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Reblogged:GOP's Cowardly 'War' Sets Table for Krugman

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Before explaining that she was a radical for capitalism, Ayn Rand wisely differentiated -- and distanced! -- herself from conservatives, saying in relevant part:
Today's culture is dominated by the philosophy of mysticism (irrationalism) -- altruism -- collectivism, the base from which only statism can be derived; the statists (of any brand: communist, fascist or welfare) are merely cashing in on it -- while the "conservatives" are scurrying to ride on the enemy's premises and, somehow, to achieve political freedom by stealth. It can't be done. [bold added]
A recent Paul Krugman piece -- titled to provoke ire against conservatives -- cashes in on this impossible mission by chronicling the GOP's decades-long attempts to rein in Medicare and Social Security on the sly and without even attempting to do so from the high moral ground.

Here's a sample:
So, about that history. It has been widely forgotten, but soon after taking office Ronald Reagan proposed major cuts to Social Security. But he backed down in the face of a political backlash, leading analysts at the Cato Institute to call for a "Leninist" strategy -- their word -- creating a coalition ready to exploit a future crisis if and when one arrived.

To that end, Cato created the Project on Social Security Privatization, calling for replacing Social Security with individual accounts -- which George W. Bush tried to do in 2005. By then, however, Cato had quietly renamed its project; "privatization" polled badly, and Bush insisted that it was a "trick word" used to "scare people." [links omitted]
Yes. When you fail to challenge altruism, you limit yourself to a guerrilla "war" of half-measures and trickery that makes you look like the bad guy when you're caught, which you will be.

The fact that the Republicans won't challenge altruism, the moral base of the welfare state, is why they can't help people see why the horrors of fascism/socialism are much more likely to visit us if current trends continue than the (oft-insinuated but never demonstrated) mass destitution under capitalism -- the system that built America's power and prosperity.

All of this brings to mind another Ayn Rand quote:
Religious mysticism and altruism render the GOP effectively brainless and heartless -- and consequently unable to muster courage, unlike the characters in Wizard of Oz. (Image by NBC Television Network, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
What would happen if a few key people or cultural leaders maintained a "moral tone" -- instead of today's scared, social-metaphysical, cowardly surrender to any immoral assertiveness (which is the policy of letting evil set the moral terms). Why are people more afraid of me than of communism? Is it that they know I demand immediate, moral-epistemological action from them, and a long-range stand -- while communism is a threat they can evade and make unreal in their own minds? Is it the issue of their guilt and lack of self-esteem, which makes physical terror or disaster more "acceptable" to them than psycho-epistemological terror, than the immediate threat to their (pseudo) self-esteem? [bold added] (Ayn Rand Letter, vol. 3, no. 25)
There is a reason conservatives are generally hostile to Ayn Rand, and it is the same one behind the decades-long, half-"war" Krugman gloats about.

So long as America is more afraid of challenging the idea -- which leads to statism -- that we are our brothers' keepers than we are in love with the unbounded promise of freedom, guess what we will get.

He won't put it that forthrightly, but even Paul Krugman is right about that.

-- CAV

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