September 18, 2011

Ayn Rand, racist

Ayn Rand's Crazy View of Native American IndiansAyn Rand (Goddess to Libertarians) had an insane, heartless and distorted, not to mention selfish view of the indigenous people of America. Below is a excerpt from the book "Ayn Rand Answers". This came from a Q and A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974."Now, I don't care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country. I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country. And you're a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn't know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not. Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights--they didn't have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal "cultures"--they didn't have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using. It's wrong to attack a country that respects (or even tries to respect) individual rights. If you do, you're an aggressor and are morally wrong. But if a "country" does not protect rights--if a group of tribesmen are the slaves of their tribal chief--why should you respect the "rights" that they don't have or respect? The same is true for a dictatorship. The citizens in it have individual rights, but the country has no rights and so anyone has the right to invade it, because rights are not recognized in that country; and no individual or country can have its cake and eat it too--that is, you can't claim one should respect the "rights" of Indians, when they had no concept of rights and no respect for rights. But let's suppose they were all beautifully innocent savages--which they certainly were not. What were they fighting for, in opposing the white man on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence; for their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched--to keep everybody out so they could live like animals or cavemen. Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it's great that some of them did. The racist Indians today--those who condemn America--do not respect individual rights."Comment:  So many stupid statements here. Let's rebut some of them:

  • "Savage" is a bigoted word from a Eurocentric frame of reference. It applies to Europe's conquerors and killers more than anyone else.

  • The Indian ownership of America is based on political units--nations, confederacies, tribes, villages, etc.--not race. Membership in Indian cultures is like citizenship in any other society. It's based on common factors such as culture and language, not race. That was true centuries ago and it's still true today.

  • Many Indians were sedentary, not nomadic. That includes the great Amerindian civilizations that built pyramids, towns, roads, mounds, irrigation channels, etc.--all examples of permanence.

  • Indians clearly understood the idea of property rights. They routinely fought people who invaded their homelands or hunting grounds. They couldn't have signed treaties guaranteeing their territorial rights if the concept was foreign to them.

  • Comparing Indians to slaves and chiefs to dictators is sheer idiocy. Indians had much more freedom than European peasants controlled by monarchs, lords, or the church. Indeed, for most of our history, Indians have symbolized freedom to Americans. Remember the original Tea Party, dummy?

  • Would she agree that an egalitarian band of Indians had the right to massacre a theocratic village of Pilgrims? If she were sincere about her beliefs...yes, she would. But I'm guessing there's no circumstance in which she'd support the brown-skinned conquest of white-skins.

    Tribes don't have rights?

  • Every country throughout history--including Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Communist China, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq--has established some set of rights. These countries may not have enforced their rights well, and we may disagree with their choices, but the rights exist. It's stupid to pretend these countries don't have constitutions, laws, courts, etc. They do.

    Same with Indian nations. They generally didn't write down their laws, but they had countless rules about who wielded secular and religious power, who could marry or live with whom, how one became an adult or a warrior, who could tell stories or perform ceremonies, what happened when tribes fought or traded, etc. And rules about what happened if someone broke the rules.

    It's idiocy to think any society was a pure chaos where people acted arbitrarily or at random. Where there were no restrictions and people were free to lie, cheat, steal, rape, or kill. Like any small, intimate group--e.g., a family or clan--tribes probably bestowed more rights than large, impersonal nations.

  • Rand claims countries can't have rights unless individuals have rights? As noted above, Indians did have rights. But her premise is false regardless. We've spent centuries crafting international treaties and laws to give countries rights. Among these rights are the right to live within secure borders, form alliances, borrow money, adjudicate grievances, and so forth.

    And again, Indian nations have exercised these rights just like Western nations. Colonial settlers negotiated treaties with tribes for peace, land, or hunting rights. They partnered with tribes against other colonial powers. For a century or two, until it became inconvenient, they treated tribes as equals, more or less.

    Hell, the US Constitution grants Congress the right "to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." How is that not a recognition of the collective rights of Indian tribes? If nations and states have rights, then so do tribes.

    Owners must develop land?

  • Is Rand really arguing that one can conquer any land that isn't developed? According to which standard of development? The US has millions of acres of undeveloped federal land. So does Canada, Russia, China, and Brazil--not to mention Antarctica and the Moon. Is it all free for the taking?

  • Was Japan justified in bombing Pearl Harbor because we hadn't turned it into a Tokyo-style megalopolis? Could Russia retake Alaska because most of it is lying fallow? Could China drop an occupying force in Yellowstone, the Everglades, or Central Park? Why not, if development is the only standard that matters?

    We could apply this belief on a personal level too. If your neighbors don't mow the lawn or take out the trash, can you take their property? How about an unused lot owned by a corporation or the city or county? How is this different from the rationale used to steal Indian lands?

    Rand probably would return to the concept of legal ownership. Which means her argument about whether owners develop their property is specious. It's a smokescreen designed to hide her justification for legalized theft.

    So the grande dame of libertarianism was a racist who scorned the non-white peoples of the world. No wonder followers such as Rand Paul have opposed the Civil Rights Act. Libertarians can pretend they're interested in the abstract idea of smaller government, but what they really want to do is preserve the white, Euro-American status quo.

    Curious that Rand the atheist agreed with the Christians she supposedly disdained. Like her fellow neo-Nazi Bryan Fischer, she was a genocidal maniac. She didn't care that her fellow Euro-Americans conquered and killed perhaps 100 million Indians. They weren't real people to her because they were "savages."

    If white people want to commit murder and genocide, they'll invent an excuse for it. As long as thugs like her are in charge, Western nations will continue to destroy indigenous peoples and cultures. That's Rand's "libertarian" message for you: Might makes right.

    For more on conservative racism, see:

    Teabaggers seek white Christian rule
    Rick Perry promotes Christian bigotry
    Conservatives use "language of savagery"
    Stossel:  Indians wer biggest moochers
    Fischer:  Indians were thieves

    Below:  "Inferior people deserve to die!"

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