Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Obscolesence of Ayn Rand, or so says the American Conservative

Essay in the American Conservative.

Baker argued that Rand would see the industrious factory worker as more virtuous than a crony capitalist industrialist, and that valuing of work and productivity is a virtue that even Christians can admire in Rand’s thought.

The problem with rehabilitating Rand at this point in the course of human events isn’t that she was a militant atheist, a celebrant of narcissism, or any other of her manifestly evil qualities and positions. It’s that she doesn’t matter. Rand is an artifact of the industrial age, when Hank Rearden could smelt his steel with manly independence and grant himself delusions of standing apart from and above the world as a “maker.”

The economy of the 21st century looks increasingly likely to be an economy of service. Instead of “laboring and producing” his sustenance on this earth, man receives his goods from the machines that grow his food at astonishing efficiency, and produce his goods at previously unthinkable rates. What does he do with himself after that? Some on the left would like to grant him a basic income, an annual cash grant to every person to liberate him from the tyranny of necessity. Others on the right continue to labor under the idea of entrepreneurial production, whereby a man will pull himself up by his bootstraps by producing. Neither of these options are suited to an economy of service.

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