Few political ideologies are more antithetical than the democratic socialist principles espoused by U.K.’s Labour Party and the objectivist concepts advocated by Ayn Rand, and the stark differences were fully on display when a Labour Member of Parliament shared a quote by Rand on Twitter TWTR this weekend.
Say What? Karen Buck, who represents Westminster North in the House of Commons and serves as Shadow Department for Works and Pension Minister in the Labour Party, tweeted: “There’s always an Ayn Rand quote” offered this statement from the author of “Atlas Shrugged”: “We are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion: the stage where government is free to do as it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.”
Buck didn't specifically state what inspired her to share that quote, although it might have been sparked by the initial public reluctance of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak — both members of the right-wing Conservative Party — to agree to self-quarantine after being in contact with Health Minister Sajid Javid, who tested positive for COVID-19.
We Are Not Amused: Rand’s political writings influenced several prominent American policymakers including former House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; Ronald Reagan once mentioned he “admired” Rand, although she loathed Reagan’s presidency and spoke harshly about his legacy. She even appeared on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" to discuss her ideas.
Rand’s influence never took root across the Atlantic, and response from U.K. Twitters who favor Labour ranged from bafflement to hostility.
Liam Young, a journalist and commentator whose writing has appeared in The Guardian and Wired, tweeted, “I know it has been a warm day, but Labour MPs should not be quoting Ayn Rand.”
Aaron Bastani, journalist and author of “Fully Automated Luxury Communism, tweeted, “Labour MPs quoting Ayn Rand. God help our country!”
Archie Woodrow, a self-described “Anti-imperialist Groucho-Marxist (and) activist for Labour,” tweeted, “After a certain point you start to think nothing can surprise you from a Labour MP...but...Ayn Rand?? really?? what's going on here???”
Several users directly tweeted to Buck, pointing out Rand’s comments defending the taking of American Indian lands by white settlers and her reliance on federal programs in her old age after a lifetime of denouncing government-funded welfare initiatives. Buck politely replied, “She was a seething mass of contradictions, that’s true.”
Photo: Art on Stamps.
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