Ultra hard-righter Ayn Rand, one of the most influential voices in American politics in the last 50 years, was a nobody until a cabal of Canadian expatriates made her a star in a quest to destablize the United States so that Canada could gain a geo-political edge over its southern neighbor, according to a blockbuster book released yesterday.
“People think of Canada as this quiet, do-gooder country that goes the extra mile to get along with its much bigger neighbor,” says Samuel Harper, a political science professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Harper is author of Ayn Rand Conspiracy: How Canada Unleashed the World’s Kookiest Political Philosopher on an Unsuspecting United States (Basic Books: 2014), which landed on the New York Times bestseller list upon its debut.
“The fact is, Canadians are at the core of Ayn Rand’s popularity, and their interest in her is anything but benign,” says Harper. “They knew very well in the 1950s and 1960s her politics would completely polarize this country, and it has. And today, when people around the world compare the United States to Canada, which country gets the accolades and which country gets the boos? Well, you can see the answer every day in the news. People hate the United States and they love Canada. Mission accomplished, I’d say.”
Rand is at the heart of the United States’ political polarization today, says Harper. The Russian emigre’s Objectivism, which calls for as little government as possible and rejects altruism as a moral value, is central to the country’s lurch to the right and provides the philosophical underpinning of the tea party movement.
Conservative commentators, from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck, cite Rand as the godmother of far-right politics, as do top Republican lawmakers like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 Republican vice president nominee, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Harper contends in his book that Rand’s two big literary works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, would have been relegated to the remainder table at bookstores if it weren’t for her core group of followers, known as “The Collective,” who used their influence to turn her books into a political movement. Certainly the most famous of her followers is Alan Greenspan, who would go on to become one of the most influential chairs of the Federal Reserve ever, and on whose watch, critics say, the seeds of the worldwide economic debacle called the Great Recession germinated.
But while Greenspan was the most well-known, he was a minor player in The Collective. The leaders were all Canadian: Nathaniel Branden, who was Rand’s right-hand man and also her lover; Branden’s wife Barbara; and Leonard Peikoff, who went on to head up the Ayn Rand Institute.
“These three, easily the most important voices of Objectivism next to Rand herself, were Canadian expats,” says Harper. “They understood very well how toxic Rand’s philosophy would be to American politics and foresaw the dysfunction that it would create in American government.”
Harper says the Brandens and Peikoff “hated the second-fiddle role Canada always played to the United States in international affairs and longed to put the U.S. in its place by unleashing ‘this crazy philosophy and this even crazier woman’ onto an unsuspecting nation.”
Even with The Collective shoving Rand’s work down the throats of Americans, the Objectivist movement flagged in the 1970s, but then, out of the blue, came another trio of Canadians to breathe new life into her cause. The trio of Canadians is the rock group called Rush, who hit the American scene in the mid-1970s with a loud, heavy-metal music that spouted Randian philosophy in the lyrics.
“Anthem,” “2112,” “Something for Nothing,” “Fly by Night”—these and other songs from that mid-1970s era were heavily influenced by Rand’s philosophy, and as the band gained in popularity, so did the philosophy of Rand.
In the same way that Rand did, “Rush developed a core following in the United States, but the band is Canadian through-and through and were using their influence over impressionable American teenagers to unleash this ultimately destabilizing philosophy onto the country,” says Harper.
Rush is comprised of Alex Lifeson on guitar, Geddy Lee on bass, keyboards, and vocals, and Neil Peart on drums. Peart is also the main lyricist. Lifeson and Lee were school chums in Toronto when Lifeson started the band in 1968; Peart was from a small town in Ontario called Saint Catharines and joined the band in 1974, right after the band released its debut album and was starting its first U.S. tour. It was Peart who brought the Rand influence to the band, and starting with its second album, called Fly by Night,” Rand was all over the lyrics.
“The band was pushing the idea that you have to live for yourself because there’s no one else more worth living for,” says Harper. “Other bands at the time were singing about coming together and loving one another, but not Rush; they were talking about people writing their own story and achieving their own glory. It was a very individualistic, Randian message.”
Rush came totally out of the Radian closet in 1976, with it’s breakout song, “2112,” which was credited directly to Ayn Rand in the album liner notes. That song, about a futuristic hard-left society that trounces individual liberty, was based on Rand’s early novella called Anthem. “No song was more important to Rush than ‘2112,’ because it was the song that made a name for the band, and that song is Randian to its core,” Harper says. Even the band’s big hits from the 1980s, like “Tom Sawyer,” “The Trees,” and “Closer to the Heart,” among others, are Randian in their point of view.
“Thanks to Rush,” says Harper, “the effort by The Collective to destabilize the United States was given new life, and here we are today: Rush is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Ayn Rand is bigger and more influential than ever. And, guess what, American politics are the most dysfunctional they have ever been and Canada’s star is shining brighter than it ever has. And it’s all because of these Canadian connivers. You think Canada is little Miss Nice Country? Clearly, the country is as Machiavellian as any. And The U.S. is paying the price for its evil project. Thanks a lot, Canada. I hope you’re satisfied with yourself!”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Images (some modified): sv and spn (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Ayn Rand, Back from the Dead, Calls Americans Ninnies for Threatening Election Violence Rather Than Going Away to Build Utopia in the Rockies
Ayn Rand, the objectivist guru who helped launch the Libertarian movement and serves as inspiration for those in the tea party and others who believe Americans should be self reliant rather than live under the yoke of a paternalistic government, came back from the dead today to tell Americans supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that they’re “ninnies” for questioning the legitimacy of the election. “If you read Atlas Shrugged all the way through, you know objectivism isn’t about violence and questioning the vote; it’s about withdrawing from the hopeless liberal society and building a utopia in Colorado,” said Rand, who spoke to reporters and a small crowd of people outside Trump Tower in New York City. More.
The Republican party establishment, desperate to prevent Donald Trump from walking away with the presidential nomination, has repeatedly asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich to leave the race. But Kasich, despite his mostly lackluster performance, says he has a stash of secret support from a large and important constituency and he doesn’t want to see that bloc of voters left without a champion. “I owe it to Rush fans all over the United States to stay in the race and make sure their values are represented on the campaign trail and reflected in the party platform when the Republicans meet in July for the convention—which, by the way, is in my home state,” says Kasich. More.
Just when they thought it was safe to go to presidential campaign events without having to listen to the Canadian band Rush, voters have learned that Rand Paul, the libertarian candidate who recently dropped out of the race, isn’t the only fan of the band. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also a fan, which means the piercing screech of Geddy Lee and the tin-can thumping of Neil Peart once again threaten to send property values down around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. “Please, tell me this isn’t true,” says Jim Robinson, 40, an attorney in Carson City, Nev., who was interested in voting for Rand Paul but decided he could never vote for anyone who quoted Rush lyrics at campaign events. More.
An explosive book by former Ayn Rand intimate Barbara Branden says the founder of the ultra-free market philosophy of objectivism was actually a heavy user of federal assistance and regularly sought meetings with federal officials to squelch competition to her free-market manifestos Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. “No one was more enthralled with the brilliance and charisma of Ayn Rand than I and my husband, Nathaniel Branden, were, but in the end, the great seer of free-market economics was no different than anyone else, taking government handouts whenever she could and using the coercive power of the federal government to make life miserable for true free-marketers whose work posed a threat to her bestselling books,” writes Branden in her book, Ayn Rand: Welfare Queen, just released from Pythagoras Publications. More.
Saying their favorite band has become too commercial since it was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last April, fans of Canadian power trio Rush say it’s time to make a push for their removal. “We were instrumental in getting the band inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first place, thanks to our years of persistence, but now we see we made a mistake,” says Randy Powers, a fan from Pittsburgh who has launched a petition drive calling for Rush’s removal from the Cleveland institution. “Bobbleheads, T-shirts, refrigerators—it’s just all too much. We don’t mind the band trying to make a buck. It’s hard to do that now with people so easily downloading or streaming music on the Internet. But enough is enough.” More.
Cowed by the recent success and outpouring of affection for the Canadian rock trio Rush, music critics have largely refrained from laying a glove on the band, which first hit the music scene in 1974 and today is enjoying something of a renaissance as it basks in the success of its most recent album Clockwork Angels. But several music critics, including most prominently Adam Carter of Rolling Stone, are bucking the trend and slamming the band for its pretentious lyrics, over-wrought drumming, and, most of all, the screeching vocals of bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee. “I know it’s fashionable for one to pay one’s respects to ‘legendary’ progressive rockers Rush, but I just can’t hop onto this bandwagon,” Carter says in his blog, Rock in/Site. “No one can tell me Geddy Lee has somehow learned how to sing. In fact, I would venture to say More.
Poll numbers have been slipping for U.S. Republican presidential aspirant Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) since he announced he candidacy in April and one of his top advisors is pointing the finger at Rush, the Canadian progressive rock trio whose libertarian-themed lyrics have made them a long-time favorite of Paul’s. “As an individual, Rand Paul can listen to any music he wants,” says Chip Englander, the candidate’s campaign manager and one of his top strategists. “It’s not for me to weigh in on someone’s taste in music, no matter how horrible. But as a candidate trying to build a base of support, Rand Paul is doing himself no favors playing music that causes his base of support to run away, screaming ‘Make it stop!’ We’re telling him he can’t go on listening to this music.” More.
OTTAWA—Tired of always playing second fiddle to its bigger southern neighbor, the government of Canada has laid out a set of 10 areas in which it wants to overtake the United States within five years:
1. Violent crime
2. Illegal drug use
3. Prescription drug abuse
4. Teenage pregnancies
6. Preventable diseases
7. Obsolete infrastructure
8. Declining academic performance
9. Short-term corporate thinking
10. Religious fundamentalism
“We’re not just about hockey and maple syrup,” says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. More.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder cause a diplomatic row when he tried to slip Detroit over the border and leave the bankrupt and crisis-ridden American city with Canada, U.S. and Canadian authorities have confirmed. Officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency apprehended the governor late last night when he was caught trying to redirect the Detroit River two miles to the south, which would have left Detroit on the Canadian side of the border while leaving the more affluent suburbs on the American side. “I will only confirm that officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency, approaching by watercraft, apprehended an American government official at 3 a.m., Eastern Time, approximately three feet into Canadian territory,” said James Haprer, head of the Canadian Border Services Agency. More.
For all his popularity with tea party conservatives and libertarians, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will never be able to establish enough trust with American voters to win the presidency, should he run, because of his tousled hair, psychologists and campaign strategists say. “Rand Paul’s tousled hair is not presidential, it’s not masculine,” says Ronald Friedman, a psychologist at Columbia University who has looked extensively at what people’s hair styles say about them. “Even worse, Paul uses a styling gel to get his tousled look, so he faces a double hit with voters. Not only do voters see tousled hair as a lack of strength, but his use of gel makes him seem vain. So, it’s not a good combination.” More.
Zack Morton doesn’t pretend he’s collecting his federal unemployment compensation, rental subsidy, and food stamps as a stopgap measure while he looks for work. No, he just doesn’t like to work and as long as the free money holds out, he has no intention of getting a job. “I hate working,” he says. “Getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, going out in the cold, or the heat, and working all day in an office or outside or in a restaurant or something—I hate it.” Morton says he worked for a while when he was in high school, and in fact dropped out of school so he could work full time. But he didn’t like the work—it was as a clerk in a department store—and he ended up getting fired. “I think I came in late or something or didn’t come in at all. I just can’t remember,” he says. More.