Musings on the Coast

The Libertarian Blues


Michael Ray

The most famous libertarian in American history probably is Ayn Rand, whose institute is based in Irvine. During the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, she wrote a series of novels about how big government is inherently evil. Two of her books, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” most particularly celebrated the triumph of human individualism over the state. “The Fountainhead” was made into a 1949 movie starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, and “Atlas Shrugged Part 1” opened in theater’s earlier this month. Undoubtedly, it will cause much celebration among those who hate big government and want it crushed.

What they will not celebrate is that big government was crushed during the recent housing bubble. All the agencies that were supposed to prevent Wall Street and its friends from engaging in system-wide perfidy were castrated. It was not an accident. It was a 30-year long movement.

What most people also do not know is that Ayn Rand was a famous advocate of free love, and one of her acolytes and lovers was Alan Greenspan. Yes, that Alan Greenspan, the one who went on to become chairman of the Federal Reserve. For years, Wall Street and Washington celebrated Greenspan. Journalist Bob Woodward (originally famous for co-authoring “All The President’s Men” about Watergate, and now famous for being the most suck-up-to-power-whore writer of the last 30 years) even wrote a glowing biography of Greenspan. It was euphorically titled “Maestro: Greenspan’s Fed and The American Boom.”

Greenspan was chairman of the Fed from 1987 to 2006, a historic tenure during which at every opportunity he espoused de-regulation. Thus, when the housing frenzy took off in the early 2000s, he did nothing to curb it. In fact, he enabled it. The Fed, and only the Fed, had the total powers necessary to slay it. Example: the highest credit rating is AAA. The government of the United States has it; four, and only four, American corporations have it. Yet, between 2001 and 2007, some $7 trillion of AAA mortgage-backed bonds were foisted onto the public in a churning mania. Even the FBI issued a famous 2004 report stating, “mortgage fraud is pervasive and growing.”

Greenspan’s Fed did nothing. The Securities Exchange Commission did nothing. Big government did nothing. They had no desire; it was against their ideological faith. And it was a faith, like religion:  regulation is bad, period. Forget the facts. Get rid of it. Even if they did want to regulate, between 1999 to 2008, the financial sector spent $3.7 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions to kill any attempts at regulation.

In 2008, the inevitable happened. The economy crashed so hard that the big banks were nationalized (yes, True Believers, that does means “socialized” as in “socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor”).   Today, they are back at it again, with too few banks “too big to fail,” all saved with your taxpayer dollars, and all awarding each other obscene bonuses as they lecture us on the appropriate role of government in our lives.

So, flock to “Atlas Shrugged” and discover the virtues of libertarianism. But do not ever attempt to connect the dots to the fallen value or your home, or the loss of your job, or how much closer to the edge you’ve become. You are one of the “little people,” and you could not possibly understand that the problem with government is government.


Michael Ray is a Laguna Beach resident.

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  1. Jim Kramer

    Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan, lovers? This is not general knowledge, and I know a lot about Ayn Rand. Did you make it up? What’s your source?

    As for Ayn Rand being an advocate of free love, that is definitely wrong if what you mean is indiscriminate sex. She was very serious about sex, saying that it was so important that it must not be debased by casual indulgence.

    You don’t like Ayn Rand? Fine, your privilege. But like yourself enough to treat her, and all your subjects, honestly.

  2. rks

    Libertarians warned against the crisis and many took successful personal measures. For perspectives on Rand and those using Libertarianism worldwide, please see http://www.Libertarian-International.org the Libertarian International Organization

  3. Jon Kramer

    Rand was not a fan of Libertarians: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_campus_libertarians

    She openly disliked the Libertarian Party.

    So go see the movie, and THEN come to the Libertarian Party platform at http://www.lp.org/platform and learn the difference. Many Libertarians are openly scornful of Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, and the other nut bags who we get lump in with. But the LP is not teabaggers, glen beck, palin, or the other loonies that like to drop the word ‘libertarian’ at cocktail parties in order to get chicks.

  4. Michael R. Brown

    Rand and Greenspan were not lovers, and moreover he himself said that the Fed, short of taking ocntrol of all lending in the U.S., could not stem the flow of low-interest money sloshing around from the capital glut post-Soviet-Union. if we had a gold standard none of it would have happened.

  5. Mary Dolphin

    So the rugged individualist spends his adult life ignoring those who need help, exploiting those who would help him and clubbing off all his competitors. Then at the age of 50 he stands all alone on the top of his mountain, despised by those he wouldn’t help, hated by those he exploited and forever in debt to those whose lives he took. Some philosophy! Count me out, brother.
    By the way, whenever two or more people come together and make a joint decision you have a government. Ayn Rand believed in Ayn Rand. Whoopy! What a party that would be.

  6. Jean Raun

    Thank you Mary for your thoughts. Jean

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