Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Clockwork Atlas

Atlas is the mythical hero from Ayn Rand's magnum opus 'Atlas Shrugged'.  He is a metaphor for all of the 'great men' in the world who keep the planet running while the rest of us ne'er do wells do our best to stay out of the way or otherwise assist as best we can with their lofty travails.

Unfortunately, Atlas had to be let go, because it turns out he has been fucking the dog for oh say about the last many thousands of years.

The fact is, there has never been a time in my life, Ayn Rand's life or any other person's life when the vast majority on this planet were not suffering from abject poverty and a lack of resources.  So you can just imagine Ayn Rand back in the 1950s, sitting in her comfy Manhattan apartment smoking her cigarillos and extolling the virtues of the world's robber barons while at that exact same moment the nameless, faceless majority of people on the planet were suffering egregiously.  And how about today, with CEO pay a mere 142x that of the average employee, what a sad day it would be for Ayn Rand to see such a measly multiple !  Where are the William Randoph Hearst's and the John D. Rockefeller's to look up to?  

The truth is that Ayn Randism is just recycled social darwinism, sugar coated for popular consumption.  After all, we can't really come straight out and say that we don't give a damn about our fellow man, instead we need to repackage it as 'rational self-interest', for plausible deniability.  Just recently Congressman Paul Ryan was forced to recant his belief in Ayn Randism, under rebuke by the Catholic Church.  Inconveniently, Ayn Rand was an atheist and the church apparently doesn't take kindly to her inversion of morality from altruism to self interest.  

The Axis of Atlas
To make matters worse, Ayn Rand's own philosophies borrow heavily from those of Nietzsche, in fact she quotes him in her books.  And to make that even worse, Nietzche in his time was often referred to as the 'Anti Christ', I'm guessing because he wrote a book of the same name denouncing said religion.  Adolf Hitler was another follower of Nietzsche and indeed in Mein Kampf Hitler takes social darwinism to the ultra extreme.  After all, if you come to believe that only the strongest deserve to survive, then what sense does it make to keep these other inferior races in the breeding pool?  Add in some convenient stereotype-based rationalizations, sprinkle liberally with outright fallacies, and voila, the cook book for genocide comes out the other end.

You can't make this sh*t up:
Let's be real, today's neo cons recycle Ayn Randism because they constantly need to rationalize the ever-expanding globalized ponzi scheme and the death, exploitation and suffering that it creates.  In their sociopathic views, the problem today is not that there is too much self-interest, but that there hasn't been enough self interest !  i.e. it's these lingering vestiges of social programs that are really bogging us down.  And of course, in the demented, junk culture laden views of the Idiocracy, the Neo Cons find an all too willing audience, as the brain clogged working class of today has been faux conned into largely voting against their own economic interests.

That brings up the question, who will historians centuries from now say were the greatest philosophers of our time?  After all, the Ancient Greeks had Socrates, Plato and Aristotle vying for the prize.   For today's Idiocracy I suppose it will be either Homer Simpson or the Family Guy.  

Idiocracy Gone Wild: 
Ok, so that was fun, a brief history of the junk philosophy that got us here.  Now what?

That's where things get really exciting.  Even more fun than a stock market collapse or a Greek bank going tits up.

The issue at hand is that never in the history of the world has a society had as much excess wealth as we (still) have today, which of course, stands in stark contrast to the billions around the planet who yet live in abject poverty.  Therefore, we are already acting like refugees who can't spare a dime for a poor man, even as we are surrounded with excess resources.  After all, the Millenium Development Goals initiative to alleviate global poverty, was a complete farce.  Under MDG, developed nations were expected to ante up a mere .7% (yes less than 1%) of GDP, unfortunately only a handful even met that measly goal.  What then will it be like in a true depression, when resources really are scarce for our society?

More to the point, what moral fortitude do we have as a society?  This society is the most decadent and immoral in the history of the planet.  We like to delude ourselves that the Ancient Romans were the height of moral decadence, but as always, our warped view of Roman history is largely a product of Hollywood.  The undeniable fact remains that the Roman supply chain was not nearly sophisticated enough to enable the sort of mass consumption that is commonplace today.  And no Roman child was stuffed with the denatured pseudo-food that comprises 95% of what is sold in today's supermarket.  More than any other factor, junk food is driving the decline of society.  How can a strong and vibrant society abide when people can't think clearly and can't move because their bodies are clogged with toxic waste - draining energy levels and making even the smallest task a major effort?  

Meanwhile, one of the dominant philosophies during Roman times was Stoicism which is the antithesis of hedonism.  Yet nine out of ten people today don't even know what the term stoicism means, much less  putting it into practice.  We have devolved into a society with absolutely zero class or ability to withstand hardship.

Therefore, under the duress of a financial collapse, we should fully expect the thin veneer of society to melt like a snowball on a hot summer's day, revealing the rotted, corrupt, vacuous core within.  Once the Lost Boys of the Idiocracy are unleashed into the wild, things are going to get really interesting.

Get your milk plus my Brothers, because it looks like we are in for a bit of the Ultra Violent...