Becoming Conscious of Capitalism:
The Death and Rebirth of Prosperity’s Dream
a serial narrative by Alan Briskin
FREE: SUBSCRIBE NOW
to receive your weekly dose of reality
(Watch for the next series)
Postmark, Oakland, CA, August 11, 2012
Today the Republican nominee for President Mitt Romney chose the Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential nominee. The news was filled with many different perspectives about this selection, one of which was the unusual philosophical connection Ryan has with the author Ayn Rand.
Below is an excerpt about Ayn Rand from my new serial narrative, Becoming Conscious of Capitalism, and her unusual link with Paul Ryan.
I wrote the serial over the past few months with an eye to collective folly but also as a serious attempt to discover the links between capitalism and partisan politics. Along with my commentary, I include some of my HDR (high dynamic range) photography as well as FLASH POINTS ripped from today’s headlines and those of earlier historic perspectives.
I hope you will find the serial stimulating, an irreverent romp through history as we polka our way to the Presidential elections. Sometimes trying to keep sane means embracing insanity as an important herald of what to pay attention to. Read on for a “sneak preview” excerpt from Chapter Six of the series…
SNEAK PREVIEW – EXCERPT from Becoming Conscious of Capitalism – Chapter 6
In 1905, a nice Jewish girl named Alisa Rosenbaum was born in Russia. She was educated there and came to the United States in 1926. She could have been my father’s older sister, as he was also Jewish, was born in Eastern Europe, and came to the United States in 1925–1926. They both believed in an individual’s capacity via hard work and persistence to shape his or her own destiny. My father’s path was to work in New York City’s garment district selling fabric and wire for hats until he invented a small hand machine that set rhinestones and nailheads into clothing. He called it the Brisk-Set.
Alisa took another path. She became a Hollywood screenwriter and wrote novels. She demanded reverence for her ideas, and her wild mood swings may have been influenced by the amphetamines that she took. She called herself Ayn Rand and in 1957 published her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged.
April 17, 2012
Paul Ryan Suddenly Does Not Embrace Ayn Rand Teachings
WASHINGTON — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) tried to send the message this week that, contrary to ‘urban legend,’ he is not obsessed with philosopher and author Ayn Rand. “‘I reject her philosophy,’ Ryan told the National Review on Thursday. ‘It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.’
“Best known for her novels ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ Rand advocated a philosophy that emphasizes the individual over the collective, and viewed capitalism as the only system truly based on the protection of the individual. She has been a significant influence on libertarians and conservatives.
“Ryan, whose name has been floated as a possible running mate for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, appeared to be distancing himself from Rand in response to a public letter he received this week from nearly 90 faculty and administrators at Georgetown University. In their letter, they criticize him for misusing Catholic social teaching in defending his budget, which hurts the poor by proposing significant cuts to anti-hunger programs, slashing Pell Grants for low-income students and calling for a replacement of Medicare with a voucher-like system. They also invoke Rand’s name.
“‘As scholars, we want to join the Catholic bishops in pointing out that his budget has a devastating impact on programs for the poor,’ said Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, one of the organizers of the letter. ‘Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.’
“But any urban legend about Ryan’s affinity for Rand surely started with Ryan himself, who, prior to this week, had no qualms about gushing about Rand’s influence on his guiding principles.
“‘The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,’ Ryan said during a 2005 event honoring Rand in Washington, D.C., the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in April 2009.
Excerpt from the Huffington Post