Bill Bucko

"DON'T LET IT GO" & "WHAT CAN ONE DO?"

2 posts in this topic

I’ve been studying Ayn Rand’s works since 1966. Yet lately, when I reread her essays “Don’t Let It Go” and “What Can One Do?” [reprinted in Philosophy: Who Needs It] I was struck more forcibly than ever by how prescient she was in foreseeing and analyzing our country’s current descent into statism:

from "DON’T LET IT GO" :

If America drags on in her present state for a few more generations (which is unlikely), dictatorship will become possible.

[i believe we are now, in 2008, close to that point. BB]

A sense of life is not a permanent endowment. The characteristically American one is being eroded daily all around us. Large numbers of Americans have lost it (or have never developed it) and are collapsing to the psychological level of Europe's worst rabble.

This is prevalent among the two groups that are the main supporters of the statist trend: the very rich and the very poor—the first, because they want to rule; the second, because they want to be ruled...

[That would explain the involvement of the current Messiah’s backers, such as George Soros. BB]

Is there enough of the American sense of life left in people—under the constant pressure of the cultural-political efforts to obliterate it? It is impossible to tell. But those of us who hold it, must fight for it. We have no alternative: we cannot surrender this country to a zero—to men whose battle cry is mindlessness.

We cannot fight against collectivism, unless we fight against its moral base: altruism. We cannot fight against altruism, unless we fight against its epistemological base: irrationalism. We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something—and what we must fight for is the supremacy of reason, and a view of man as a rational being.

These are philosophical issues. The philosophy we need is a conceptual equivalent of America's sense of life. To propagate it, would require the hardest intellectual battle. But isn't that a magnificent goal to fight for?

Describing the New Left, in "From a Symposium" (reprinted in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution and Return of the Primitive):

Hostility, hatred, destruction for the sake of destruction are their momentary forms of escape. They are a desperate herd looking for a Fuhrer.

They are not seeking any specific political system, since they cannot look beyond the "now." But the sundry little Fuhrers who manipulate them as cannon-fodder do have a mongrel system in mind: a statist dictatorship with communist slogans and fascist policies. It is their last, frantic attempt to cash in on the intellectual vacuum. …

Can this be averted? Yes. The most destructive influence on the nation's morale is not the young thugs, but the cynicism of respectable publications that hail them as "idealists." Irrationality is not idealistic; drug addiction is not idealistic; the bombing of public places is not idealistic.

From "WHAT CAN ONE DO?" :

In an intellectual battle, you do not need to convert everyone. History is made by minorities—or, more precisely, history is made by intellectual movements, which are created by minorities. Who belongs to these minorities? Anyone who is able and willing actively to concern himself with intellectual issues. Here, it is not quantity, but quality that counts (the quality—and consistency—of the ideas one is advocating)...

If a dictatorship ever comes to this country, it will be by the default of those who keep silent. We are still free enough to speak. Do we have time? No one can tell. But time is on our side—because we have an indestructible weapon and an invincible ally (if we learn how to use them): reason and reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I’ve been studying Ayn Rand’s works since 1966. Yet lately, when I reread her essays “Don’t Let It Go” and “What Can One Do?” [reprinted in Philosophy: Who Needs It] I was struck more forcibly than ever by how prescient she was in foreseeing and analyzing our country’s current descent into statism

... and offering Objectivists guidance for dealing with it.

Thank you for posting that, Bill. We may have some difficulty persuading everyone, but we should at least start by making sure our fellow Objectivists get Ayn Rand's message.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites