The Most Politically Dangerous Book You’ve Never Heard Of
How one obscure Russian novel launched two of the 20th century’s most destructive ideas. By ADAM WEINER

When Alan Greenspan began his political career in 1974, he asked two people to accompany him to his Oval Office swearing-in ceremony as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: his mother, Rose Goldsmith, and his guru, Ayn Rand. From the time of his appointment years later as Federal Reserve chair until his retirement in 2006, Greenspan would implement Rand’s ideology of “objectivism” as monetary policy: Counting on market players to self-regulate in the pursuit of their selfish interests, he deregulated the financial industry and scoffed in the late 1990s when warned of the systemic risks posed by the unregulated derivatives market. Soon enough, these “financial weapons of mass destruction,” as Warren Buffet once called them, would explode, destroying the plans and lives of countless Americans in the Great Recession. A congressional inquiry placed the blame for the 2008 financial crisis squarely at Greenspan’s feet, and, under questioning by members of the House, Greenspan admitted that there must have been “a flaw” in his Randian worldview.

A flaw, yes, but where did it really come from?

The answer will surprise even the most avid Rand fans. The fundamental idea underlying her objectivism was a twin ideology known as rational egoism—the belief that rational action always maximizes self-interest. And Rand, who wielded the phrase “second-hander” as a cudgel against her enemies, had herself borrowed this idea from the scribblings of her countryman, a Russian writer named Nikolai Chernyshevsky, whose 1863 utopian novel, though critically mocked, became an inspiration for Rand’s generation of the early 1900s.

That’s not all Chernyshevsky is known for. Rand’s aversion to socialism is well-documented, but in Russia, that same Chernyshevsky novel became a user manual for revolutionaries, starting with the author’s radical contemporaries and ending with Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

Read more here

Looking for a New Logo!

Dear beloved Tumblr followers: I am currently looking for a new logo for McMansionHell. 

 As this blog gets more and more attention, having ol’ Ronnie as the figurehead is becoming a bit burdensome and to be fair the whole housing crisis isn’t entirely his fault (Bill Clinton following up with his well-intentioned-though-ill-fated housing solutions and the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the fiscal policy at Greenspan’s Federal Reserve were also a huge part of it) ergo the Reagan inside joke has g2g. 

 I am a writer and am lucky enough to be compensated for my writing. As a young person, I am entirely against the “gig economy”/“working for exposure” crap and will fully compensate the creator for their work. (However, keep in mind that I am also, y'know, a writer and don’t make lavish amounts of money either.) 

 Here’s what I am looking for in a logo:
 - Vector/Scalable
 - Simple (can be understood and recognized as a Tumblr or Twitter icon on mobile)
 - Preferably no text (too hard to read at a small size
 - Communicates the message of the blog with, of course, a tinge of humor. 

 Of course I can pick a picture of any ol’ McMansion and have it as a logo but I want to have something a bit more profesh/enduring. I plan on taking proposals until the end of the first week of November and will respond to each email after that deadline.

Anyone who is interested in this endeavor please feel free to send a proposal or a link to your portfolio to with the subject header: Logo Design Proposal 

 Thank you all once more for your support!

100 Days of Trump, 27/100: The Big Short

Ok so this is a tad awkward because this movie isn’t actually good.  From a directorial perspective it is actually pretty awful, the strict is extremely badly planed, the dialogue is awkward and the movie is no were near as clever as it thinks it is, really the only thing it has going for it is the acting, the editing, and the subject matter.  Oh and of course this film has no female characters so just a head up.  But turns out, sometimes that is enough, and it is important to understand, a lot of Trump voters had just watched this movie before voting, if you want to understand the problem, we need to look at the event which made this level of extremism possible, cause frankly there aren’t enough movies about the 2008 crash which actually like….explain it.   And with the exception of one stupid scene( The Selina Gomez scene doesn’t actually make sense) this does a good job of explaining exactly why so many fucking experts were unable to predict the 2008 crash, even when it was really obvious the whole fucking thing was going to fall apart.  

I want it noted for the record that when I was in high school studying the great depression i predicted the 08 crash, so this movie appeals to me personally a great deal.  I got the date wrong though, i thought it would be 2007 or 2009.  Ok moving on

The movie follows all of the people who actually saw this coming, mostly because they made the effort to actually examine the bonds in detail rather than simply dismissing them out of hand.  So some guys look at the loans in detail and go “Wait a second, this shit sticks” and tells other people.  And they go “Wait….the entire economy is going to crash, why isn’t anybody talking about this?  If it was going to crash, somebody would have noticed this first right?”  So everybody assumes somebody knows what they are doing and keep on keeping on, because obviously a giant economic crash would get the attention of somebody important right?  LIke nobody would just ignore this right?  Like the Government, Banks, Wall street, major CEOs and the Rating’s agencies couldn’t all be asleep at the wheel right?  Some of this super smart economists from the Austrian School would have done something about this right?  Well turns out everybody fucking involved is a moron and all of them are complicet, because Austrian/Supply Side/Neoliberal economics do not work, and all they do is create long term problems.   

Yet again, the 2008 crash was a product of deregulation, and severs as yet another reason why Supply Side economics are terrible, because if the goverment doesn’t regulate bonds to ensure that they aren’t terrible, private companies and banks in particular are going to run wild because corporations cannot think long term, they just don’t have that ability, they do what works in the short term and hope to bail out right before everything goes to shit.  And because the problems emerge decades down the line, we don’t blame the right people, the crash is directly the results of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and the Bushes but they don’t get enough blame for fucking this up.  And of course, nobody got punished.  This system was put in place in 1980, and since it has been 28 years since then everybody involved in the system buys into the initial assumption made in 1980, because all the people who said “Hey this is going to cause a crash in 30 years” weren’t paid attention to so literally everybody involved from the bank to the Fed to the Rating Agencies to the investors all buy into the false premise made in 1980 that deregulation is an inherent economic good.  So everybody buys into this system, every single person in the process to get there has to be a complete deregulation tool and they can’t see the fucking problem.  

Also critically the regulations agencies have had their budgets cut, they can’t do their job.  So if you taxed the rich and actually payed for regulation, we wouldn’t have the 2008 crash.  The film also talks about Wall Streets absolute bullshit pseudo macho bullshit, everybody is totally convinced they are this sort of lone individual bootstraps character who blazes a trail but they are all the same fucking hacks doing the same things as everybody else. And the amount of money is so overwhelming it is kinda hard to mentally comprehend and critically….the Wall Street execs don’t understand this shit any more than we do.  And when people are cynical about the whole process, they still assume some of it is working, when the whole thing is actually more corrupt than even the anti Wall Street people assume.    The whole thing was falling apart for over a year and nobody fucking did anything.  this is why Hillary Clinton was such a terrible choice, because the Clintons helped make this happen in the first place and tied by the hip to Wall Street.  

But most important of all, nobody blamed people correct, everybody instead blamed hte wrong peopel, the bailout was necessary but it didn’t come with the punishments for Wall Street, instead everybody in power pretended that everything was fine…and them blamed immigrants and poor people.  And elected a CEO and thought he would fix it.  Look, I know the movie isn’t all that good, but if there is a single clip to watch, let it be this last one, the most important of them all.

America never seems to learn the lesson every time and the people who do it always get away with it. Welcome to Trump’s America.  

In today’s episode of Snapshots, Bobby Hundreds captures the story behind one of LA style’s best kept secrets, Greenspan’s. Owners Evan and Josh Greenspan talk about dressing the Latino community when no one else would, popularizing their look, surviving across generations, and what it means to be the “Last Original Clothing Store.”

Watch it below: