published Friday, September 14th, 2012

"Rand's 'Atlas' is no 'fantasy'" and other letters to the editor

Rand's 'Atlas' is no 'fantasy'

Paul Krugman's libelous attack on Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" ("Galt and Gold," Aug. 25, and related letters) cannot stand. "Randism" has once again come to media attention because of its influence on Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Far from a work that "adolescent boys ... outgrow," "Atlas Shrugged" is a revolutionary rallying cry for what is supposed to define Americans: personal and economic freedom.

"Atlas" soars in its depiction of the virtues and value of entrepreneurs and business owners. The "job creators" (a slur to Krugman) are under assault by society's "Moochers and Destroyers," using coercion, corruption, and ultimately force to steal their innovations and wealth. Does our culture's typing of business as "the enemy" sound familiar?

The solution of the novel's hero, John Galt, and his "prime movers," is to withdraw their services and disappear. Without them, the world descends into barbarism. "Atlas" is no "fantasy": think outsourcing and offshoring and the billions of dollars sequestered outside the U.S.. Krugman's goal for America is to be a "social welfare" state. With 47 percent of Americans receiving a government check, with envy and resentment now institutionalized as virtues, the America Ayn Rand sought to reveal and re-invent is here.

KEN HARPE, Signal Mountain

'Cabaret' a must for theater-goers

This past Saturday night I saw the production of "Cabaret'' at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Each time I see a show it seems that the quality of the work keeps improving. This production of "Cabaret'' is the best one I've seen so far.

The local talent was truly excellent. The singing and the acting were top notch.

This is a difficult play with important themes, and those in charge at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre did not shy away from the challenges of the story set in pre-WWII Germany with diminishing freedoms for its citizens.

Instead, they rose to the occasion with a powerful, intriguing, thought-provoking and entertaining production. I highly recommend seeing the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's "Cabaret'' not only to any theater fans, but also to people rarely go to the theater.

This is a production not to be missed. It plays through Sept. 23. I am proud that our community has such a daring and committed community theater and that we have the fine local talent to bring these important plays to life. Go see "Cabaret"; you'll be glad you did.


Give Howard band a hand

"Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" The Howard School band is not.

"I probably don't have an instrument without tape or string holding it together," says Dexter Bell, the band director, speaking of the 15 instruments available to 30 band members.

Alison Gerber and Missy Crutchfield have the right idea. They believe the "arts are vital to the city and education and should be available in neighborhoods and public schools."

Playing a musical instrument is an art form. It fosters the development of an aesthetic value which could result in hands that prefer to hold a horn rather than a Glock 9.

I recommend Mr. Bell march his bedraggled band by Sen. Bob Corker's home during the high-end dinner this evening. Since that gala will haul in quite a take, perhaps the senator and Mrs. Romney could drop off a check at Howard. This would be a fine demonstration of empathy for the ordinary people and might even garner a few votes. You are all invited to send a check. Mine is in the mail. This would certainly give the band a hand.


Republicans out to buy White House

If you wish to totally destroy Medicare, vote Republican. Just try to buy health-care insurance with their worthless "coupons" (vouchers). The ruination of Social Security would soon follow. Their claim that those over 55 should not worry is total nonsense. For you not to vote will also serve their purpose. Many states have resorted to all kinds of "Jim Crow voter suppression laws," which would stop legal voters from voting, thus ending democracy by stealing elections. They care nothing about you, me, or what is good for the U.S.A., only to gain and retain power.

The "Greedy Old Party's" billionaire donors (examples: Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers) and their "superPACs" will spend a billion dollars or more in an attempt to buy the White House and Congress. That money will pay for any lies they can dream up. They have their own propaganda TV network, radio heads, "think tanks" such as AEI, etc., to constantly promote and broadcast those lies. It is vile, divisive, hateful insanity. They are in dire need of massive doses of thiopental! Will you ingest and repeat those lies? When you repeat a lie, you have become a liar yourself.

WALTER M. BENTON, Signal Mountain

Don't judge person by color of skin

I would vote for President Obama if he were white, black or brown.

You cannot judge a person's ability, intelligence or patriotism by the color of their skin.


Republican goals are illogical

Increasingly unheard are sane Republicans. Illogic characterizes much of their party's political goals. One example is Grover Norquist, who conceived the rope-and-corral, no-tax-hike pledge required of GOP House Republicans. He labels it a pledge to constituents. Did state constituents request it? No. Are we constituents all alike? No. Unconstitutional pledge? Yes.

Bad Republicans become leaders by ruses that turn Democratic Party fairnesses into boomerangs. Paul Ryan, now the vice presidential candidate, lavishly masquerades with social policies of bygone times, notably opposition to all abortions, but in bygone times abortion wasn't discussed, was a personal decision, and carried no political capital. "Pro-lifers" won't volunteer any money for unwanted children's upbringing, citing the availability of welfare, food stamps and Medicare, yet GOP leaders plan to dismantle welfare, food stamps, Medicare and national health care.

Why? Maintaining Republican votes from anti-governmentalists and continuing low-or-no taxes for industrialists who seek obliteration of government regulations -- so giant corporations can control all three branches of government -- a very high crime.

Two recent books by investigative reporters discuss Mafia infiltration of our financial structure, and that it spreads worldwide. Modern Mafia tactics include collusive bullying and racketeering. Sound familiar?


Party just wants to add more wealth

"Opinions are like imperfections. Everyone has some," a wise man once said. One letter spent several paragraphs describing the middle class, while at the same time condemning it for "irresponsible behavior and discouraging family formation. ..."

Apparently this is but another stump mouthpiece for the party you obviously can guess. No rocket scientist needs to inform you that middle class income is about $35,000 to $100,000 per year.

I wonder if I somehow earned over a quarter-million a year, if I would want to identify myself with the party that hopes to make me even more wealthy, at the expense of the "middle class"? I hope not.


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Rickaroo said...

Ken Harpe, your letter couldn't be a more perfect example of how adolescent the appeal of Ayn Rand's philosophy (for want of a better word) is to people like you who believe it to be so "revolutionary" in scope. Randism, or objectivism, is not a philosophy at all but a mere half-baked, convoluted attempt to justify complete selfishness. Rand was a sociopathic personality who happened to be a talented enough word-smith to write novels but she never grew out of that adolescent, me-first phase of her life; and practically her entire adult years were spent attempting to philosophically justify the more crass and selfish aspects of her own being.

It's funny how you speak of "our culture's typing of business as the 'enemy'" when you indulge in your own typecasting by referring to anyone who is not a "job creator" as a "moocher and destroyer." And you type-cast even more by saying that people like Krugman and others who believe in a socialized, regulated system of capitalism want only to usher in an absolute "social welfare state." You obviously lack the ability to see or accept the shades of grey that most of life is comprised of. It's no wonder that you think Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" to be so profound. You represent the quintessential adolescent-minded market that she appealed to most.

September 14, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.
raygunz said...

Atlas has never shrugged,and probably never will. The truth of the matter is that, if anybody should be threatening to withdraw from anybody else, it is we, the 99% who should be threatening to withdraw from the 1%. Personally, I would love to see them try to make it on their own when their bank accounts are worthless because the rest of society will not accept their notes. I would love to see them try to make it on their own when their maids and butlers withdraw services from their homes, when their personal chefs step aside and refuse to continue stuffing their faces with all manner of lavish fare, when their groundskeepers and maintenance men refuse to service their homes and landscapes anymore. Then, we shall see who is really self-sufficient. As for the rest of us, I am confident we could organize ourselves sufficiently to maintain, and even expand, the society we have already built together. (And yes, we did build it together!(ht,

September 14, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.

"Don't judge person by color of skin"

One of my greatest heroes for all of my life is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He supported another, infinitely greater King...King of Kings and Lord of Lords...King Jesus! I so admire what Dr. King said. He said we should not judge any by their skin color. He said we should only judge (as in quality) a person by the content of their character. Only a great Republican, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. could have spoken so magnanimously! Yet, more than being a member of the Republican Party, he was a follower of Jesus Christ!

September 14, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

OML, Dr. King most definitely was NOT a Republican. There is some evidence that he might have registered as a Republican in Alabama in the 1950s but that was only because the southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) would not allow black voters. It is common knowledge that the southern Democrats, prior to the Civil Rights era, were vehemently opposed to equal rights for blacks. But as civil rights became such a hot-bed issue in the 50s and 60s most of the Dixiecrats abandoned the Democratic Party altogether and joined the ranks of the more conservative anti-civil-rights Republican party. Even if King had been a Republican at one time, the Republican party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and even Dwight D. Eisenhower were nothing like the irrationally conservative anti-government party of today. Dr. King himself claimed to be non-partisan, saying that he "took this position in order to maintain a bipartisan posture, which I have followed all along in order to be able to look objectively at both parties at all times."

His son, Martin Luther King III said: "It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican. It is even more outrageous to suggest he would support the Republican Party of today, which has spent so much time and effort trying to suppress African American votes in Florida and many other states."

During his lifetime, when he became the undisputed leader and spokesman for Civil Rights, he was called a Communist and was hated by practically every conservative (Republican) alive. He spoke out vehemently against the Vietnam War, was a powerful pro-union advocate, was planning to lead a poor people's march on Washington just before he died, and made speeches calling for a guaranteed annual income for all citizens as a means to eradicate poverty. If he were alive today the Republican party would be vilifying him as a treasonous socialist/communist/Marxist. His uncompromising, outspoken stances on social issues would make Obama look like a Republican Sunday school teacher by comparison.

It's great that you respect King for the great man he was, but don't dare try to rewrite history and make him out to be a Republican. Especially not the brand of pseudo-christian, pseudo-patriotic, greed loving Republicans that infest our government and country today.

September 14, 2012 at 10:14 p.m.

Rickaroo, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. Case closed. the Judicial system of our great nation would never accept Your reasoning. Judges, Detectives, Lawyers, utilize points of law. They utilize 'hard evidence'. No loving relative would want to admit it if their loved one was opposite in thought to them. Neither does Dr. King's Democratic Party relatives want to admit their relative was a Republican. The Voter Registration record (for the record!) clearly proves that the Civil Rights Giant, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 'was' indeed a registered Republican. He w-a-s a registered Republican in life, and, therefore posthumously, a Republican in death. For 'The Record'. Case closed.


September 15, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

KWO, for "the record," the only thing that is closed is your Bible-soaked mind.

There is no conclusive evidence that he was officially registered with any party, except for a strong suspicion that he registered as a Republican in the 50s. But ALL black people during that time were pro-Republican. Granted, the Republicans used to be a more compassionate party and it was the party of Lincoln that ended slavery and freed the blacks. And yes, the Democrats, especially the southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) took a hard-line stance in opposition to freeing the blacks. But that was then and this is now. Neither party is the same as they once were. And even if there is conclusive evidence that King registered as a Republican at some point in his past, so what? Exactly what point are you trying to make with this??

During the Civil Rights protests in the 50s and 60s Republicans became more interested in states' rights than Civil Rights and were practically unanimous in their opposition to the Civil Rights Act that was eventually signed by LBJ. It was at that time that almost all blacks switched their allegiance from the Republican party to the Democrats because the Dems were all pushing hard for desegregation and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The only two presidents that King is KNOWN to have voted for were JFK and LBJ, both Democrats, and he publicly denounced Republican Barry Goldwater, who was running against LBJ in 1964, because Goldwater, as did most Republicans then, vehemently opposed government mandated desegregation and also practically every aspect of the Great Society policies that LBJ wanted to enact and that King himself supported.

It's funny how you conservatives today like to take rebels and heroes from the past who were in stark opposition to the status quo and conservative mindset of their time and try to make them your own and pretend to praise and shower respect upon them. If King were alive today and making the same speeches for social justice he was making then (in favor of labor unions, a guaranteed annual income for all citizens, an immediate end to our imperialistic wars of aggression, and denouncing the greed of the super rich and big business), he would be figuratively tarred and feathered and branded an evil, rabble-rousing socialist/communist/Marxist by the Republicans who so disingenuously praise him now and attempt to call him their own. What a joke.

Personally I don't care what party affiliation he was or wasn't, but let MLK be a confirmed Republican in your mind - if that's so friggin' important to you. Maybe you can even hang a poster of him in your den and tack the Republican elephant logo to the corner of it, if that makes you happy. Or keep poring over your Bible and you can probably find some verse where it says that God, Jesus, and Dr. King are all registered Republicans. Halleylooya and praise jeezus.

September 15, 2012 at 3:22 p.m.

"If King were alive today and making the same speeches for social justice he was making then..."

Wouldn't happen! Dr. King would (i hate to use the next word?) evolve, more so than most of us. He would understand the errors of the Supreme Court of today. He would understand we still live in a strong Republic. He would preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The King of Glory. He may have even become President before our current official in the White House. I would vote for him 24 / 7!!! kwo

September 15, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.
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