RNS Quote of the Day: 05/08/09

Despite multiple requests to stop, via comments and email, lest they have to buy/read another Randian tome, we continue with The Comprachicos

For several generations, the destruction of reason was carried on under the cover and in the name of reason, which was the Kant-Hegel-James-Dewey method. When every girder of rationality had been undercut, a new philosophy made explicit what had been implicit, and took over the job of providing a rationalization of the students’ psycho-epistemological state: Existentialism.

Existentialism elevates chronic anxiety into the realm of metaphysics. Fear, misery, nausea – it declares – are no an individual’s fault, they are inherent in human nature, they are an intrinsic, predestined part of the “human condition”. Action is the sole alleviation possible to man. What action? Any action. You do not know how to act? Don’t be chicken; courage consists in acting without knowledge. You do not know what goals to choose? There are no standards of choice. Virtue consists in choosing a goal by whim and sticking to it, “committing yourself”, to the grim death. It sounds unreasonable? Reason is man’s enemy – your guts, muscles and blood know best.

For generations, the destruction of freedom (i.e., of capitalism) was carried on under the cover and in the name of freedom. The genteel intellectual conformists, mass-produced in colleges, proclaimed every collectivist tenet, premise and slogan, while professing their abhorrence of dictatorship. When every girder of capitalism had been undercut, when it had been transformed into a crumbling mixed economy – a state of civil war among pressure groups fighting politely for the legalized privilege of using physical force – the road was cleared for a philosopher who scrapped politeness and the legality, making explicit what had been implicit: Herbert Marcuse, the avowed enemy of reason and freedom, the advocate of dictatorship, of mystic “insight”, of retrogression to savagery, of universal enslavement, of rule by brute force.

The student activists are the comprachicos’ most successful products: they went obediently along every step of the way, never challenging the basic premises inculcated in the Progressive nursery schools. They act in packs, with the will of the pack as their only guide. The scramble for power among their pack leaders and among different packs does not make them question their premises: they are incapable of questioning anything. So they cling to the belief that mankind can be united into one happy, harmoniously unanimous pack – by force. Brute, physical force is, to them, a natural form of action. Philosophically, it is clear that when men abandon reason, physical force becomes their only means of dealing with one another and of settling disagreements. The activists are the living demonstration of this principle.

The activists’ claim that they have no way of “attracting attention” to their demands and of getting what they want except by force – by violent demonstrations, obstruction and destruction – is pure throwback to the Progressive nursery school, where a tantrum was the only thing required to achieve their wishes. Their hysterical screaming still carries a touch of pouting astonishment at a world that does not respond to an absolute such as “I want it!” The three year old whim worshipper becomes the twenty year old thug.

Ayn Rand The Comprachicos

Of the last paragraph: You and I knew that this was true, but that Rand can put it into words so plain is possibly art.

Just buy the book and read for yourself. I’ve only posted quotes from Part 5 of the essay because, while the first four sections are rather quotable, to get the context, they’d all be longer than today’s.

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4 Responses to RNS Quote of the Day: 05/08/09

  1. Fjolnirsson says:

    Know what? You suck. Now I have to buy it. Curse you, sir.

  2. Phil says:

    My work is done here.

  3. Fjolnirsson says:

    Well, I ordered it. Should be here Tuesday or Wednesday.

  4. Phil says:

    (steeples fingers) Excellent!

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