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Wall Street Journal invokes Ayn Rand to ‘Whitewash’ History

September 8, 2010 8 comments
The art for a 1999 postage stamp. Image courtesy - Getty Images via online.wsj.com

The art for a 1999 postage stamp. Image courtesy - Getty Images via online.wsj.com

Ultimately, “Atlas Shrugged” is a celebration of the entrepreneur, the risk taker and the cultivator of wealth through human intellect. Critics dismissed the novel as simple-minded, and even some of Rand’s political admirers complained that she lacked compassion. Yet one pertinent warning resounds throughout the book: When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear — leaving everyone the poorer. (via ‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years – WSJ.com).

Adversity does strange things

The second half of 20th century saw the end to dominant inputs for Western ‘success’.The Western world, faced a serious economic crises with the decline in: –

  1. Slavery in the Western world, due to many slave revolts, social disaffection due to unemployment
  2. Colonial exploitation was an ‘adequate’ replacement for slavery
  3. Genocide in the Americas, and Australia – and near annihilation in Africa.
  4. The wages of crime. Opium (forced production in India, forced trade with China), piracy, slave trading

Bretton Woods agreement helped the Western world to partly re-engineer their economies. The re-working of the global political system became essential, after non-colonial nations with lower access to slavery, led by Germany, challenged the dominant colonial-slavery economies of Europe (Britain, and France). These conflicts quickly spread and became WWI and WWII.

Hiding behind Ayn Rand's skirts seems like such a bad idea!

Hiding behind Ayn Rand's skirts seems like such a bad idea!

By the end of WWII, the world was left standing with US as the major economic force in the world. Faced with this existential crises, the last thing that the West needed was a dose of truth.

Pulp fiction of capitalism

This ‘White-Wash’ job was taken up by professional Western propagandists. One such was a popular writer, waxing nostalgic for this ‘golden age’ – Ayn Rand.

Her books have become popular in the last 50 years. In India too, her popularity has created a demand for pirated prints of her books that are sold from pavements. Her glossing over slavery, her token objections to segregation were reminiscent of an age gone by. The economic contribution of slavery to the wealth of the West, the creation of patronage structures for ‘innovation and invention’ and the loot from the colonies were all absent from Ayn Rand’s hagiography on capitalism.

There was no mention whatsoever of the numerous genocides by the West in various continents of the world. He disregard for family structures was her contribution to ‘modernizing’ capitalism.

Can Ayn Rand be the 'guiding light' at Cato Institute!

Can Ayn Rand be the 'guiding light' at Cato Institute!

Stephen Moore’s vacuous memoirs of his time with the Cato Institute, ‘virginity’ and ‘initiation’ seems like a rather clueless intellectual response by the West.

To clutch Ayn Rand’s skirts, is pretty lame. Facing up to the biggest challenge the Western world has seen – I would say, in the last 500 years.

None of this new

Every word of what I have written is known. So it should not be a surprise to any one. But to see the Wall Street Journal, a ‘respected’ pillar of the Western economy, reduced to publishing such writing by Shri Stephen Moore, a senior writer, seems like a rather big come down.

For the West!

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