I had been feeling guilty about my bank job for years before I really understood why. Why should I be ashamed about what I do while my computer programmer friend never feels that way?
Learning the philosophy of 20th Century novelist Ayn Rand helped me understand my guilt. We all have to earn a living, but some careers are fundamentally more admirable than others.
In Rand’s estimation, those who produce ideas and goods – like construction workers, factory laborers, and those who write computer code – are essentially good and wholesome. While those of us who simply make money off others – like lawyers, judges, stock brokers, politicians, and bankers – are, in Rand’s words, parasites.
I share Ayn Rand’s reverence for the great inventors and producers in our society who give capitalism a good name. And I have no love for the people who simply make money and nothing else.
It’s all well and good to love capitalism. But it would be foolish to revere every single guy who makes money as much as you revere the late great Steve Jobs.
The Republican Party doesn’t get it. The GOP establishment is loathed by most Americans, including a solid majority of its own primary voters. This is because Republican leaders completely ignore the difference between parasites who make money and capitalists like Steve Jobs who are shaping our world.
“Steve Jobs” is a fittingly brilliant movie about an undeniably brilliant business titan.
Instead of showing us Jobs’s whole life, the film shows us three snapshots. It takes us behind the stage at three important product launches: The Macintosh in 1984. The NeXTcube in 1988 (don’t worry, I had never heard of it, either). And the iMac in 1998.
The film shows us that genius isn’t easy. While Steve Jobs always had the vision of a future where personal computing engulfs and enriches our lives, it took decades for him and his Apple inventors to figure out exactly how.
And the film shows us that genius isn’t easy on the genius himself. Michael Fassbender communicates how Jobs’s obsessions left him emotionally isolated and loathed by everyone around him.
The neat twist to “Steve Jobs” is that it ends not with his death, but with his triumph. The iMac is a huge success and Jobs is already pondering his next revolutionary inventions.
Steve Jobs was the greatest capitalist of his era. Our country deserves a lot of credit for offering a friendly and free business environment where innovators like John Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs can flourish and live up to their world-changing potential.
It’s wise and patriotic to defend capitalism. But it’s foolish and immoral to defend everyone who makes money. That is the real reason why the Republican Party is on the verge of self-destruction.
Republican leaders are so ideologically devoted to capitalism that they defend awful businessmen. They defend factory farm corporations that torture animals and hire illegal aliens under the table. They defend big banks that create nothing but profitable debt. They defend Wall Street traders who care about dollars infinitely more than people.
A party that should be looking to Ayn Rand for philosophical guidance has instead turned to Gordon Gekko.
Revering a shady hedge fund manager as much as you revere Steve Jobs is as foolish as respecting me for helping my employer charge you 17.99% on your credit card debt as much as my friend for designing the website you enjoy. Get it together, GOP.