Monday, May 7, 2007

Taxi Driver

RandZapper received a nice plug from the blog Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature. A commenter on the ARCHN blog also gave us a valuable tip, setting our eager bloodhounds on the scent of one Craig Biddle. Biddle, who writes for the online Randian rag The Objective Standard, is yet another of those armchair warriors whose dream life is crowded with imagery of mushroom clouds over mosques. In fact, he devotes an entire article to the mouth-watering prospect of "Bombing Mosques and Madrassahs." He begins his essay by offering this penetrating insight:
America is not being attacked by bombs or hijacked airplanes or government buildings or military installations. We are being attacked by people ... [emphasis in original]
And all along RandZapper thought we were being attacked by legions of papier-mache puppets! Instead it's people. This changes everything.

To combat the threat posed by people, Biddle sensibly calls for killing people in the largest possible numbers. Fewer people, fewer problems. Makes sense.
"But," some will ask, "don't people have a right to take their religion seriously?" No, they do not—not if taking their religion seriously means obeying "God's" or "Allah's" orders fully....People have a right to believe whatever nonsense they want to believe, but they do not have the right to act on their beliefs if doing so means committing murder or violating individual rights. The individual is greater than "God" and morally must be protected from those who "just believe" otherwise.
It's heartening that Biddle grants people the right to believe nonsense, since otherwise he could scarcely defend his belief in Randism. But if the individual is greater than God, than aren't we saying the individual is God? Well, sure. That's Ayn Rand's entire worldview, in a nutshell (emphasis on nut).
In conjunction with the other elements in this 5-step plan, we should kill the Iranian preachers and teachers who chant and spout "Kill the disbelievers" and "Death to America." We should aim to kill all of them. And the best way to do this is to bomb the Iranian mosques and madrassahs when they are most likely to be occupied. Were we to do so, the practice of taking the Koran seriously and warring with America would suddenly become unattractive, and most (if not all) of the remaining Islamists in the world would quickly become mere Muslims, akin to the mere Christians next door.
To us, it seems more likely that bombing mosques and madrassahs would only further inflame the Muslim world and make it easier for terrorists to recruit new followers. Think of it this way: If someone bombed the high school your kids attend, would you a) decide that violence is wrong and adopt a philosophy of live-and-let-live, or b) call for massive reprisals against the bombers?

But let's take a closer look at Biddle's five-point plan, or as he styles it, "How to Solve America's Terrorism Problem in Five Easy Steps."

Easy Step Number One:
Stop sacrificing American soldiers to bring "freedom" to savages in Iraq. Pull our soldiers out of that hell hole, and let the savages have their civil war.
(What is it with Randists and "savages," anyway?)

Easy Step Nunber Two:
Declare war on Iran.
War, war, what is it good for?Absolutely everything!

Easy Step Number Three:
Obliterate, from high altitude and long distance, all known Iranian military assets, all Iranian government buildings, all Iranian mosques and madrassahs, and the residences of all Iranian leaders, imams, clerics, and government officials. Hit these targets when they are most likely to be occupied (e.g., mosques during the day and residences at night).... We have many big missiles, fast planes, and good bombs, and we should use these liberally while building bigger, faster, and better ones.
Faster, pussycat. Kill, kill!

Easy Step Number Four:
Airdrop leaflets across the Middle East explaining: "From now on, this is how America will respond to any and all threats to her citizens or allies. We look forward to the time when you decide to civilize yourselves, stop taking religion seriously, renounce the initiation of physical force, recognize the principle of individual rights, establish rule of law, and join the free world. Until then, we will be watching you from way up in the sky—higher even than Allah, by means of technology He cannot fathom—and if we see anything that we so much as feel might conceivably pose even a remote threat either to America or to our allies, we will annihilate it and everything in its proximity without further warning."
Way to win their hearts and minds! We at RandZapper especially like the childish taunts directed at the Muslims' religion. Isn't it only two-year-olds who think of God as literally floating high in the sky and looking down on the Earth? And if God can't fathom our technology, is he really God? Oh, but we forgot - the individual is God. Not all individuals, though. Savages need not apply. They aren't God at all, they're only worthless scum who should be annihilated. So then, who is God? Why, Randians, of course!

But this means ... oh, dear ... you know it's coming ... wait for it ... Craig Biddle is God.


Easy Step Number Five:
Notify the regime in Saudi Arabia that it got lucky and has the option of not being obliterated; that we are prepared instead to seize "its" oil fields and sell them to private industry, in part to pay for the campaign against Iran, and in part to return the fields to private industry where they belong; that it has 24 hours to turn the fields over to our agents; and that if it fails to comply or ignites the fields or does anything to thwart our program, its leaders, like those of Iran, will meet Allah sooner than later.
Since there is little chance Saudi Arabia will agree to these demands, it seems likely that theirs will be the next nation of savages to be wiped off the planet. RandZapper is beginning to grasp the underlying theme of this complex geopolitical strategery: Kill 'em all, and let Biddle sort 'em out!

Having laid out these five easy steps, Biddle summarizes:
[S]o long as we follow through as indicated above and immediately destroy anything that we think looks even remotely threatening, state sponsorship of terrorism against America would be over; the major threat to our lives would be gone.
That's the way to be safe and free. Just "immediately destroy anything that ... looks even remotely threatening."

- Hey, Zimbabwe. You givin' us the stinkeye, shoe-shine? Gettin' uppity with your betters? Forget who runs this plantation? Well, here's a little radioactive present for ya, tar baby. Blammo!

- What's that, Nicaragua? You got a problem with that? You got something to say, greaseball? Do ya? Huh? We didn't think so. Keep your taco-hole shut, and you might just live to see manana. If not ... Blammo!

- What's that muttering we hear? North Korea, is that you? China? Germany? France, you socialist surrender monkey? Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa? We'll take you all on. We ain't a-scared o' none o' you bums! We got a loaded ICBM silo and an itchy trigger finger. So go ahead, punks - make our day! We dare ya. We double dare ya ...

It's a plan, all right. Sure, it means an Everest-high mountain of corpses, a decimated planet, a perpetual cloud cover of radioactive fallout, and the simmering hatred and resentment of every other country on Earth ... but what do we care? We're Randian Man. We're God. We can do any damn thing we please. You got a problem with that?

Say hello to Randian America, a.k.a. Travis Bickle. And we all know how well things worked out for him.

- You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? [launches nuclear missile] Huh?

Ah, but then reality rears its ugly head. Biddle/Bickle concludes,
Of course, we will not take such measures any time soon. Altruism will not let us.
Yeah, that darn altruism. If it wasn't for Plato and Jesus and Immanuel Kant, we'd be slinging nukes at every country that looked at us cross-eyed, piling up corpses, and winning Jodie Foster's heart. But no. Altruism's got our balls in a vise. We're not moral enough to be mass murderers. We're not rational enough to commit planetary genocide.

Not yet anyway. But maybe someday, if we work very hard and assiduously spread our message and elevate enough of our fellow intellectuals to the status of ballsy Randian Gods, then maybe, just maybe we will live in a bombed-out radioactive wasteland that will stretch from the North Pole to the South - a planet-wide cemetery, where we will face no more threats, because the threat is people, and there will be no more people.

Hey, we can dream, can't we?