Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Has Cato Replaced the Creepy Crane with a Randian War Hawk?

The first take on the new Cato president, John Allison, comes from Jeremy Lott:

Allison is a dedicated Randian. When he was head of BB&T, he had his management read Atlas Shrugged and has donated a lot of money to Objectivist education efforts. This could present Cato with two different sets of problems.
The first set of problems has to do with foreign policy. Many Randians are intensely hawkish...
Read the full profile here.


  1. John Allison is a hard-core Radian, as he stood in line to accept TARP funds

  2. Comon, dude. Google is your friend.

    From the NY Times:
    Mr. Allison says the government forced BB&T and some other healthy banks to accept TARP money to obscure that they were simply trying to save several large banks like Citigroup.

    "Everyone thinks we got some kind of subsidy," he says, noting that his company paid the money back in June, with interest. "It's going to cost us about $250 million for money we didn't want."

    1. He could have stood for his principles and said "no", you can't force us to take the money.

  3. Under John Allison BB&T refused to loan money to developers who obtained land with eminent domain.

  4. RW:

    After having read "Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea", which was co-written by C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook, the latter of whom, as I am sure you know, is the President of the ARI, it looks as though Brook, and thus, I think it is safe to say, "Randians", are no longer the war hawks they used to be. I think they now realize they've been hoodwinked by the Machiavellian neoconservatives.

    This book is (among other things) an evisceration of the war mongering nature of neoconservatism, and of US foreign policy. I consider it an apology from Randians.

    Maybe, just maybe, John Allison is not a war hawk.

    1. In 2007 there was an article called "Neoconservative Foreign Policy: An Autopsy"

      In 2009 there was an article called "America's Self-Crippled Foreign Policy"

      Yaron Brook is not "eviscerating" the war mongering nature of neoconservatives. Exactly the opposite. He is merely calling it weak, pathetic and too politically correct. He is calling it self-defeating because America's foreign policy is too preoccupied with helping the people in countries that America invades and bombs, rather than doing whatever it takes to win the wars in the name of America's interests.

      I also distinctly recall Brook being on "Freedom Watch" not all that long ago, and the last thing i would ever call him was an opponent of an aggressive foreign policy.

      The notion that Randians like Brook aren't war-hawks is prepostorous.

  5. If you want to go to basic principles, BB&T, like all banks, support and profit by fractional reserve monetary policy; by mis-matching assets & liabilities; by FDIC insurance, as well as the ultimate ability to borrow from the Fed Window. etc.

    A Rand hero, would certainly have proclaimed the immorality of TARP; of the Federal Reserve, of the abrogation of the Rule of Law, etc.

    Not loaning to developers who took advantage of eminent domain is interesting, but did they refuse to loan to businesses who shipped via rail (also eminent domain,) or via truck on roadways, financed by stolen funds (taxation?)

    BB&T is a Rand hero, only in the land of midgets.

  6. Ayn Rand would likely turn in her grave, knowing any Rand follower was so involved with Cato.

  7. "The first set of problems has to do with foreign policy. Many Randians are intensely hawkish..."

    Is there ANY evidence that Allison is a warmonger? Ayn Rand opposed U.S participation in WWI, Vietnam and most of the wars that occurred when she was alive, if not all.

    This is very bad quality reporting. The title must as well said: "Hey, I'm not an Objectivist and fairly clueless about it, but let me show you the conclusions I got through guilt by association".

  8. Russ Roberts had an interview with Allison a year or two back, where Allison discussed some of his applied Randian views.

  9. Ayn Rand thought the U.S. should go to all lengths to support the Israeli regime.