So obviously we’ve got to talk about Sandy. First things first, a way to support disaster relief:
Okay, now back to the business of this blog. To put it in as obnoxiously Randian a way as possible:
If you still plan to vote for the FEMA-cutting climate science denier, you are an anti-reality moral coward.
See? Told you it would be obnoxious.
But it’s really very simple. In the most recent Applied Randology I tried to wear my ‘intellectual humility’ hat because I felt I had gone too far in making the statement that “objective reality wins again” in proving the perversity of the modern Republican agenda. Well, I take that humility back. Objective reality has clearly proved the perversity of the modern Republican agenda.
Sandy speaks to basically everything I’ve been talking about all year. A couple of examples:
1) Randian Republicanism denies climate science; now that the east coast has a monsoon season, objective reality demands we admit climate science is accurate. Fuck, it demands it for economic reasons alone, nevermind, you know, human decency.
2) Randian Republicanism would slash funding for, or even shutter completely, the Federal Emergency Management Agency; now that FEMA has proved its efficacy (well, under Democratic presidents anyway), objective reality demands we admit the most economically efficient budget cuts aren’t going to come out of domestic discretionary spending.
3) In the very last recapof Atlas Shrugged, in the ultimate cathartic moment of the book, Rand’s Objectivist heroes bask in the glory of a New York City reduced to mass evacuations and black-outs. And I quote:
“[W]hen we would see the lights of New York go out, we would know that our job was done.” … When she looked at the darkness ahead … she knew that now, at this hour, their plane was carrying all that was left of New York City.
This is what Rand wants! She wants New York to be swept away in a purge of moral righteousness, just like the Christian fundamentalist preachers who declare storms like Sandy to be God’s punishment for New York’s sins.
Of course that is insane. But remember this whole blog is premised on arguing against Rand’s insanity using her own logic. So let’s do that, shall we?
Real, sound logic dictates that if A is B, and B is C, then A is C. And by Randian logic, people who believe in ideologies that deny reality are all secretly nihilists whose only true desire is self-destruction.
So Rand’s logic dictates that if A) Rand wants to self-destruct our society — which she explicitly does — and B) Republican philosophy is now implicitly the same as Rand’s philosophy… then by the simplest, clearest rules of actual logic, C) Republicans secretly, implicitly want to self-destruct our society too!
Now sure, you can go ahead and deny that conclusion. It certainly isn’t fair to innocent Republican voters who don’t even know who Ayn Rand is or what the party’s policy details really are. But to deny the conclusion, to defend Republicanism against this charge of nihilism, you have to reject Rand’s logic and ideology — you have to reject Republicanism.
This blog’s favorite political journalist, Jon Chait, wrote a post at NYMag this morning arguing Democrats should take advantage of Sandy as an election-related event. Money quote:
Conservatives are already complaining about [the politicization of Sandy], but the attempt to wall disaster response off from politics in the aftermath of a disaster is an attempt to insulate Republicans from the consequences of their policies.
Exactly. Republicans politicize hard science and raw numbers all the time, claim they’re “skewed” liberal. It’s practically their M.O. — Paul Krugman discusses it this weekend in a blog post titled, appropriately enough, “The War on Objectivity“. And yet when hard science and raw numbers turn into a visceral human experience like this, something that could really hit home with voting citizens, suddenly acknowledging the political side of the issue is insensitive to people’s feelings, it’s against humanitarian values. Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s Jim Taggart all over again! It’s a perverse use of human emotion as a shield against perfectly valid rationality!
And so I hope Democrats DO push this issue, HARD. Not even as a last minute election tactic, but AFTER the election too. Because it proves that they are on the side of objective reality, and that the Republicans are lost in an ideological bubble, out of touch with reality and the true values of the human spirit.
The Dems, in short, have to stop being so timid. They have to move public opinion, pro-actively, because they have the facts on their side and that should fill them with confidence like it fills Randian heroes with confidence. It’s like Ayn argues in the book, and like I said before the first debate: objective reality wins.