2009 opens amidst momentous shifts in the direction America is moving…politically, culturally, and philosophically. The statist trend is firmly established following the climactic end to the disastrous Bush years. In the final analysis, President Bush did more harm to the pro-capitalist cause than any democratic administration could have hoped to do (I’ll have more on this important point at a later date.)
As a result, many Americans are angry and confused and looking for answers as to what went wrong. The recent election demonstrates that too many Americans have concluded that capitalism and freedom have failed…especially in finance, energy, and healthcare…and that bigger and more powerful government is the answer. Collectivist forces are ascendant and promising to push America strongly in the statist direction…i.e., a sharp “swing to the Left”.
Meanwhile, the Right…meaning pro-individualist, pro-capitalist…is thoroughly demoralized and on the defensive as never before (except for perhaps during America’s “Red Decade”, the 1930s). More importantly, they are looking for a new direction, or should be, and are trying to figure out how to regain the momentum. With both major political parties now firmly ensconced under the statist, big government tent, a fundamental re-evaluation of the Right’s intellectual arsenal is desperately needed.
Fortunately, there is some good news here. In 2008, the Ayn Rand Institute’s new Public Outreach division opened in Washington, D.C. The mission of The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights “is to advance individual rights (the rights of each person to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness) as the moral basis for a fully free, laissez-faire capitalist society.”
As ARI’s donor newsletter Impact reports, the Ayn Rand Center (ARC) debuted on October 22 with a speech by its executive director Dr. Yaron Brook in the historic National Press Club ballroom. Speaking to an “enthusiastic” crowd of about 250, Dr. Brook delivered his 45 minute talk, titled “Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case For Freedom”, to “business leaders, university students, [and] intellectuals from other think tanks”, among others. Reported Impact:
Their response [D.C.-area policy groups} was enthusiastic. Said Steve Simpson, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice "ARC brings a new voice and a new perspective to Washington that is sorely needed, especially now. It was a delight finally to see someone defending capitalism on moral grounds in this town. Yaron Brook is a fabulous speaker…I’ve been to many events by policy groups at the National Press Club over the years. The turnout for ARC’s inaugural talk was better than I’ve ever seen.”
“Victoria Hughes, president of the Bill of Rights Institute, echoed those sentiments. “Dr. Brook’s remarks on the defense of capitalism offered the Washington, D.C., audience a point of view that challenges their ‘business as usual’ thinking. The Center’s arrival in our nation’s capital is timely and welcome ”.
Dr. Brook’s lecture is available free at the website of ARC, or click here.
The avalanche of socialist-fascist policies to come must be met with radical new ideas from the defenders of capitalism. The “business as usual” approach that has been failing for more than 100 years to properly defend capitalism and its corollary individual rights must go, as Objectivists have been saying for years. As president-elect Obama has made clear that he fully understands, the battle is a moral one. Only Objectivism offers the power to turn the tide back toward what America stands for.
It’s well past time for other advocates of capitalism to grasp this crucial fact. That other free market-oriented think tanks are starting to take note of Objectivism’s perspective that the moral case is the missing ingredient of capitalism’s defenders could signal a crucial turning point for the Right. Let’s hope so.
2009 presents a daunting intellectual-philosophical task. The battle for the future of America is about to be engaged in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. With the baggage of capitalism’s pseudo-defenders, the big government neo-conservatives, swept aside, the agenda of the Left will be openly on display for all to see. They now control the three branches of government. The target is clear and unequivocal. The danger they pose is counter-balanced by an extraordinary opportunity to clearly define the difference between their statism and capitalistic freedom. The clear demarcation line between an Obama-led Democratic government and an Objectivist-led radical pro-capitalist counter-force would not have been possible had McCain/Palin won.
While 2008 was not a good one for America, it was good for me personally. My family’s doing well, including my six thriving grandchildren…their names’ first letters of which forms my publishing nickname Zemack.
I have had three letters published in the New Jersey Star-Ledger in 2008. My blog archives have expanded significantly, and my on-line forum activity has continued, as reported on my secondary blog, Prin-Spec References, under the “Commentary” heading.
It is not just on my own behalf that I engage on the battleground of ideas. It is for my wife, my two daughters and sons-in-law, and six grandchildren, that I fight for the kinds of ideas that will make for a better and freer America. In fighting for the rights of myself and those closest to me, I am also fighting for the rights of everyone; because rights are unalienable and held equally and at all times by all people.
So the ideological battles ahead will prove to be extraordinarily challenging. And make no mistake; the battle now heating up is philosophical, not political. The old conservative-liberal political fault line has dissolved amid the intellectual bankruptcy of both the old Left and Right. Emerging from beneath the surface is the age-old battle between collectivism and individualism, manifesting itself today as between socialism and capitalism.
Today the collectivists are ascendant, while freedom’s forces are in disarray. America desperately needs an uncompromising moral defense of its founding ideals…i.e., Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Those are the ideas that I will continue to fight to bring into the cultural mainstream. Those are the ideas that America needs to discover and embrace now.
In 2009, I look forward to a busy year ahead on the battleground of ideas.
HAPPY NEW YEAR