If you’ve ever wondered why we can’t have a nice world. One that runs well and works for most everyone most of the time. It’s because of partisan bullshit. This deeply seated need too many of us have to pick a side and stick to it right, wrong, whatever because “GO TEAM!”
I have meandered all over the partisan map. At some points half of my beliefs have been in opposition to the other half even.
However, most of the time I straddle the center line with the occasional tight-rope walk just to spice things up.
So when I am confronted with blind lemming followers of this or that, the best I can muster anymore is “Well, good for you. At least you care enough to sort of pay attention.” Seldom do I add “If only you’d bother to think for yourself and apply a bit of pragmatism and common sense.”
But you can’t have everything, right?
There are people who want to be involved and immerse themselves in doing their little or lot bit for the cause, and so what if they mostly don’t understand how their cause fits into the bigger picture? They care. Deeply. That matters. Right?
And it’s better than apathy. Right?
I’m not so sure.
Last night my Twitter feed was inundated with retweets about Ayn Rand’s personal failings.
The tweeter is not someone I follow. He’s a pompous ass. He only interacts with the adoring throngs because he isn’t interested in any sort of conversation that might show him up or disprove his preferred view of reality.
That’s fine. Twitter is kind of about building your own little tunnel vision and sharing it with those who are similarly blinkered.
But the gist of his argument boiled down to “Ayn Rand took amphetamines and had serial killer fetish, therefore her theories about capitalism are bullshit.”
I got a D in Logic and Reasoning back in the day. In retrospect I should have gone to class more than I wouldn’t have had to pull an all-nighter to get a B on the final and hold onto my pathetic D.
However, poor background aside, I am fairly sure that Ayn Rand’s rambling nonsense on all things the far right-wing loves is crap because it’s crap and not because she was a questionable human.
If you wanted to apply the questionable human equals someone who is full of shit logic, it just so happens that Thomas Jefferson, that great American Founding Father, would tumble off his pedestal too.
After all, how can the father of personal liberty hope to escape judgement given that he was not only a slave owner but he forced his 15-year-old sister-in-law into a sexual relationship with him because he owned her.
Yes, Jefferson’s long-time intimate companion Sally Hemmings – who bore him six children – was not only his sister-in-law and his slave but, according to some accounts – was the doppelgänger of his dead wife.
Creepy and worlds of wrong barely begin to cover this situation and yet, Jefferson is revered. His ideas are seminal in terms of American political world building.
Personally, I think Ayn Rand’s appeal is that most people who bother to read her dirge of a novel, Atlas Shrugged, are young adults or teens when they do. The themes are appealing to the young, and who really ever goes back and re-reads the “great” novels of their youth? Hardly anyone. The fuzzy memories are always better.
Randian love and worship is a sign that you’ve not quite grow up yet. At least in your political world view anyway. It’s like people who cling to the idea that pure socialism will save us all. An immature idea that refuses to incorporate the reality that life is complicated because “people”.
Even though Rand’s idea are simple-minded, her personal failings and quirks are just human. Humans can be awesome. They can completely suck. But for the most part, they are somewhere in the middle. None of these states of being detract from the things people can accomplish.
For all Rand’s faults, she wrote a novel decades ago people not only still read, but they find things in it which push them to think and learn, and let’s be real, not everyone who reads Atlas Shrugged gets stuck in the limited world view.
I fear there is no way to cure for the world of side-taking or the inevitable outliers who live and die in the absolutism that makes the world a less nice place for us all.
Personally, I am done pretending to care about the fringes. Feigning politeness rather than rolling my eyes. I am part of the problem if I don’t.
Sometimes the other side is right. Sometimes the middle path is the best way.
And sometimes people need to calm the fuck down, grow up and spend some quality time in the real world with real people who don’t reinforce every blind prejudice they learned as a child.