Tag Archives: Social Security

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.

The Tattlesnake — The Teabaggers Should Thank Liberals Edition

Aging Tea Partiers a Jaw-Dropping Example of Stupidity and Ingratitude

Its the same with narrow-minded people as it is with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.
— Anonymous, from Planet Proctor 2010-7.

Most of the gray-haired Teabaggers are snapping, snarling and filled with rage but, like a dog driven mad by rabies, they are mindless in their wrath and blinded by their disease. They should stop and think who they have to thank for that Social Security check they receive at the beginning of every month. (Hint: it’s not the pretentious pecksniffs of the faux-populist GOP or the bedeviled bellowers of the Right-Wing Noise Machine they so assiduously follow.)

Steve Benen’s piece below is consistent with my own anecdotal exposure to the Teabaggers they are mainly retired whites who watch Fox News and then gripe bitterly about the government from the comfort of their La-Z-Boy loungers while they collect their Social Security checks, pay their doctor bills via Medicare, and take advantage of housing and other discounts for seniors subsidized by the taxpayer. Many are also ex-military and not only received a government check while they were on active duty, but live off vets benefits provided by the government they despise. They especially loathe the evil liberals who proposed and passed that legislation so that they wouldn’t be eating out of garbage cans, dependent on their children, or dying in poor houses in their old age. All of the things that provide them a relatively comfortable and independent life in retirement were vehemently opposed by conservatives in the past, and the cynical Talk Show Hosts and crass Republican Politicians they currently worship would be against every single ‘socialist’ program Social Security, Medicare, etc. — that keeps them going were it presented for a vote in Congress today.

Instead of hating liberals, they should be thanking them. Theirs is arguably the most colossal case of ingratitude in American history, and they should be ashamed of themselves rather than enraged.

Unaware of the Contradiction

Steve Benen
Political Animal
The Washington Monthly
March 28, 2010

Theres an old joke that goes something like this: my neighbor went to public schools before joining the military. He went to college on the G.I. Bill, bought his first home through the FHA, and received his health care through the V.A. and Medicare. He now receives Social Security.

Hes a conservative because he wants to get the government off his back.

I mention the joke because a surprising number of right-wing activists dont seem to appreciate the humor. We talked the other day, for example, about a radical libertarian activist who encourages his allies to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices to protest the Affordable Care Act. He hates government involvement in the lives of citizens but his main income is taxpayer-financed disability checks sent to him every month by the federal government.

This is not uncommon. The NYT reports today on some of the well-intention[ed] folks whove been caught up in the Tea Party nonsense. Take Tom Grimes, for example.

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