What I find most fascinating about the concept of greed is how often we assume following our greed must result in the accrual of fame, power, and wealth. Greed, in Gordon Gekko’s estimation, “clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of evolutionary spirit.” This notion of the “evolutionary spirit” — the soft science of corporate Darwinism that reduces the kind of unethical practices that torched the economy in 2008 to an unavoidable expression of human nature — was, and is, a profoundly dangerous one. It positions Donald Trump as an übermensch; it suggests, by implicitly referencing “the survival of the fittest,” not just that nobody wins unless somebody loses, but that nobody is safe unless somebody dies. It’s a philosophy that bleeds through Trump’s economic policies — to the extent that he as any — and into his stances on race, immigration, and women’s rights. It may be the only unifying position he really has.
–Sarah Marshall, I admire rats. This has really helped me understand Donald Trump.
Nobody in movement conservatism, to my knowledge, has properly reckoned with the corruption that Reaganism, with its Ayn Randian philosophy of capitalism, wreaked upon the moral politics of the right. Reading Atlas Shrugged last summer was probably one of the best things I could have done to help myself understand the catenation of neoconservative orthodoxy and Trumpism. Once you’ve read Rand’s magnum opus, the apparent hypocrisy of ideologues like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity seems less like naked opportunism and more like their ideological train, belching its noxious effluence into the air and blowing its whistle with incessant, onanistic glee, clattering into its designated platform at the logical end point of its noisome and overheated journey.