Monday, September 17, 2007

Greenspan on the weak: it is right that the parasites die

There's a very dark thread in many libertarians, a thread that ran through Fascism as well. In theory a Libertarian might choose to help the weak, but object to being forced to give aid; in practice many of the true believers seemed to feel that justice, arising from the ethical primacy of the superior, requires the death of the weak ...
Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism - New York Times

... Mr. Greenspan met Rand when he was 25 and working as an economic forecaster. She was already renowned as the author of “The Fountainhead,” a novel about an architect true to his principles. Mr. Greenspan had married a member of Rand’s inner circle, known as the Collective, that met every Saturday night in her New York apartment. Rand did not pay much attention to Mr. Greenspan until he began praising drafts of “Atlas,” which she read aloud to her disciples, according to Jeff Britting, the archivist of Ayn Rand’s papers. He was attracted, Mr. Britting said, to “her moral defense of capitalism.”...

... Shortly after “Atlas Shrugged” was published in 1957, Mr. Greenspan wrote a letter to The New York Times to counter a critic’s comment that “the book was written out of hate.” Mr. Greenspan wrote: “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”
He was 25 then, and infatuated with power in general and Ms. Rand in particular. Still, it is an extremely revealing statement. I wonder if he felt that it was ok to exterminate the parasites if they weren't dying off quickly enough.

I'm sure he's doing some book tours. I look forward to someone asking whether he's reconsidered his attitude to the feeble, and whether most of the religious right falls into the parasite category.

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