…and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died (Don McLean, 1971)
In that same year Don McLean wrote “American Pie”, Ayn Rand wrote “The Culture of Envy”, some of which is included here. Miss Rand never lived to see her diagnosis of the 60’s generations bloom and grow for forty years.
But with no end in sight, Miss Rand sure hit the nail on the head.
A culture, like an individual, has a sense of life, an emotional atmosphere created by its dominant philosophy. This emotional atmosphere represents a culture’s dominant values.
Thus Western civilization had the Age of Reason and its Age of Enlightenment. Today, we live in an Age of Envy.
But “Envy” is not the actual emotion I have in mind, but it is the clearest manifestation of an emotion that is nameless.
Envy is regarded by most people as a petty, superficial emotion, but still covers so inhuman an emotion that those who feel it seldom dare admit it exists, even to themselves.
That emotion is: hatred of the good for being the good.
(You may recall me writing on this subject in May, 2010, “Rules for Innocents“, they hate you because of who you are.)
This hatred is not resentment against some prescribed view of the good with which one does not agree. Hatred of the good for being good means hatred of that which one regards as good by one’s own judgment. It means hatred of a person for possessing a virtue or value one regards as desirable.
(VB: This is why modern leftists hate people of faith (Christians) for just by acknowledging it they are telling those without it they have something they don’t have. )
The primary factor and distinguishing characteristic is an emotional mechanism set in reverse: a response of hatred, not toward human vices, but toward human virtues.
If a poor man experiences a moment’s envy for another man’s wealth, the feeling may mean nothing more than a desire for wealth. But the feeling is less innocent if deep down he does not want to be rich but wants the rich man to be poor.
“They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it. They do no want to succeed, they want you to fail. They do not want to live, they want you to die. They desire nothing, they hate existence…” (Atlas Shrugged)
Consider the full meaning of this attitude. Virtues are that which one acts to gain and keep. Values are necessary to survival. So, what is the nature of a creature in which the sight of a value arouses hatred and a desire to destroy? In the profoundest sense of the term, such a creature is a killer, both physically and metaphysically. It is not just an enemy of your values, but all values.
As evil as the hating creatures are, there is something still more evil; those who try to appease them.
It is understandable that men would try to hide their vices. But there are those who hide their virtues from monsters. There are men who apologize for their achievements, deride their own values, debase their own character—for the sake of pleasing those they know to be stupid, corrupt, malicious and evil. Pandering to the vanities of one’s inferiors is so shameful an act of treason to one’s values that nothing can be left of the person who commits it.
Are the haters of the good that numerous? No, true haters are a small, depraved minority in any age and culture. The spread and perpetuation of their evil are accomplished by those who profit from it.
The profiteers are men with a vested interest in mankind’s psychological devastation, who burrow their way into positions of moral-intellectual leadership. They provide haters with unlimited means of rationalization, dissimulation, excuse and camouflage, including ways of passing vices off as virtues. Their vested interest is power Their stock in trade is any system of thought that will keep men small.
Man’s well-being is not the motive for this chorus.
The last fig leaf of academic pretentiousness is the tag used to disguise this movement: egalitarianism. It does not disguise, but reveals.
Egalitarianism means the belief in the equality of all men. (except, of course, the proponent, who is above it. Therein lies the fraud of the proposition. VB) In the past century the United States has made it an anachronism, by establishing a system based on the principle of individual rights.
“Equality” in the human context as a political term (as we have been taught to understand it-VB), means equality before the law, the equality of fundamental, unalienable rights, which may not be infringed or abrogated by man-made institutions, such as titles of nobility and dividing men into castes, with special privileges granted some and denied to others.
Capitalism swept away all castes.
But this is not the true meaning of “equality” egalitarians ascribe. They turn the word into an anti-concept; they use it to mean metaphysical equality, the equality of personal attributes and virtues regardless of natural attributes or choices. So, it is not man-made institutions but nature, i.e., reality, they deny.
But since the Law of (personal) Identity cannot be manipulated, it is the Law of Causality this wish to abrogate. (see Karl Marx, generally-VB) Since personal attributes or virtues cannot be “redistributed”, they seek to deprive men of their consequences—of the rewards, the benefits and achievements.
Weakness, of any sort, intellectual, moral, financial or numerical, is today’s standard to claim and demand special rights. The demand for institutionalized inequality is voiced openly and belligerently, and the right to a double standard is proclaimed self-righteously.
Racism, Women’s Lib were the watchwords of the day in 1971.-VB
“Tolerance” and “understanding” are regarded as unilateral virtues (going only in one direction-VB). While the majority is chided to understand the minorities values and and customs, the minority is taught and encouraged to despise the majority’s values and contributions (from whence all good things come-VB).
There are two ways to intellectually conceive of attaining equality. Either raise everyone to the top of the mountain, or, raze the mountain. Neither are possible, but the haters insist on trying to raze the mountain (again, recusing themselves from the formula-VB).
The manipulators are the intellectuals, those who disseminate ideas and whose professional work lies in the humanities. (They are also appeasers and profiteers, and these days, third generation haters arising from the same laboratories Miss Rand still saw in it infancy.-VB)
While students seek intellectual guidance to find reason, a theory and a purpose for life, they don’t know that their guides, the manipulators, have long since abandoned reason, in exchange for “feelings.” They have no understanding of reason to share.
At the top of this intellectual heap is the frighteningly small minority who have monopolized the field of philosophy, beginning with Immanuel Kant. (If it was bad then, imagine how intellectually vacant philosophy has become in the forty years hence- But she predicted it, calling those faux-intellectuals who wander through life “arrested psycho-epistemological development.”)
The hater’s mental development remains at the level of childhood. A hater regards his emotions (feelings) as irreducible and irresistible, as a power he cannot question or disobey. The hater has no lasting value-judgments, only the random urges of the moment. He is moved, not by desires, but by whims.
Consider the young child who lies too often and gets away with it. Instead of learning reality, he learns the opposite. He learns, in effect, that he can get whatever he wants not by observing facts, but by inventing them, by begging, cheating and threatening (tantrums).
At a certain stage the hater acquires the only authentic and permanent emotion he will ever be able to experience; fear.
(Take heed, for remember, this was written in 1971, not last week)
The haters are in control of our culture and are out in the open. They have dropped the pretense of such covers as God, the People, The Future, even Love. They proclaim pure hatred for the good—of man, reason, values, existence—in classrooms, drawing rooms, in public halls, in theaters, in books, paintings, in the streets, by land sea and air, and through the gutter.
Their HQ is the field of education, which they control. Progressive schools are manufacturing haters wholesale. The hordes they have produced are roaming the land, proclaiming the rule of “Now,” which is the confession on an arrested perceptual mentality that cannot project the future, cannot hold a theory, a purpose or a value, can do nothing but hate and destroy. They brandish the tag of “liberation” but what they demand is liberation from reality.
What is the one weapon one needs to fight such an enemy?
Interestingly, Miss Rand says the answer is love. Only not love for these sneering little bastards. But love for the “actual meaning of the world.”
I can think of a few other weapons as well, especially for the appeasers, profiteers and manipulators, all applied in a dark alley.
In Miss Rand’s day, the intellectuals she speaks to…Alinsky, Ayers’ teacher…were true intellectuals. Today, these have been replaced by faux intellectuals, none of whom could shine Karl Marx’s gold tooth. They can only match his wanton hatred and envy. )
I’ve never been a fan of Miss Rand. For one she’s an atheist, but like Hayek, her logic and skills of observation on matters such as these are impeccable. People like Bill Ayres had better feel glad that her vanity overtook her, and into a different direction, for had she directed her energy at destroying the likes of him, she would have.
The world regrets that she didn’t.
Maybe we still can. But “destroy” is the only operative word here, keep in mind. There is no room for negotiation, comprise, or even retreat, as we surely know their definition of pursuit is eternal, until Good is finally vanquished.
This is a gauntlet I feel very comfortable in picking up.
Mark the dates, 1971, not 2011. For haters, Miss Rand was writing about our senior academicians today, like Bill Ayres, and the Weather Underground, not their Occupy students at Colgate. Nor the entire Democrat Party. The appeasers she was writing about was the political class, not Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, or Mayor Bloomberg and the entirety of Wall Street. For intellectuals she was speaking of Saul Alinsky, not Bill Maher or Van Jones.
And Don McLean was railing against Mick Jagger, who is with us still, not Kurt Cobain, who isn’t.
If you know your enemy you will (or should) quit complaining about them then. You should never get mad at dogs for being dogs. Miss Rand pointed out a level of doggery in the Left most of you never really contemplated. Now you know better. And when one comes on stage, as Mayor Bloomberg seems to like to do, instead of ranting about what he says or does, you should say “Behold, the Foole” (or any other slur) and then proceed to mock him appropriately, for by appearing to take him seriously, you let him win. As Ayn Rand points out, Bloomberg wants you to hate him for that protects him from having to fear you.
Don’t play to his strong suite, but his weak ones.
He has several. Find them, then twist the knife, (figurative speaking, Mr Holder).
[…] Rand, in her 1971 essay, “The Age of Envy” and which I referred to as “Children of the Damned” in my 2013 essay, diagrammed these […]