Article: Neither Sophisticated Nor Intelligent (A Response to Leisa Miller)
By Cody Sexton
Does anyone remember the article that The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) put out a few years back written by Leisa Miller titled: 3 Reasons Millennials Should Ditch Karl Marx for Ayn Rand? Well, it’s back again with a mayonnaise infused vengeance and being shared by conservative cucks all across social media. (Someone even assaulted my inbox with this dopey article this morning). So I decided to have another look at it (i.e. mock the ever-loving shit out of it) and see once and for all if Ayn Rand is really the savior we’ve all been waiting for. (Spoiler: she’s not).
Miller (who’s hair appears to have been drawn on judging by her bio pic) starts her little eye rolling manifesto with a rather atrocious header which reads:
“The fact of the matter is that Karl Marx doesn’t align with what’s important to us Millennials. It’s time to look to a new philosopher, like Ayn Rand.”
“Karl Marx is not who we think he is. His philosophy doesn’t align with our values at all. We need to look to somebody more in touch with what’s important to us — someone like Ayn Rand.”
“Here are 3 reasons we should kick ol’ Karl to the curb and pick up Ayn Rand instead.”
(Are we calling just anyone a philosopher now?) Here’s the thing: Ayn Rand is not a philosopher. (She’s barely a person). At best she’s a vomit inducing polemicist who looks a little (ok, a lot) like a throw away sketch of Golem that’s been modeled after a runny shit from a stray dog.
And who’s values? Someone who enjoys exploiting others for economic gain? (Someone who calls themselves an entrepreneur when really all they’ve done is bought into a McDonalds franchise?)
Before we answer these questions (they’re really rhetorical) let’s explore these three (which I’m also assuming is the highest number she can count to) reasons as to why we should kick ol’ boy to the proverbial intellectual curb.
1) Karl Marx advocates using violence to get what you want.
“...unfortunately, he says that the only way to bring about the ideal political state is through violent revolution:
“In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.” -The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx
“Oh, brother... Please: No. More. Wars.”
Funny how whenever you start to fight back against your oppressor there’s always calls for unity. (Once they realize we can, and will, fight back, suddenly violence is not the answer). Isn’t there such a thing as justified violence? (You know violence. That thing capitalists commit against the working class everyday).
She then quotes Rand:
“Ayn Rand, on the other hand, is not a proponent of violence. She says violence should only be a means of self-defense. If someone invades your country, you can retaliate. If someone punches you in the face, you can retaliate. If someone tries to steal your stuff, you can retaliate. But there’s no reason you should employ violence other than if you or your stuff are attacked.”
“A civilized society is one in which physical force is banned from human relationships—in which the government, acting as a policeman, may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.” -The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand
Look: The roots of violence in American society can’t be separated from the capitalist drive for profits. Withholding the resources people need to survive (things like insulin) simply because someone may not have the money to purchase it, is one of the most immoral acts you can commit. (This is a war of attrition committed by the ruling capitalist class against the rest of us). And I hate to point this out (I don’t really) but there is just no way the exploiting classes could have ruled for as long as they have — either domestically or internationally — over a downtrodden and disenfranchised, oppressed and exploited world, without first having a monopoly on violence.
2) Karl Marx appeals to your emotional indignation.
“It turns out that Karl Marx uses the same “Us vs. Them” hysteria as CNN and Fox News. He appeals to pathos and emotional outrage to - like we discussed above - try to get us to start a war.”
“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” -The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx.
This is such a fundamental (albeit, deliberate) misunderstanding. We are emotionally indignant because people like the ones you’re simping hard for in this article, have lied to us for decades about what is truly possible and have been literally stealing our surplus labor value. Marx isn’t trying to guilt us into adopting his ideology, he’s trying to open our eyes to yours.
And, surprise surprise, she then attempts to buttress her argument by turning to Rand again:
“Ayn Rand, fortunately, has the peaceful empowerment we're so desperately missing. While Karl Marx wants you to blame others (the bourgeoisie) for your plights, Ayn Rand wants you to introspect and perhaps reassess your values. Rather than encouraging you to camouflage yourself into a “union of workers,” she wants to empower you as an individual to create a meaningful life for yourself. Mass hysteria, be gone!”
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.” -Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Are you fucking kidding me? Here we go again with this personal accountability nonsense. (Which reminds me: Jordan Peterson is just Ayn Rand 2.0). Systemic, material conditions matter more than personal choices within an unequal system.
Here’s a fair question: how is generational wealth first accumulated? It’s passed down from generation to generation right? Well, my ancestors (coal miners) were denied that opportunity as they were paid only in scrip. (e.g. the equivalent of Dave & Busters tickets) That’s right. They were paid with fake money. They didn’t have the opportunity to accumulate wealth and pass it down to their families the way the mine owners could. It did not matter one fucking ounce what choices they made within that paradigm. Nothing they did was going to change the fact that all they had at the end of the week were a few Monopoly dollars (and perhaps some tokens for a game of Whack-A-Mole).
3) Karl Marx wants mankind to rest on its laurels.
“If Marx had his way, all incentives to improve and create cooler things would be stripped out of our lives along with our private property. Following the logical progression of his communal philosophy, when we’re all slaving away for “the greater good,” and the highest achieving members of society are having the fruits of their labors redistributed to the lowest achievers (insert flashback to the freeloaders of group projects at school), that’s what will happen. Innovation would cease to occur under Marxism.”
“The claim that men should be retained in jobs that have become unnecessary, doing work that is wasteful or superfluous, to spare them the difficulties of retraining for new jobs—thus contributing, as in the case of railroads, to the virtual destruction of an entire industry—this is the doctrine of the divine right of stagnation.” -The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand
“But with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, our stuff will always remain ours. We don’t have to share our Nintendo Switch with our little sister (who drops her phone 10 times a day) unless we want to. We can rest easy knowing that if we take a big risk (and invest in cryptocurrencies while our parents mutter “Ponzi scheme” under their breath), we have the opportunity for a big reward. And best of all, with Ayn Rand’s philosophy reaffirming our desire to be great and create great things, maybe someday we will have JARVIS, jetpacks, and flying hammocks.”
(What the hells that smell? Oh that’s right, it’s Leisa Miller’s bullshit again). I get so tired of debunking these arguments. They never seem to go away. Anyway, here’s the Cliff Notes version:
Nobody is coming for your Nintendo Switch or your big screen TV (or your strap on you use to peg libertarians). Without a financial incentive Miller actually thinks that people will simply not work or rather the ones who do work (and work “real hard”) will not be able to keep the full value of their labor. (Sounds familiar. I wonder if she knows where profit comes from?) Also, capitalism incentivizes people like Jeff Bezos and the Walton family to pay their employees starvation wages.
Understand: Things will continue to be made under any ism because people will either need a product or service or want a product or service provided. It’s that simple. To believe that people need some financial reward to innovate (or work) doesn’t even make since, because despite the fact that I am continually not paid to take out the garbage, it somehow finds its way to the dumpster. (And speaking of innovation under capitalism, how many different brands of Doritos do we need? Remember: Consumer choice isn’t freedom).
She finally ends her cute little article with this:
“The fact of the matter is that Karl Marx doesn’t align with what’s important to us Millennials. If it were up to him, we’d be starting more violent wars, we’d be widening the gap of distrust between one another, and we’d strip ourselves of all incentives to make the world cooler than it already is. So it’s time we adopt a new philosopher. Let’s look up to people like Ayn Rand.”
I just want to reiterate: Ayn Rand is a fucking capitalist toady. A fake intellectual. A charlatan who used the feebleminded in order to exalt herself above societal obligations. And to this I say, (with rather John Galtian flourish I might add) go fuck yourself you miserable cunt!
Cody Sexton is the managing editor for A Thin Slice of Anxiety. His work has been featured at The Indie View, Writer Shed Stories, The Diverse Perspective, Detritus, Revolution John, Due Dissidence, and As It Ought To Be Magazine where he is a regular contributor. In addition he is also a 2020 Best of the Net Nominee for his pioneering essay The Body of Shirley Ann Sexton.