Rearden Metal lands contract to build world’s largest asshole
I’ve seen the inside of a courthouse a lot lately. Mostly on traffic fines. Next time a cop asks if I know why he pulled me over, he’s gonna get, “Because the city is desperate? Because they don’t trust you with real police work?” I don’t think I’ve won many friends in the justice system, even in my scant participation. I’ve poisoned jury pools with doubts about law enforcement’s efficacy being such to justify the death penalty (watching my reasoning cascade, repeated by other soon-to-be-dismissed jurors was quite satisfying), made lawyers backpedal and request sidebars that immediately preceded my eager dismissal; I’ve chatted with fellow defendants on how and why they should fight every ticket they receive.
One strategy that didn’t occur to me was that of Hank Rearden when he was summoned to give his blessing to some bizarre government regulations that don’t resemble anything on this planet. If the real legal system is a Monty Python routine, Rand’s version is Carrot Top given the Human Centipede treatment with Stalin and a Cirque du Soleil troupe. Her characters (i.e. just Ayn sounding like Ayn) rants tirelessly about the fictional “Equalization of Opportunity.” Though it sounds superficially like the stage for a bold critique of the laws directed at forcing people to pretend they’re not the bigoted pricks they are — or at least to deny them free reign to exercise said bigoted prickness in a professional environment. If libertarians are the quote-mining literary skimmers I assume they are — like Bible humpers — maybe this can explain some of the schizophrenic racism intrinsic to the bloc. I mean, how can undocumented immigrants opening nail salons and building plywood cabinetry not be the legitimate exercise of laissez-faire economics?
Or are Americans in need of a little protectionism, huh?
Undocumented immigrants work for dirt, because they’re terrified of pushing the whole “basic human rights” thing, and getting deported. (If we continue down the path of servile American pussydom, we’ll experience this soon enough, when we wake up and flee to better countries; the Norwegian Dream is alive in me — I hope they need polemicists. They don’t strike me as the epicenter of cutting humor — I’m going to assume Norwegian women would be impressed by scathing essays. Shut up; let me assume that. Snakker du engelsk, sugar tits?)
Is benefitting from the work of people whose rights aren’t recognized not a legitimate way to run a railroad? I thought that was the whole point of today’s cripplingly deformed capitalism. Why else are we so hostile to the idea of living wages for regular employees (as in the majority)? It’s consistent with the Apple Store ethos of explaining to its workers that the “experience” of working for Apple transcends monetary compensation; or the Kochs letting their employees know they’re better off being wage slaves, bullied into political lockstep (because if anyone knows hardship, it’s a squishy ballet patron punishing a tuxedo with his chin fat). Libertarians seem to begrudge anyone being compensated for anything at all — unless they’re CEOs; in which case there’s no limit on what their totally subjective contribution to the company is worth! Shit, even when they fail they get bonuses. I’ve never heard a peep from conservotarians on that one — though it’s hard to hear their message between the loud slurps as they venerate their betters.
If Rand’s evil regulatory law isn’t about those Mexicans sleeping under trees with big sombreros over their eyes, somehow benefitting from my tax dollars; or the crack-addled pimp rap stars, smoking their blunts, takin’ our wimmin’; or those swarthy garlic eaters skidding over the sea on an oil slick — whoops, too far back — then cui fucking bono? Well, see, The Man (noble industrial CEOs don’t buy favors in this world, thus becoming The Establishment — just like real life!) decided that stuff like Rearden Metal was making it hard for much shittier companies to compete (like Rand, he’s just too damned awesome to be tolerated). Since they can’t compete — what with the irredeemable shittiness written into their DNA by Miss Rand — they run to Mama Gub’mint to kiss it and make it all better.
As a formality, or just to humiliate him for being a tool, the evil government compels him to a hearing (“show us on the doll”) where he must agree to their terms, or face some kind of consequences, presumably.
Guess what happens. Go on.
He said no.
And his persecutors just widen their eyes, and waggle their jowls in ASTONISHMENT (a word some variation of which occurs 63 times in this garbage), totally dumbfounded, and seeming to have set aside no actual legal recourse. How about tossing your ass in jail, Mr. Rear-den? He says more, of course — everyone does, though it all sounds remarkably alike — and we cue the iconic slow clap. The tribunal is still struggling to free its violently inverted nut-sack when an allegorical mix of jurors come up and praise their valiant lord CEO! Underclass people actually lay out the hardships in their lives, only to graciously resign themselves to their fates, and grovel at the feet of someone unwilling to lose even one nickel of money he literally — by his own acknowledgement — doesn’t even care about! A man who considers workers expendable vermin! It’s the principle — Ayn is all about principles.
Rand has captured the mind-shearing asininity of the pampered billionaires’ wet dream. Was she the architect of it, or was it historical cryptomnesia? An ideomotor effect, with Rand channeling Nero?
In addition to everything else they want (which is everything), rich nitwits desperately crave approval. To see just what they do when they solicitously cajole their Magic Mirrors. Hyenas with preternatural clitoral erections; majestic gila monsters with beautifully fetid maws; enormous sequined lobsters bathed in iridescent flames! Wonderful, terrible beasts — motivational posters come to life. When they imagine the faceless collective estimation of your miserable proletarian existence, they want to see you giving your enthusiastic thumbs up as all of your kind orgiastically vanishes into their dislocated jaws! Squeal like you mean it, fuckers! Why do you think they constantly surround themselves with neutered sycophants?
The image they’d rather no one acknowledged is the expulsion of pallid biscuit dough whispering “memento mori” over their gilded faucets and marble reliefs each morning; regarding and judging them from indifferent salamander eyes. Or that continuum of head and neck, inflating before our eyes and straining both the tensile strength and basic dignity of a designer tux. The combover. The liver spots. The beige choppers. The coronary scar. The wiry, greying pubes they’d realize have overtaken their withering genitals, if only they could see beyond their ponderous bellies. The weakness and decrepitude. The dizzying ointment stench their trophy wives pretend not to notice, for the compromise of whiling away their lives on the diminishing thrill of shopping for trinkets, and retaining a doctor with a thick prescription pad. That slight quiver, as a suppressed understanding that anyone can “succeed” at inheriting a fortune tries to find the surface like an infected follicle, and it must be vanquished.
Even though they didn’t get there by raw merit, like Rearden; nor do they suffer a hostile government like the fictional steel magnate, they’re motivated by the same rationale. The decimal places in their balances are all that validates their sterile, abortive personalities. Trying to mitigate their pointless monetary accumulation based on any actual contribution is just poor sportsmanship. Very tacky of you. Like the Pac-Man grand champion, those little numbers on screen are their sole distinction as human beings, and they’ll swat at you ineffectually if you try to take it away.
When you’ve never worked a day in your life with the awareness it’s the only thing between you and homelessness, you have the luxury of narrowing your moral focus to things like “civility” and “manners.” Without any sense of what actual consequences are to the majority of the population — especially those you render unto them — you’re free to substitute any recreational ethos you like in lieu of the actual human decency most of us figure out before first grade. To billionaire powder-bums, life is just a gentlemanly pursuit; like competing to raise the most inbred bulldog (like master, like pet), or taking up polo. Never mind that they’re the only ones who get horses. Or mallets. Or access to the field. Or an invitation.
They’re the Romanovs, rollerskating on the deck of a hovercraft. As far as they’re concerned they’ve won the balloon race around the equator and beaten all you assholes fair and square. They deserve a slap on the back, and a “Well done, old boy!”