Monthly Archives: January 2011

Seeding the Future of Our Food

by Ana Grarian

Ana has been away attending an Agriculture Law and Policy conference at the Vermont Law School.

Pollinate & Cultivate: Seeding the Future of Our Food

a student-organized conference designed to

inspire creative solutions to the many challenges facing our current food systems.

Ana wishes that more students had been required to attend the panels as part of their course work, as it hosted an impressive roster of speakers including Lynn Henning the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Chris Petersen former president of the Iowa Farmer’s Union, Jack Lazor owner of Butterworks Farm, an organic Jersey dairy in VT., and a host of other folks interested in farming sustainably, the ethical treatment of farm laborers, and the environment.
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Today’s Quote-to-Quote on Ayn Rand’s Opinion of Democracy

I wonder if the House ‘Budget Czar,’ Rep. Paul Ryan, who provided the Republican response to Obama’s SOTU January 23rd, understands his idol Ayn Rand wasn’t exactly enthralled with democracy? Maybe some member of our MSM will ask Ryan why he holds an anti-democratic elitist like Rand in such high regard?

“Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom.”
— Ayn Rand, as quoted by Mark Ames.

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” […]
“Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.”
— Rep. Paul Ryan, praising Ayn Rand on two separate occasions, as quoted by Joshua Holland.

Ayn Rand: Another Conservative Hypocrite

[Editor’s Note: Actually, when I read “The Fountainhead” as a teenager, I took it as a tale of an artist, in this case an architect, displaying his integrity by creating only what he wanted, and flouting the establishment rather than selling himself out to the highest bidder and producing mediocre work. The unregulated capitalist ‘Libertarian’ side of the novel’s protagonist, Howard Roark, was not immediately apparent to my young eyes – if anything, it showed those wealthy men who ran big businesses and other power-brokers in a poor light, with a few exceptions. That said, Rand’s anti-government ‘Objectivist’ philosophy became the basis for Libertarianism, and much of the justification for selfishness and cruelty to others we now hear expounded daily by the GOP, so the author’s use of government social programs like Medicare in her waning years is a particularly acute form of hypocrisy.]

Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them

by Joshua Holland, AlterNet, January 29, 2011

Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping “moral philosophy” that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.

Her books provided wide-ranging parables of “parasites,” “looters” and “moochers” using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes’ labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor). […]

Her ideas about government intervention in some idealized pristine marketplace serve as the basis for so much of the conservative rhetoric we see today. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” said Paul Ryan, the GOP’s young budget star at a D.C. event honoring the author. On another occasion, he proclaimed, “Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.” […]

Rand is one of three women the Cato Institute calls founders of American libertarianism. The other two, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel “Pat” Paterson, both rejected Social Security benefits on principle. Lane, with whom Rand corresponded for several years, once quit an editorial job in order to avoid paying Social Security taxes. The Cato Institute says Lane considered Social Security a “Ponzi fraud” and “told friends that it would be immoral of her to take part in a system that would predictably collapse so catastrophically.” Lane died in 1968.

Read the rest here.

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