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WHY IS THERE NO LIBERAL AYN RAND: ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW
Pajamas Media ^ | 8/14/2012 | Ed Driscoll

Posted on 08/16/2012 6:34:56 AM PDT by IbJensen

Orrin Judd links to a quote from Slate contributor Beverly Gage, a Yale history professor, who asks, “American conservatives have a canon. Why don’t American liberals?”

Ask Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan how he became a conservative and he’ll probably answer by citing a book. It might be Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Or perhaps he’ll come up with Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, or even Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. All of these books are staples of the modern conservative canon, works with the reputed power to radicalize even the most tepid Republican. Over the last half-century, they have been vital to the conservative movement’s success–and to liberalism’s demise.

We tend to think of the conservative influence in purely political terms: electing Ronald Reagan in 1980, picking away at Social Security, reducing taxes for the wealthy. But one of the movement’s most lasting successes has been in developing a common intellectual heritage. Any self-respecting young conservative knows the names you’re supposed to spout: Hayek, Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Albert Jay Nock. There are some older thinkers too–Edmund Burke, for instance–but for the most part the favored thinkers come out of the movement’s mid-20th century origins in opposition to Soviet communism and the New Deal.

Liberals, by contrast, have been moving in the other direction over the last half-century, abandoning the idea that ideas can be powerful political tools.

Yes, I know. Jonah Goldberg explored that topic in-depth four years ago in Liberal Fascism, and earlier, in a preview of his then-book-in-progress, eight years ago at the Corner, where he first wrote on “the generalized ignorance or silence of mainstream liberals about their own intellectual history:”

Obviously this is a sweeping — and therefore unfair — generalization. But I read a lot of liberal stuff and have attended more than a few college confabs with liberal speakers speaking on the subject of liberalism itself. And it seems to me that liberals are intellectually deracinated. Read conservative publications or attend conservative conferences and there will almost always be at least some mention of our intellectual forefathers and often a spirited debate about them. The same goes for Libertarians, at least that branch which can be called a part or partner of the conservative movement.

Just look at the conservative blogosphere. There’s all sorts of stuff about Burke, Hayek, von Mises, Oakeshott, Kirk, Buckley, Strauss, Meyer, the Southern Agrarians, et al. I can’t think of a single editor or contributing editor of National Review who can’t speak intelligently about the intellectual titans of conservatism going back generations. I’m not saying everybody’s an expert, but I think everybody’s made at least the minimal effort to understand their intellectual lineage and I think that’s reflected in conservative writing, for good and for ill. I would guess that the same hold true about the gang over at Reason.

I just don’t get the sense that’s true of most liberal journalists. When was the last time you saw more than a passing reference to Herbert Croly? When was the last time you read an article or blog posting where a liberal asked “What would Charles Beard think of this?”

At Power Line today, Steve Heyward adds:

This is not a new question from liberals who look up long enough from their primal quest for power to ask whether their intellectual shelf is bare. A few years ago Martin Peretz wrote in The New Republic that “It is liberalism that is now bookless and dying. . . Ask yourself: Who is a truly influential liberal mind [on par with Niebuhr] in our culture? Whose ideas challenge and whose ideals inspire? Whose books and articles are read and passed around? There’s no one, really.” Michael Tomasky echoed this point in The American Prospect: “I’ve long had the sense, and it’s only grown since I’ve moved to Washington, that conservatives talk more about philosophy, while liberals talk more about strategy; also, that liberals generally, and young liberals in particular, are somewhat less conversant in their creed’s history and urtexts than their conservative counterparts are.”

Of course, Peretz was practically run out of TNR on a rail for being too center-right via numerous JournoList contributors — despite Peretz’s magazine serving as the farm team for numerous MSM publications. And an earlier generation of leftists destroyed the Middlebrow concept that attempted to make pop culture one to grown on. Similarly, today’s academy has denuded the study of history, seeing it as nothing but war and racism. All of which has led inexorably to our 44th president, David Gelernter (like Slate’s Gage, a Yale professor himself) writes in his new book America-Lite:

Everyone agrees that President Obama is not only a man but a symbol. He is a symbol of America’s decisive victory over bigotry. But he is also a symbol, a living embodiment, of the failure of American education and its ongoing replacement by political indoctrination. He is a symbol of the new American elite, the new establishment, where left-liberal politics is no longer a conviction, no longer a way of thinking: it is built-in mind-furniture you take for granted without needing to think.

As Gelernter adds, “How could thirty-plus years of educational malpractice not matter? It has already dyed the country a subtle shade of left, and the color will deepen every year.” Even if many on the left don’t know the wellspring of their ideas and are trapped in present-tense culture.

Update: I almost forgot that I employed a certain Mr. H. Roark (or “Coop,” as his friends call him) last month in response to Obama’s “You didn’t build that” Lakoffian sophistry; this seems the perfect post to bring him back again.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: killingamerica; obamanomics; whitehutdenizens
Even those of us who couldn’t quite bring ourselves to back Newt Gingrich in the primaries hoped that he would play a big role in the general election as a surrogate. Gingrich reacts to Piers Morgan’s suggestion that the “big flaw” in Ryan’s budget was that the rich would do well, and in two minutes teaches Economics 101, accuses Morgan of media bias, and rips the Obama economy as the “worst recovery in 75 years.” And that’s just Newt getting warmed up, as Newsbusters highlights:

PIERS MORGAN, HOST: I suppose the fundamental debate that’s going to be had, though, will come down to whether the Republicans can sell to the American people that they are really concerned about jobs, about people’s livelihoods, and all the rest of it. If they’re also scratching the backs of their rich and wealthy members, which is clearly I think the flaw in the Ryan plan is that it just does. I mean, if you’re very wealthy, you’re going to be doing a lot better out of Paul Ryan than you would out of Barack Obama who believes fundamentally the rich should pay more tax.

NEWT GINGRICH: You know, I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly. The fact is, these kinds of things were said about Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan’s tax cut – which was developed by Jack Kemp who Paul Ryan worked for – Ronald Reagan’s tax cut raised more people to middle class status, took more people out of poverty, created more jobs.

1 posted on 08/16/2012 6:35:00 AM PDT by IbJensen
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To: IbJensen

Because “liberals” aren’t.
They are Marxists and Fascists that have labeled themselves as “liberals”.


2 posted on 08/16/2012 6:37:45 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working fors)
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To: IbJensen

Oh libs have their own cannon: Das Kapital, Rules for Radicals, Anything by Keynes, etc. etc.


3 posted on 08/16/2012 6:39:51 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: IbJensen

“Over the last half-century, they have been vital to the conservative movement’s success–and to liberalism’s demise.”

Demise? THAT issue is still in doubt. We are in an ideological Stalingrad right now. There are many things I am willing to call the left, but finished is not one of them just yet.


4 posted on 08/16/2012 6:40:58 AM PDT by Psalm 144 (Voodoo Republicans. Don't read their lips. Watch their hands.)
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To: IbJensen

“Over the last half-century, they have been vital to the conservative movement’s success–and to liberalism’s demise.”

Demise? THAT issue is still in doubt. We are in an ideological Stalingrad right now. There are many things I am willing to call the left, but finished is not one of them just yet.


5 posted on 08/16/2012 6:41:15 AM PDT by Psalm 144 (Voodoo Republicans. Don't read their lips. Watch their hands.)
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To: MrB
On the contrary, they do have their own writings:

Das Kapital
The Communist Manifesto
Rules for Radicals

et al...

6 posted on 08/16/2012 6:42:00 AM PDT by ronnyquest (I spent 20 years in the Army fighting the enemies of freedom only to see marxism elected at home.)
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To: MrB
On the contrary, they do have their own writings:

Das Kapital
The Communist Manifesto
Rules for Radicals

et al...

People, including leftists, simply know that all those writings lead to tyranny, misery, and poverty.

7 posted on 08/16/2012 6:42:56 AM PDT by ronnyquest (I spent 20 years in the Army fighting the enemies of freedom only to see marxism elected at home.)
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To: IbJensen

The Left has Marx and Engels and Alinsky, but they are too chicken to cite these as their guiding lights. Then you have the current crop of knuckle-draggers at our universities who are too intellectually vapid to compete with Rand or Hayek.

It should be embarrassing to have Michael Moore, Spike Lee and Barak Obama heading one’s grandiose movement to save the world from capitalism.


8 posted on 08/16/2012 6:45:42 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: Psalm 144

For perspective on your thought, one need only remember that not one republican, or conservative for that matter won a state wide race in California. They continue to vote for the destruction of Detroit and we see others where the parasites have taken control of areas for good. Finished? Hardly.


9 posted on 08/16/2012 6:46:38 AM PDT by commonguymd
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To: IbJensen

10 posted on 08/16/2012 6:47:04 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: IbJensen

“WHY IS THERE NO LIBERAL AYN RAND: ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW “
*******************************

But wasn’t it named inside the cover of Alinsky’s book ?????


11 posted on 08/16/2012 6:47:11 AM PDT by gunnyg ("A Constitution changed from Freedom, can never be restored; Liberty, once lost, is lost forever...)
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To: Psalm 144

We’ll not see the end of “liberalism” until the Lord comes back.

Liberalism is the political expression of the religion of Humanism, which began with the lie “you will be as gods”, and will end only when its author is consigned to the pit forever.


12 posted on 08/16/2012 6:48:16 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working fors)
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To: IbJensen

The reason why there cannot be a Rand or a Von Mies at the center of the fascist philosophy is that the core tenet of this philosophy is a lie. They believe (or act as if they believe) that human beings can be molded into anything and made to believe anything. Some perhaps can but the bulk of humanity is resistant, on some level, to such social engineering. One’s own children will always take precedent, in one’s mind, over the good of the collective. That is no doubt true for everyone or at least almost everyone.

Good people and bad have this in common; they have an inherent self-interest which no amount of leftist fascist social engineering can erase. The left tells itself the lie that humans are malleable and can be made to believe anything. This is a lie and no serious intellectualizing based on this lie will stand the test of time. Reading Marx 150 years after he wrote is just intellectually embarrassing.


13 posted on 08/16/2012 6:57:33 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Legalize Freedom!!)
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To: IbJensen
Eternal wisdom doesn't support socialism/communism.

The reason right wing literature survives is because it's based on natures laws. Leftist can't declare war on natures laws and win. They may win a few small battles, but they always lose the war in the end.

14 posted on 08/16/2012 7:02:37 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: IbJensen
The reason liberals don't cite who they get their inspiration from and the books, is because if they ever let the truth out none of them could get elected.

Even the morons that vote for them would stop if they knew the truth about the Marxists they elect and their plans for them.

15 posted on 08/16/2012 7:05:13 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: IbJensen

Liberal canon: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”.

The operative word being “Do”. If you know what I mean.


16 posted on 08/16/2012 7:07:16 AM PDT by ecomcon
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To: concerned about politics

Leftists base their worldview on humanism, the belief that starting from the reason of man, all the answers of the particulars and absolutes can be obtained. They might find a few particulars, but you can never obtain the absolute.

You referenced “natural law”, which really is a reference to how God created creation, and the rules and laws inherent in that creation. That’s an absolute outside of the reason of man, so the left rejects it in favor of their own “intellect”.


17 posted on 08/16/2012 7:08:56 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working fors)
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To: concerned about politics

There’s another most important aspect of socialism and marxim (the two go hand-in-hand and mean the same thing as ‘progressive’ means today as spouted by that famous fat-head, Hillary Rodham Clinton: “I’m proud to be a progressive.”) those who claim that ‘philosophy’ are imbeciles.

Their writings, their speeches, every damned thing about them rings as moronic, beyond sophomoric and displays them as candidates for strait-jackets in a booby hatch.

Instead, they are honored, practically worshipped by a dangerously large portion of this faltering nation. Faltering? Practically destroyed by large segments of both of our political parties.

If America doesn’t wake up we’ll be embracing someone under the order of Benito Mussolini, or more luckily a benevolent despot like Francisco Franco, who I personally admire for what he did the the communists who were destroying his nation.


18 posted on 08/16/2012 7:11:06 AM PDT by IbJensen (Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.)
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To: muir_redwoods

Bravo!


19 posted on 08/16/2012 7:12:30 AM PDT by IbJensen (Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.)
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To: IbJensen
Ask yourself: Who is a truly influential liberal mind [on par with Niebuhr] in our culture? Whose ideas challenge and whose ideals inspire? Whose books and articles are read and passed around? There’s no one, really.”

There are no influential liberal thinkers because liberal 'ideas' have been discredited by the reality of history. They don't work. There are no ideas on the left worth debating.

The left has hunger, greed and grievance. And some old warmed-up Marxism - with enough totalitarian bells and whistles to feed hunger, greed and grievance... In short, in spite of all the academics, in spite of control of almost every college and newspaper in the cournty, liberals are intellectually bankrupt. Sorry Ed Driscoll ...

20 posted on 08/16/2012 7:14:25 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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To: IbJensen
Ask yourself: Who is a truly influential liberal mind [on par with Niebuhr] in our culture?

There are no influential liberal thinkers because liberal 'ideas' have been discredited by the reality of history. They don't work. There are no ideas on the left worth debating.

The left has hunger, greed and grievance. And old warmed-up Marxism - with enough totalitarian bells and whistles to feed hunger, greed and grievance... In short, in spite of all the academics, in spite of control of almost every college and newspaper in the country, liberals are intellectually bankrupt. Sorry Ed Driscoll ...

21 posted on 08/16/2012 7:16:22 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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To: GOPJ

The fact that they’re mostly God-less and atheistic is the driving force behind their desired destruction of all that is good.


22 posted on 08/16/2012 7:25:16 AM PDT by IbJensen (Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.)
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To: circlecity

Rules for Radicals is a book of strategy ... Das Kapital - a look at capitalism AS IF all capitalists were running small unprofitable sweatshops - their only chance of profit being to exploit labor...(stupid stupid) Face it, the left is intellectually dead...


23 posted on 08/16/2012 7:28:05 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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To: IbJensen

bkmk


24 posted on 08/16/2012 7:28:10 AM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: IbJensen

It’s not that Lefties don’t have their own canon. It’s that they cannot afford to admit to outsiders what canon they really follow, because that would be too revealing of their inner totalitarianism.


25 posted on 08/16/2012 7:39:30 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (A deep-fried storm is coming, Mr Obama.)
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To: GOPJ
'Rules for Radicals is a book of strategy ... Das Kapital - a look at capitalism AS IF all capitalists were running small unprofitable sweatshops - their only chance of profit being to exploit labor...(stupid stupid) Face it, the left is intellectually dead..."

Oh I agree, but that's the cannon they use. What they choose for their cannon tells you a lot about them, neh?

26 posted on 08/16/2012 7:43:20 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: IbJensen

Liberalism is not really a political philosophy, it is a political strategy. The ones at the top, the Pelosi’s, Keneedy’s, Obama, Clinton’s etc have one singular core value and EVERYTHING else is optional. This core value is that they want to be in charge.


27 posted on 08/16/2012 7:47:26 AM PDT by BRK
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To: IbJensen
Liberals have a whole series of guidebooks:


28 posted on 08/16/2012 8:28:56 AM PDT by Iron Munro ("Jiggle the Handle for Barry!")
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To: IbJensen

Liberals do not enjoy looking at the roots of their political beliefs.

And they do have a canon. It’s little. And red.


29 posted on 08/16/2012 8:34:55 AM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: BRK

It’s not a political philosophy or a strategy, it’s a psychological condition.

Google “cognitive dissonance”.


30 posted on 08/16/2012 8:39:52 AM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: circlecity
What they choose for their cannon tells you a lot about them, neh?

Yes, it does circlecity. And even more if they understood and acknowledged the sources of their ideas...

31 posted on 08/16/2012 8:42:04 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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To: Iron Munro; sickoflibs; Liz

LOL - if poster shops were conservative - or balanced - that would be one great selling poster. Wonderful, Iron Munro... totally wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


32 posted on 08/16/2012 8:44:51 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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To: IbJensen

I forget who it was, but I heard a prominent liberal say recently that liberals DON’T READ. He was talking about why CURRENT liberal books don’t sell, and the fact that there is not a canon of CLASSICS that liberals read.

Which is not surprising, since liberalism is merely organized stupidity and bigotry.


33 posted on 08/16/2012 8:46:23 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (In Edward Kennedy's America, federal funding of brothels is a right, not a privilege.)
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To: muir_redwoods
The reason why there cannot be a Rand or a Von Mies at the center of the fascist philosophy [...]

Von Mises. But it reminds me of the Mies whose style is imitated in the Fountainhead photo in the original post: Mies Van der Rohe.

Who once got into trouble with his wife, and had to spend weeks in the bauauhaus.

≤}B^)

34 posted on 08/16/2012 9:07:29 AM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: IbJensen
I'm reading a book now by a guy named 'Spengler' - it's called 'It's not the End of the World - It's Just the End of You

The book backs up some of your ideas... and it's a good read. If you're bored and looking around, pick it up.

35 posted on 08/16/2012 9:53:12 AM PDT by GOPJ (Freeper Neveronmywatch's convinced: Put a compass in the hands of a liberal it'll point south.)
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