This is why I hate libertarians. I did not hate them until very recently, when libertariansim apparently became quite trendy on campus. Nothing irritates me as quickly or as thoroughly as people hopping on ideological bandwagons without really understanding their new Deeply Held Beliefs.

Check out this neat little idea from the folks at the Ayn Rand Institute. They've solved the problem of long waiting lists for organ transplants. The solution, if you really need me to tell you, is to let the market handle it.

It's hard to pick out a most idiotic moment in this brilliant essay, so I'll pick out the most telling.

A person may reasonably decide, after considering the relevant facts (including the pain and risk of surgery), that selling an organ is in his own best interest. A father, for example, may decide that one of his kidneys is worth selling to pay for the best medical treatment available for his child.

I love how these people's minds work. When we take a hypothetical person who cannot afford "the best medical treatment," do we ask why medical treatment is so expensive? Do we ask why a large segment of society can't afford healthcare? No and no. We bring the out the Howard Roark in said person by letting him sell his kidneys to pay for his child's medical care.

That's the utopia for which these people strive – a world in which we "empower" the poor to take responsibility for their own well-being by freeing them to sell parts of their body to the Haves. To people like the staff of the Ayn Rand Institute, I assume. Beneath the thin sheen of populism that this "writer" feebly attempts to create is folksy social darwinism which holds that the poor are so useless to society that we can start extracting value from them…literally. What a great day that will be.

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  1. Samantha Says:

    Oh, yeah, Ayn Rand was very popular among the mostly privileged, mostly white, mostly male freshman class of architecture students at both U of F and at Auburn University when I was there. Many a self-righteous young designer saw himself as the misunderstood genius or the rugged individualist – Frank Gehry wannabes, if you will (but, really, who would? I don't get it.) – favoring stand-alone, erect-penis architecture over modest buildings and responsible urban planning, where the ego of the individual wins over the benefit to society.

  2. Matthew Says:

    In a moment of surprising candor, one of the higher-ups in the IU honors college intimated to me how difficult it is for him personally to give grant money to people who are writing seriously about Ayn Rand. I got a huge kick out of that.

    This is still my favorite response to Ayn Rand, by the way: http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif
    It's just so perfect! "We're all gonna have to till the soil!"

    Along the same lines, do you ever want to just punch 11-year olds who walk around wearing Che Guevera t-shirts? I kind of do, sometimes.

  3. J. Dryden Says:

    Dammit, Ed, you just don't *get it*, do you?

    The poor are poor because A. they're not Geniuses, like *me* and the people I *decide* are Geniuses–because we can't just let the marketplace decide or else the Wayans Brothers are Geniuses–and B. because, not being Geniuses, they just don't work *hard* and *devotedly* and *fully* at whatever job they're lucky enough to get, because if they *did* they'd unquestionably be rewarded by a marketplace that *always* rewards genius, except when it doesn't.

    So it's *not* Social Darwinism, because some people are just *born* superior and…no, wait–it's because communism is bad and therefore the opposite of any system devoted to the notion of human equality is good, which means–OK, hang on, no–it's, um–Look, A IS A, ALL RIGHT???