“It’s only a matter of discovering the lever. If you learn how to rule one single man’s soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It’s the soul, Peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns.” — Ayn Rand from The Fountainhead
We’re busily deciphering the illogical. Parsing statements and contradictions. Or we’re amazed at the stupidity. Repelled by the loathsome. Shocked by degenerate words. Disappointed in once-sensible people. Disgusted with the supine obedience.
Behind the diorama of all-that-is-Trump lurks a Russian-American woman with a fictional name. Ayn Rand. Dead for years, Rand is buoyed by her devotees into a cult figure as mightily as she is denounced by her critics.
The dark shadow of Rand – the voice of Objectivism and Paul Ryan’s fave philosopher – coils around the sneering and cruel pronouncements. It has locked Republicans into their humiliating master-slave dyad with Donald Trump. And Paul Ryan’s soul is infused with satisfaction.
It’s doubtful Trump has ever read Rand. But Ryan confessed to his dependence on her when he ran as Mitt Romney’s co-pilot in 2012. He embraced her work, even gave her books out as Christmas presents. Rand’s call for individual self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism were the impetus behind his decision to run for public office. His willingness to dismantle social safety nets is in lockstep with Rand’s dismissal of such assistance.
So when we amaze ourselves at Paul Ryan’s complicity with the monster that is Trump, we need to recognize his ideological springboard. Yes, John Galt’s less is more government is eating our governance, fraying the edges of our infrastructure and hurling billions into the laps of Big Business, the master class of capitalists.
Apart from her written works, Rand developed a tightly controlled circle of students. She exercised complete dominance over their thought, ostracizing any who dared question her convictions. Not only was the offender cast out, so were his or her spouses, family members and friends. Rand demanded complete submission and brokered no wavering. This picture of subservient homage is repeated in the disgusting displays of loyalty to Donald Trump.
The dominance-submission relationship demanded by Rand folds into the dictates of the alpha male without pause. It fits seamlessly with the hostile, right-wing authoritarian dynamic described by John Dean.
The monsters are real. They are no aberration. They have a purpose – dominion.
Read Ayn Rand’s own words. Compare them with what is witnessed daily among the political class occupying D.C. As you read and understand, you will also recognize they can be tamed, lessened and disempowered. It’s only a matter of discovering the lever.
Excerpts from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (emphasis added):
The soul, Peter, is that which can’t be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it–and the man is yours. You won’t need a whip–he’ll bring it to you and ask to be whipped. Set him in reverse–and his own mechanism will do your work for you. Use him against himself. Want to know how it’s done?
There are many ways. Here’s one. Make man feel small. Make him feel guilty. Kill his aspiration and his integrity. That’s difficult. The worst among you gropes for an ideal in his own twisted way. Kill integrity by internal corruption. Use it against itself. Direct it toward a goal destructive of all integrity. Preach selflessness. Tell man that he must live for others. Tell men that altruism is the ideal. Not a single one of them has ever achieved it and not a single one ever will. His every living instinct screams against it. But don’t you see what you accomplish? Man realizes that he’s incapable of what he’s accepted as the noblest virtue–and it gives him a sense of guilt, of sin, of his own basic unworthiness. Since the supreme ideal is beyond his grasp, he gives up eventually all ideals, all aspiration, all sense of his personal value. He feels himself obliged to preach what he can’t practice. But one can’t be good halfway or honest approximately. To preserve one’s integrity is a hard battle. Why preserve that which one knows to be corrupt already? His soul gives up its self-respect. You’ve got him. He’ll obey. He’ll be glad to obey–because he can’t trust himself, he feels uncertain, he feels unclean. That’s one way.
Here’s another. Kill man’s sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it. Great men can’t be ruled. We don’t want any great men. Don’t deny the conception of greatness. Destroy it from within. The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional. Set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept–and you stop the impetus to effort in all men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection. Enshrine mediocrity–and the shrines are razed.
Then there’s another way. Kill by laughter. Laughter is an instrument of human joy. Learn to use it as a weapon of destruction. Turn it into a sneer. It’s simple. Tell them to laugh at everything. Tell them that a sense of humor is an unlimited virtue. Don’t let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul–and his soul won’t be sacred to him. Kill reverence and you’ve killed the hero in man. One doesn’t reverence with a giggle. He’ll obey and he’ll set no limits to his obedience–anything goes–nothing is too serious.
Here’s another way. This is most important. Don’t allow men to be happy. Happiness is self-contained and self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you. Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living. Take away from them whatever is dear or important to them. Never let them have what they want.
Empty man’s soul–and the space is yours to fill.
Every system of ethics that preached sacrifice grew into a world power and ruled millions of men. Of course, you must dress it up. You must tell people that they’ll achieve a superior kind of happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don’t have to be too clear about it. Use big vague words. ‘Universal Harmony’–‘Eternal Spirit’–‘Divine Purpose’ –‘Nirvana’–‘Paradise’–‘Racial Supremacy’–‘The Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’
It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master. But if ever you hear a man telling you that you must be happy, that it’s your natural right, that your first duty is to yourself–that will be the man who’s not after your soul. That will be the man who has nothing to gain from you.
But here you might have noticed something. I said, ‘It stands to reason.’ Do you see? Men have a weapon against you. Reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. But be careful. Don’t deny outright. Never deny anything outright, you give your hand away. Don’t say reason is evil–though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there’s something above it. What? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible. ‘Instinct’–‘Feeling’–‘Revelation’–‘Divine Intuition’–‘Dialectic Materialism.’ If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense–you’re ready for him. You tell him that there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You’ve got him. Can you rule a thinking man? We don’t want any thinking men.”