First of all, I want to say this: I fucking HATED Ayn Rand. I read The Fountainhead and thought it was the most arrogant, self-congratulatory piece of shit ever, and the only reason I say that is because I haven't read Atlas Shrugged yet (I’d rather read Twilight again than subject myself to that). Rand and her philosophy of objectivism can be summed up thusly -- "Being a genius means you have every right to do what you want and screw everyone else. People who don't recognize and enable your genius just prove your superiority." This is the same reason I rejected the Christian mystics. If you have abilities that make you better than others, you have a responsibility to help them, not separate yourself from them and reinforce your ego with feelings of superiority.
The fundamental thought process of objectivism is reflected in "the virtue of selfishness". "The virtue of selfishness" says there is something good in viewing your fellow man with contempt. And all because you exceed in some specific area with no quantifying measurements of what is being done right and what is being done wrong. It's opinion, not fact, no matter how much you feel your opinion is correct. We do not have our own realities, we have our own perceptions. No matter how much you convince yourself otherwise, fire still burns.
So, why is Ayn Rand and her bullshit so popular? Because it’s the easy way out. Interacting with the world and other people is difficult. There are people who will never understand things you think are fundamental truths. There are people who will never care. Likewise, things that are important to them will never carry over to you. It is so much easier to stop trying to understand and live and let live and simply declare yourself separate and better, creating a sphere of influence that is members only, and you determine who those members are.
The last few decades have seen society fragment. Before, there was some sort of common ground and common interest. But everybody, from politicians to marketers, have realized the advantages of a fragmented populous. They will be more loyal and react harshly to truths against the things they hold dear, the rulers insulated from the consequences of their actions. There was a movement started last year to protest Eggo waffles taken off store shelves. EGGO WAFFLES, GODDAMMIT! THERE’S A WAR GOING ON, AND THESE ASSHOLES ARE FORMING A NATIONAL NETWORK TO GET EGGO WAFFLES ON THEIR STORE SHELVES!
So, now to the Obamacare debate. As you are aware, I am one of the many detractors. Some are voicing concerns about the legality of Obamacare. Others are concerned over the economics. And we are being painted as being racist because we want to deny minorities health care or class warfare advocates because we don’t want the poor to have health care or greedy because we are privileged and can afford to help people, so why don’t we? The problem is none of the points or concerns are being addressed. And in doing so, this means, eventually, people are going to go, “What’s the point of trying to be open minded and reasonable? It gets me nowhere.” These people will have no reason to reject their arrogance. They will see virtue in selfishness, and will become harsh and judgmental.
As I think I’ve demonstrated on my blog here, I don’t mind other opinions. It’s how I learn. I like letting others have their say. And if I comment back, I focus on the points they raise. I don’t want to attack a person just for thinking what they want. One of the most beautiful things I ever saw was an episode of Ben Stein’s talk show where his guest was Al Franken. Stein is a conservative, Franken is a liberal. And even though they would playfully poke each other over where they fell on the political spectrum, when they were discussing issues, they explored and challenged their notions. They didn’t treat each other like shit, they let each other talk and teach. Compared to the yelling matches on CNN and such, there was a lot to learn and respect.
We need the debate about health care to shift from angry labeling to consideration of the issues and points raised. Otherwise, those being closed out will feel disenfranchised. And instead of taking reasonable measures, they will react to destructive policies with their own destructive policies. We need to work together as Americans, not pit ourselves against each other. We have the seeds of the Jeffersonian ideal within us. We are killing them by keeping them from the light.