Monday, May 7, 2007

The Killer Elite

Dedicated readers of RandZapper may have noticed a pattern in many of our posts. We have spotlighted Rand fans who thirst for the nuclear demolition of foreign countries in order to save civilization from the menace posed by "savages" who want to kill us all.

Some may wonder if RandZapper is being unfair. Heaven forfend. Fairness is RandZapper's middle name. Well, no, actually our middle name is Xaltocan, but we digress.

The comments we have discovered and publicized are not just the idiosyncratic effusions of a handful of weirdos who misunderstand Randism. They are entirely in keeping with the essence of Ayn Rand's whacked out worldview.

Rand saw the world in black-and-white terms. There are the good people, a.k.a. the rational people, a.k.a. the civilized people. Then there is everybody else. Everybody else is a looter, parasite, thug, mystic, expropriator, killer, and savage.

Life is a battle between good and evil, i.e. between the rational people and the savages. There can be no compromise in this battle. Any concession to the savages hastens the doom of rational man.

Moreover, there is no way to communicate with savages and hence no way to persuade them to change course. Savages, by their nature, cannot listen to reason. They are impervious to argument. The proof? They didn't listen to Rand; and Rand was, after all, the epitome of rational thinking and logical argumentation.

So what is rational man to do? Faced with a remorseless enemy that desires his destruction, an enemy that cannot be placated or reasoned with, rational man must do what is necessary to save himself and destroy his opponents. Anything that preserves the life of rational man is good and proper; there can be no moral compunctions about eliminating savages, who are not really entitled to be considered human in the first place.

If you think this precis of Randian philosophy is too extreme, consider Rand's magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, which dramatizes exactly this theme. The book ends triumphantly with the survival of a handful of rational men, while the masses of subhuman looters, mystics, and savages are speedily dying out in an orgy of apocalyptic violence, starvation, and pestilence. One of the book's most famous passages depicts the deaths of hundreds of railroad passengers, and the author inserts her own voice into the story to solemnly inform us that not a single one of the victims was innocent, because all of them had compromised or sabotaged their rationality in some way.

An uncompromised - or "unbreached" - rationality means, for Rand, total agreement with and commitment to her particular philosophical system. Anyone who agrees with Rand is rational, therefore good, therefore worthy of survival. Anyone who disagrees with Rand is irrational, therefore bad, therefore unworthy of survival.

When Whittaker Chambers famously remarked that from every page of Atlas he could hear a voice saying, "To a gas chamber, go!", this is probably what he was picking up on. If Rand's ideas are taken to their logical conclusion, then only Randian man is fit to survive and only Randian man merits survival. All other humans are actually subhuman, and thus are of no value or consequence whatsoever. See how any times Rand excoriated her opponents as "worthless." She was writing quite literally. She really did believe that anti-Randians are worthless and can be disposed of without regret.

If she drew back from explicitly condoning mass murder, it's only because of an inconsistency in her position. Her followers, sensing this inconsistency and rejecting it, have increasingly embraced homicidal and even genocidal policies. This is not an aberration. It is part and parcel of the worldview Rand delivered to them, which they are simply carrying to its logical end.

That's not to say that all Rand fans would go this far. Many would not. But their reluctance is not based on Randian philosophy. It's based on whatever remnants of common sense and religious ethics they have not yet surrendered to Rand's influence. In their reluctance to pull the nuclear trigger, they are simply confessing that they will not or cannot go "all the way" in their devotion to their dark mistress. Other Randians, less scrupulous and even more fatally enthralled by Rand's twisted outlook, will dismiss them as compromisers and evaders - and, from the strict Randian standpoint, they will be right.

Any worldview that divides the human race into good and bad, human and subhuman, and insists that only one side can or should survive, will eventually become the basis for millenarian ravings. That Randism has now reached this stage of degeneracy is not surprising. What's surprising is only that it took this long.