Dec 032008

If you haven’t yet read Alan Greenspan vs. Ayn Rand and Freedom by Harry Binswanger, published in Capitalism Magazine, I strongly recommend that you do so. It’s a great article to send to people to who claim — whether honestly or not — that Alan Greenspan’s actions over the last 25 years or so represent Ayn Rand’s philosophy in any way, shape, or form.

Consider Dr. Binswanger’s list of Alan Greenspan’s betrayals of Ayn Rand’s principles:

I can’t say I knew Alan Greenspan, though, being an associate of Ayn Rand, I met him a few times in the 1960s. But by 1970–almost 40 years ago–I and a couple of other Objectivists in that circle already realized that Greenspan was compromising on her philosophy. Little did we know how far his anti-Rand journey would take him. As the years rolled on,
  • he was hailed as the man who “saved” Social Security–by extending its confiscatory power,
  • when Bill Clinton’s State of the Union address called for socialized medicine, he rose to his feet, standing next to Hillary Clinton in giving a standing ovation to that proposal,
  • he became head of the mammothly anti-capitalist Federal Reserve, directing the government’s manipulation of money and credit,
  • he provided a laudatory dust-jacket blurb for a book attacking Ayn Rand (by a woman he had “irrevocably” condemned in print in 1968). Yet he repeatedly refused to contribute to or lend his name to the Ayn Rand Institute,
  • he wrote, in 1995, that government central banking is a necessity: “Only a central bank, with unlimited power to create money can guarantee that such a process ["a cascading sequence of defaults"] will be thwarted before it becomes destructive.” (Note that we just witnessed this “cascading sequence of defaults” despite –or, actually, caused by –our central bank.),
  • he wrote in his autobiography about coming to reject Objectivism: “as contradictions inherent in my new notions began to emerge . . . the fervor receded”,
  • and now he has blamed free markets (as if we had them!) for his failures at the Fed. In conceding that his “ideology” was wrong, he was understood to be saying Ayn Rand was wrong–even though he had long ago forgotten or evaded every essential of what Ayn Rand stood for.

Can it get any worse than that? Yes, it can — and Dr. Binswanger lays out the case clearly. In essence, “a man who betrays Ayn Rand, and who wrecks the economy of the U.S. in carrying out that betrayal, then succeeds in shifting the blame onto Ayn Rand and capitalism.” Lovely, no?

Go read the whole thing. And then post a link to it in the comments of every annoying blogger who claims that the current financial crisis is a refutation of Ayn Rand’s ideas.

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