CXVIII - Manifesto for the New Intellectual, by Ayn Rand, comments by André Bandeira
Reading this manifesto makes our «statist» prejudices surface. Is it the beginning of a therapy or is it a new addiction? My conspiracy theory (strategy is the conspiracy of life within the mind): Ayn Rand, albeit all her merits in fighting a tiranny which was being sold as the quintessence of freedom, she was fighting a windmill. That has its merits too, but they are D. Quijote's. Rand defended a pure capitalism, which never grew up to be an angel, and, which got blended with many other things, because mankind is plural and historical. But her gesturing, which resorted to brilliant rhetorical blows, never amounted to build a philosophy, as she claimed. It was a new style of being intellectual. The fight within the fight, Rose Luxemburg alluded to, on the theme of «Class struggle», was no major finding, it was only the verification of an european genetic code, where many tribes and cultures, had to accomodate a territory side by side, before the wild, wild Atlantic. The libertarian merits of early capitalism, where given a very bad reputation by a much more pragmatic and ruthless state capitalism, desguised in new clothes and labeled «communism», as a romantic evocation of a pristine past and of a mystical future. But Moscow inspired national-socialism: the once deputy of the italian communist party, Niccolò Bombacci, was gunned down, shoulder to shoulder, with the super-fascists, lake Como behind, his fist in the air, shouting «Long live Socialism! Long live Mussolini!». National-socialists and Bolsheviks partioned the geno and ethnocide of 22.000 officers and foot-soldiers of the Polish Army, in Katyn. These are facts, not episodes. No, Ayn Rand didn't amount to be a philosopher. She was a very good publicist, a master in counter-propaganda, a superb caricaturist of western philosophy. This said, she has no consistency to give a nicer view of the ruins perpetrated by the neo-conservatives, who, at least, didn't have the hipocrisy of hiding behind a novelist. In conclusion: it is true that we live between the Witch Doctor and Attila, in their different blendings, I concede to Ayn Rand. But then, we do not live, we've just been caught. Is the return to pure capitalism, the guarantee to live again, instead of just muddling through? There, we have to resort to the historical analysis and Ayn Rand is too indulgent with the genocides perpetrated by «free-enterprise» (I omit «capitalism») and I'm stupified by her ignorance of the boxer wars and how they did begin (among other wars on «savages»). We have to avoid to be in a «statist state of mind», I agree, but the State's state of fact is much more complex than Ayn Rand depicts it, and surviving is not a choice between oppression and relief, as the dentist-torturer in «The Marathon Man», starring Dustin Hoffman, would have put it.