Why is there no entry Parasites in the Ayn Rand Lexicon?! Nor Looters, nor Moochers??! (I almost clicked Entitlement, Age of but then realised I’d misread it.)
It ain’t right. ‘Parasite’ was one of Rand’s favourite words. A search for ‘parasites’ delivered the goods, though. Here are some excerpts from The Ayn Rand Letter, filed under Welfare State.
Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull. Morally, the chance to satisfy demands by force spreads the demands wider and wider, with less and less pretense at justification. Economically, the forced demands of one group create hardships for all others, thus producing an inextricable mixture of actual victims and plain parasites. Since need, not achievement, is held as the criterion of rewards, the government necessarily keeps sacrificing the more productive groups to the less productive, gradually chaining the top level of the economy, then the next level, then the next. (How else are unachieved rewards to be provided?)
There are two kinds of need involved in this process: the need of the group making demands, which is openly proclaimed and serves as cover for another need, which is never mentioned—the need of the power-seekers, who require a group of dependent favor-recipients in order to rise to power. Altruism feeds the first need, statism feeds the second, Pragmatism blinds everyone—including victims and profiteers—not merely to the deadly nature of the process, but even to the fact that a process is going on.
[A] real turning point came when the welfare statists switched from economics to physiology: they began to seek a new power base in deliberately fostered racism, the racism of minority groups, then in the hatreds and inferiority complexes of women, of “the young,” etc. The significant aspect of this switch was the severing of economic rewards from productive work. Physiology replaced the conditions of employment as the basis of social claims. The demands were no longer for “just compensation,” but just for compensation, with no work required.
So long as the power-seekers clung to the basic premises of the welfare state, holding need as the criterion of rewards, logic forced them, step by step, to champion the interests of the less and less productive groups, until they reached the ultimate dead end of turning from the role of champions of “honest toil” to the role of champions of open parasitism, parasitism on principle, parasitism as a “right” (with their famous slogan turning into: “Who does not toil, shall eat those who do”).
Well, what’s there to say, except that Rand was right on the money? This stuff is razor sharp, and remarkably prescient, given that she wrote it in the early 1970s. And chilling. But I wonder if even Rand would have envisaged a President of the United States who, on the campaign trail just four decades later, would say to his audience
If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
The obvious implication being that if you didn’t build it, it’s not yours, and the government is entitled to take it and “redistribute” it to “somebody else”. The entitlement mentality is endemic and infects the highest levels of government in a country that was once a shining beacon of capitalism.
Death metal is the soundtrack to the End of the Age.
Here’s Brain Drill with The Parasites from their debut album Apocalyptic Feasting.