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Dagny *hearts* Collateralized Debt Obligations
November 28, 2008 1:45 PM   Subscribe

"She let out a rich, powerful moan, like the sound of a passing diesel train in the night." Jeremiah Tucker updates Ayn Rand's objectivist novel for the current financial crisis.

Also: Evan Johnston does an impression of Zizek reading Olivia Newton-John's "Let's Get Physical."
posted by LMGM (47 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously
posted by LMGM at 1:45 PM on November 28, 2008


!@#$, forgot the link for the "more" section.

here it is
posted by LMGM at 1:47 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this a good place to say Libertarians are fucking morons?
posted by chunking express at 1:50 PM on November 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


"Your mind gives me the biggest boner, Dagny Taggart."

Priceless.
posted by dibblda at 2:16 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Didn't we just do a Rand bashing thread?
posted by Caduceus at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2008


No matter how much you are lifting up, you have also to bring that weight back down—on you. This is the defeat, or the demoralization, of the bench press.

You know how Sisyphus is pushing the rock up the hill and it rolls back down? You are like that. Except after three sets of 12 repetitions, or four sets of 10, you can leave and get coffee or martini. Or both. Whatever.


The Zizek article got a LOL.
posted by Alex404 at 2:26 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Didn't we just do a Rand bashing thread?

I could go another round.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:29 PM on November 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Didn't we just do a Rand bashing thread?

It never gets old.
posted by delmoi at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2008


Forget the philosophical gaucherie, Atlas Shrugged is still the bestest Harlequin romance novel ever written...
posted by fairmettle at 2:37 PM on November 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Didn't we just do a Rand bashing thread?

Always believe that we can exceed our own excellence, Caduceus.
posted by sonic meat machine at 2:41 PM on November 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


I agree, Alex404. I wonder if there are enough Zizek parodies on the web do to a complete FPP yet. Ever since he came to UofC and taught a seminar, I find I can't read his writing without giggling. He really talks like he writes, only more twitchy and with way, way more swear words.
posted by LMGM at 2:44 PM on November 28, 2008


Didn't we just do a Rand bashing thread?

As if one were sufficient. A=A, bastards.
Also, too, what everyone else said. Tune in to Conan tonight for a re-run featuring my friend from high school on guitar in Detroit Octane. You know, the last time I took Rand seriously. High school. That is all.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:10 PM on November 28, 2008


Hahahahahaha. Hee. Hahaha. Hee. Good. I have giggled aloud.
posted by millipede at 3:29 PM on November 28, 2008


I just wish I had searched Metafilter for Ayn Rand before I bought Atlas Shrugged, because it was on some "must read SciFi classics" list on the internet. Could have saved me some money and much more valuable time.
posted by kolophon at 5:17 PM on November 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Need any help weeding out the good Heinleins?
posted by Artw at 5:54 PM on November 28, 2008


Shut up! You're not real!
posted by Pronoiac at 6:29 PM on November 28, 2008


Need any help weeding out the good Heinleins?

This is easy: if it says future history, you run. Otherwise, you read.
posted by TypographicalError at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2008


I just discovered that there are far too many vids of pudgy white dudes staring into the camera and defending Rand on the YouTube.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 PM on November 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Alan Greenspan isn't pudgy!
posted by lukemeister at 8:40 PM on November 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Objectivism is merely one philosophical basis for the various libertarian political pushes which have caused so much damage in the U.S. and England, but objectivism is maybe the one that made libertarianism the go-to politics for many corporate funded disasters in planning.

Objectivism departs from other modern philosophies by rejecting altruism as evil. So objectivism totally fails today because we understand three specific things the evolutionary & game theoretic basis for altruism (Fisher, Hamilton, Smith, Dawkins), that you need subtly when opposing biology, and that you can't oppose game theory.

p.s. Read Peter Singer's A Darwinian Left.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:21 PM on November 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Is this a good place to say Libertarians are fucking morons?

I don't understand Ayn Rand worship either, but I will say

It's been libertarians who've opposed the drug war while both democrats and republicans voted for stiffer and stiffer penalties for smoking weed.

It's been libertarians who have fought for equal rights for gays and lesbians, while republicans and democrats were getting together defending marriage.

It's been libertarians opposing the Iraq war, the USA PATRIOT Act, domestic surveillance, etc. while democrats and republicans overwhelmingly supported it.

Personally I might call libertarians a bit loopy but fucking morons?
Doesn't seem right.
posted by king walnut at 10:11 PM on November 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's been libertarians who've opposed the drug war while both democrats and republicans voted for stiffer and stiffer penalties for smoking weed.

Liberals tried to decriminalize pot use beginning in the 70's, including Jimmy Carter. They also tried to medicalize it too. Republicans usually stopped them at every turn, overwhelmingly counting on libertarian support in every election. Libertarians go around saying they want to legalize all drugs, but this conservatively lumps pot with both crack and heroin, which they probably believe will add to our vulnerability. As for your other comments, I don't think they reflect reality. Libertarians recently rewrote their national platform against abortion in hopes of getting the gun crowd on their side, and I'm sure someone in the future will post a message about how they were standing up for reproductive freedom when liberals were writing laws against it.
posted by Brian B. at 10:54 PM on November 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sure, the academic libertarians all support equal right for all people, but all libertarian political activities have been either effectively or explicitly anti-gay and anti-non-Christian.

I've heard numerous "libertarian" talk show hosts who are vehemently anti-gay, anti-non-Christian, etc. Hell, Bob Barr was the libertarian party candidate, he authored the damn Defense of Marriage Act, proposed the Pentagon ban Wiccas from the military. Yes clearly "fucking moron" applies if you voted for Bob Barr.

America's political process is so inherently "big tent" that even the third parties are forced mostly into the republican or democrat ideological coalitions.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:29 PM on November 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's been libertarians opposing the Iraq war, the USA PATRIOT Act, domestic surveillance, etc. while democrats and republicans overwhelmingly supported it.

The vote on the Iraq War was almost evenly split among Democrats. And domestic surveillance activities had been kept largely hidden from Congress, brought to light by such goofs as illegal wiretapping - unless you're pretty much covering the PATRIOT Act twice here. Speaking of which, while it's true that the one member of the Senate to vehemently oppose it was Democrat Russ Feingold, even after it's passing, many Senators continued to fight to pull the teeth out of this beast, including bills like PRIA, BFTPA, and SAFE. Fighting continued until many of the measures the PATRIOT Act introduced - passed hastily in a wave of panic - were declawed in 2005. It certainly was and is an uphill battle, but "overwhelming support"? Not quite. See, it's important to see what individual players are doing, and what event proceded the next, as opposed to viewing Democrats and Republicans as one big chummy club who agree completely across the board.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:35 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Libertarians recently rewrote their national platform against abortion in hopes of getting the gun crowd on their side, and I'm sure someone in the future will post a message about how they were standing up for reproductive freedom when liberals were writing laws against it.

Let's see here, from the LP's platform verbatim:

"Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."

I don't see any "against" here. It seems more like the Switzerland between the two major parties, which pretty well squares with the general lack of consensus amongst libertarians.

Liberals tried to decriminalize pot use beginning in the 70's, including Jimmy Carter. They also tried to medicalize it too.

Let's try and remember what anti-drug legislation Biden's either crafted himself or co-sponsored over the years: The RAVE Act, creation of the ONDCP and 'Drug Czar', etc. Say nothing of the other Democrats that've perpetuated the Drug War and continued criminal penalties against pot use. (But that's apparently, you know, just fine.) It seems all the liberal heroes left when it came to picking up the train that promisingly rolled through the 70s, leaving independent organizations and the Libertarian Party to fill the void.

It's been libertarians who have fought for equal rights for gays and lesbians, while republicans and democrats were getting together defending marriage.

Were? Obama and Biden are still defending marriage:

"I think it's unnecessary," Obama told Sway, in response to a question sent in by Gangstagigz from San Leandro, California. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage." -- 11/02/2008

Note: I'm not a member of the Libertarian Party, but it obviously doesn't preclude this independent from seeing the value in having libertarians around when the political majority filling the two ivory towers are too busy throwing rocks at one another to do the right thing.
posted by vanadium at 11:39 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


...all libertarian political activities have been either effectively or explicitly anti-gay and anti-non-Christian. [citation needed]
posted by vanadium at 11:41 PM on November 28, 2008


I don't see any "against" here.

This is fairly disingenuous. Ron Paul, perhaps the best-known libertarian in America, is decidedly pro-life and has written entire books on the subject. Quoting the Libertarian Party platform but ignoring the positions of individual politicians therein is just as disingenuous as citing the way some Republicans or Democrats have voted as proof of the entire party platform. Each politician deserves to be judged on their record, and it's grossly oversimplifying to contend that Democrats and Republicans are virtually the same people.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:46 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is fairly disingenuous. Ron Paul, perhaps the best-known libertarian in America, is decidedly pro-life and has written entire books on the subject.

Ron Paul is by no means the libertarian standard-bearer, if watching the political machinations of the last election cycle was any indication. If anything, his POV practically guaranteed the lack of a libertarian consensus in support. The hangover Paul left behind to expose the ghosts of Barr's past legislation was is precisely why, if you were listening closely enough, you'd have seen a drastic shift toward voting Obama--even at the expense of the Libertarian Party's candidate Barr.

Note: Barr was chosen on what IIRC was the 6th Ballot at their convention. Contentious and controversial as an LP candidate, indeed.

Anecdotally speaking, I know more atheist/agnostic, pro-gay rights (including marriage), pro-choice libertarians than any other. Hell, half are gay themselves. Judging libertarianism as a whole on the basis of who manages by chance to attract the outliers--who largely weren't libertarian themselves but disaffected (largely anti-war) conservatives--in an election is in itself disingenuous.
posted by vanadium at 11:57 PM on November 28, 2008


Judging libertarianism as a whole on the basis of who manages by chance to attract the outliers--who largely weren't libertarian themselves but disaffected (largely anti-war) conservatives--in an election is in itself disingenuous.

So it's alright to paint Democrats and Republicans - that "political majority filling the two ivory towers" who "are too busy throwing rocks at one another to do the right thing" - with the same gigantic brush, but not Libertarians then? Anyone allying themselves with the LP should be studied and considered, but that Big Old Political Duality, they're the same? Dick Cheney is Bernie Sanders?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:04 AM on November 29, 2008


Addendum: Sanders was included despite his independent status as he does caucus with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments. But for the purpose of clarity, you can substitute Bernie with Feingold, if you like.

I also have to say I love the "no true Scotsman" ploy being taken here with regards to Ron Paul. Yes, Ron Paul was the outlier. Interesting.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:10 AM on November 29, 2008


yo jeffburdges, could you develop out further your comment on altruism and objectivism? I'm actually rather interested in that, but I'll admit that I don't understand objectivism's position on altruism.
posted by LMGM at 1:03 AM on November 29, 2008


It's been libertarians who've opposed the drug war

The single most important and effective opponent of the drug war globally has probably been George Soros.

Soros is not a libertarian. He's completely opposed to the market fundamentalism that libertarians espouse.

And pretty well everyone that I've met working in organisations that get grant aid from Soros have been either liberals or socialists. I don't believe I've ever met a libertarian doing real work in this area -- though they do pontificate on the net rather a lot.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:05 AM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Objectivist ethics has fairly a clear & strong rejection of altruism, proposing "rational self-interest" instead. Rand understood that the is-ought problem is bunk, although not for utilitarian reasons. So pure rational self-interest sounds completely reasonable if you understand Darwin based evolution upon simply survival but don't understand why altruism exists among animals. But you can't sanely reject altruism if you've rejected is-ought and accept work on evolutionary basis of altruism. Dawkins' The Selfish Gene is simplest book on evolutionary basis of altruism. Singer's A Darwinian Left is one very short take on cultural altruism in humans.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:13 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't see any "against" here.

Because you haven't compared it to previous positions that entertained no ambiguity and spoke of women's rights.

From 1987:

The party's proposed platform supports ''the right of women to make a personal choice regarding the termination of pregnancy.''

Mr. Paul, who joined the Libertarian Party last February, said the division of opinion on abortion showed how the Libertarian Party had grown up since its founding in 1971.


The current wording of their platform is far more conservative than the Democratic party. Keeping government out of the matter is deliberately tricky wording that also implies that it could be banned outright. It actually word plays into the fear mongering by right wing talk shows that the government wants to force abortions with tax dollars, therefore it should be banned.
posted by Brian B. at 8:29 AM on November 29, 2008


Side by side, the ambiguity of the libertarian position is more evident, where "keeping government out" has both a broad and intended meaning:

Democratic party: Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.36 Jul 10, 2004


Libertarian party: "Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."

posted by Brian B. at 9:01 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what part of "we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration" is deliberately tricky wording that implies it could be banned outright.
posted by king walnut at 10:26 AM on November 29, 2008


Kim Stanley Robinson says: "A libertarian is an anarchist who wants a strong police force available to protect him from his slaves."
posted by Forrest Greene at 10:52 AM on November 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure what part of "we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration" is deliberately tricky wording that implies it could be banned outright.

Government protects our rights. Keeping something out of the matter which would protect our rights on a federal level is a dog whistle call out for "leaving the question to each" state, town or city government to ban something their "conscientious consideration" disagrees with. You can't keep "government" out of a civil rights question, except in the imagination of a libertarian.
posted by Brian B. at 11:49 AM on November 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Government protects our rights. Keeping something out of the matter which would protect our rights on a federal level is a dog whistle call out for "leaving the question to each" state, town or city government to ban something their "conscientious consideration" disagrees with. You can't keep "government" out of a civil rights question, except in the imagination of a libertarian.

Sometimes, "government" means the federal government. But sometimes, "government" means state or city governments. Today's implausible reading has been brought to you by Brian B. and the letters W, T, and F.
posted by prefpara at 5:26 PM on November 30, 2008


Sometimes, "government" means the federal government. But sometimes, "government" means state or city governments. Today's implausible reading has been brought to you by Brian B. and the letters W, T, and F.

But if the Civil War taught us anything, it's that human rights need to be enforced from the highest possible vantage point. You cannot meekly concede that "it's up to the individual" to decide whether or not women have reproductive rights, no more than you can say it's up to the states to decide whether or not black people should be allowed to use the same drinking fountains as white people. Nope, sorry, I'd rather not living a country where from one county or state to the next, I might be travelling from an area where human rights are enforced to a place where we've basically got a Talibaptist enclave running the show. Libertarianism falls apart in the face of many realities, the propencity for small, crazy cells to bully minorities without a higher power keeping them in check being one of them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:58 PM on November 30, 2008


You cannot meekly concede that "it's up to the individual" to decide whether or not women have reproductive rights

I'm sorry, but where in this statement:

"Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."

Do you see any support for the idea that people should be individually responsible for protecting their liberties? How did that reading happen? I see this statement as saying that the choice to abort is personal, and the government should not make it on behalf of any individual. In other words, leave the government out of the decision-making process. It doesn't seem to me to say that it's up to each individual to decide whether or not women have reproductive rights. It seems to me to say that it's up to each individual to decide whether or not that individual wants to have an abortion.

Also, saying a decision is personal has never been the same as saying, oh and get a gun because we're not going to make sure it stays that way. My religious choices are up to me to make, but you'd better believe that if someone tries to mess with that, I am going to be able to enlist government force to defend my ability to freely make that decision.

So, here, the libertarian statement just seems to say no more and no less than that it's a personal choice, the government shouldn't tell people what to do, end of story. Run of the mill libertarian stuff.

I don't know where you're getting the rest of it.
posted by prefpara at 8:13 PM on November 30, 2008


I'm sorry, but where in this statement:

"Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."

Do you see any support for the idea that people should be individually responsible for protecting their liberties?


If government is kept out of the matter, then guess who's protecting their own civil liberties?

Any libertarian, when pressed on this issue, will fall back on the same, tired "states' rights" argument about abortion. Why? Because if you believe the government needs to be left out of the abortion debate, then there needs to be a law telling the states what they cannot do (horror of horrors), namely, outlaw abortion. Since limiting states' rights is a bane to libertarian thinking, they trot at the tired states' rights argument, i.e., government as minimal as possible, people are free to simply move if they don't like it, and et cetera. Some libertarians even go so far as to say outlawing abortion protects the individual rights of the unborn (re: Ron Paul).

It's weak, spineless, and exposes yet another flaw in the libertarian world view - that human rights can continue to be respected without a strong central authority to enforce them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:12 PM on November 30, 2008


"leaving the question to each person"

not the same as leaving the question to each state

if you don't see a difference, I don't know what else to say...

you may have problems with libertarians who think the federal government shouldn't enforce rights, but this statement just doesn't seem to be about that
posted by prefpara at 9:17 PM on November 30, 2008


you may have problems with libertarians who think the federal government shouldn't enforce rights, but this statement just doesn't seem to be about that

It's the logical following from that statement. If you say abortion is a personal choice up to each individual, then you need a federal law ensuring a woman's right to choose, i.e., a law which gives the federal government the power to tell individual states what they can and cannot do. As far as my understanding of libertarianism goes, this is not exactly in keeping with their world view. When it comes to abortion, libertarians do tend to fall back on the states' rights argument. My "problem" with that is that it willfully ignores the history that brought us to Roe v. Wade in the first place.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:25 PM on November 30, 2008


Hey, just popped in to tell Ayn Rand to fuck herself. Is this the right thread for that?
posted by andromache at 6:06 AM on December 1, 2008


Yes, this is the place to do that sort of thing. If you feel like, you can also argue with libertarians apparently, which plays out like some sort of absurdist play.
posted by chunking express at 6:24 AM on December 1, 2008


Sometimes, "government" means the federal government. But sometimes, "government" means state or city governments.

That's exactly what it means to the Republican voter they are trying to appeal to. No federal government decides, but local governments make the cultural and personal rules based on community values. (It's still the Republican national strategy on abortion). And that's why libertarians mention "each person" instead of women in their platform. Because it clearly means that each person has a say in the matter, ie, the voter. No such ambiguity in the past on abortion when it was a women's rights issue to them.

It's strange that anyone would sell the chickenshit libertarian platform under the guise of a cut and dried personal liberty while their arch-enemy, the Democrats, have it so clearly stated. And libertarians would have us believe that Democrats and Republicans are so similar.
posted by Brian B. at 7:16 AM on December 1, 2008


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