Am I ready to sell my soul for money? Absolutely. The reason is because I know like any reasonable individual that there is no such thing as a soul, it is a metaphorical social construction, which means that I will make money by selling a non-existent thing.
For the sake of not being so literal, what am I rambling on about? Selfishness. We all remember Gecko’s “Greed is Good” speech in Wall Street, but really how far can we take in those words by heart? Is being inherently individualistic a good thing? Year after year it is becoming increasingly clear that the best things happen when we are greedy, and not just for the “me” in all of you but ironically for all of society.
Rand’s controversial philosophy of Objectivism has never seemed more relevant than today. It is not in fact about creating uppity selfish adolescents who are inherently arrogant and rude. No. It is the idea that libertarian free-market thinking is what propels the world and gives the individual the ability through his/her self-esteem to achieve his/her best.
But wait I am a left leaning Marxist-Trotskyist. Way to dampen to mood right? That particular label does not really fit very well into the the whole Libertarian, individualistic economic ideal that I have been rambling about. Or does it?
What If I told you that the evolutionary stages of Marxism- from Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism to Communism actually require Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness in order to become at least feasible? Something which history has proven to be impossible up to this point in time as countless have tried and failed miserably. Need I mention the failed experiments of the Soviet Union and China?
Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is what supposedly creates the perfect form of Capitalism, and the formation of wealth as well as rich economic system dampened in a surplus of capital. It is also the system under which the most technological advancement actually happens, perhaps enough to one day take us into the evolutionary cataclysm of proper Socialism. But wait? Am I just another left wing nut job?
Yes, but I also am a firm believer in Capitalism as a means to achieve Socialism, and this is best achieved through Ayn Rand’s philosophy of free-market individualism. Perhaps we will advance so much through capitalism that one day money will become useless- just like in Star Trek The Next Generation where there is no need for money, as technology has solved resource issues. Well this article just lost all its credibility.
But seriously, what if we need to go through the Randian stage of absolute selfishness to produce enough wealth and advance ourselves in the meantime, only to reach a state of collective benefit for whole? Maybe until future generations can properly benefit from an equalized economic system, we have to go through a bit of real free-market libertarianism to get enough wealth to actually spread it around to make everyone rich.
Remember in 1917 how Russia suddenly became a Communist state? Of course you do, but the important thing is that there was no wealth, no money to spread around equally. In one of the most backward countries, a feudal state really, how could you not expect the formation of a dictatorship where suddenly the few resources that existed had to be thinned out amid the masses? It is like sharing 1 dollar with 10 people, whereas in a capitalist state there would be 100 or 1000 dollars.
If we are individualistic under reasonable grounds, as Ayn Rand has professed, the right economic conditions might become available for a smooth evolutionary transition into Socialism. But what about the individual?
Socialism and Communism were never meant to subdue the individual That was Stalinism and Maoism- and any other vulgarized Marxist ideology that inherently became a fascist organism in disguise. Under a true socialist economic system where money is meaningless the individual would be free to achieve his/her own dreams without the drudgery of having to worry about meager living. Read some Alexandra Kollontai!
Is this all a wacky-utopian fabulism? Perhaps.The point is that I will continue to sell my soul until we do reach a place and time where money will no longer matter.
The truth is that like most, I am a walking contradiction. I wake up a socialist, become a libertarian free-market advocate just in time for lunch, and by dinner I am flirting with mixed economic ideals only to fall asleep while reading a Milton Friedman book. Life is complex, so are ideas- which is why Ayn Rand and Socialism do mix.
I can be a greedy Marxist. Why not?
Is this not the most ridiculous thing you have ever read? Do you understand the irony? The satire? Ideas are our own, we cannot mix them and produce things which do not belong to us, we must form our own thoughts, our own models of viewing life. We cannot take a little bit from everything, mix it all up and call it our own. That is the way of the “second-hander”. As Leonard Peikoff has said “before we can think Objectivism, we must first think”. There is no compromise that has any dignity to it, especially in the realm of ideas.