Casino Capitalism

Here is more to read about the alleged Randian influence in the Republican Party.

Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times warns  us not to “shrug off” Ryan’s fascination with Ayn Rand (Galt, Gold and God). 

Amy Sullivan, Religion Columnist for TIME magazine online tries to   militant atheism with her acceptance by ostensibly fine Christians  as an economic guru. There are two informative articles Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand Problem, as well as Ayn Rand: The GOP’s Godless Philosopher

Cynthia Tucker reminds us in The Wisconsin State Journal that Ayn Rand is a curious choice for GOP

The most contentious article is from an online magazine described by Wikipedia: CounterPunch is a bi-weekly newsletter published in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as “muckraking with a radical attitude”. I found Counterpunch today while looking for connections between Rand and Ryan. I don’t know the site, and I certainly am not recommending it, but I did find the article interesting and thought-provoking.

Here are two paragraphs from Henry Giroux’s article Neoliberalism’s Culture of Cruelty: Authoritarian Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism.

The United States has entered a new historical era marked by a growing disinvestment in the social state, public goods, and civic morality. Matters of politics, power, ideology, governance, economics, and policy now translate unapologetically into a systemic disinvestment in institutions and policies that further the breakdown of those public spheres which traditionally provided the minimal conditions for social justice, dissent, and democratic expression. Neoliberalism, or what might be called casino capitalism, has become the new normal. Unabashed in its claim to financial power, self-regulation, and its survival of the fittest value system, neoliberalism not only undercuts the formative culture necessary for producing critical citizens and the public spheres that nourish them, it also facilitates the conditions for producing a bloated defense budget, the prison-industrial complex, environmental degradation, and the emergence of “finance as a criminalized, rogue industry.” It is clear that an emergent authoritarianism haunts a defanged democracy now shaped and structured largely by corporations.  Money dominates politics, the gap between the rich and poor is ballooning, urban spaces are becoming armed camps, militarism is creeping into every facet of public life, and civil liberties are being shredded.  Neoliberalism’s policy of competition now dominates policies that define public spheres such as schools, allowing them to stripped of a civic and democratic project and handed over to the logic of the market.  Regrettably, it is not democracy, but authoritarianism, that remains on the rise in the United States as we move further into the 21st century…
How else to explain Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s claim that the struggle for the future is a “fight of individualism versus collectivism,” with its nod to the McCarthyism and cold war rhetoric of the 1950s.  Or Rick Santorum’s assertion that “President Obama is getting America hooked on ‘The narcotic of government dependency,’” promoting the view that government has no responsibility to provide safety nets for the poor, disabled, sick, and elderly.   There is more at work here than simply a ramped up version of social Darwinism with its savagely cruel ethic of  “reward the rich, penalize the poor, [and] let everyone fend for themselves,”  there is also a full scale attack on the social contract, the welfare state,  economic equality, and any viable vestige of moral and social responsibility. The Romney-Ryan appropriation of Ayn Rand’s ode to selfishness and self-interest is of particular importance because it offers a glimpse of a ruthless form of extreme capitalism in which the poor are considered “moochers,” viewed with contempt, and singled out to be punished.  But this theocratic economic fundamentalist ideology does more. It destroys any viable notion of the and civic virtue in which the social contract and common good provide the basis for creating meaningful social bonds and instilling in citizens a sense of social and civic responsibility.  The idea of public service is viewed with disdain just as the work of individuals, social groups, and institutions that benefit the citizenry at large are held in contempt. As George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith point out, casino capitalism creates a culture of cruelty: “its horrific effects on individuals-death, illness, suffering, greater poverty, and loss of opportunity, productive lives, and money.” But it does more by crushing any viable notion of the common good and public life by destroying “the bonds that hold us together.” Under casino capitalism, the spaces, institutions, and values that constitute the public are now surrendered to powerful financial forces and viewed simply as another market to be commodified, privatized and surrendered to the demands of capital.  With religious and market-driven zealots in charge, politics becomes an extension of war; greed and self-interest trump any concern for the well-being of others; reason is trumped by emotions rooted in absolutist certainty and militaristic aggression; and skepticism and dissent are viewed as the work of Satan…
Yes, you read that correctly: “With religious and market-driven zealots in charge, politics becomes an extension of war; greed and self-interest trump any concern for the well-being of others; reason is trumped by emotions rooted in absolutist certainty and militaristic aggression; and skepticism and dissent are viewed as the work of Satan…”
And that is not even the conclusion of the article, a call to arms, “At a time when critical thought has been flattened, it becomes imperative to develop a discourse of critique and possibility—one that recognizes that without an informed citizenry, collective struggle, and dynamic social movements, hope for a viable democratic future will slip out of reach. ”
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