Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last night's debate: John Galt v. Tom Joad?

It is is a common Democratic trope to call Republicans stupid. Conservatives are insufficiently informed about global warming and the implications of evolutionary science. They don't understand that embryos harvested at the blastocyst stage (before implantation) are just a clump of cells. They don't seem to understand that homosexuality is not a choice (even if its not a gene).

But the economic misunderstandings displayed by Democrats are often staggering. Russ Feingold is quickly becoming Exhibit A. He has taken a rather perceptive comment by Ron Johnson about creative destruction - one that virtually no mainstream economist would disagree with - represents some sort of heartlessness.

We can argue about the extent to which government might ameloriate the impact of creative destruction, but does Sen. Feingold really believe that it should be prevented? Should we tax every day people to prop up typewriter and film manufacturers? Should we have floated municipal bonds to save the blacksmith shop? Should those same every day Joes be forced to pay more for their flat screens to keep Zenith building televisions in the United States?

Feingold's misunderstanding of Atlas Shrugged is of a piece with that. The villians are not every day people who work, but the looting class that wishes to control - and profit from - the work of others; to reap where they did not sow and to rule the innocent by making them criminals.

I am not a Randian, but Johnson may have cited another Rand novel, The Fountainhead, to the effect that the upper class is a nation's past, while the middle class is its future. The difference between the two has to do with the way in which the middle class creates and sustains itself.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

the looting class that wishes to control and profit from the work of others - to reap where they did not sow and to rule the innocent by making them criminals.

Who is that in our society?

And actual quotes from the debate would help illuminate what you're talking about in paragraph 3.

Free Lunch said...

Make all the excuses you like for Rand, but don't tell us that she had any idea how economics worked. We can see from her propaganda pieces that she did not.

I wonder if Johnson will tell his likely voters that he really does embrace Rand, including her complete disdain for religion. Does he just go to church for show?

John Foust said...

To your average TEA Partier, Rand's novels and writings are like the Bible: You can pick and choose passages as needed to defend your presuppositions. Very few believe the whole cloth literally.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty much just a clump of cells, Various bits had no choice but to be straight. Other bits got together to admire the process of science, and to realize that it's not sufficient to merely call someone stupid - it's far better to line up the facts for a good argument. Saying "God did it" isn't an argument.

You meant "heartlessness" not "hairlessness", right?

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