I’ve always understood why the very rich would favor economic ideologies that support their self-interest. What I’ve never quite understood is why so many people who aren’t Galtian overlords buy that crap. Lance Mannion puzzles over the same thing (italics original):
The Koch Brothers are under a different delusion, that we live in a feudal society and they are Medieval land barons and the rest of us are their serfs and retainers. Never mind them for now. I’m talking about the retainers.
The country is lousy with people who are essentially corporate flunkeys who think they are John and Jane Galts. They haven’t invented anything. They haven’t built any industries or businesses. They don’t own anything. From junior vice-presidents on up to CEOs,they are all employees. And they make their money mainly by skimming. But they make a lot of it. They are wealthy. They have “created” wealth, for themselves, at least.
And they’ve convinced themselves that simply by acquiring all this loot and then spending it willy-nilly on whatever toys, gadgets, gizmos, luxuries, or whims they choose they are creating wealth for the whole nation.
He then explains their cognitive dysfunction (boldface mine):
I wouldn’t mind that they think they are creating wealth by working for the real John and Jane Galts (the very few of those who actually exist) if they understood that everybody else who worked with them for the Galts, including the secretaries, janitors, loading dock workers, truck drivers, and repairmen were creating the wealth too. But they don’t understand it or they pretend not to or they understand it fine, they just hate the idea….
They don’t see that their McMansion, their suburb, their jobs that earn them the wealth they think they’ve created wouldn’t exist without good roads, safe bridges, airports—every frequent flyer coupon these business class travelers rack up should be stamped “Your tax dollars at work.”—competent police and fire departments, reliable trash collection, and good public schools turning out not just a well-educated work force but a well-educated citizenry everywhere! Not just in their neighborhoods but all across the country.
I think there’s a fair dollop of cognitive dissonance going on here. Most people aren’t sociopaths, yet quite a few of the retainers work in ethically challenged positions (in most cases, mind you, not illegal). One way to rationalize this is to turn really nasty and blame those who haven’t made the same lucrative choices you have. Ludicrously, these choices will be referred to by the retainers as ‘sacrifices.’
I know plenty of people who fit, in terms of their jobs, into what Mannion calls the flunkey class. Yet they’re not mean and nasty because they’ve been able to come to terms with the choices they’ve made. For them, taxation is simply about the money. But for the Galtian retainers, this is a matter of self-worth and identity, not the money. It’s much more personal, and that’s why they’re so passionate (if misguided).