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To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Randroid Worship of Power

Interesting conversation under my latest C4SS column: "Small Government Conservatives Who Love the State." Aster mentioned that mainstream Randroids of the ARI variety are even worse state-worshippers, when it comes to the coercive and punitive "Daddy" arms of the state, than the Republicans at Fox New et al. I commented (some minor cleaning up):

The Randroids IMO are far, far worse than Fox and even most Republican talk radio.

I recall some pieces by Bidinotto saying the U.S. was justified, in “self-defense,” in turning the Gulf region into molten glass if the Islamic countries didn’t obey an American demand that they shut down the Madrasas (aggressive calls for violence, you know), and give the oil fields to private owners (cough Exxon-Mobil cough).

Now consider, first of all, that the ARI’s propaganda might be interpreted by some in the Islamic world as “calls for violence.” And consider also that Ayn Rand rejected Rothbard’s views on state property: she viewed student occupations of state universities, like the Berkeley FSM, as a thuggish violation of property rights that should be suppressed by state violence.

Starting from the perverse definitions of “self-defense” and “aggression” that these Randroid monsters use, it’s possible to threaten “Do what we say or we’ll murder the entire human race,” and define failure to obey as “aggression” and global genocide as “self-defense.” Maybe, using the ARI’s logic, the rest of the world should define the U.S. government’s very act of permitting such calls for violence from the Ayn Rand Institute and The Objectivist Center as itself constituting state sponsorship of terror–and then launch a war of extermination against the U.S. to make the rest of the world safe from American corporatist terror. It would be at least as rational and internally consistent as the Randroid doctrine. In fact, I believe Bin Laden justified the civilian deaths from 9-11, arguing for the moral culpability of the entire population in supporting or acquiescing to government policy, in the very same terms the ARI beasts of prey regularly use.

Most Randroid foreign policy propaganda, behind all the elaborate philosophical justifications, amounts to “Let’s kill all the people we don’t like and take their stuff.” It’s just an animal’s howl of rage, wrapped up in faux Aristotelian rhetoric.

Addendum. In the comments, Robert Bidinotto challenged me to produce a link to any instance of where he'd said such things. I found that I'd conflated his name, in particular, with the content of a number of objectionable ARI pieces which were not written by him which had been posted (mostly by Kevin McFarlane, who regularly posts links to ARI columns, I think) on the Libertarian Alliance Forum. I can find no instance in which Mr. Bidinotto made the madrasa or oil "theft" arguments referenced above. As I told him, before turning a C4SS comment based on my loose recollection of a wide array of objectionable content from the ARI into a blog post in its own right, I should have done better fact checking. For that, I apologize. My reaction to the actual arguments referenced above still stands, but I lack the time or inclination to track them down to the original Objectivist writers responsible for them.


11 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Gee, Kevin, I'm curious if you could provide your readers and me some links or direct quotations to the things that you've said that I wrote.

Now, off the top of my head, I don't recall ever having made any such comments, but then my memory isn't what it used to be. Maybe I did. The links would help.

January 10, 2010 1:56 PM  
Blogger Stephan Kinsella said...

Kevin, yes--if you want to see some chilling, disgusting stuff by Randians, go to various posts of mine here, such as: Mutualists and Randians on Arab Oil; Rand on Collateral Damage; Objectivism, Bidinotto, and Anarchy; Rand, Objectivism, and One-World Government; Objectivist Hate Fest; Objectivists: Yes, States are Criminal: So What?; Ayn Rand Endorses Big Government; Centralist, Pro-War Objectivists on Paul; Libertarians on War.

January 10, 2010 2:44 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

You're entirely correct to bristle at my comments, Mr. Bidinotto. I seem to have conflated you in my memory with the authors of several other ARI or TOC authors whose material on foreign policy was posted to the Libertarian Alliance Forum. I apologize for turning a comment at C4SS based on loose recollection into a full-blown blog post without doing more rigorous fact checking.

Looking through the LAF archives, I found several posts where I commented on things you'd actually written (which were nowhere as extreme as the material by Peikoff and others that I mistakenly conflated with your work):

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/libertarian-alliance-forum/message/70657
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/libertarian-alliance-forum/message/70719
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/libertarian-alliance-forum/message/72819
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/libertarian-alliance-forum/message/79034

January 10, 2010 11:51 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

Meh, methinks you're too much of a gentleman, Kevin. Have you read Bidinotto's over-the-top outrageous treatment of Charles Johnson?

January 11, 2010 5:37 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Thanks, Alice. I'm not saying Bidinotto's a rose, by any means. If you look at those yahoogroups posts I linked above, you'll see things he actually said and my reaction to them. The stuff he wrote is pretty much in the same league as, say, David Horowitz or Charles Krauthammer, which is pretty odious in its own right. But it's not as bad as the positions I attacked in my original post.

January 11, 2010 5:53 PM  
Blogger RanDomino said...

So Randians aren't actually the Ubermenschen they worship? shocking. Perhaps they worship power to make up for their own impotence?

January 12, 2010 1:05 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

RanDomino: On whether they all have sharp cheekbones, capes and cigarette holders, and engage in constant rape and face-slapping, I can't say. It certainly is entertaining to picture, though.

January 12, 2010 1:21 PM  
Blogger Stephan Kinsella said...

Kevin, you might get a kick out of the posts mocking Randroidism collected here: .

January 12, 2010 2:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Here?

One of the funniest parodies I've seen was "The Benevolent Rape Scene," which is available only through Internet Archive (wonder why):
http://tinyurl.com/d4vog6

"The man had gaunt, hollow cheeks and a severely pitiless cast to the planes of his countenance.
Immediately she wanted to destroy him....

"'I want to take you sexually by force. Okay with you? I know you're the type of dame who won't put out for just anyone.'

"'Goddamn you,' she hissed. 'Submit the appropriate forms to the Ministry of Romantic Foreplay....'

"After several more carefully choreographed encounters, Dominique presented Roark with an affidavit laying out that she wanted him to come fix the damaged marble of her fireplace; that she had scratched the marble herself as an excuse to demand his presence and to attempt, and fail, to humiliate him; that Roark hereby had her permission to damage the marble work further as manifestation of masculine contempt for her feckless desire to humiliate him as prelude to her being taken by him by force; and that she would provide him with further instructions at that time. Roark was to be paid his normal wage....

"She turned. 'Do you realize the shame and pleasure you are giving me by this unnaturally natural acceptance of an unnatural offer?' she asked him.

"'Yes I do,' said Roark. 'My contemptuous indifference to your overtures will be followed by violently taking you by force.'

"'I will send you an engraved invitation,' said Dominique, 'you bastard.'

"Roark received the engraved invitation by certified mail the next day....

"'I don't believe in integrity. The world destroys it, much as I will have to destroy you. For example, I threw a beautiful statue down an elevator shaft so it would smash to pieces and no one else would ever have to see it and thereby sully its magnificence. I have to protect you, Roark. I will do so by obliterating you like a gnat.'

"'Now why would you want to do a fool thing like that?'

"'It's too complicated to explain. I'll send you several recent volumes of my diary though and you can....'

"Immediately she shot off a telegram to Roark: DO NOT BE IN QUARRY WHEN I ARRIVE EARLY TOMORROW EVENING 6:32 PM STOP BE ON HORSE PATH NEAR WILLOW TREE AT THIRD BEND STOP I WILL LASH YOU WITH TWIG AS I GALLOP PAST STOP DO YOU AGREE STOP IF SO SIGN ATTACHED AND RETURN STOP....

"'Here to rape me?' she asked when Roark arrived 'unexpectedly' at her home the next day.

"'What do you think?' asked Roark, reaching into his back pocket.

"But he had left the engraved invitation back at the cabin.

"Damn. Damn damn damn."

January 12, 2010 2:36 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

So Randians aren't actually the Ubermenschen they worship? shocking. Perhaps they worship power to make up for their own impotence?

Well, as for impotence...

LOL on the ¨benevolent rape scene¨. That said, there are Randians and Randians; we´re individual people, and prefer to be judged as such. Some of us believe in social vengea... I mean justice.

As for Rand´s sexual psychology, both men and women whose public lives demand intense and continual assertiveness are often very submissive in bed. Since Rand viewed human assertiveness as a normative ideal, it´s regrettable but hardly unprecented that she essentialised her own sexuality. And there´s nothing wrong with walking around with a cape and cigarette holder wearing a gold coin pendant as long as you don´t think it entitles you to treat other people as inferior and make them carry your shoes.

January 12, 2010 5:30 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Did Ayn Rand make somebody carry her shoes? Ewwwww. I'll bet that guy's still scrubbing his hands with steel wool.

January 12, 2010 10:39 PM  

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