Raggedy Ayn

I’m a fan of Bill Maher, believe it or not. I went to see his live show at the Murat a couple years ago and I listen to his show’s audio feed podcast each week.

On last week’s show Bill made a comment about how Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan followed an Ayn Rand philosophy of rewarding entrepreneurs. Somehow this was bad.

I can’t link to any text but the gist of Rand’s belief was clear: that entrepreneurs were the deserving people and everyone else just sucked. That’s how Bill paraphrased it and he, among many liberals, don’t think that’s fair.

Maybe I’m biased somehow, but, uh, isn’t that the point? People that make things, that create, that do things that make everyone’s lives richer and better, ought to make a lot of money? No one ever has a problem with a guy like Steve Jobs making a bunch of money because everyone loves their iPod. GE makes a lot of money because people like washing machines and light bulbs. We’re happy to pay for those things because they generally do it well and make our lives easier for a fair amount of money. Oil companies and insurance companies are hated because they only complicate people’s lives. We buy them because we have to, not because we want to. People are happy to part with money when they get something they think they want or need in return.

What gets people is that companies like GE don’t, uh, pay taxes. I can see a problem with that, of course.

But that wasn’t the point Bill was making. Bill was making the point that everyone ought to live comfortably and that the entrepreneurs in this country are weasels. Maybe some of them are, but I have a real hard time arguing in favor of giving someone money just because they happen to have no good ideas.

If I went up to someone and they showed me a new kind of peanut butter fudge that I happened to really like, I might want to give them money. What a concept. If I walked up to someone and they told me they got out of bed this morning, I’m not really inclined to reward that person with money. Yet, the goal of some people like Bills seems to be, “But they’re poor, so we have to give them money.”

No. They’re poor and I’ll help them earn some money. Unless your legs are broken or you have some valid medical reason that prevents you from moving, I suggest you get up and do something. That’s the problem I think most Republicans have with a lot of lower-class Americans: “Why ¬†are you just sitting there? Go do something!” I don’t think anyone has a problem with helping the disabled or protecting people from unfair practices they can’t control. But if you go through life and spend your time in high school doddling around and never bother to even try to go to college or learn new things, I’m somehow expected to come to your rescue because of your dumb mistakes. To me, that’s really unfair.

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