Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rand Paul Consumers Find They Were Sold A Lemon

We deeply, deeply regret to inform that the Sen. Rand Paul's Death Spiral continues, as the embittered senator sinks into a seething whirlpool of non-stop disaster. The Washington Times, owned by Korea's Sun Myung Moon (motto: "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world"), has fired him with extreme reluctance prejudice. Evidently God is conservative because the Washington Times has faithfully supported conservatives throughout its existence.  But now even the Moonie Times, which has published the works of such illustrious conservatives as Larry Kudlow and  John Podhoretz, and which incubated David Brooks in its editorial department, finally met a conservative whom they could no longer publish. More or less.

The newspaper and the senator mutually agreed to end his weekly column, which has appeared each Friday since the summer.`

“We expect our columnists to submit original work and to properly attribute material, and we appreciate that the senator and his staff have taken responsibility for an oversight in one column,” Times Editor John Solomon said.

“We also appreciate the original insights he has shared with our readers over the last few months and look forward to future contributions from Sen. Paul and any other members of Congress who take the time to help educate our readers with original thought leadership pieces,” Mr. Solomon said.
Surely this is the most generous firing in history. Evidently the problem was a lack of oversight in one column, not the systematic theft of intellectual property.

In case you haven't heard, in the last week or so we've found out that Paul gave a speech that included a lengthy description of the movie Gattaca, a description lifted word for word from the movie's Wikipedia entry. And he gave a speech that included a description of the movie Stand and Deliver, lifted from that movie's Wikipedia page. And he lifted a part of another speech from an AP story. And he lifted a part of a speech from a Focus on the Family report. And he copied part of a column he wrote for the Washington Times from an article in The Week. And he plagiarized reports from the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and an article in Forbes, in his 2012 book Government Bullies.

You have to work hard to commit that much plagiarism. Paul's response has been an occasional admission that he and his staff are very busy, combined with the sort of petulance you'd expect from a teenager being asked to clean his room.

Or maybe not. (Sen. Paul might be interested to know that we do not think the author of that passage plagiarized us by referring to Paul as a petulant teen. That comparison is inevitable considering the circumstances.)

It seems that socialism is just fine when it comes to writing speeches; Rand took the words from a producer and redistributed the words to himself, the little looter. Throughout this episode Paul has shown himself to be a true Randian; he declares he is a producer while acting like a moocher.

As we have seen while reviewing Atlas Shrugged (more reviews coming soon eventually!), Randians are repulsed by the lice and scum due to their superiority, which is both innate and due entirely to hard work and a strong will. Yet we also see that self-professed libertarians use the same tactics they despise in lesser mortals. Dagny Taggart would throw herself off a moving train before she would make excuses for failure, so Paul attempts to look as if he is taking responsibility for his plagiarism while first denying it occurred and then blaming it entirely on his staff.

In an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, Paul was asked if there is any truth to Maddow’s claim.  
“We borrowed the plot lines from Gattaca. It’s a movie,” Paul said. “I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie…Nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from.”
But like all ideologues, libertarians pretend to hold themselves to high standards while routinely violating those standards and making excuses for their failures. The brain trust at Reason magazine, home of Mr. Megan McArdle, decided that the admissions of "sloppiness" were good for Paul's political career. Matt Welch:

If he wants to run for president, he needs to be better, not worse, and not merely as good, as the competition when it comes to the most seemingly trivial matters of comportment. Journalists, particularly (though not only) from those outlets sensitive to the allure that libertarian ideas have on some progressive voters, will be gunning for every possible gaffe, glitch, error of judgment, and stated deviance. He should consider it an honor to be challenged, instead of a challenge to get huffy about.

People who choose the Inside Game know, or at least should know, that the deck is stacked against them, and that they will be judged more harshly. Those were always the rules. On the upside, being the first real truth-teller inside an empire of lies carries with it enormous galvanizing potential. Whining about being picked on in this context is like complaining about getting fouled when you drive to the hoop against Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn. The answer is to dunk the damned basketball, not bitch to the refs. And for god's sake, make sure your shoes are tied.

It's actually helpful for Rand Paul's presidential ambitions to be having these mini-kerfuffles in November 2013. It's doubtful that they will have any impact on the 2016 race, and he could clearly use the practice.

(The second a liberal starts talking about helping anyone that can't return the favor, all the libertarians will immediately discover that they don't have much in common with liberals after all. An alliance between libertarians and liberals will never work because the libertarians see themselves as leaders of the masses, not fellow members. Most liberals are happy to follow a leader but they will only follow someone who helps vote their liberal candidate into office. That is where the rubber hits the road.)

So it's not plagiarism. It's a gaffe, a glitch, a mini-kerfuffle. Nothing to see here. Sure, whining about being picked on is for the weak, but they really are being picked on and everyone is against them and Biden did it too. Libertarians will talk about self-reliance and manly individuality, but when reality rears its ugly head they come up with nothing but excuses and more excuses.

Rand Paul:

The standard I’m being held to is a little different than everybody else,” Mr. Paul said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

In an interview with the New York Times Tuesday, Paul admitted that he had "made mistakes" and said new procedures were being put in place to make footnotes available "if it will make people leave me the hell alone."
“The footnote police have really been dogging me for the last week,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I will admit that. And I will admit, sometimes we haven’t footnoted things properly.
Paul added: “In some of the other things that are now going to pop up under thousands of things I’ve written, yeah, there are times when they have been sloppy or not correct or we’ve made an error.”
 “I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting,” he said. “I have never intentionally done so.”

Paul simply denies that his staff plagiarized, knowing that his followers will ignore the truth and accept his lies. Incredibly, he thinks that simply saying his people didn't give attribution to the material they quoted is an adequate excuse. It's like saying that you didn't steal when you walked out of the store without paying for that large screen tv you are putting into the trunk of your car. You simply didn't give the clerk any money before carrying the tv out the door. The definition of plagiarism is quoting without attribution.

Paul's whining was extensive:

Paul again brushed off the criticisms as having ulterior motives and said speeches are different than other works.

“Can a speaker not tell stories without always remembering the exact citation? I think it’s a standard that no one else is being held to and I think it’s politically motivated,” Paul said. “We’ve tried at every possible point to attribute things and nothing was ever intentionally used. We give credit to Heritage I think 15 times in the book, to Cato 12 times. And do we always do it perfectly? Maybe not, but we try.”

You already paid for two tvs, right? What's the big deal if you didn't pay for the third? And as always, Paul does not mention the changes in text in the stolen material.

Bill Singer, who wrote the [plagiarized] Forbes article, told BuzzFeed his work on the article made extensive use of a U.S. Justice Department news release.  "It would appear whoever wrote the senator's book copied my language not the press release," Singer said.


So in conclusion, Sen. Paul is responsible for everything and nothing, his office never copies anyone else's work but simply left off the attribution when they copied others' work, and plagiarism isn't plagiarism because taking others' work without attribution is not taking others' work without attribution.

Say, you know who else was a plagiarist? Sen. Paul's bestest bud and namesake, Ayn Rand.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute kindly explains how Rand wasn't a plagiarist, she just apparently copied the plot of Garet Garrett's The Driver. There's that pesky definition problem again.

Garet Garrett, author of The People's Pottage, tells the story of an upstart Wall Street speculator financier, Henry Galt, a shadowy figure who stays out of the limelight as much as possible until he unleashes a plan that had been years in the marking: he uses his extraordinary entrepreneurial talent to acquire control of a failing railroad.

Through outstanding management sense, good pricing, excellent service, and overall business savvy, he out competes all the big names in the business, while making a fortune in the process. Garrett has a way of illustrating just what it takes to be a businessman of this sort, and how his mind alone becomes the source of a fantastic revenue stream.

But his successes breed trouble. The government conspires with envious competitors to regulate him using the Sherman Antitrust Act, calling him a monopolist who is exploiting the public. This book tells the dramatic story of his success and his fight. A reoccurring literary motif through the book has people asking: "Who is Henry Galt?"  
In one of many asides, this book contains one of the best explanations of the stupidity of "bi-metallism" that fixed the relationship between silver and gold. Indeed, the book is overall very sound on the money question, showing the inflationist populist movement of the late 19th century to be a pack of fools. Galt himself delivers some fantastic defenses of hard money and free markets, both in conversation and in front of the US Congress.  
This book was written in 1922, and people in the know might detect some similarity here with Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. She might have read it or it might be a coincidence.

Yeah. It's probably just a coincidence.


Downpuppy said...

Sun Myung Moon died a year ago. I think the Washington Times is nstill run by Moonies - or maybe Okies - it's getting harder & harder to tell the difference.

Susan of Texas said...

I actually knew that, which makes my error extra dumb.

Smut Clyde said...

Sun Myung Moon died a year ago

Shirley you mean "finished his mission on Earth".

fish said...

There really couldn't be a better example of how completely full of shit Paul is. Supposedly one of the true core beliefs of Libertarians is true protection of property rights will create utopia. When shown systematic transgression of property by his staff, he rolls his eyes and says it isn't really a big deal, he will do better next time if it will shut everyone up...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Libertarian: someone not self-aware enough to realize just how unexceptional he or she is.

Mr. Wonderful said...

So, wait, he's bitching about "footnotes" with regard to a speech he gave to an audience? Has anyone, anywhere, pointed out that spoken addresses don't have footnotes? Which means his protestations are either twice as stupid as they first appear, or equally parts stupid and dishonest. You make the call!

Susan of Texas said...

Look at McArdle--she is still claiming that health insurance reform will kill medical innovation. They can and will say anything and nobody will care.

Anonymous said...

It's always funny that when you scratch the surface of a libertarian with any influence, you find an authoritarian high schooler, and that's not fair to high schoolers.

Susan of Texas said...

Correction--it seems that McArdle is no longer nearly as worried as she was before about drug innovation. Now it's medical innovation that's at risk.

And she links to a pay site as proof. "Is the Republican Party Pulling The Plug On Rand Paul?" might have to wait.

Helmut Monotreme said...

It's a kind of hilarious that Rand thinks that Hanlon's razor* is an excuse.

*Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Stop insulting lemons!

Roger said...

Sun Myung Moon died a year ago

Shirley you mean "finished his mission on Earth".

Shirley you mean "tossed in the towel."

Kathy said...

Libertarianism seems to equal a lack of imagination, foresight and empathy in most people who claim to "believe in it." In fact,

I'd easily place Libertarianism in the same category as religions: a faith-based belief rather than facts supported by scientific method.

Mr. Rand and his associates seem to be amazingly lacking in imagination, and obviously unable to visualize the results of their (moronic and cruel) actions.