I DO NOT hope that Barak Obama is successful. I know why that is, but I've had trouble figuring out how to say so without developing "Limbaugh Echo Syndrome". I've known for a while that I've got something more to add to it, and Ayn Rand has helped me figure out what that is. It's truth.
I am a newly minted Ayn Rand devotee. I finally started reading Atlas Shrugged about a month before the election and finished a little more than a week ago. The the world that she created more than 50 years ago is absolutely stunning, not just in its applicability today, but in its tonal accuracy. I can't believe the number of situations and statements in this book that I heard repeated in our world on the same day I read them in the novel.
I am not going to become a rabid follower. There are people who have pretty much formed a cult around this lady, and I won't be one of them. In the short term, however, I will have to work at not constantly referencing our real world back to her imagined one since it is so fresh in my mind. I'll let it happen a few times, and I may even do a "book review" on the pages that I've marked. It could make an interesting article as well as a handy "cliff's notes" for anybody who can't stomach her hyper-wordiness. The point of this prelude is that what I got from this book was clarity. Not strict adherence to her philosophy, but a functional way of looking at something. I think the power of a philosophy is exactly its ability to clarify the world. My personal maturity when reading this notwithstanding, every other philosophy I've read up to this point has muddled the truth rather than exposing it. They've asked questions that merely led to more questions and a distinct lack of utility. Objectivism, at least in its political applications, leads me down no blind alleys.
So how did Ms. Rand show me a clear way of explaining my wish for a mitigated disaster during the Obama administration? I think I'd better give my original logic first: Barack Obama, if he's not a socialist, sure ran as one. He's a pandering populist who wants to restrict freedom at every turn and redistribute wealth. His Tax policies will depress the economy. The bailouts he'll sign will devalue the dollar, which will devalue everything I have, everything I save, and everything I earn. His conciliatory foreign policy will weaken the United States' standing in the world, which "lowers the tide for all boats" and will result in even more economic pain. And finally, to hope for Obama success is to hope for the ascendence of moral bankruptcy along with all the actual bankruptcy of these times. This is what I would have said before reading this book and, in fact, earlier today before I had my little epiphany. But I can already hear the futile argument that would follow:
Them: "But if he's successful, then those things won't be true!"
Me: "But he won't be."
Them: "Because people like you hope that he won't! You'll make it come true!"
Me: "No, I just know that it can't. Socialism cannot work"
Them: "But you just don't want it to work, because then you'd be wrong!"
Me: "No, I don't want it to work, because it is wrong."
And so on. I was thinking along these lines today, looking for a way to clarify the fact that I think Socialism and income redistribution in all forms are wrong, and if they "worked" that would be worse, and the opposite of what I want. I could make that exact argument, but it falls on deaf ears over and over again. People want us to give Obama a chance, but I now say, a chance to do what? If we take him at his word, if we accept his campaign as being his plan, then they are asking us to give socialism a chance. I'm afraid that it's already been tried, and it's failed every time. But here is the clarity: Socialism and income redistribution are ineffective and immoral. That is a truth. They fail because they should fail. An immorality of that size can appear successful for a period of time by mortgaging the future, and they can hold on with moderate, "acceptable" levels of failure for quite a while, but they can never approach the success of freedom. If Obama's reign is billed as success, it will be a lie. And that is all we need to know.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."