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December 21, 2009

The Crazy, Crazy People Running This Planet

While chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan was perhaps the most powerful person on the planet. He was certainly always in the top three. And he was a lunatic.

You may remember this letter to the editor by Greenspan that appeared in the New York Times in 1957, when he was 31 years old:

Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.

Uh...that is quite an interesting insight, Mr. Money Guy. *backing away slowly*

But there's more, from this interview with economist Paul Samuelson shortly before he died:

And this brings us to Alan Greenspan, whom I've known for over 50 years and who I regarded as one of the best young business economists. Townsend-Greenspan was his company. But the trouble is that he had been an Ayn Rander. You can take the boy out of the cult but you can't take the cult out of the boy. He actually had instruction, probably pinned on the wall: "Nothing from this office should go forth which discredits the capitalist system. Greed is good."

It's amazing any of us are still alive.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 21, 2009 06:06 PM

I snickered at that last line... then realized how true it really it is.

Posted by: BuelahMan at December 21, 2009 06:33 PM

If some thinkers, thinking avarice is the root of nature, are correct, and their designs are realized, then try to put aside whatever the ravaging mob will accept for things like water and air, or something in the way of shade and a safe place to take a nap. But don't try to hang onto that idea that your life has some value without those monies. Try to place just what is pleasing before them, and enjoy what moments you can of your life up to that point that the price is named. Moloch is about and its hunger is insatiable.

Posted by: Woodyeofalb at December 21, 2009 08:36 PM

"Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should."

"Every powerful state relies on specialists whose task is to show that what the strong do is noble and just and, if the weak suffer, it is their fault.

In the West, these specialists are called "intellectuals" and, with marginal exceptions, they fulfill their task with skill and self-righteousness, however outlandish the claims, in this practice that traces back to the origins of recorded history."

--Noam Chomsky

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 21, 2009 08:42 PM

"Every powerful state relies on specialists whose task is to show that what the strong do is noble and just and, if the weak suffer, it is their fault."

And I thought they were called journalists, live and learn.

Posted by: knowdoubt at December 22, 2009 06:29 AM

"And I thought they were called journalists,"

They call themselves journalists but nobody else does.

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 22, 2009 06:38 AM

I have another name for them, but I refuse to insult sex workers.

Posted by: IronButterfly at December 22, 2009 10:54 AM

Reminds me of the carols we used to sing in my Rand Youth group:

JohnGalt knows when you've been sleeping
He knows when you've been bad
He knows if you're a socialist
And laughs when you've been had
---"The Objectivist is coming to town"

Aynd our caympfeuer cheer:

Ayn Stadt
Ayn Leute
Ayn Welt!

Ach! (wiping tear from eye) those were the dayys.

Posted by: Oarwell at December 22, 2009 11:18 AM

Tim Wise has a good recent post on Rand and her followers.....the comment section is also good.-Tony

Posted by: tony at December 22, 2009 12:24 PM

But for how long? (Your comment about why any of us is still livng.)

Posted by: catherine at December 22, 2009 12:52 PM


funny, and using ayn rand as material. I wouldn't have thought it possible.

Posted by: N E at December 22, 2009 02:26 PM

And I thought they were called journalists

Actually, for a few thousand years they've been called 'priests' (or some equivalent of that). And they what they are.

Posted by: abb1 at December 22, 2009 02:58 PM

While we're laughing at Greenspan, he's testifying before a Senate committee on social spending as a threat to national security:

Evidently, he has recovered from his humbling admission that he was wrong all these years.

Posted by: gmanedit at December 22, 2009 03:36 PM

NE, it's best not to encourage me...

You better bring cash
You'd better not pray
He'll take all your hash
A world grim and gray
The Objectivist is coming
To town.

Order now, and get a free copy of the Virtue of Selfishness! First come, first serve--Guaranteed!

(fade out song)

I'm dreaming of a gold dollar
Just like the rich folk used to see
Where the proles can labor
Or feel our sabres
Cash registers ringing with such glee

I'm dreaming of some Ben Franklins
With every dull novel that I write
May your days be greedy, with blight
And may all your neighbors be white

(Perfectly illustrating the 'quit while you're ahead' axiom of comedy writing)

Everyone have a greed-filled holiday! Self-interest to ya!

Posted by: Oarwell at December 22, 2009 06:06 PM


I see what you mean!

And a greed-filled holiday to you too! :)

Posted by: N E at December 22, 2009 06:48 PM

Oarwell, I think you must be pulling our legs. "Every dull novel I write" could never have been sung by an Objectivist -- to suggest that Ayneleh's tomes are less than gripping and life-changing is heresy.

Posted by: Duncan at December 24, 2009 05:52 PM

I remember seeing an report from someone who became heir to Greenspan's "Economic consulting business" when he first went to the Fed. Turns out there were No clients- Nada.

Posted by: Bilejones at December 24, 2009 05:59 PM

Back then I tried to read one of her fat books, suffered literary indigestion and castigated myself for lasting 50 pages.

Trouble was, I was already a loser. I blame Heller, Dick and Vonnegut.

Posted by: AlanDownunder at December 28, 2009 12:31 AM