Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

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Kim O'Hara
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Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am

Rand’s philosophy had its roots in nineteenth-century classical liberalism and in her impassioned rejection of socialism and the welfare state in the twentieth century. Her anti-statist, pro–“free market” stances went on to shape the politics of what came to be called libertarianism, or sometimes anarcho-capitalism, during a period of rapid expansion in the 1970s. The rise of neoliberalism has a parallel history, and much overlap with libertarianism—but these formations nonetheless have distinct trajectories. Rand’s influence floats over all of them as a guiding spirit for the sense of energized aspiration and the advocacy of inequality and cruelty that shaped their worldviews. ...

Neoliberalism was initially centered in Europe and the United States, focused on attacking the influence of John Maynard Keynes and the welfare states his thinking helped establish. The point of neoliberal effort was to free capitalism from the “mixed economies” that emphasized limited forms of social security, financial regulation, empowerment of labor, social services, and public ownership. ...

the neoliberal political project was pursued far beyond Europe and the United States. Fundamentally, neoliberalism was a global extension of European colonialism on the nonterritorial U.S. imperial model. During the mid–twentieth century, former colonies throughout the Global South declared independence. New postcolonial states in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean instituted a range of strategies to establish growth and autonomy: restrictions on foreign investment, replacement of imports with local production, the redistribution of land, and the launching of ambitious public projects and social supports. Global neoliberalism was engineered to erode those strategies.

Violence was a central method for the imposition of neoliberalism in the Global South. The 1973 coup in Chile and the 2003 invasion of Iraq were both followed by foreign investment, resource extraction, and privatization of public assets. But the primary means for reestablishing the economic exploitation and political domination that are key to racial capitalism was the trap of debt.

Through lending to impoverished postcolonial states, financial institutions based in the Global North (especially the International Monetary Fund) were able to impose “structural adjustment” requirements on debtor nations in the South. ...
These few quotes are extracted from https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_ ... liberalism which is itself extracted from a new book, Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed by Lisa Duggan, published by the University of California Press.
What is online is a concise (and scary) complete history of neoliberalism from Rand to Trump. I recommend it to anyone and everyone concerned with the way our societies are changing.

It has seemed to me for years that neoliberalism is diametrically opposed to the primary virtues of compassion, kindness, fairness and social justice, but I could be wrong. If anyone out there is willing to speak in its defence, I'm willing to listen - but please read the whole article first: you could be wrong, too. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim

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Charbel
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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Charbel » Mon May 27, 2019 4:08 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am
... the advocacy of inequality and cruelty that shaped their worldviews. ...
Buddhism, being a doctrine of kamma, obviously advocates "inequality" (but not "cruelty").
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am
Violence was a central method for the imposition of neoliberalism in the Global South. The 1973 coup in Chile and the 2003 invasion of Iraq were both followed by foreign investment, resource extraction, and privatization of public assets. But the primary means for reestablishing the economic exploitation and political domination that are key to racial capitalism was the trap of debt.
The above violence is generally under the guise of "humanitarian interventionism", which the "New Left" supports (such as Amnesty International, The Guardian, etc). Keep in mind the most recent hard core "humanitarian interventionism" was done by Obama, Hillary, Stephanie Rice & Samatha Power.

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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon May 27, 2019 4:54 am

Hello, Charbel,
It would be good if you could have corrected the automatic attribution of these two quotes to me. I didn't write them, Lisa Duggan did. I fixed them in this post. Can you do it next time?
Charbel wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 4:08 am
Lisa Duggan wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am
... the advocacy of inequality and cruelty that shaped their worldviews. ...
Buddhism, being a doctrine of kamma, obviously advocates "inequality" (but not "cruelty").
"Recognises" rather than "advocates."
Charbel wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 4:08 am
Lisa Duggan wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am
Violence was a central method for the imposition of neoliberalism in the Global South. The 1973 coup in Chile and the 2003 invasion of Iraq were both followed by foreign investment, resource extraction, and privatization of public assets. But the primary means for reestablishing the economic exploitation and political domination that are key to racial capitalism was the trap of debt.
The above violence is generally under the guise of "humanitarian interventionism", which the "New Left" supports (such as Amnesty International, The Guardian, etc). Keep in mind the most recent hard core "humanitarian interventionism" was done by Obama, Hillary, Stephanie Rice & Samatha Power.
I'm not sure there's much point in saying anything at all to you if you can skate so easily over the difference between what Amnesty has done for individuals and what (e.g.) America's interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc, have done to whole nations :rolleye: but I think I should point out that neoliberalism isn't the only source of evil in the world and (if you like) admit that the Left is also imperfect.

More generally, I invited defences of neoliberalism but all you have done is to attempt to smear the dhamma and the political left.

:namaste:
Kim

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Charbel
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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Charbel » Tue May 28, 2019 1:20 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 4:54 am
I'm not sure there's much point in saying anything at all to you...
I was simply pointing out the corporate mass-media, which now includes the so-called left-wing The Guardian (now rejected by past employees, such as Australia's very own John Pilger), serves the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism.

My post could not be more straightforward. :spy:

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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue May 28, 2019 2:17 am

Charbel wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 1:20 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 4:54 am
I'm not sure there's much point in saying anything at all to you...
I was simply pointing out the corporate mass-media, which now includes the so-called left-wing The Guardian (now rejected by past employees, such as Australia's very own John Pilger), serves the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism.

My post could not be more straightforward. :spy:
Well you did not actually say that at all but you have said it now, so I suppose that's all right ... although (this is a hint) it would be kinda nice if you actually addressed the topic of the thread, i.e., does the dhamma support neoliberalism in any way.

:coffee:
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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Charbel » Tue May 28, 2019 4:46 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:17 am
it would be kinda nice if you actually addressed the topic of the thread
When I was 15 or 16 years old, my Marist Brother teacher asked me was I a fan of Milton Friedman, thinking I would be (since I was a head strong critical thinking rebel). I replied "Friedman is wrong"; given I learned about Australian history previously and about those feral convicts who were sent to Australia, largely due to laissez faire capitalism.
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:17 am
i.e., does the dhamma support neoliberalism in any way.
I think suttas such as MN 135 support neoliberalism is some way & similar doctrines that support the economic elite. MN 135 says people are reborn as wealthy due to giving "bribes" to monks & priests rather than giving social welfare to those who struggle to make ends meet.
But then there is the case where a woman or man is a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is wealthy wherever reborn. This is the way leading to great wealth: to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives.

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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 am

Charbel wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 4:46 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:17 am
it would be kinda nice if you actually addressed the topic of the thread
When I was 15 or 16 years old, my Marist Brother teacher asked me was I a fan of Milton Friedman, thinking I would be (since I was a head strong critical thinking rebel). I replied "Friedman is wrong"; given I learned about Australian history previously and about those feral convicts who were sent to Australia, largely due to laissez faire capitalism.
I would like to congratulate your teenage self. :smile:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:17 am
i.e., does the dhamma support neoliberalism in any way.
I think suttas such as MN 135 support neoliberalism is some way & similar doctrines that support the economic elite. MN 135 says people are reborn as wealthy due to giving "bribes" to monks & priests rather than giving social welfare to those who struggle to make ends meet. [emphasis added]
But then there is the case where a woman or man is a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is wealthy wherever reborn. This is the way leading to great wealth: to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives.
That's a really idiosyncratic interpretation - as was your idea that Buddhism advocates, rather than acknowledges, inequality.
Does MN 135 actually say that people shouldn't give "social welfare to those who struggle to make ends meet"? If it does, please show me where. If it doesn't, please reconsider the sentence of your post that I have bolded.

(Incidentally, I have assumed for years that the emphasis in the suttas on giving to the sangha reflects the monks' self-interest. The Buddha may well have recommended it, but I reckon that every instance of it remained in the scriptures no matter what else was forgotten.)

:namaste:
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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Charbel » Tue May 28, 2019 10:30 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 am
That's a really idiosyncratic interpretation - as was your idea that Buddhism advocates, rather than acknowledges, inequality.
No. What is a "really idiosyncratic" is your interpretation of my original post. My original post used language that merely mirrored the language of the article. Personally, I would not ordinarily use the word "advocacy".

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 am
Does MN 135 actually say that people shouldn't give "social welfare to those who struggle to make ends meet"? If it does, please show me where. If it doesn't, please reconsider the sentence of your post that I have bolded.
MN 135 says "the wealthy" are so because they have given to monks & priests in past lives. Thus MN 135 sanctifies the wealthy who push Neoliberalism. MN 135 is similar to the Christian "Divine Right of Kings". It justifies the Neoliberalism.
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 am
(Incidentally, I have assumed for years that the emphasis in the suttas on giving to the sangha reflects the monks' self-interest. The Buddha may well have recommended it, but I reckon that every instance of it remained in the scriptures no matter what else was forgotten.)
Personally, I doubt the Buddha even taught MN 135. Why would MN 135 which is a doctrine of past-kamma determinism be taught to a Brahmin student but was never taught to Buddhists. MN 135 is problematic in many ways to me.

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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue May 28, 2019 11:34 am

Charbel wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 10:30 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 am
That's a really idiosyncratic interpretation - as was your idea that Buddhism advocates, rather than acknowledges, inequality.
No. What is a "really idiosyncratic" is your interpretation of my original post. My original post used language that merely mirrored the language of the article. Personally, I would not ordinarily use the word "advocacy".
'You didn't - see? viewtopic.php?p=9485#p9477
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 am
Does MN 135 actually say that people shouldn't give "social welfare to those who struggle to make ends meet"? If it does, please show me where. If it doesn't, please reconsider the sentence of your post that I have bolded.
[numbers added]
[1] MN 135 says "the wealthy" are so because they have given to monks & priests in past lives. [2] Thus MN 135 sanctifies the wealthy who push Neoliberalism. MN 135 is similar to the Christian "Divine Right of Kings". It justifies the Neoliberalism.
...
[3] Personally, I doubt the Buddha even taught MN 135. Why would MN 135 which is a doctrine of past-kamma determinism be taught to a Brahmin student but was never taught to Buddhists. MN 135 is problematic in many ways to me.
[1] Yes, but it doesn't say they should not give to the needy. The statement of yours which I queried above is shown to be wrong.
[2] The wealthy in ancient India did not push neoliberalism, and MN 135 does not justify neoliberalism.
[3] So ... let's get this straight ... you have misused a sutta in which you don't believe, to try to find some support for neoliberalism in the suttas - and failed to make your case.

:rolleye:

and also

:toilet:

Actually, I just came across a group - https://independentaustralia.net/politi ... tyle,12747 - which grants full religious support to neoliberalism. In fact, it's central to their faith.
If that's what you want, I'm sure they would welcome you.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Charbel » Tue May 28, 2019 8:33 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am
It has seemed to me for years that neoliberalism is diametrically opposed to the primary virtues of compassion, kindness, fairness and social justice, but I could be wrong.
Buddhism does not teach social justice. It teaches rebirth in hell.

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Re: Ayn Rand and the Cruel Heart of Neoliberalism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed May 29, 2019 4:34 am

Charbel wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:33 pm
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 10:40 am
It has seemed to me for years that neoliberalism is diametrically opposed to the primary virtues of compassion, kindness, fairness and social justice, but I could be wrong.
Yes, that's what I said in the OP. I didn't actually mention Buddhism at all, which makes me wonder why you think this -
Buddhism does not teach social justice. It teaches rebirth in hell.
- is an answer or response to my post.

Never mind. Whether your two short sentences were meant as a response to me or not, I will comment on them. In fact, I will give you one serious response and one not so serious.

(1) I would agree that Buddhism does not explicitly teach social justice, but I would say that if everyone applied its teachings to everyday life, social justice would increase.
Why?
Because compassion in practice is incompatible with exploiting others. It is deeper and broader than that, of course. Some traditions encourage us to see every person as the Buddha, to see every person as our teacher, or to remember that every person we meet has in some past life been our mother. All of these encourage us to treat others as we would wish to be treated.

(2) I would also agree that Buddhism, as you say, teaches rebirth in hell. It also teaches suffering and the end of suffering, rebirth in deva realms, respect for parents and teachers, and much more. If all you see is that it teaches rebirth in hell, you're on the wrong forum and really need to hook up with the people I referenced before - https://independentaustralia.net/politi ... tyle,12747

:hello: Bon voyage!
Kim

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