud libertarian who deeply resents the tendency of RSN (the second such article in a couple of months) to equate libertarianism with Ayn Rand and hard-core selfishness. Enough with Ayn Rand already! Libertarianism is more compatible with humanism, religion (at least, its better impulses: see Dr. Mary Ruart on Christian libertarianism) , and most important of all, the US Constitution, which creates a government of limited and enumerated powers. Of course people love their government benefits. But couldn't it have been done differently? Government mostly screws up everything it does and wastes a ton of money. Please tell me why we need Social Security when there's a myriad ways to invest and save money. Why all the foreign wars and American Empire? The poster child for libertarianism is not Rand. Obviously, to an adult sensibility, she is all about adolescent vanity and delusions. The poster MEN for libertarianism are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and perhaps greatest of all, Roger Williams. They dared suggest that government existed by the consent of the governed. The ultimate result was the Constitution. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments assign a lot of decisions to the States and the people. Just because something is desirable...doe sn't mean the federal government should do it. Get it, liberals? Is the Constitution relevant to life today? I would say yes, but at least let's try it and find out.
+36 # Art947 2012-05-12 15:54
Sorry Jazzman, but until the country denounced Paul Ryan, an individual who has embraced the philosophy of Ayn Rand, hook, line and sinker, and the Republican members of the Congress who have unanimously accepted his doctrine, as laid out in the Budget that he keeps presenting, it is not the liberals who are the cause of the problems in America!
+49 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-05-12 16:31
I can see how a lot of self-identified libertarians would be pissed off at what gets spouted in their name these days. What kid of libertarian doesn't support reproductive choice? (answer: one who's running for president). However, it's pretty bogus to claim that "Government mostly screws up everything it does and wastes a ton of money", as if corporations did any better. BP, Enron, Exxon, AIG, Halliburton... shall I go on? Meanwhile, roads get fixed, the police come when you dial 911, water keeps coming out of the tap, employees can demand bathroom breaks, and 10-year-olds don't have to work in the mines. Did your mail arrive today? Did you even worry that it might not?
+33 # Cassandra2012 2012-05-12 16:48
Ron Paul, that hypocritical 'libertarian' of the unwashed teenagers who 'love' Ayn
Rand, is all for 'less government' EXCEPT when it comes to trying to control women's lives and their rights to their own bodies ...
+9 # peanut123 2012-05-13 09:00
They are trying to stop the mail. Now planning to cut post offices in small towns to 4 hours a day. I heard some politician propose that people in rural areas pay more for postal delivery.
+37 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-12 17:16
ever hear of left libertarian?

"Government mostly screws up everything it does and wastes a ton of money."

Actually, no. Goverment provides a host of services, including those that business has always insisted on having, like a legal and court system, a police force, central banking, a postal service, a highway system, an education system -- all the infrastructure which is need for a country to operate and for businesses, and everyone else, to survive.

Social security was put in by FDR to save capitalism when the whole shebang was in the process of collapsing -- made necessary by the failure of capitalism and 'libertarian' plutocracy.

Libertarianism need not be monolithic, but what is in ascendance now is nonsense, much like so-called 'conservativism ' (and the 'neo' variety of liberalism).

The bottom line is that the only reason to from a society is for the advantage of the members of it, and libertarianism often works against that, and so works against society and civilization itself, with it's 'what's your's is mine; what's mine is my own' thinking. Most of what I see from libertarians now is rather a half-baked half system lacking internal integrity and consistency.

You want see wasted money and screwed up? don't look at social security: look at the private investments and banking who stole the pensions from all those people, as well as from governments.
+15 # kelly 2012-05-12 18:03
Why can't I "like" this twice?
+33 # Rick Levy 2012-05-12 18:57
"Please tell me why we need Social Security when there's a myriad ways to invest and save money.'

Can you say "trillions of dollars in 401(k)losses"? I didn't think you could.
+24 # sameasiteverwas 2012-05-12 19:41
"Government mostly screws up everything it does and wastes a ton of money."

Since government is "the voice of the people," only when people are badly informed do they hire wastrels and frauds.

Our government hasn't done badly. Medicare runs with a minimum of overhead costs, MUCH more cheaply than the administrative costs of private insurance. My husband lost almost all of his 401k in 2008/2009, and his company stopped their co-pays at all because they lost so much. YOU tell me where those myriad ways to invest and save money exist. The Constitution is our roadmap, but democracy is our lifeblood -- and I think Ben Franklin would have laughed out loud at being called a poster MAN for Libertarianism. Now, maybe LiberTINISM!
+14 # peanut123 2012-05-13 09:03
You may not have noticed but the "myriad ways to save and invest money" have fail most of us. I know several people who saved and invested all their lives andnow have nothing except Social Security
+4 # Quickmatch 2012-05-14 20:04
"Government mostly screws up everything it does"; that might bear scrutiny, but it is no more true than any claim to better performance from the private sector. If we eliminate those who screw up, we are left with nothing—or, considering the caliber of the political field today, less than what we had in 1776. If one wants a modern economy with the perks of modern finance driving modern technology, one needs some moderating force. Enron, Lehman, AIG, are examples of that breed of adventurers who are willing to risk the health of world economies on a personal bet to get rich quick; that breed that begs of outside control. Libertarians cry for the old days in the beginning of the Republic and how the framers desired a small government. They could envision nothing else! Washington, Jefferson, Adams et al could no more imagine America with a $15 trillion economy trading in a $60 trillion world economy with a padding of $600 trillion of CDS bets reinforcing each other than an ant could imagine a credit card account and ATM withdrawals. The did the best they could for their day and added amendment clause that allowed tomorrows issues to be dealt with through tomorrows ideas. Social Security v. savings accounts? Fine if you have a good job and are trained to save. But what about the 20% or more who can barely feed their families. Before SS they had a solution: poor farms and penury. How's that fit your humanistic libertarianism?
+30 # ALinSTL 2012-05-12 14:45
Mitt Romney is trying to use the "boys will be boys" defense in his physical/sexual assuault of a fellow male high school student. If "good ol' Mitt" had physically held down a female student & cut off her hair as she fought off his advances he would have been arrested for RAPE!!! Romney was, & probably still is, a rapist (they don't just do it once). It's easy to understand why Repugs like him are against the "Violence Against Women" act because they're afraid of being charged for past offenses
+33 # lilpat126 2012-05-12 16:21
Love this article!. Makes sense to me.I run into young people who look at me like I cane from outer space when I expect then to do the job they were hired for. I have lost count of the the times I have been ignored as a customer, and looked upon me as a nut case when I ask them to do what they are supposed to be doing. Mitt Romney is one of the Pete Pan group who just laugh off what he has done in the past, like the dog on the roof in an "air tight" kennel. How did the poor dog breathe. If he bullied that class mate he has bullied others and will bully again. He's too old for the "boys will be boys" excuse. Did he raise his kids the same way? It is time to put people who show respect for others back unto politics. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are perfects examples. "W" is the perfect example of a spoiled brat.
+9 # cordleycoit 2012-05-12 17:02
Separating the men from the boys comes easy in RandLand, where mom is washing the sheets for the boys between two and toothless. One can tell they missed a turn when they arrive in a place where "Manly men are doing male things with..." Luckily RandLand is also know as Aspen Colorado and there is only one of those places on earth. There are boundaries on stereotypes
-8 # propsguy 2012-05-12 19:54
has anyone actually ever read ayn rand? sure, in high school and it was pulp fiction, bodice busting romance with a little theory thrown in for good measure.
but she never espoused the narrow form of selfishness being attributed to her. these weasel stock brokers and bankers just out to make a killing would have been the bad guys in her books, they lost the girl in the end to the pure noble artist who indeed acts out of a selfish passion to create greatness- not hedge fund returns.
i'm not so sure she would be happy with how she's being used by today's republicans. surely she held most politicians in contempt
+13 # BLBreck 2012-05-12 20:12
Nice rant!!!! A wise male friend once said to me: "Little girls grow up to be women, little boys grow up to be big little boys."
Another reason we need more WOMEN in government, not to mention because we are 51% of the population!

The reason people unite as a community, whether as a neighborhood or a nation, is to form a "social contract" that protects the community and all the individuals in that community. Many of our current "representative s" have no inkling of what this even means. I read Rand when I was young and walked around feeling superior for a couple of weeks until I realized how icky it made me feel and how isolated, and the neo-conservativ e's are taking this BS to the hilt. Frightening.
-23 # Johnny Genlock 2012-05-12 20:50
The passion of the collectivist Circle is to become untethered from accountability, measure, assessment.

THIS ARTICLE and the comments represent a clear break from reality. The author has performed a 180 degree pirouette and has cast the eternal adolescence and under-developme nt of the penultimate socialist collectivist yugen (youth) onto the emerging awakening libertarian youth of today; the very ones who are actively rejecting the apron strings of the Blue Meanie-Big Mother State. I feel your anger. Suck it in, breathe it out. Go for a walk. It doesn't change the fact you're losing the grip on the minds of tomorrow.

W. Cleon Skousen wrote THE NAKED CAPITALIST. You're all puppets of the radical capitalists who birthed your vaunted socialism. You're the creation and the dupes of the ultra rich. Why do they love you? Because you hate the individual, . . . just like they do.
+8 # HerbR 2012-05-12 21:30
Revision of my remarks: I don't actually know why Rand would resent being the icon of a whole religion-like devotion to her. There's so little coherent thought in her "philosophy", that one cannot count on anything she might have to say about her followers or their programs. No doubt she would be looking for the heroic architect to transform her "vision" into reality and, finding him nowhere, condemn the whole "collectivist" way of life for failing to produce or promote him.
+21 # Pondering and Pandering 2012-05-12 22:15
On Mother's Day it is always good to remember that nobody, but nobody, gets here without one. "It's the women that have the baby's" my own mother intoned when she wanted us boys to grow up and realize we were in reality the weaker sex. Some good insight into the behavior of "those people." Paul Ryan has renounced Ayn Rand when pressured by Catholic Bishops to live his faith. A real man would quietly go about the business of withdrawing his budget plan and speaking out in favor of the people it would have hurt. He's not doing that. Beer and pizza and 16-year-olds again. Real men and real women put others first. They do what is difficult and don't ask for fame and fortune for it. It's been said that budgets are moral documents because they tell us what is important to those who propose and pass them into law. The Rand-Ryan budget says the rich, powerful, and ruthless among us are to be lifted up and exalted. It looks like this budget will have to be defeated and the public good return. Otherwise, the meek will have a long wait to inherit the Earth.
+25 # pamitty 2012-05-12 22:38
It's mind -boggling to try to understand how Christians can follow this Russian communist athiest whose values are about as obviously the opposite of what Jesus taught.
The selfishness and putting one's self 1st is not a Christian concept.
+14 # X Dane 2012-05-13 00:14
In November I think the "stupid boys" will see what a lot of "pissy" women can do.
I sure hope so
-11 # infohiway 2012-05-13 02:34
'Repugs like him are against the "Violence Against Women" act because they're afraid of being charged for past offenses'.

What's next then? Endless fear of state convictions for accusations of 'ex post facto crimes' (REAL OR NOT?)
to go along with 'pre-crime' summary detention and/or execution (for allegations of crimes that have yet to happen) because 'they might happen'?

To hell with Statutes of Limitations, objectivity and simple available 'court time' for endless whack-job 'prosecutions'?

The Inquisition is back - on steroids and meth, now called The War Against Terror (TWAT) in perfect synch with the failed 'Wars Against:
Illiteracy - etc.

We all know mud, whether true or not, sticks and is a rancid method of choosing or eliminating the nation's next leader.

BTW: Ayn's own 'collective' Circle (kabbalah anyone?) over-ruled CONCERNED individuals whenever she, the COUGAR, decided so ... for her own reasons.

Pulp (all) fiction, please.
+11 # peanut123 2012-05-13 08:55
I was listening to an NPR show 5/12, maybe Marketplace, and this man was going to great legnths to explain why taxpayers should not be supporting higher educationl It was both disgusting and horrifying. These people do not believe in community or government at all.
+1 # infohiway 2012-05-13 12:48
There are checks, balances and limits to community AND government - determined by ... hard cash.
They cannot be all things to all people without, ultimately, enslaving everyone.
Marx finally admitted 'communism' that he envisioned cannot function or survive because it destroys incentive.
+8 # tswhiskers 2012-05-13 11:43
Thank you Ms. Robinson for pointing out the immaturity and the irresponsible attitude taken by modern businesses these days. I applaud your metaphor as imaginative, illustrative and dead on. Surely some Republicans are waking up to the stupidity and short-sightedne ss of their politics. We need to get all these modern day Peter Pans out of our politics and start electing real men to government. Maybe if we started to use the term "Peter Pan politics" it might help more of the public to see the selfishness and immaturity of the Conservative Right.
+4 # No Man is an Island 2012-05-14 07:59
"We need to get all these modern day Peter Pans out of our politics and start electing real men to government."

Very good as far as you went, tswhiskers,
but we need to elect more "real" women as well. -- I don't think you meant to exclude them.
+8 # ALinSTL 2012-05-13 13:14
Bonehr is a big Ryan fan & is always ranting about job creation. I remember him saying his people needed the Bush tax cuts so they could create jobs. It's been 2 & 1/2 years, John, so where are all those jobs that the Bush cuts created...where ,John, where???? Bonehr & the GOP are the new American branch of Al-Queida & doing better in destroying what we hold dear.
-8 # Johnny Genlock 2012-05-13 14:26
Can't imagine why to leave a comment. My last may as well have been a 747 flying over at altitude for all the comment it garnered. That's the liberal thing. If you feel uncomfortable, just ignore.
+8 # jackweb 2012-05-13 14:47
I am a life-long democrat, but while I agree with your perspective on the GOP and Libertarians, the selfish immaturity to which you refer is NOT a male vs. female, left vs. right issue.

As well meaning as it is, your truncated, tit for tat characterizatio n drives me crazy.

The "me-first-and-t he-rest-of-you- go-to-hell stuff" and "there's only what I want right now, which is the ultimate good in my universe" is multi-generatio nal and crosses ALL party lines. The political landscape in this country is not left to right, it's top to bottom.

Until we ALL grow up, let go of our passive-aggress ive, self-righteous defensiveness and contempt and address our hypocrisy and greed with honesty, maturity, and humility we are screwed as a nation.

Yep, we're screwed —left, right, and center.
+3 # cynnibunny 2012-05-13 23:44
I hope that everyone feels REALLY good about being so OBVIOUSLY right! And while you're each congratulating yourselves on your higher intelligence and the fact that a rational god is smiling down on you, just remember: the only reason the right wing likes Rand is that she put into words a great campaign. Of course it's stupid, but it is plausible, and it gives the impression that those that support such drivel actually want less government, less handouts, less social protections.

Not true, they just want to pay less taxes so that everyone can afford to have the protections they have. And if poor people, particularly poor wanna-be-rich people believe in the crap, then the rich who get their entitlements, and the right-offs, will get even more. But the poor wanna-bes don't know that. And the corporate press ain't gonna tell them.

In reality, no intelligent person actually believes Rand. It's just that she - being the false momma like the author portrays - undercuts all mommas and their moralistic preaching.

Actually, mothers don't bother preaching anymore. They just do.
+3 # jammer5 2012-05-14 00:46
Arrrgggg . . . I first read miss insane way back in the early sixties, and knew then she was completely whacked out. From her mandatory abortion stance to her survival of the fittest financial attitude, she preached nothing but what her insane brain told her.

Greenspan, who worshiped her for decades, when asked by the senate if he still worshiped her, after the financial meltdown, of which he played a major role, said in one word, "NO!"

Now we have Ryan, who seems to think she had all the answers. Some people are incapable of being taught anything.
-5 # Martintfre 2012-05-14 07:04
The funny thing about capitalism - not the crony capitalism that is actually fascism or socialism where the government protects low people in high places -

But honest free market capitalism, where government is limited to protecting the rights of people, the customer is king, the customer is the one with the choices - if they are not pleased they revoke their sanction and either go some where else with their business or do not participate at all.
-8 # Martintfre 2012-05-14 07:17
A shallow vapid article that the panders to the unknowing who revel in their ignorance of a subject.
+1 # Cattaluna 2012-05-15 11:23
So correct you are!
0 # 2lilluc 2012-05-14 08:44
Finally, and she will no doubt get buckets of grief for saying it, being a woman and and women will snicker in corners and whisper, "nag, nag, nag," because that's what the bully boys and the bully girls do. But from where I sit, that's what it looks like in the halls of power, it looks like kids being nasty on the playground, boys and girls alike. Someone please....take the higher road before we all go down!
+4 # Larry 2012-05-14 10:42
Even at 16, although I was politically naïve, I realized that as a novelist, Rand was severely challenged. The characters (actually just alter egos mouthing the “Objectivist” philosophy) in her novels (actually just extended screeds with an implausable plot) were awkward, one-dimensional constructs: The protagonist is a collage of idealized traits, all vaguely Aryan; strong, healthy, attractive, super-intellige nt, ethically pure and morally resolute. He (or she) struggles valiantly against the gang of soul-crushing, incentive-sappi ng government bureaucrats who themselves have never produced anything of value, but only live to regulate and tax hard-working entrepreneurs to death. If only they would leave him alone to do his morally-sanctif ied work; creating wealth for himself with collateral benefits galore!

That assumes, of course, that society is happy with whatever wages and benefits he voluntarily elects to pay, and with whatever standards of honesty, quality, safety, environmental protection, fair trade practices, etc. he chooses to uphold. But don't worry about that; Hank Reardon would NEVER act like the corporate raiders at Bain Capital, or the Wall Street robber barons whose duplicity and greed practically destroyed the banking system and the economy.
-4 # Johnny Genlock 2012-05-14 12:47
I don't get it. What did your Wall Street types ever produce? Ayn Rand would have despised them as thoroughly as she did the government regulators. What does Wall Street have to do with Unions?

Given, Rand's vaunted capitalist kings are idealized and not real. But I have known many small business versions of a Hank Reardon who were real, and were truly plundered by the red tape producers in Washington, D.C.

Y'all love to tout "tax the rich," but the rich never are the bullseye. It's the mid-level to small businessman or woman that pays the piper. Socialism kills productivity.

The country survived prior to income tax.
The country survived prior to property taxes on individual property.

We lost 483 Billion dollars revenue when NAFTA/GATT killed tariffs (1998) last year reported. That same year income tax totals were under 510 Billion. If we could do without tariffs, we could have done without income tax. But you are thieves. You must have your hands in the other man's back pocket. Admit it.
+1 # Cattaluna 2012-05-15 11:34
-2 # Cattaluna 2012-05-15 11:08
If all the Nanny State wanted to do was make me do my dishes that would be okay, but it doesn't. Nanny State wants to tell me and my children what to eat, whose rules I must accept as law in my country, and how to raise my children. Nanny State, Nanny State, Nanny State. There I said it! And if I can at all help it, I will do whatever I can to get rid of the Nanny State. Blind guides that they are.

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