According to Mahatma Gandhi, revolutionaries are first ignored, then laughed at, then attacked—and then they win. Reading George Monbiot’s piece on Ayn Rand, “How AynRand became the new right’s version of Marx” (The Guardian), has made me think that Gandhi could have included an intermediary step between laughter and attack: a step where the adversaries are no longer able to laugh, yet still lack the arguments necessary to launch an attack, thus do what they can to smear.
Monbiot makes his intention clear: He claims that Ayn Rand thought that empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive, that the poor deserve to die, and that those who seek to help them should be gassed. These are lies, and Monbiot knows it.
In spite of the lies, I do have a shred of sympathy for Monbiot – for what else could he say? It becomes clearer every day that Ayn Rand’s prophecy in Atlas Shrugged was spot on. Although the railroad industry in Rand’s novel has been replaced by a financial market, the same plot is played out: a mixed economy collapses and capitalism gets the blame.
[…] Ayn Rand is capitalism’s Karl Marx. Rand is an influential philosopher and iconoclast, and her alternative to Marx’ theory of exploitation is a theory that the wealth we all benefit from – from computers and airplanes to medicines and books – is fundamentally the result of entrepreneurs’ ability to innovate. Entrepreneurs and capitalists are heroes, not villains – and in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand explains why.
Read the rest at Forbes.