Cookie Puss Shrugged: Investing With Ayn Rand

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A few months ago, Ayn Rand fans made a big stink about “going Galt”—threatening to bring down the federal government (i.e., Obama) by taking their productive genius and going home (i.e., working less and paying less taxes). In another sign that the screw-the-feds fad never really went anywhere, some objectivists with deep pockets have emerged from hiding to funnel more money to the moochers and looters. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that the Roark Capital Group, a $1.5-billion, Goldman Sachs-backed private-equity firm, is making record investments after a couple of slow years. Roark, which owns Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon, may be the nation’s only investment firm that openly claims Ayn Rand as its inspiration. As it website explains, it’s named after Howard Roark, the architect protagonist of The Fountainhead, who dynamites one of his own projects because it doesn’t meet his exacting standards.

It’s not news that Rand has plenty of acolytes among traders, fund managers, and former heads of the Fed. But as Wall Street Journal columnist and Randian Evan Newmark explains, walking the objectivist walk on Wall Street is easier said than done, even at capitalist bastions like Goldman Sachs—which features a corporate “culture that might have been dreamt up by Karl Marx if he had been more interested in profits than the proletariat.”

So how well has Roark Capital followed its namesake’s vision? A quick glance at the Carvel website suggests that Howard Roark’s violent fastidiousness has not trickled down to the rank-and-file. In fact, company “spokescake” Cookie Puss, with his “tendency to melt under extreme pressure” and “friendliness and constant state of happiness” seems like just the kind of spineless loser Rand detested. His colleague, the “very laid back, nature-loving” Fudgie the Whale sounds no better. I hope that Roark Capital will wake up to this Goldman Sachs-style collectivism and restore Tom Carvel’s exacting standards of architectural precision in frozen cake-making. The ice-cream fountainhead awaits!   

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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