Down With Randian Warmongers!

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That
screaming and foot stamping you hear is the sound of the War Party
throwing a tantrum.

They
went to such trouble to get their neoconservative brothers into
positions of power within the Bush Administration, and yet they
still can't get war with China.

Our
24 spies are home, the American people are happy the whole mess
is over, and President Bush looks (for now) like the embodiment
to reason and restraint.

It
is no surprise then that the crown princes of the War Establishment,
Bill
Kristol and Robert Kagan
, are apoplectic. These two chicken
hawks, who think boot camp is just a reality show on Fox, are always
eager to send young Americans to die for “National Greatness,” their
current euphemism for Empire.

Only
slightly more surprising are the bellicose statements coming from
the lunatic fringe: the unreconstructed followers of novelist Ayn
Rand.

From
the statements coming out of the Ayn
Rand Institute
, you would think the Randians are petitioning
the neocons for readmittance into the conservative movement, from
which William F. Buckley exiled them decades ago. If anything, the
Randians are more eager to drop bombs (on China, on anyone)
than even the Weekly Standard crowd.

In
a bloodthirsty press
release
, Andrew Lewis, one of the nonentities on the ARI payroll,
writes: “China is the guilty party. The fact that China poses a
military danger to America is what makes our surveillance missions
necessary. It is China's status as a potential aggressor that created
the perilous situation in the first place.”

This
is the sort of loopy reasoning we used to get from Rand herself,
like when she hilariously declared big business America's “persecuted
minority.”

China
is no threat to the United States, and it won't be one for several
decades, if ever.

Like
all authoritarian countries, China is a threat to its own people,
but the only international threat on the scene today is the United
States.

Western
democracies, somewhat restrained from killing their own citizens,
are the countries forced to sate their bloodlust abroad.

It
isn't China, after all, that goes around dropping bombs on any country
that dares defy the U.S. State Department. China didn't wage an
air campaign on behalf of the Marxist Kosovo Liberation Army; we
did. They didn't bomb our embassy in Yugoslavia, but we did bomb
theirs.

Yes,
China does rattle its sabers with regard to Taiwan, which it regards
not as a sovereign nation but as a breakaway province. But what
would the United States do if, say, Alabama decided to break off
and go its own way?

Oh,
wait. We already know the answer to that question, don't we?

Of
course, Randians love Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, so maybe
they are just being consistent. After all, Rand's muddleheaded insistence
that there could be such as thing as “objective” government led
her to advocate giving the state a monopoly on the use of force,
as anti-freedom a doctrine as you could imagine, taken to its logical
conclusion.

Why
worry about what the Randians think? That's a good question. The
orthodox Randians, huddled around their stereos listing to taped
lectures from ARI, are just a small cadre of cultists, taken seriously
by no one.

But
many libertarians, myself included, became the anti-war activists
we are today after spending time in the Randian camp. It still shocks
us, although by now it shouldn't, when someone like Leonard Peikoff,
Rand's heir, goes on radio and calls for bombing the Middle East
back into the Stone Age just to get Osama Bin Laden.

Meanwhile,
Lewis' tirade descends further into madness.

He
complains that China “ruthlessly suppresses all dissent.” Now, excuse
me, but anyone from ARI who complains about anyone else stamping
out dissenting views is a hypocrite. I could list all of the people
purged from ARI's ranks for various thought crimes, but I'm not
interested in wearing my fingers down to nubs.

Of
course, China is repressive. So what? Lots of countries are repressive,
but that doesn't make any of them a threat to the United States.

Lewis
says the United State should recognize Taiwan as an independent
state and arm it to the teeth. He never considers that many in Taiwan
are skeptical of independence, which is a notion supported there
mostly by ethnic Japanese and Japanese-backed political hacks.

I
would like to think that this insane, warmongering talk is confined
to ARI, but actually it seems to carry the day in other, more moderate
neo-Randian enclaves as well.

The
Daily Objectivist
published its own “letter of apology”
to the Chinese, containing this little gem:

“We
are very sorry that you are a totalitarian communist government
that oppresses its people and poses a continuing security threat
to other nations, including the United States of America. We are
very, very sorry and deeply regretful about the fact that we have
to waste so much money on flying surveillance missions and other
national defense measures thanks to outlaw nations like yours.”

Apart
from the fact that the folks at The Daily Objectivist don't know
the difference between “authoritarian” and “totalitarian” – China
is not totalitarian, as the dissent within the Chinese government
over this whole spy-plane matter demonstrates – they continue to
spread the myth that China is a threat to the outside world. I await
the evidence.

China
managed to live in relative peace with the West under the murderous
Chairman Mao. It took a United Nations expeditionary force right
under Mao's nose to get China into the Korean War. So why should
China suddenly be a threat now that it is 100 times less repressive
than under the Gang of Four?

Some
relatively levelheaded Randians have been allies in the past when
it comes to defending freedom at home. But when it comes to restraining
the sprawling American Empire, they are the worst of the worst.
And it's time to stop being surprised by their bloodlust.

April
17, 2001

Franklin
Harris, a former Randian who is feeling much better now, writes
for THE DECATUR
DAILY
in Decatur, Ala. When not worrying about politics,
he obsesses over sci-fi and horror movies at his Web site, www.pulpculture.net.

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