The Atlas Summit 2012 – three days of lectures and sessions exploring Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and its relevance in the partisan and confused world of modern American politics – kicked off in Washington, D.C. Friday.
It features sessions falling under the themes of applied objectivism, arts, philosophy, and politics and culture.
The summit’s sponsor, the Atlas Society, champions the free-market, free-minds, personal satisfaction ideas of writer and philosopher Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged.
Edward Hudgins, director of advocacy at the Atlas Society – led Friday morning’s introductory session, “Atlas Shrugged and the World Today” – outlining how the Democratic, or “Demolition” as he called it, and Republican parties have created an American political mess.
He suggests that only a philosophy of rational individualism can prevent the world from falling into cultural decay.
“Torn between inspiring and edifying you and, since [he has] the goal of accurately representing the work, depressing you,” Hudgins said.
He briefly reviewed Rand’s Objectivist philosophy before lamenting the fact that everything Rand warns against in Atlas Shrugged has largely come true.
This includes a society where bureaucracy and dismissal of “reality” paralyzes people with an entrepreneurial, productive spirit and reward people Objectivists consider “parasites” who don’t produce anything for society and just take from it.
Taking frequent sips from his chocolate chip venti frapachino (“Take that Michael Bloomberg!”), Hudgins discussed the “urge to control” people that he sees as being persistent throughout the Democratic Party.
Hudgins referenced those he called “little twerps” who fight to outlaw or tax plastic shopping bags or think having government involved in every stage of ones life, like President Obama’s “Julia”, who is “supposed to be appealing to people.”
Citing the facts that American debt is equal to GDP, that America borrow 40 cents for every $1, and the entitlement culture of the United States, Hudgins argued the Democratic Party “has no concern about results” and their policies are largely “envy driven.” He sees this as being epitomized by Obama’s class warfare rhetoric.
Concerning the Republican Party, Hudgins discussed how the Reagan-coalition alliance between conservatives and libertarians decayed as a result of “Big Government Bush [whose administration] confused and discredited the Republican brand.”
Hudgins believes that Mitt Romney, if elected, would repeal ObamaCare. He has a particular interest in the GOP’s rising stars – Paul Ryan and Chris Christie in particular.
The trouble is “I don’t see Romney as someone with a consistent philosophy so when a new issue comes up I don’t know what he is going to do,” said Hudgins.
Hudgins stressed the need to reach out to the growing number of youth who call themselves Libertarians and to the growing number of youth disillusioned by Obama, and bring them into the free-minded fold.
The only thing standing in the way of exercising Rand’s philosophy he believes is politics.