Matt Taibbi is fun to read, but I often find his logic “pitchy.” His latest article for the guardian (a UK publication) concerns me because he’s ordained himself to explain America to outsiders, but his logic is deeply flawed (and that’s being kind). From the article:
When Britain and other countries were engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the American housing bubble two years ago, few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand.
While, outside of America, Russian-born Rand is probably best known for being the unfunniest person western civilisation has seen since maybe Goebbels or Jack the Ripper (63 out of 100 colobus monkeys recently forced to read Atlas Shrugged in a laboratory setting died of boredom-induced aneurysms), in America Rand is upheld as an intellectual giant of limitless wisdom. Here in the States, her ideas are roundly worshipped even by people who’ve never read her books oreven heard of her. The rightwing “Tea Party” movement is just one example of an entire demographic that has been inspired to mass protest by Rand without even knowing it.
Really? You think this crusty, amphetamine-addicted hag is guiding America from beyond the grave?
Here’s the thing, Matt:
The only thing Rand ever did was figure out that you could sell scads of books by validating the anti-social leanings of self-important dickheads, dweebs, nerds, misfits, sociopaths and losers. It was genius. She whispered, “you’re special” into the ears of people who weren’t and they returned her reassurance with worship, but make no mistake, these kids were fucked in the head long before they picked up The Fountainhead. Brian from The Breakfast Club will soon believe he’s John Galt incarnate, despite not being able to make a lamp.
Matt Taibbi should understand this. Of Sarah Palin, he wrote:
And here’s the really scary part: it worked. Palin’s paranoid ramblings and self-pitying tantrums on the way out of office not only didn’t injure her chances for national office, they actually appeared to help, as polls taken in the week after her resignation showed that 71% of Republicans were now prepared to vote for her for president in 2012. Just as she had during the campaign last fall, Palin defied rational analysis by making a primal connection with the subterranean resentments of white middle America, which is apparently so pissed off now at the rest of the planet for not coddling its hurt feelings in the multicultural age that it is willing to embrace any politician who validates its insane sense of fucked-overness.
Long before Sarah, there was Ayn, blurring the lines of useful reality to already-aberrated minds. Their popularity is symptomatic of a culture that allows certain egos to go unchecked; not leaders in any real sense. It’s useful to me, because anyone who admires them has basically said, “Hi, I’m an emotionally retarded megalomaniac, who doesn’t really understand anything, other than I am more important than everyone else.” While that may not be textbook sociopath, it’s an awesome start!
And there’s the real problem: sociopaths. We’re up to our freakin’ eyeballs in ’em. That’s what Matt should have told the guardian.