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Preparing the Persecution

March 21st, 2009 by Myrhaf · 37 Comments · Politics

Because Americans are not used to rioting, and need a little instruction and encouragement to get them fired up, the Connecticut Working Families Party, an arm of ACORN, is  bussing potential rioters around Connecticut to show them where AIG execs live.

If there is mob violence against big businessmen, it will be because the Democrat Party, led by Barack Obama, desired violence, planned violence, and acted to get violence started. It will NOT be because of the spontaneous anger of the common man, or whatever nonsense Washington, D.C. feeds us. The statists want a scapegoat, and you better believe they will get one. Leftists play the game politics for keeps.

Almost 50 years ago Ayn Rand called big businessmen America’s most persecuted minority. Nothing has changed. America has elected a black man as president, but there is no relief in sight for the most persecuted minority. Quite the opposite, President Obama is shaping up to be the greatest persecutor of a minority in American history.

37 Comments so far ↓

  • madmax

    I see in the Times article that Obama also plans on heavily regulating derivatives and other “exotic” financial instruments; ie swaps. This was inevitable. Leftists – like Lee Stranahan – have been blaming our economic woes on “unregulated” markets like those for CDSs. Whatever elements in the economy that are slightly less regulated (let alone unregulated if such a thing exists) than others will be blamed. Its textbook socialist agitation.

    And our Republicans are busy complaining that Obama insulted the Special Olympics on Leno. This whole thing is almost too painful to watch.

  • Benpercent

    Here we have another parallel to the novel *Atlas Shrugged* by Ayn Rand. [**Spoilers**]

    This is just like the mob violence against Rearden at the end of the novel, where politicians intentionally started the violent protest by planting moles in his steel plant so as to learn the ins and outs of the procedures and to let the mob in through the gate when the time came.

    Have we not now the same thing? Washington politicians are screaming about bonuses they knew about in advance and made specific allowances for, and now it has come to a political group “touring” the hometowns of AIG executives for “educational” purposes.

    What the next page holds I fear to find out.

  • Lee Stranahan

    This post proves exactly what I said in my Huffington Post article – down to the GOP standard use of the phrase ‘Democrat Party’ instead of the actual “Democratic Party”, Objectivists tow the Rush Limbaugh line except with slightly more faux intellectual oomph.

    It’s all here – the racism, the red baiting language, the Bizzaro World claim that big business has it rough in America in 2009. Unreal. You should be ashamed for claiming a philosophy based on reality but it’s not in your emotional vocabularly.

  • Myrhaf

    Lee Stranahan argues from intimidation. Instead of addressing the argument — that the left is whipping up populist rage against a scapegoat, big businessmen — he makes groundless accusations of racism, red baiting language and a deficient emotional vocabulary.

  • Jim May

    down to the GOP standard use of the phrase ‘Democrat Party’ instead of the actual “Democratic Party”

    … a meaningless talking point which you got verbatim from Markos et al.

  • Lee Stranahan

    Yeah blah blah…

    “The Left” isn’t whipping up anything – there is bipartisan outrage for HUGE bonuses for financial executives who did a lousy job….and it’s general outrage by the people….

    I know you;re immune to it but using the word Socialiam for things that aren’t that is red baiting…

    Why mneion Obama’s race?

    (Also – name the number of black people at Ayn Rand’s funeral….who weren’t her maid.)

  • Jim May

    Lee Stranahan argues from intimidation.

    He’s not arguing at all. He’s baiting. Standard schoolyard stuff. My guess is that he’s hoping to get banned so he can trumpet that among his thinkalikes.

    Well, I won’t do it — I’ll leave that call up to Bill B. I just got started here, I don’t even know if banning is possible in this setup.

    I’ll just see how long he’s willing to string himself along here.

  • Lee Stranahan

    Look, Objectvists are really boring – there’s basically zero new in it because – ya know, Ayn Rand said it all. So I doubt I’ll hang around long…

    That Democrat is what they call a Tell in poker.

  • Andrew Dalton

    “So I doubt I’ll hang around long…”

    Even as an atheist I must say: Hallelujah!

  • Bill Brown

    I haven’t given any consideration to banning anyone. Mr. Stranahan is welcome to comment on anything here so long as he gives up the “cult” slinging. I let it slide on the Stranahan Syndrome post because, as laughable as the claim is, it was slightly relevant and I wanted to give Mr. Stranahan a chance to defend himself (or dig himself deeper as the case may be). That leniency won’t extend beyond that post. Let’s keep the comments on-topic and civil.

  • Grant Williams

    The point of this post is to expose the hypocricy of the Democrats for giving, what, billions to the same AIG executives who took a percentage for themselves. The Democrats are not outraged at rewarding failure – that is just a convenient cover, a manipulation of the scraps of individualist sentiment still remaining in the culture. Their real targets are the very principles of private control of wealth and the sanctity of private contracts.

    They can get away with being such massive hypocrites because the American public has come to regard any spending that purports to be for “the public good” as acceptable (even if they have to hold their noses while doing it) while the same thing, if portrayed as feeding private “greed”, is self-evidently vicious.

    If done conciously, it would actually be quite clever – how the Democrats can promote the exact same sentiment they are trying to destroy. But it’s not done conciously. It is just the inevitable result of wide-spread pragmatisim, and an aversion to “utopian thinking.”

  • Lee Stranahan

    Grant – prove it. Prove that people inthe Democratic Party don’t really care about the bonuses. How do you know such things, since it’s the premise your argument is based on?

    Because it SOUNDS like you’re just making stuff up.

  • Natasha Hale

    Lee, the people in the Democratic Party (or at least their elected officials) put the provisions into the bill that let the bonuses happen. Why would they write, or actually change, a bill to allow bonuses to be given if they cared about bonuses? Or more accurately, they cared in an unfavorable way.

  • Lee Stranahan

    I can think of a bunch of plausible explanations…because they were trying to get a piece of legislation that would pass and Republicans were dead set against it….because it matters more to some Democrats than the others….

    But ‘because they have a secret plan to control wealth’ isn’t plausible – it would imply they left it in in order to create outrage. It’s a crazy explanation they requires proof and there isn’t any

  • Grant Williams

    Lee – reread it. My comment explained why the Democrats don’t really care about the bonuses. It doesn’t matter if they did or did not allow the bonuses to be paid so they could make political hay, their basic philosophical principles – altruism and pragmatism – leave them with no alternative but to denounce them as selfish and to demand more power in order to prevent it occuring again.

    President Obama said recently that the outrage over the AIG bonuses “represent” something that is “inappropriate.” “Represent” does not mean that he’s angry about the money per se; it means that he’s angry about the fact that the money went to something other than “the common good.” To him, the problem is not the waste, but that the waste wasn’t done in the name of altruism.

    Why are you so interested in what Objectivism has to say about it Lee? Why now – after 20 years? What is it about the suggestions that the markets have never been free, and that AIG thieves are not capitalists, that gets under your skin so badly?

    It seems like you’re doing exactly what the Democrats in DC are doing – only on a more pitiful scale. You see the inevitable chaos that results from the attempt to realize the morality you advocate – and the haphazard method by which you implement it – and instead of questioning those ideas, you look for any sliver of human activity untouched by it so that you can displace your sense of guilt. Even if it’s just the “ramblings” of a bunch of “cultists” on the fringe of the culture.

    Or is it just that you regard the destruction of one philosophy, instead of the construction of your own, as the more practical means of furthering your “media production” career?

  • Lee Stranahan

    Grant – your response is way off topic. The topic isn’t me.

    That being said, you’re doing the same thing to me as you are to Democrats – you’re inferring deep dark secret motives without any proof whatsoever. It borders on paranoia and it’s certainly a delusion.

    It’s not needed, either. You could choose to make an argument just on the basis of agreed upon facts – such as ‘I opposed any government intervention in the economy but our President is in favor of propping up a company like AIG’ without going down the crazy, unprovable assertation path.

    But this is the problem with Rand; she went down this sort of path all the time, especially in her fiction. In her novels, the villians sometimes were evil geniuses who had a whole secret hidden agenda, ala Toohey.

    Grant. That’s FICTION. As in not real. You didn’t PROVE anything – you asserted something that you deduced based on your belief system.

  • Grant Williams

    Okay Lee, I give up.

    Tell me, what is the reason why giving multiple-billions of taxpayer money to AIG the company is at least debateable but giving $165 million to the same men personally is self-evidently evil?

    It’s exactly the same thing. Honestly, what is the difference if AIG spends $165 million to continue insuring the mortgages of a bunch of houses “owned” by people who don’t deserve to be living in them (ie: they only got the loans because of CRA) or if a group of AIG executives spend $165 million to maintain their standard of living? Both options amount to exactly the same thing: other people’s money being used to perpetuate a financial situation that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

    If the double-standard is the not the result of altruism, and if the “solutions” proposed is not the same pragmatism that caused the whole mess, what is?

  • madmax

    “Or is it just that you regard the destruction of one philosophy, instead of the construction of your own, as the more practical means of furthering your “media production” career?”

    This is an excellent point. Good stuff Grant.

  • Lee Stranahan

    Grant – it’s not close to the same thing. The government money was intended to keep AIG from going out of business, which would have instantly triggered a worldwide banking crisis due especially to the Credit Default Swap situation. It was not intended to personally profit the people who helped create the crisis due to poor decision making.

    Because of your O’ist-tinted glasses, you’re seeing altruism where none exists.

    The AIG money is NOT going to ‘keep poor people in their houses’, either. Again, the AIG situation relates to the financial crisis involving the worldwide commerical paper market and CDSs; it’s tangentially related to mortgage crisis. And even them you’re still incorrectly identifying the cause of the mortgage crisis – that was caused by the influx of foriegn investment (largely Indian and Chinese) that had nowhere to go, so the mortgage industry created new mortgage ‘products’ solely for the purpose of selling them as mortgage backed securities.

    The problem wasn’t altruism – it was greed. Greedy mortgage companies wanting to sell their mortgages; they ran out, the Chinese and Indians still wanted to invest and so they lowered the standards completely – not to help anyone, but to cash in.

  • Grant Williams

    Lee – Let’s take a little bit of an inventory of the reasons for the reason which you cite were the cause of the mortgage bubble, shall we?

    1) Indian and Chinese foreign investment: This occured because those economies had received massive amounts of American capital as a result of the offshoring of American manufacturing. It is tempting to argue that it occured because of the independent growth of Indian and Chinese manufacturing capacity, but that simply is not the case. If it had been, then the capital those economies received would have been invested in Indian and Chinese assets which would have been regarded as equally as stable as their American counterparts.

    Why did the manufacturing capacities (and standards of living) of those countries grow in proportion to the accumulation of foreing capital on those countries? In a word: corruption. Or, more precisely, corrupt, invasive, communist/socialist/fascist governments which determine all of the major growth, investment, and wealth distribution patterns of those nations – all while taking a significant portion for themselves and their political allies.

    What makes such governments popularly supported (or at least, once entrenche, not popularly resisted)? Namely: altruism. The wide-spread, deeply-held notion that the individual is not sovereign. Instead, he must sacrifice his interests to, say, the upper castes in India or to, say, the people in China. Or, if that doesn’t work – then he must follow the example of the Yogi or the Buddha and accept pain, passivity, and oppression as man’s natural state on Earth.

    2) The offshoring of America’s manufacturing capacity: This occured because this economy, for nearly 150 years, grew at such an astounding rate and produced so much abundance that much of the working population came to regard the problem of production as solved. To the general public, all that mattered now was the issue of how to “fairly” distribute the wealth.

    American workers, fed on 100+ years of European philosophy which had been festering inside academia and the intelligencia, came to regard the phrase “all men are created equal” as “all men out to be equal.” This made the laboring class look at the entreprenurial class and think: “Hey, I work an equal amount of house that he does, I should be paid equally as well.”

    Why was the average person capable of such a massive evasion? Namely: Altruism. Altruism told him that he did not have to actually understand and quantitatively compare the value created by his labor to the value created by his superiors, all he had to do to know that his demands were noble was to remember that he needed more money. Why did he need more money? Was it his egalitarian pretentions? Those were not questions altruism required him to ask. The fact was that (cue pragmatism) right here, right now he was behind on his bills.

    3) The willingness of American financial institutions to accept their own government’s fiat currency and regard it as legitimate foreign investment: This occured because this economy, for well over 80 years, has been experiencing the evenly-tightening grip of a regulatory and taxation burden approaching that of an 18th Century European kingdom. However, American business people, ever the optimists, continued to believe that what was happening wasn’t really happening. That somehow such patently unAmerican policies were not going to last. In response to this, they forced themselves to become comfortable with regularly engaging in all kinds of exotic, and otherwise completely unnecessary, business practices in order to “bridge the gap” and remain profitable until America became America again. Why was this attitude so easily accepted? Namely, pragmatism. What was it in response to: The growing welfare state and the interventionist regulatory bureaucracy. Why did they come into existence: to provide for the needs of the “less fortunate” citizens of this country. Why was the satisfaction of their needs regarded as a legitimate function of government: altrusim.

    I could go on, but my point has been made. I look forward to seeing how you will evade it.

  • Grant Williams

    correction: In Point 1, the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph should have read: “Why did NOT the manufacturing capacities…”

  • Amy Nasir

    As I commented on Noodlefood as well:

    Ellsworth Toohey: “Don’t bother to examine a folly — ask yourself only what it accomplishes.”

    Mr. Strangeham is not here to win an argument or to be advised or to seek knowledge. What do you suppose he is here for? What is he accomplishing? It’s time to throw him to the curb by ending communication.

  • madmax


    Your economic ignorance is astounding. Chinese and Indian investment caused the mortgage collapse?!?!

    But your arguments are not what surprise me, its that someone who was at one time supposedly an Objectivist could possibly make them that I find so unbelievable. During your “Objectivist phase” didn’t you ever read Von Mises? or Hazlett? or Bastiat? or Reisman? Not even Rothbard or Simon or Hayek? What the hell did you read?

    So what happened, you got turned off by some Objectivists you knew and then you started reading Chomsky, Zinn and Diamond? And you believed them? Usually when people turn away from Objectivism they become libertarians, and there they usually become anarchists. In some cases they turn back to god. All that atheism and egoism scares them. But to become an economically ignorant leftist? I have never seen that before. You’re an odd bird.

  • Lee Stranahan

    Grant – you’re still blaming altruism when the real culprit is greed. People offshore manufacturing to cut costs and make more money. They deal with countries like China despite their human rights abuses because of greed.

    Amy Nasir / Any Nadir / Am Nastier – it’s easy to make fun of people’s names, isn’t it?

    And now I’ll discuss the ecnomy with someone named MadMax – yes, the foriegn investment caused the mortgage crisis. I mean – in the real world, it did. In your world, it was the altruistic gay brown people, I bet.

  • C.T.

    Mr. Stranahan, I don’t know anything about you, and I am curious. If you don’t mind, what are you? I mean, how do you describe/define yourself in a political context? Are you a Democrat, a Socialist, a Communist, a Liberal? I’d rather just ask you than take the time to “google” you or whatever. And I would point out that you didn’t answer the question about what you have read in the area of economic theory. Thanks.

  • madmax

    “yes, the foriegn investment caused the mortgage crisis. I mean – in the real world, it did. In your world, it was the altruistic gay brown people, I bet.”

    This is no answer. You’ve merely restated your arbitrary assertion and thrown in an ad hominem to boot. You don’t answer Lee because you can’t. You couldn’t answer Grant’s excellent summary of the economic crises if you tried. You are not well read in economics (or philosophy for that matter). You may be a good special effects guy or you may not. But you are no intellectual. That’s for damn sure. You fit right in with the Angry Left.

  • Amy Nasir

    This would be Mr. Stranded:

    An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

  • Bill Brown

    These comments have gone off-topic. If you’re not sure what the topic is any longer (and you’d be excused given the wanton derailment), please scroll to the top of the page. Mr. Stranahan is not the subject of this post; I’ll grant that his story is somewhat interesting but he’s got his own blog and has left his email address if you wish to continue your investigation further.

  • Lee Stranahan

    If you want a great summary of what happened to spark the mortgage crisis, I always recommend The Giant Pool Of Money from This American Life – it explains the role of foreign investment very well.

  • Jim May

    Look, Objectvists are really boring – there’s basically zero new in it because – ya know, Ayn Rand said it all. So I doubt I’ll hang around long…


  • EdMcGon

    Myrhaf, I’m not going to feel sorry for the AIG execs in this. While the government carries the majority of the blame, the AIG execs were already paid quite well to screw up this company, and then get a bailout they didn’t deserve.

    As for Obama as a “persecutor”, I’ll agree, but you’re looking at the wrong victim. The one being persecuted is the American taxpayer.

    AIG was complicitly in bed with the government. There was a story out yesterday about Chris Dodd’s wife was on the board of an AIG subsidiary. I wonder how many other government links we can find if we look hard enough?

  • Myrhaf

    From what I understand, Ed, the execs who made the “bad decisions” have been fired. The people getting the bonuses are people who have been doing their job well, the same thing they had been doing for decades before the crisis. Why should those people be punished by a unconstitutional tax levied by a demagoguing Congress?

    Moreover, the ones who made the “bad decisions” were forced to do that by bad laws such as the Community Reinvestment Act. Now the government is using the “populist rage” that they are whipping up as an excuse to take over control of executive pay in whatever industry their whims desire. The door is open to economic dictatorship.

  • EdMcGon

    Myrhaf, the CRA applied to banks, not insurance companies. AIG, an insurance company, bought some of the “toxic assets” as an investment.

    My point is, AIG shouldn’t even be in business, owned by the government or not. And when companies fail, even good people who work there get laid off. These executives should have been laid off, not rewarded on the taxpayers’ dime. If they truly were good workers, they’d have landed on their feet somewhere else.

    I’m not saying the government should be putting any punitive taxes on anyone. I am saying the bailout never should have happened in the first place.

    You want my solution? Liquidate AIG. Liquidate Fannie and Freddie.

    Any other company that took money and can’t pay it back, you ask them how long it’ll take them. Then you tell them if the money is not returned in full by that date, we’ll liquidate them the next day.

    As for companies that are “too big to fail”? Break them down. Make sure they’re small enough to fail.

    Capitalism does not reward failure. Our government has no business doing that either.