Sunday, June 26, 2011

no divine right of Kings (Ayn Rand)

The Divine Ayn in the House:

"Since there is no such entity as “society,” since society is only a number of individual men, this meant, in practice, that the rulers of society were exempt from moral law; subject only to traditional rituals, they held total power and exacted blind obedience—on the implicit principle of: “The good is that which is good for society (or for the tribe, the race, the nation), and the ruler’s edicts are its voice on earth.”

This was true of all statist systems, under all variants of the altruist-collectivist ethics, mystical or social. “The Divine Right of Kings” summarizes the political theory of the first—”Vox populi, vox dei” of the second. As witness: the theocracy of Egypt, with the Pharaoh as an embodied god—the unlimited majority rule or democracy of Athens—the welfare state run by the Emperors of Rome—the Inquisition of the late Middle Ages—the absolute monarchy of France—the welfare state of Bismarck’s Prussia—the gas chambers of Nazi Germany—the slaughterhouse of the Soviet Union.

All these political systems were expressions of the altruist-collectivist ethics-and their common characteristic is the fact that society stood above the moral law, as an omnipotent, sovereign whim worshiper. Thus, politically, all these systems were variants of an amoral society.

The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society to moral law......"

Few rational humans would approve of Miss Rand's pop-Nietzschean philosophy and her blowharded praise of hyper-individualism and greed. However, on occasion Miss Rand--at least the skankified mature, ripened Rand of the 60's-- seems a bit Lockean, as in the linked essay, which features Rand's  strident pro-capitalist views (though..we might recall she's writing post-Stalinism..and contra-stalinism), yet also reveals her opposition to the divine right of Kings (ie, theocracy)--a trivial point to those who have read Locke or Jefferson perhaps, but ..we contend important (then how many hipsters in Googleville have ever perused Locke's 1st and 2nd Treatises of Civil Govt?). There will be no return to monarchy, of whatever sort. 

Be sure Rand would not lend her support to any fundamentalist republicans (or religious demos for that matter) who would use the Good Book or Book of Moron (--or the Koran--) as a basis for political society. Early on Rand rejected the hebraic dogma of the Old Testament and her russian forefathers, and Christianity for that matter. While she is taken to be a libertarian or rightist, we might recall Rand voted for JFK and opposed the Nixon-Kissinger death-machine, and once protested the US military presence in 'Nam (unlike All-Amerikan pigs such as Heinlein, or WF Buckley, who thought Nixon "soft"). Rand dissed Reagan and Falwell's WASP-bozos as well--. That may not redeem her, but the Teabaggers and Ryanettes misread her and misappropriate her ideas for the most part.

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