Thursday, March 26

Get back here, dead horse! I'm not done with you yet.

Because I just don't know when to leave well enough alone, found this in the comments thread of the post that linked to the Ayn Rand rant: an unauthorized sequel to Atlas Shrugged starring Bob the Angry Flower.

Click to enlarge.


Tommy said...

The cartoonist clearly has never launched a startup.

When you've maxed out all your credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to bootstrap a company, I can assure you that you won't be above tilling some ground, metaphorically speaking.

Frightening that this cartoon might be indicative of the left's conception of entrepreneurship. Yet, given current policy in DC, not surprising either.

Holly said...

So where are all the faux libertarians from the last time Rand got brought up? Or do they only come out to deliberately misinterpret your points? I made popcorn and everything.

Anonymous said...

Never read the book, but given its' ability throw some of you into uncontrollable quivering outrage, I'll be stopping at Borders tomorrow.

What is a faux libertarian by the way?

Tommy said...

Out of curiosity, what is y'all's issue with Libertarians? If I were in your shoes and targeting a segment across the aisle, I'd be going after the God-squad, corporate welfare Bushies, instead of the defectors who tipped the balance to put my guy in office.

Then again, given the enormous piles of taxpayer dollars being blindly granted to GM, AIG, etc., maybe the new boss really is the same as the old boss.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

I don't have a problem with Libertarians. I've gone on record as saying I found Ron Paul the most palatable of the Republican candidates in '08. The people who frustrate me the most are the people who claim to be Libertarians but simply go back into the voting booth and pull the lever for those God-squad corporate-welfare Bushies every time.

But the people who read Atlas Shrugged and immediately decide they're going to become libertarians (usually of the above variety) and go on and on at every opportunity about how horrible poor people are.

Tommy said...


I don't know where to begin. Taking on people who abuse the poor isn't really going out on a limb. Neither is going after what might be a few dozen people who liked Atlas Shrugged.

I guess this fairly well encapsulates everything I hate about political types. They're in charge of billions of dollars and policies that affect millions of lives, and the level of discourse centers around cartoonizing anyone who disagrees with them. It's like watching monkeys operate a nuclear weapons program.

I don't know how many people out there actively hate the poor. It can't be enough of a critical mass to be driving what ails this country. Yet you're constructing strawman arguments around them?

If you're looking for a real target of outrage, consider that the money being dumped on GM amounts to between $30K and $40K per worker. That's a year's tuition at Harvard Business School. Yet, instead of diversifying taxpayers' risk by retraining these workers, we're doing the same stupid thing that Enron employees were suckered into: concentrating the entire nut into propping up a company with no business plan for the 21st century. Not only will these employees likely lose their jobs while our billions go up in smoke, we'll probably be paying an additional amount for these folks' unemployment in the coming year.

And the $173 billion we're giving to AIG? It's going to line the pockets at Goldman Sachs and everyone else with whom AIG made their bad bets. And Goldman et al hedged their risk, so basically they keep all the upside from their hedges, while taxpayers absorb the downside incurred by taking AIG's action. Meanwhile everyone's up in arms about AIG bonuses that amount to 1/1000th of what we're giving to their bankers/bookies.

Attack Ayn Rand and real or imagined poor-haters all you want, but doing so doesn't provide a framework for addressing those kinds of problems.

You'd be all over this stuff if W's people did it (and it does sound like something they'd do). But since it's Obama who's catching hell for it, you go after what you mistakenly think is the Bible for people who are supplying the hell, rather than addressing the issue directly.

Anonymous said...

If history is a guide, Doug will point out something like the AIG bonuses amount to 1/998th of the total bill and that ancillary piece of Tommy's argument somehow invalidates everything else he said. Therefore, the entire argument isn't worthy of rebuttal. Or he'll just ignore it.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Or, conversely, I could just put words in the mouths of my ideological opponents and then attack that instead of something they might've actually said. But either one would make me an annoying, soporific douchebag, so I guess I'll have to come up with something else.

Anonymous said...

... as I said.

Tommy said...

Doug, it was your putting words in the mouths of your ideological opponents that got this thread started. You want a do-over?

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

When did I do that? I didn't say you were a faux libertarian; I didn't say all libertarians were annoying, poor-people-slagging hypocrites. If anything, I said the opposite. How this went from "Hey, here's a funny cartoon that takes the piss out of Atlas Shrugged" to me having to defend comments I didn't even make about AIG bonuses, I have no idea, but I'm sure Steve, in his brilliance, can tell us.

Tommy said...

I'm going to assume that two posts in one week about Atlas Shrugged weren't apropos of nothing. You've presumed it to be the central text of the libertarians who helped deliver the White House for Obama, and who are critical of a bailout plan constructed by people apparently incapable of performing a basic net present value calculation and seemingly unaware of basic portfolio theory. Which, if you're going to throw trillions of other people's dollars into the private sector, are two things you should know something about.

If you want to address Libertarians' arguments, I've just presented you the field of play. Instead, you've fixated on attacking the half-century-old Atlas Shrugged, perhaps in hopes that doing so will discredit Libertarians ("faux" ou vrai) and relieve you of the burden of addressing their real argument in 2009.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

You've presumed it to be the central text of the libertarians who helped deliver the White House for Obama,

No, I didn't. I attacked Atlas Shrugged for being a shitty book, and maintain that it's a shitty book, but that's it. In my experience, a lot of people who've read the book and loved it go on to claim that they're libertarians, but they're certainly not the majority of libertarians, and I never said they were.

And I attacked "faux libertarians" for talking one way and voting another, but I've spoken positively of real libertarians here and here, among other places.

So I'm not sure we actually have that big a problem here, unless you think that being OK with libertarians and hating Atlas Shrugged are mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

You stopped criticizing Atlas Shrugged as a piece of literature a couple of weeks ago. The cartoon posted isn't a literary critique, it's a club to bash your opponents. Your references to John Galt in your "Late to the Party" post have nothing to do with the book and everything to do with trying to lump everyone who disagrees with your view into one neat category.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

I mentioned John Galt once in the previous post. But if a piss-taking cartoon featuring an anthropomorphic flower as a Randian protagonist has you in this much of a lather, it might be time for a glass of hot milk and a nap, cupcake.

Tommy said...

To be fair, full-on libertarianism is pretty hard to embrace. For example, I don't think economic and diplomatic isolationism is any more realistic than inventing a time machine to take us back to the 1890s. So, yes, a few of us are all over the map and, if that makes us "faux" libertarians or just intellectually independent, call it what you like.

We've watched successive administrations from both parties transfer vast sums of taxpayer money to private corporations and demanding little to accountability in return, so a traditional Democrat or Republican party-line voter is going to find us tough to get along with for much longer than a short-term, tactical marriage of convenience, like the one that helped dislodge the Repubs last November.

Long-term, I don't see how you can simultaneously embrace any strain of libertarianism and this administration's policies without a considerable amount of cognitive dissonance, but I suppose that's a topic for another day.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

See? Now this is a conversation.

I wouldn't call someone a "faux libertarian" simply for thinking that we shouldn't, say, privatize school systems or fire departments. I guess what's gotten my dander up over the past few years is people who claim to be libertarians but were perfectly fine with expanded wiretaps, suspension of habeas corpus, and the massive increases in discretionary spending that we saw under the Bush administration. As if libertarianism were nothing more than lower taxes.

And no, I don't expect libertarians to leap on board with the Obama administration's economic plans. Truthfully, there's a lot that worries even someone like me about spending this much money, but given the dire straits we're in, I don't see how we get out of it without spending quite a bit, and the Republicans certainly haven't offered any credible alternatives, so I guess this is how it's going to be.

Not that the Republicans have any remaining credibility on the spending issue, of course. One thing that I think would be really beneficial for the country is if a substantial libertarian party did develop on a national level so that there'd be a third alternative besides the big-spending Democrats and the big-spending, authoritarian Republicans; I still don't know that I'd agree with them on much, but at least there'd be a party dedicated to walking the walk on smaller government, which I don't think either major party can claim right now.

Anonymous said...

At last we agree on something. The Republicans have ceased being the party that they say they are. That's why Independents and Libertarians have pretty much abandoned them in the near term and voted in a Democratic controlled congress and executive branch. I think many in this class of voters have always held their noses while voting for the Republican candidate because on the whole, that candidate had more check boxes in is favor than the Democratic candidate. When that stopped being the case they abandoned them to the only other alternative, again holding there noses.

It's pretty hard to nail down where "pure" Libertarians would stand on a lot of the issues today. I'd pretty sure suspending habeas corpus for US Residents and the massive spending would be no-nos. The wiretapping programs become a bit less clear. Some would obviously not pass the libertarian test, while others probably would.

It's not really clear to me whether we should be spending a lot more to dig us out of this mess, but some of what Obama plans to spend it on, he hasn't made a case for how that helps our current economic situation. Giving more money to GM and Chrysler doesn't seem like a good idea to me. They should go bankrupt and reorganize. It's going to happen anyway, so why throw good money after bad.

Buck said...

For what it is worth I think a faux libertarian is just a Republican who is ashamed to admit it right now.

Even professing libertarians cannot agree on who is and who is not one.

And as far as I know Republicans were never the party they said they were. But I can only go back as far as Eisenhower.