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Thursday, January 21, 2010

John Stossel on Ayn Rand (Video)

Yesterday, I posted about Cato's Unbound issue for this month, discussing the continuing relevance of Ayn Rand's moral and political philosophy. The authors of the volume will discuss what remains, and what should be left behind, of Rand's moral and political philosophy.

A little earlier, I posted the first part of Paul McKeever's documentary about Marc Emery, the libertarian publisher who is facing extradition to the U.S. for selling marijuana seeds online. McKeever's documentary is primarily about Emery's conversion to "rational capitalism" and individual freedom through reading Ayn Rand. The documentary also features the Ontario Freedom Party, a political party based explicitly on the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

In the Cato issue, Douglas Rasmussen, who wrote the lead essay, explains that Rand's popularity has recently increased. Soared, even.

Her books are bestsellers (again), and the U.S.-based Tea Party movement often have demonstrations with signs that read "Go Galt!" The reference is to John Galt, the protagonist in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged who decided to stop being productive and move to an isolated place with other producers known in the book as "Galt's Gulch."

Rand is appearing in plenty of places, including on Fox. And small wonder. John Stossel, libertarian former anchor of ABC's 20/20, recently moved to Fox, and has been given a lot more liberty to pursue topics and arguments that he finds interesting and is sympathetic to. And what Stossel finds interesting is what libertarians find interesting. Like Ayn Rand.

Here is the first part of Stossel's show on Ayn Rand, the remainder appearing below the fold:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 21, 2010 in Libertarianism | Permalink


A little earlier, I posted the first part of Paul McKeever's documentary about Marc Emery, the drug cult leader, drug dealer and overall loser who never could hold down a regular job because of his drug addiction, who is facing extradition to the U.S. for selling narcotics online.


Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-01-21 12:42:06 PM

Zeb you retard, the Emery thread is further down the page.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-01-21 1:43:57 PM

I fixed the text above to be more accurate. FTFY = Fixed That For You, in Internet lingo.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-01-21 3:41:06 PM

There are two Part 2s and no Part 3 in the links to the program.

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2010-01-21 5:38:16 PM

Thanks Ed. Fixed.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2010-01-22 12:13:28 AM

To turn our country around, we must permit individual interests and not community interests to dominate. Obama, Democrats, socialists, liberals and everyone on the left wants to share the booty from America saying community is most important. Save Pebble Droppers & Prosperity on Amazon and claysamerica.com, tells how America did so well in the first place, and shows us how to repeat the process of regaining our prosperity. America has drifted into meaningless self-sacrifice to the point we cannot earn our way back and focusing on individual interests as described so well by Ayn Rand. Claysamerica.com

Posted by: clay barham | 2010-01-22 8:12:01 AM

I love Ayn Rand philosophy but hate how the extreme right douches are distorting her message for political gains by applying in a way what amounts to a polerizing approach. Once something is polarized its robbed of its virtue, and lost by way of predjudice to the other side, in a left and right world.
Maybe I am wrong,is Ayn Rand philosophy the right or not?

Posted by: Will Ill | 2010-01-22 10:47:24 PM

Left and Right in politics tend to become meaningless particularly at the extremes as communism (left) isn't far removed from fascism (so-called Right). They are both extreme variants of statism / collectivism. I've always liked the x-y coordinate matrix of civil liberties versus economic liberties. Using this matrix, libertarians are in the opposite quadrant of fascism, socialism and communism. The Liberals and Conservatives tend to look like largely overlapping amorphous blobs with fingers reaching into each quadrant depending on policy issue. The NPD look very much like fascists (Nazis without the foreign intervention and ant-semitic thing). Rand was libertarian leaning in domestic and economic issues with a hawkish bent reflecting her desire to contain the Soviets. She disliked libertarianism, social conservatives and statist progressives. Her favourite politician was a hawkish Democratic Senator from Washington State, Henry (Scoop) Jackson. Politics in general and Rand in particular have way too may dimensions for a linear continuum of left vs right.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-01-24 10:07:49 PM

WHAT surprised me about my column last week was the number of people, mostly local, who knew little or nothing about Haiti’s history. But what should I have expected in a country and an education system in which history has been deemed irrelevant? Or when students study the subject, the focus is on lands and civilisations afar? Let’s face it: we know more about America and Europe than we do of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.

Teachers and students alike were emailing or telephoning me to seek wider knowledge of the devastated country, to explain why slaves who fought for and won their freedom were made to pay huge indemnities to their defeated French masters. I pointed them to an incisive article written by UWI pro-vice-chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, to an in-depth analysis of Haiti by Noam Chomsky, and asked that they read Black Jacobins by our own CLR James.

Of course many argued that ’Black people cannot govern themselves’, citing the many failed states in Africa that, coincidentally, have similar colonial histories to Haiti. One friend who is involved in a billion-dollar project, and whose business partners are all black, had the audacity to tell me: ’Raf, you know black people can’t run business!’ I almost asked him why, then, was he (of mixed race) involved in that particular project. But I held my tongue.

But this column is not about black or white or brown people. It’s about a Caribbean country that has long borne the dubious title of the ’poorest nation in the Western hemisphere’. Last week I showed where, after 200-odd years of ’freedom’, with which went ostracism from the developed world and a death-dealing trade and recognition embargo, Haiti’s government was forced to sign an ’IOU’ to France for 90 million gold francs.

That amounted to some 70 per cent of the value of its exports, and it took Haiti almost 125 years to clear that dubious debt! The money was paid in tranches to France. But the US was complicit in its capitulation-in-victory because the US’s revered ’founding fathers’, all slave owners, did not want the ’bad example’ set by Toussaint and Dessalines to spread to its territory. Indeed, in exchange for the revered Thomas Jefferson’s assistance in securing this humongous reparation, France sold two American states that it owned-New Orleans and Louisiana-to the newly independent US. That secured for the US all territories west of the Mississippi that Napoleon coveted.

According the Eduardo Galeano (author of Open Veins of Latin America), the first country to abolish African slavery became a ’new country born with a rope wrapped tightly around its neck: the equivalent of US$21.7 billion in today’s dollars, or forty-four times Haiti’s current yearly budget.’ And whereas France licked its wounds and took its money, the last tranche paid in 1947, America also imposed its will and its might on the hapless nation, repeatedly invading it, raping it, stealing its wealth and up to this day imposing its leader-of-choice on the Haitian people.

Here I quote from Galeano again: ’In 1915, the Marines landed in Haiti. They stayed nineteen years. The first thing they did was occupy the customs house and duty collection facilities. The occupying army suspended the salary of the Haitian president until he agreed to sign off on the liquidation of the Bank of the Nation, which became a branch of City Bank of New York. The president and other blacks were barred entry into the private hotels, restaurants, and clubs of the foreign occupying power. The occupiers didn’t dare re-establish slavery, but they did impose forced labour for the building of public works. And they killed a lot of people. It wasn’t easy to quell the fires of resistance.’

I have already stated that the US and its ’agencies of death’ (the World Bank and the IMF) must be made to share in reparations to Haiti, which, if we add interest and subtract what they have already loaned or given to that country, would amount to around US$40 billion-not the $20 billion that I mentioned last week. I heard Prime Minister Patrick Manning say it would take around US$2 billion a year to rebuild that broken country.

Manning has to be joking. Little wonder Caricom has so little influence in one of its member-states where its delegation was disallowed landing rights-by the occupying Americans.

I agree that only the US has the manpower and other resources to deal with the kind of catastrophe that has struck Haiti. But does that give them the right to deny entry to CARICOM leaders, to Cuban doctors, to disaster-trained medical personnel from Médecins Sans Frontières?

We saw the mess the Americans made after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. It took days for drinking water to reach victims, weeks for them to be fed and years later some victims still live in temporary shelters. Will Haitians fare any better with American troops instead of American humanitarian help? Already we see the additional pain that victims have borne. Amputations are done with rusted hacksaws. Field hospitals are few, medicines are in short supply and medical personnel even fewer.

Posted by: Another American annexation | 2010-01-25 9:14:56 AM

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