Would Rand Be Drinking Tea?

April 29th, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

Since the start of the Tea Party movement with Rick Santelli’s “Shout Heard Round the World,” Ayn Rand has been a prominent factor in the Tea Party movement.  This factor started with Santelli himself, who called himself an “Ayn Rander,” and with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal in January 2009 which asked, “Atlas Shrugged: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years?”  The book then proceeded to sell a record 500,000 copies in the last year alone, bringing the total number of copies sold since the book came out in 1957 to over 7,000,000.

Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) President Yaron Brook, a frequent guest on the Tea Party-friendly medium of PJTV, has reported greatly increased requests for ARI input both within and outside the mainstream, and TIA editor Robert Tracinski has told his readers (you’ll have to take my word on this one, since I can’t link to the email) that the number of opportunities for spreading the ideas of Objectivism has exploded.

In the mainstream media, FOX Business network producer John Stossel actually did a show on the book last January, bringing prominent Objectivists on to answer questions from a hostile audience and explicitly asking the world what would happen if Atlas really did decide to go on strike. The book was highly recommended by both Glenn Beck, who called Atlas Shrugged a case of “she told you,” and Rush Limbaugh, who described Obama as the man “collecting sacrificial offerings” that Rand wrote of in The Fountainhead and lauded her for pointing out that, “The smallest minority on Earth is the individual.”  She was also referenced by many of the rank-and-file Tea Partiers at the protests, who waved signs saying, “Ayn Rand was right,” “Atlas is shrugging,” and “The name is Galt.  John Galt.”

However, to many on the left this strange alliance of religious conservatives, libertarians, Objectivists, and those who take no controversial stance but merely describe themselves as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” is rather perplexing.  Wasn’t Rand tossed from the conservative mainstream when Whittaker Chambers said in his review of her work that the message of Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged was “To a gas chamber — go!” Haven’t the religious viciously denounced her atheism, the pro-lifers her strong pro-abortion stance?  And didn’t Rand herself despise libertarians with a burning passion, accusing them of plagiarizing her ideas and calling them “worse than Marxists”?  Not to mention her denouncement of conservatives as being more destructive to her aims than the liberals, because they conceded the moral high ground in the debate to the Democrats.

So how could all of these people suddenly be united against the left now, when they were (and still are) divided on so many fundamental issues?

The solution hinges on the nature and purpose of government.  Despite the misconceptions currently abounding about the Tea Parties and the rebellion against Obama, the war is not about Democrats vs. Republicans, rich vs. poor, the white majority vs. the disenfranchised minority, or even conservatives vs. liberals.  What this war is really about is the conflict between big government and small government, the productive vs. the non-productive, the idea that the state has the right to interfere in your life provided it is for your own good vs. the idea that what you do is none of Uncle Sam’s — or anyone else’s — business.  Whatever your views are on charity, altruism, religion, abortion, or any other facet of personal morality — none of it matters.

What matters is whether you think you have the right to impose those views on others through force, through the arm of government.  You can be the biggest social liberal on the face of the earth and still join this protest, provided that you think all transactions between human beings should be voluntary and that government has no place in the realm of enforcing at gunpoint even the most socially desirable of objectives.

At its root, this is a war of individualism, the idea that man is an end in himself, versus collectivism, the idea that it can be right to force someone to do something in the name of the social good.  And when it comes to the morality of individualism, the morality upon which America was founded to become the greatest nation in the history of man, nobody in history ever managed to spell it out as fully and explicitly as Ayn Rand. Hence the new-found fondness for her works, and her adoption by the Tea Party Movement.

Her works, once described as laughably false and unrealistic, did what Milton Friedman described as  the basic function of those who advocated unpopular ideas: “to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”  Objectivists have known that this moment was coming for decades; Rand warned anyone who would listen in the 60s and 70s that ours is not a free, capitalist economy but a mixed one, that a mixed economy cannot survive indefinitely, and that someday America would have to pick.

Now that the day of reckoning is upon us, Objectivists are doing everything within their power to get their message of “reason, freedom, individualism and capitalism” out into the public in general and the Tea Partiers in particular.  They know that this is their greatest chance — as well as, quite possibly, their last. Tracinski put it succinctly: “Let’s beat the left, so we can safely fight each other later.”  But I think his statement misses the point.  These people may be social conservatives or social liberals, staunch advocates of self-interest or proponents of altruism, religious or secular, pro-abortion or anti-abortion, but they all share one common quality that makes it possible for them to unite today: they do not believe in seeking their goals through the medium of government force.

It is true that they have agreed to put many of these goals aside until their victory over the tyranny of Big Government has been won, but even when the time for that fight comes, these are at least people with whom we can fight, compromise, and disagree because they have all agreed on the basic virtue of not trying to impose their views on each other through the mediums of Congress or the IRS.  The left holds no such principle, which is why with them there can be no compromise or acts of bipartisanship.  They are like a robber who takes your money, then calls it compromise when they offer to give half of it back and donate the rest to charity.  Even they would not tolerate this behavior if the burglar literally came into their house with a gun; why should they expect us to tolerate it simply because they work through the medium of government?

So long as the left seeks the good of society through the medium of government force, so long as it acts like a giant government is OK so long as it is nicely democratic and follows the will of the majority, there will be no rest or peace in America.  Because Ayn Rand had it right: the smallest minority on Earth is not blacks, latinos, women, gays, or any other victim group that the left claims to stand for.  The smallest minority on Earth is the individual.  That is not what the modern liberals stand for — but it is what America stands for.  It is what the Tea Parties stand for.  And more than almost anyone else in history, it is what Ayn Rand stood for.

That’s why Objectivists today are able to stand with those who disagree with them so strongly on so much.  And that’s why if Rand were still alive today, she would be drinking tea.


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31 Responses to “Would Rand Be Drinking Tea?”



  1. Tom |

    Great piece, Brianna! I was really surprised to learn that Atlas Shrugged sold half a million copies in the past year. That’s pretty amazing. It was also interesting to see (in the Stossel videos) that sales of the book go up under certain political circumstances.

    This really is an excellent discussion of how Objectivism is relevant for people (including Tea Partiers) who oppose the directions being taken in government today (and in the last 20 years, really). I have no doubt that free people acting in their own rational self-interest in a free market economy is the best and most productive kind of social arrangement. I also have no doubt that the protection of individual rights (natural and social) is essential if true freedom is to exist. That’s one of the most important legitimate functions of government. But see, that’s my gut talking. My head tells me that things are way more complex than that, and modern political reality reduces the discussion to interesting philosophy, not practical solutions.

    I’m not so sure that Rand would be drinking tea. While she might agree with some aspects of the Tea Party philosophy (if it can be called that), she would most certainly disagree with tea partiers on some very important issues. For example, Rand would oppose Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security retirement for obvious reasons. The tea partiers (consider the age of many) generally don’t oppose these programs, although they may have concerns related to fraud and efficiency. Overall, I think Rand would feel that the Tea Party movement misses the point. Beyond that, I doubt that she would be involved in any movement in which she wasn’t the clear leader, given the ego that went with her genius.

    The Tea Party movement isn’t going to last. Ad hoc, highly decentralized movements like this never do. In order to survive beyond November or 2012 at best, it would have to morph into an organized third party, which would do little more than help Democrats at the polls, or it would have to fold itself into the Republican Party. I agree with tea partiers that both parties are responsible for the current mess in government, but the reality is that the people involved in the movement have only one logical home, the Republican Party. If they burn down that house, they’re homeless.


  2. larry |

    Brianna
    Thanks for yet another excellent article. I liked in particular the acknowledgement that the Tea Party transcends a great many of societies boundaries because it is about opposing a government grown to large. A government out of control. A government that is slowly enslaving instead of serving the people.
    I’m also encouraged by the fact that you have acknowledged the existence of Glenn Beck and his efforts to expose the corruption that exist in Washington and the Obama regime.


  3. d |

    I agree with Tom. The article was interesting,but Rand would not be there.
    Sad to say,but the individual is dissappearing in our society,go to any company,they want everyone to be team players,never individuals. It’s not just the Gov. that is responsible for that.Look at our young people,all wanting to be the same,dress alike,act alike,sound alike. I remember always wanting to be different,I don’t think the kids think like that anymore. To be an individual,makes them outsiders and they just want to fit in. The Democratic party is not trying to take away our individualism,just make things better for even poor people. Although,maybe in the wrong way,the plans do not seem to be working.
    I am a Democrat,and I am certainly not for the loss of ourselves,but only helping the poor and middle class to make it through this mess,big business and the Gov., have gotten us into. Seems to me, all the Tea partiers I know of, are Republican,not mixed.


  4. Clarissa |

    My question remains, though: what makes you think that Republicans (conservatives, Evangelicals) are against the big government? Except their empty verbiage, that is. Do you honestly think that pushing for a healthcare bill equals (in terms of promoting big government) the Patriot Act? The Patriot Act stripped people of their most basic civili liberties. How is that not a profoundly authoritarian act? Making the Congress go for those ridiculous bailouts in November of 2008, how is that not authoritarian?

    I keep hearing people say that they dislike Obama because he promotes the Big Government. I would really love to hear from anybody in what way Obama is more pro-Big Government than Bush Jr.


  5. d |

    Touche’,I’m with you,sister. You are correct.


  6. Brianna |

    “Rand would oppose Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security retirement for obvious reasons.”

    Rand would oppose getting rid of social welfare programs? Forgive my bluntness, but either you’re misreading that article you linked to very, very badly or you’re using the word “retirement” in a way I’m not familiar with.

    “The tea partiers (consider the age of many) generally don’t oppose these programs, although they may have concerns related to fraud and efficiency.”

    I oppose these programs, but I would not retire them immediately. Even Rand agreed that the welfare system must be phased out, because abolishing it overnight would cause chaos. If you look at most plans for getting rid of social security, they usually involve allowing those already in the program to keep current benefits and instituting age cutoffs for people who are not yet on benefits (nobody under X will receive SS or Medicare). This is the sort of abolishment (which would mean I’d never see the money I paid into FICA, btw) that I and most libertarian think tanks would support. Besides, you cannot honestly call Medicare and Social Security welfare; for any person who was even moderately successful in life, the amount of money put in far exceeds the amount of money gotten back.

    “Overall, I think Rand would feel that the Tea Party movement misses the point.”

    This is one of the prime concerns held by the people and societies that promote her ideas, which is why they’re working so hard to get the ideas out there, and they’re so encouraged by the way her name and ideas have been figuring so prominently. They consider it indicative of the fact that more and more people are starting to get the point.

    Beyond that, I doubt that she would be involved in any movement in which she wasn’t the clear leader, given the ego that went with her genius.”

    She might not get actively involved, and I entertain the whimsical notion that she might have sued some of the sign carriers over copyright violation (she had a tendency to do that). But both ARI and TAS has been extremely supportive of the Tea Parties despite their reservations, and I base my statement that Rand would also be supporting them on this fact.

    “I’m also encouraged by the fact that you have acknowledged the existence of Glenn Beck ”

    I’ve watched Glenn Beck, and sometimes I’ll post stuff related to him because you’re right that he’s emerging as a very strong opponent to D.C. and Obama. But I generally try not to bring him up here too much because he is a controversial figure, and as such has the potential to divert the discussion away from the real subject.

    “The Democratic party is not trying to take away our individualism,just make things better for even poor people. ”

    That’s what most people think. It’s a complicated point and I’m short on time, so I’ll address it later.

    “Seems to me, all the Tea partiers I know of, are Republican,not mixed.”

    One of the signs I saw at the March 20 party was “Democrats against progressivism,” so there are some Dems. Additionally, there are quite a few independents (myself included).

    “what makes you think that Republicans (conservatives, Evangelicals) are against the big government?”

    Not all of them are, and establishment Republicans aren’t that much more popular with the majority of Tea Partiers than Democrats are. And I’m sure there are some Tea Partiers who are just protesting because they oppose the way Obama’s trying to grow government, not the fact that government is growing per se. As far as these guys are concerned, Tracinski is quite right: “Unite against the Left now, fight each other later.”

    By the way, I think you’re making a mistake here. You seem to think that just because someone votes Republican, it means they like the Republican in question. I voted for Bush in 2004 as the lesser of 2 evils, just as I voted for Obama in 2008 as the lesser of two evils. My move with Bush turned out more or less the way I expected it to. My move with Obama most emphatically did not.

    “Do you honestly think that pushing for a healthcare bill equals (in terms of promoting big government) the Patriot Act?”

    I consider economic liberty just as important as political liberty, so yes. Where I spend my money is every bit as much an expression of freedom as what books I read; heck, how would I express my preference of books without the money to buy them? Observe that in societies with little to no economic freedom (China, North Korea, Soviet Russia, Cuba) political freedom also dies. Observe that with the loosening of China’s economic controls, the Chinese also made slight (very slight!) gains in political freedom. Under capitalism, socialists are perfectly free to agitate for socialism, but can you honestly sit there and tell me that the converse is also true? Can you honestly say that Rand would ever have managed to write or publish Atlas Shrugged, a profoundly political book that has literally changed the world, under any system but one of economic freedom? Economic and political freedom are inextricably linked, because the right to live your life (political freedoms) as you please is dependent on your ability to control the means of living (economic freedoms).

    “The Patriot Act stripped people of their most basic civili liberties.”

    I consider my right to property, my right to the fruits of my labor and my right to dispose of my work, time and effort as I see fit, to also be a basic civil liberty.

    “How is that not a profoundly authoritarian act? Making the Congress go for those ridiculous bailouts in November of 2008, how is that not authoritarian?”

    They are both authoritarian. Both of them strip people of essential freedoms in the name of their own good; one the right to privacy in the name of existential security (physical safety), the other of property in the name of existential security (good health). I opposed the Patriot Act when Bush started it, I opposed the Patriot Act when Obama extended it, and I opposed the health care bill when Obama proposed it. And I think you’ll find that the majority of the Tea Partiers, when asked, feel the same way.


  7. Tom |

    There’s a little confusion here, it seems. I said that Rand would oppose (meaning not be in favor of) programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. From what I can tell, most tea partiers would be critical of the programs but wouldn’t want to see them go away. I referred to the retirement part of Social Security because that’s what most people think of. There are other aspects of it beyond retirement benefits.

    I did not refer to Medicare and the Social Security retirement system as welfare programs because they obviously aren’t. And you’re right that many people pay more into these programs than they get back in payments and services. I said nothing to the contrary.

    Perhaps you might want to read my comment again.


  8. d |

    Unfortunately, a lot of people have nothing when they get old and live on S.S. and medicare. Would you have then living under bridges and on streets,with no healthcare and no income,because they were foolish and could not save money? That was the purpose of S.S. in the first place,there is a need,a great one,maybe not you,but more than you think. You cannot force people to save on their own,it will never work and I am glad the Gov. saves for most of us.


  9. Brianna |

    Tom – I think we’re on the same page, just misunderstanding each other. What I think I failed to point out however, is that I wouldn’t require tea partiers who received SS/Medicare benefits to support the abolishment of those benefits, for reasons we both agree on. I also don’t think that Rand’s agreement or refusal to support the tea parties would hinge on this issue.

    Doris – Who took care of old people before 1933? Were people dying in the streets in the 19th century? I think you underestimate people’s ability to plan for the future, especially a future that is quite obviously coming for anybody who lives long enough. I think you also underestimate the degree of private charity that existed in this country before things like SS and Medicare made people think, “I don’t have to worry about it; it’s the government’s job.” I have also already stated that I would not take benefits away from anyone currently receiving them, or anyone primed to receive them within a certain time frame. Finally, the unfunded the old, poor and sick if those programs become insolvent?

    “You cannot force people to save on their own,it will never work and I am glad the Gov. saves for most of us.”

    Fine. Make participation in SS voluntary and opt-in. You can play if you’re so sure of your own incompetence to plan for the future, but you’ll no longer be able to do it with my money, which is what the tea parties are all about anyway. As for the possibility that I’ll get social security in my old age (aka get my money back), due to SS’s fiscal problems I frankly consider it about as likely as a pig wearing a “mohammad” nametag flying past my window.


  10. Tom |

    The problem with making Social Security voluntary is that it won’t work. Everyone has to participate, or the system can’t survive. We can fix the funding problems of the current system through sound public policy, and we should do that.

    It isn’t correct that Social Security is necessary because some people are too ill-informed or weak-willed to provide for their own retirement. Many good, decent people work hard their whole lives to support their families without ever making enough to also provide for a sound retirement. Those people need Social Security because it may be all they have when they get old.

    It’s true that some people will inevitably pay more into the system than they get back. So what? It’s not a lot of money on a per-person basis, and it’s part of the price of living in a society that creates the conditions in which some can legitimately make more than others.


  11. MichaelM |

    “I have no doubt that free people acting in their own rational self-interest in a free market economy is the best and most productive kind of social arrangement. I also have no doubt that the protection of individual rights (natural and social) is essential if true freedom is to exist. … But see, that’s my gut talking. My head tells me that things are way more complex than that, and modern political reality reduces the discussion to interesting philosophy, not practical solutions.”

    The problem with pragmatism, Tom, is that it doesn’t work.

    And if ARI and TIA succeed in dethroning Obama’s regime, you will once again be the target of their objections. You say that as interesting as philosophy is, what we need is practical solutions. Rand said that before any solution can be practical, it has to be moral. And in politics, there is only one moral question in every single case: by freedom, or by force?

    So when you say,

    “Those people need Social Security because it may be all they have when they get old,”

    Rand says, “at whose expense?” and “by what means?”

    And when you say,

    “it’s part of the price of living in a society that creates the conditions in which some can legitimately make more than others,”

    Rand would remind you that it is a price paid under threat of force.

    As Brianna noted, Rand cautioned her students that in the transition to liberty, welfare would fall later and taxation last. But those who are excited by her clarion call to absolute freedom of the human individual must keep in mind that “absolute” is the operative word.

    Rand taught us that the government of a free society may not perform any service other than to remove the use of physical force from human interaction. Its only role is to guarantee that all our interrelationships and exchanges of values both tangible and intangible shall be voluntary. All other functions would be ipso facto immoral because they would require the use of force to compel involuntary exchanges. And nothing that is immoral may be regarded as practical, ever.

    Brianna has named the common denominator among the Objectivists and the Tea Party Movement. But it is the only thing that is shared. Stossel, Beck, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, et al are still pragmatists who grasp the benefits of individual liberty, but they haven’t a clue to the underlying moral principles, because they stopped reading Rand before they got to that part.

    The good news is that this first time in history interaction between them and Objectivism gives us great hope that the up and coming generation will grasp the rest of the story as well.


  12. Brian Bagent |

    Tom, the problem with social security, why it must be maintained by immoral force, is that it does not trade value for value. In fact, it robs us of present value for an exchange of an even lower value at some point in the future. “Sound public policy” cannot change that fact.

    No sane person would ever come up with an arrangement with a bank or investment company to provide for retirement after the fashion of social security. IOW, the only way SS can sort-of work is via compulsion because no rational person would volunteer for such a system.


  13. Tom |

    Michael, if you really believe that ARI and TIA could actually “dethrone Obama’s regime,” then your grip on reality is pretty loose. Few people, relatively speaking, know anything about ARI or TIA (magazine or website). They didn’t start the Tea Party movement, and I doubt that many tea partiers would know what they are. The fact that some Tea Party positions are consistent with Objectivist principles is secondary at best.

    If Obama’s “regime” (you really should credit Rush Limbaugh on that usage) is be “dethroned,” it will require many millions of voters to cast ballots against him and the Democrats in November and again in 2012. Only a tiny number of those voters will have ever even heard of ARI and TIA.


  14. Tom |

    Brian, it depends on what you define as a “value,” to begin with. That goes beyond money into what’s good for society as a whole. I think Social Security has value in that sense. Granted, it isn’t the kind of program an individual would design for himself. But then, neither are many other activities of governments.

    I have a lot of criticisms of Social Security and the way it’s managed. But I think it’s needed, for the reasons I discussed earlier.


  15. Brian Bagent |

    A thing has value to me if I say it has value to me. There are no other preconditions required.

    Value to society? What is society other than an accumulation of individuals? If SS has no value for any individual within that society, how can it be said to have value for that society? Is there some magical transmogrifier somewhere that does this? I appreciate that some individuals may perceive a benefit with regards to SS, but the facts indicate otherwise.

    The return on SS is what, 2% at best? The participants would be better served by any number of thing than throwing their money down this black hole. That 2% doesn’t even pace inflation which, of course, means that the “depositors” of OASDI are losing value on their principle.

    In fact, SS loses value, at a steadily accelerating rate, the further down the time line we go. The only people that truly benefit from SS are those that have jobs collecting the taxes for SS “benefits” and for those that actually work for the SSA. There is no tangible benefit to anyone else.

    That is why there is no value for value trade.

    Remember, the federal government sent an Italian immigrant named Ponzi to prison for doing precisely what the federal government is now doing. When I was a police officer, the federal government sent the wife of one of my captains to prison for doing that as well.

    I’m curious as to how we can sanction an act to the federal government, yet send individuals to prison for the same act.


  16. d |

    Still, ther are a lot of people that did not make enough to live on, in their older years or to save even a penny. The charity of others is not a retirement strategy,Brianna. The hard working,poor,need S.S. and desperately need Medicare. I do not mind paying in a few dollars to support those people in their elder years,with dignity,they can live. Yes,it needs to be for poor,not everyone,even the rich can collect it. Before 1933,we had a different society,with most folks having children and family to take care of them. Now, a lot,don’t have family and charity is few and far between. Even with family,most cannot afford to support their folks,or their medical bills. Don’t get me started on how many old and young cannot afford health insurance. S.S. is not perfect but don’t fool yourself,Brian, tons of people need it and lots of people would be destitute,without it. You are most assuredly,wearing rose colored glasses, if you do not see that. Charity is a joke,and living on dogfood is what old people used to do,too high now,anyway. Plus, I did not say I was one of those,that is what’s wrong with our society now, everyone is me,me,me. Guess what? You will be o.k.,but you will not be supporting all those baby boomers that need S.S. to survive.


  17. Brian Bagent |

    Doris, the recipients of OASDI are getting back less than what was put into it. Part of that loss of value occurs because of inflation, part of that loss of value occurs because of “handling fees.”

    Since the government cannot make a profit from the money that they collect, there can be no real growth of assets expected. If you “give” the government $100, there is no way they can return that $100 to you because the collectors and distributors of that money have to be paid for what they do.

    Anything the government “gives away” is always going to entail a loss of wealth for everybody because the government cannot produce wealth. The only “solution” to this is, as Brianna pointed out, either to print or borrow more and more money, both of which ultimately destroy wealth as well.


  18. Brianna |

    “The charity of others is not a retirement strategy,Brianna.”

    And government ponzi schemes are?


  19. d |

    The difference between a ponzi scheme and S.S. is, only one or few profit from the scheme,poor folks can live out their elder years with dignity,not having to beg,with S.S. There is a clear difference,obviously the Gov. is not getting rich off S.S.,ya think? No,I will not get back what I paid in,but when I see old folks,who did not pay much in to S.S.,living off theirs,and not being a burden to their children,if they have any, and being able to see a doctor of their choice,I am o.k. with it. I agree,it needs fixing,but to end it will have dire results.


  20. Brian Bagent |

    Doris, somebody is making money of the government-run Ponzi scheme – government employees at the IRS and the SSA.

    In case you weren’t aware, payroll-deducted OASDI goes into the general fund – there is no social security trust fund, and there hasn’t been one since the late 1930s.

    For reasons that may not be so obvious, the government is generally prohibited from carrying money over from budget year to budget year. Can you hazard a guess as to why?


  21. d |

    Don’t trust each other with it? So,Al Gore wasn’t all stupid,as he wanted a S.S. trust fund or lock-box. Yeah,I know,you will never admit to that. Yes,maybe it is not nearly perfect,but then how do old poor people live with their dignity,pretty sure you and I won’t be taking care of them. There’s not enough charity in the world,to equal that,and most don’t want charity. Their kids don’t have the time or the money,and believe it or not most kids wouldn’t anyway. Some don’t even have family,solve these problems without S.S. or medicare,if you can. Guess we will all find out how it works without those,if we live long enough.


  22. Brianna |

    “poor folks can live out their elder years with dignity,not having to beg,with S.S.”

    They’re not begging in the sense that they’re literally on the street corners, but only because Gov. is doing the begging for them at gunpoint. It’s welfare either way, but when it’s done through government the begging part of the game is disguised because we don’t actually see the beggars on street corners, we just see the amount withdrawn from our checks every month.

    “when I see old folks,who did not pay much in to S.S.,living off theirs,and not being a burden to their children,if they have any”

    That is a joke. You think their kids don’t pay SS?

    “to end it will have dire results.”

    The net liabilities of government with regard to SS, Medicare, and Medicaid are 100 trillion. The net worth of every asset, good and service in the United States is 50 trillion. Please explain to me how this situation could possibly NOT end in dire results?

    “Al Gore wasn’t all stupid,as he wanted a S.S. trust fund or lock-box. ”

    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while? ‘Course, he would have done even better if he’d just advocated abolishing the whole thing and be done with it.

    “most don’t want charity. ”

    Funny. That’s what welfare is.

    “Their kids don’t have the time or the money,and believe it or not most kids wouldn’t anyway”

    Someway, somehow these kids who supposedly didn’t have the time or money to take care of their parents found that time and money before 1933… and in an age where despite the rhetoric about how awful life is today, people were far less wealthy and in possession of far less leisure time.

    “Guess we will all find out how it works without those,if we live long enough.”

    Considering the financial situation of the U.S., I suspect we will all be learning what will happen without these entitlement programs quite soon.


  23. Brianna |

    “Stossel, Beck, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, et al are still pragmatists who grasp the benefits of individual liberty, but they haven’t a clue to the underlying moral principles”

    I think you are unfair to Stossel and to a certain degree Beck and Limbaugh. I doubt any of them fully agree with everything Rand said about the nature and morality of individual liberty, but I do think they believe in the morality as well as practicality of it to varying degrees.

    You’re probably right about O’Reilly though.


  24. Brianna |

    P.S. I just want to add that as I was walking home from the grocery story, I saw that someone had put up the sign, “Who is John Galt” in their apartment window. Completely made my day 🙂


  25. Brian Bagent |

    Yes, Al Gore is stupid. There was at one time a SS trust fund, and it was held to be unconstitutional. I don’t think even a very liberal USSC would overturn that case.

    The reason government is generally prohibited from carrying money over from year to year is that the general rule of thumb is that the money taxed should be spent immediately. If the money gets carried over from year to year, then obviously, they shouldn’t be collecting the taxes to the extent that there is an excess that could be carried over. Carry-over money in the business world is known as “profit,” and it would be unseemly at best for the government to be making a profit off of taxes.


  26. Brian Bagent |

    Just ordered a “Who is John Galt?” bumper sticker for my truck. Just need to get a Gadsden Flag bumper sticker to go with it.


  27. Tom |

    Actually, John Galt is alive and well, although quite old. He lives near Austin, Texas. He’s living peacefully under an assumed name because he doesn’t want to be pestered any more by right-wingers and libertarians who, he says, never really understood him.

    I know all this because I met him one day at my doctor’s office. I walked up to the window as he was giving the receptionist his Medicare card, then when we sat down we began to talk. He was more interested in talking about the present than the past, telling me he was doing OK, living on his Social Security retirement income plus a little he picked up along the way doing part time work at a local mechanic’s garage. He said he’s given up writing for good.

    I don’t think he’ll mind my telling you this — you still can’t find him.


  28. d |

    S.S.is not charity,the people on it paid in to it.In 1933,women stayed home and took care of kids and old folks,andthats why they had no leisure time. Plus,they almost all had kids,not true now.
    There is a huge difference between welfare and S.S., it is not begging,it is your money. Yes,your kids pay it,too,but they are supposed to be able to collect it,too. Just because it is withdrawn from our checks,does not make it begging,the amount withdrawn is for you,and a little more,supposedly,so all can receive it.May be robbery,but not begging or charity.
    Brian,why do they have carry over if they are going broke? This really does not seem right. The carry over should be saved with interest, for the future years or the amount withdrawn should be reduced.


  29. Brianna |

    I know it’s not charity in the sense that they paid in, Doris. But it is charity in the sense that probably most of the people who actually need the money are the ones who didn’t pay in as much as they get back. It’s also charity in the sense that it’s not their OWN money they’re getting back, it’s someone else’s. As for whether I’ll actually get any money out, me personally… don’t make me laugh.

    “I don’t think he’ll mind my telling you this — you still can’t find him.”

    You are a goof, Tom 😛


  30. d |

    You just now figured that out about Tom? Yet,a brilliant goof,but no less,a goofball. One thing about him,he will always make me laugh,and always has.


  31. James |

    This debate over SS is absolutely ridiculous. If a person for whatever reason, is unable or unwilling to prepare for their own future and retirement, then so be it. Ayn Rand said “you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”. Honestly, if you’ve lived your whole life KNOWING THAT THERE IS NO BAILOUT SYSTEM FOR YOU and you still don’t save that’s your own problem, and noone else’s. The problem we have now is that several generations have foolishly put their future planning into the hands of government, who mishandles everything that it touches that is outside of its proper scope and function (The protection of rights-period). So in order to fix SS it will take several generations of weaning. But I am 25 and I am planning for my retirement already through my 401k and an IRA I have and I could care less what if any contribution SS will make to my life. If we got back to a place in society where people knew that they were 100% responsible for themselves and that nobody would bail them out, you better believe we would have a great deal more personal savings happening today. Big government precludes rational, reasonable people from using their intellect. Big government makes all the decisions for everyone so all you have to do is just be a good lapdog and not complain. This is terrible. SS is a crutch, like all social welfare programs and it takes responsibility and personal initiative away from the citizens. Tom- why are you afraid to be free? Why do you believe some big paternalistic government can plan for your future better than you can? I don’t understand how you even stumbled upon this article, because you obviously don’t believe in the sovereignty of the individual, and the absolute freedom of the individual. Absolute freedom of the individual means that some people will make bad choices, and will have to suffer the consequences of such choices. But they will serve as deterrents to the rest of us to not live life capriciously, but to use our reason to make the right decisions today, so we can live comfortably in retirement.
    I am sick and tired of my property- my income-being coerced from me so the government can subsidize other people for their bad decisions! Enough already!


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