The Left Doesn’t Need a Rand and the Right Shouldn’t Want Another Reagan

Picture: Wikimedia Commons (CC)

Jeff Madrick, (Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow, Director of the Rediscovering Government initiative and author of Age of Greed), has typed a scathing indictment of those glossy false icons on the right, while at the same time warning against blind hero worship and succumbing to demagoguery on the left. We know that the philosophies of historical figures like Ronald Reagan and Ayn Rand turned out to be toxic, even to those in the lower classes who still idolize them, but Madrick argues that their memories have been obfuscated by myth.

via The Next New Deal:

The right then goes on to mythologize and entirely distort the Reagan years. Under Reagan in the 1980s, wages stopped growing, productivity grew at historically slow rates, investment was soft, and the deficit never came down to the levels promised. That deficit was an albatross around the neck of George H.W. Bush, his successor. Meanwhile, deregulation was unloosed, only to be given further impetus by the Clinton administration. The right goes so far as to attribute the productivity boom of the second half of the 1990s — that is, after the Clinton tax hike — to Reagan. How can we take such claims seriously?

As for why the left doesn’t have an Ayn Rand, I say thank goodness it doesn’t follow a great over-simplifier like her. Her sexually charged novels focusing on an individualist hero appealed to adolescents or those who still yearned for those years. Her economics were derived from her individualism. A Russian by birth, her thinking was animated by her loathing of Soviet totalitarianism — certainly understandable. But she became an ideologue, not a disinterested intellectual. She had no serious friendships with the likes of Hayek and collaborated with few schooled economists other than Murray Rothbard, who later left her circle. She was really more a cult leader than a thinker.

While major Occupy figures and literature are newly emerging, remember that we should ever strive for better and “avoid drawing the wrong conclusions from the right’s past success.

Read more at The Next New Deal.

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  • bobbiethejean

    Ayn Rand was a horrible, hypocritical sociopathic cunt bag and Reagan was stupid. 

    • Anarchy Pony

      They did if you happen to be a rich horrible hypocritical sociopathic cunt bag.

  • Lost in Thought

    That’s the worst photograph of Ronald Reagan I’ve ever seen.

  • Auto5734855

     that was taken on one of his better days,  just bad lighting.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do

      Yeh he was never very photogenic.

  • Misinformation

    “The Next New Deal” – yea, Roosevelt’s historial  image is completely accurate…what a hero.

  • Skadhi_the_Raverner

    That Ayn Rand was a ‘cult leader’ is nothing new, and though I like some of her earlier writings her Objectivist philosophy is so silly that someone as intelligent as Rand couldn’t have believed it herself.

    As for Reagan, the less said the better. At least Rand was a thinker, Reagan was a puppet for his handlers, who told him to put on a mask of social conservatism as a front for rampant capitalism. In fact its through people like Reagan, Rothbard and Goldwater that true organic conservatism is extreme fringe in the USA.

    If you credit Ronald Reagan with political philosophy you are overestimating Ronald Reagan.

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