Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kurt Andersen in The Atlantic projects his now-rejected experience of libertarianism onto all of the GOP and conservatism

Unfortunately for Kurt, he thinks recovery means doing some cherry-picking of his own, exchanging one insanity for another. It never occurs to him that while Paul Ryan found his life's inspiration in a novel, millions of young Americans today derive theirs from film. If forced to choose, I'll take active insanity anyday over passive. Kinda makes you miss the "Jesus is my favorite philosopher" president, doesn't it? And how could anyone still seriously speak of an anti-psychiatry "craze"? I must have missed that in my "Man from U.N.C.L.E." years.

In other words, it takes a kook to know a kook. In his own words Andersen expresses the affinity which exists between the insane, the left and libertarianism.

Relativist professors enabled science-denying Christians, and the antipsychiatry craze in the ’60s appealed simultaneously to left-wingers and libertarians (as well as to Scientologists) ... Another way the GOP got loopy was by overdoing libertarianism. I have some libertarian tendencies, but at full-strength purity it’s an ideology most boys grow out of. On the American right since the ’80s, however, they have not. Republicans are very selective, cherry-picking libertarians: Let business do whatever it wants and don’t spoil poor people with government handouts; let individuals have gun arsenals but not abortions or recreational drugs or marriage with whomever they wish; and don’t mention Ayn Rand’s atheism. Libertarianism, remember, is an ideology whose most widely read and influential texts are explicitly fiction. “I grew up reading Ayn Rand,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said, “and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.” It was that fiction that allowed him and so many other higher-IQ Americans to see modern America as a dystopia in which selfishness is righteous and they are the last heroes. “I think a lot of people,” Ryan said in 2009, “would observe that we are right now living in an Ayn Rand novel.” I’m assuming he meant Atlas Shrugged, the novel that Trump’s secretary of state (and former CEO of ExxonMobil) has said is his favorite book. It’s the story of a heroic cabal of men’s-men industrialists who cause the U.S. government to collapse so they can take over, start again, and make everything right.

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