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Reblogged:Let's Stop Dehumanizing "The Rich"

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Writing in The Federalist, Auguste Meyerat advises conservatives to look to Ayn Rand when discussing the economics of such leftist schemes as the Green New Deal. I agree that they should, but not in the way he suggests:

Rather, the response should reflect the left's simplicity and narrative appeal. Taking their cue from novelist Ayn Rand, conservatives need to start talking about the rich as "fountainheads" and "Atlases," individuals who are indispensable to wealth creation and general prosperity. Love them or hate them -- and most of the protagonists in Rand's novels and most real-life billionaires really aren't that loveable -- the rich are a resource. [bold added]
Not just dumb: Wrong. (Image via Wikimedia, public domain.)
No. The rich are fellow human beings. And while it is true that we all gain, through mutually beneficial trade with this persecuted minority, it is unjust and dehumanizing to speak of them as a "resource," that is, as a means to an end.

And while it is true that Ayn Rand demonstrated the consequences of killing the Golden Goose, to borrow Meyerat's extended metaphor, she also more importantly made a case that altruism -- the idea that sacrifice is noble -- is the philosophical and psychological motive behind such barbarism. That is the lesson we need to learn from Rand's work. Stopping at economics is just more of the same, and on multiple levels. To wit:
America's industrial progress, in the short span of a century and a half, has acquired the character of a legend: it has never been equaled anywhere on earth, in any period of history. The American businessmen, as a class, have demonstrated the greatest productive genius and the most spectacular achievements ever recorded in the economic history of mankind. What reward did they receive from our culture and its intellectuals? The position of a hated, persecuted minority. The position of a scapegoat for the evils of the bureaucrats.
She could have added "or a cash machine," but those hadn't been invented yet.

It can be a good first step to speak of Atlases and fountainheads, but in terms of admiration of a fellow human being. But to do so simply because "the rich" are a "resource"? That is to condone and perpetuate the kind of thinking that has gotten us this far down the road to socialist perdition in the first place.

-- CAV

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