The Undertaker and The Collective
In the early 1950s, Alan Greenspan began his lifelong association with “novelist” and cult leader, Ayn Rand. Greenspan was introduced to Rand by his first wife, Joan Mitchell, shortly before he had the marriage annulled. One Rand biographer said, “Alan was constantly confused by his wife’s name, succumbing to paranoid delusions that while he slept, she snuck out of the house to become a ‘socialist, peace-nick folk singer.’”
Ayn Rand, still in the process of working out her philosophy when she met Greenspan, expressed little interest in suitors. She had become enthralled by William Edward Hickman, a serial killer from the 1920s whose gruesome and barbarous dismemberment of a 12-year-old girl shocked the nation. Rand praised Hickman in her journals. In fact, according to biographers, Rand was so taken with Hickman that he became the model for her first literary character, Danny Renahan, as well as every man Rand would subsequently defile in bed from that point forward.
Hickman’s sociopathic tendencies were the source of Rand’s admiration.
“Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” she wrote, thrilled by the fact that Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’ Also, I understand he shaves his pubic hair with a sort of miniature threshing device made from nun’s teeth and orphan knuckles.”
Greenspan, who had become instantly smitten with Rand, appeared dejected after learning of her infatuation with Hickman. “Who can compete with that?” he once confided in an economist friend, alluding to Rand’s fascination with the serial killer.
Nonetheless, Greenspan became a permanent fixture in Rand’s inner circle, jokingly referred to as The Collective. Rand stood beside him at his 1974 swearing-in as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and the two remained friends until Rand’s death in 1982, which came about as the result of her rationally selfish decision to quit living, rather than the slow consumption of her body by cancer.
During their research, the San Narciso sociology team also uncovered an unfinished and undelivered letter in Rand’s hand, addressed to “AG.” In it, she had begun a complex and almost ecstatic ode to her cancer, praising her killer as “a free market, opportunistic disease that tests the limits of competitive strengths while living according to its own desires, regardless of consequence -- a beautiful destroyer freely available and unbound by regulation, but accessible only to a select minority of ideal hosts.”
Because of the bond they shared and their inseparable closeness (Greenspan only began dating two years after Rand’s death), people had always speculated about a sexual relationship. Ayn Rand had even given Greenspan a pet name, “the undertaker,” presumably in reference to his penchant for dark clothing and dour demeanor. Sociologists now say Greenspan’s writings validate this relationship:
Ayn Rand became a stabilizing force in my life. It hadn’t taken long for us to have a meeting of the minds -- mostly my mind meeting hers -- and in the fifties and early sixties I became a regular at the weekly gatherings at her apartment. Exploring ideas with her was a remarkable course in logic and epistemology. I was able to keep up with her most of the time. But exploring that graying tangle of hair which thatched a fissure too chapped and arid for most men -- a rank and leathery and constricted hollow normally reserved for life, but here only a place for death and ruin -- well, keeping up in the bedroom posed more of a challenge. For my efforts in plundering this slimy tomb, I was awarded the moniker “the undertaker.”
My inability to bring myself to the fullest realization of Ayn’s rational self-interest, the taking of another human life at my own hands, kept us locked at a permanent impasse. And while I applauded the broader truths of Objectivism, I disagreed that without taxation people would voluntarily contribute to critical social programs. Ayn made me dress in petticoats and frocks after that as punishment, and would admit me only if I called myself Gertrude. It’s true, our physical love grew merely from a violent symbiosis of mutual disgust and self loathing. She once implored me to urinate on a pile of her manuscripts, in order to pursue my own happiness and self-interest, which happened to be defiling her ponderous and unlikely fiction. This was integrity according to Ayn -- the non contradiction between my thoughts (hatred of her prose) and my action (soiling her books).
I had also, in the throes of the shared enmity that drove our abusive and degrading coupling, referred to her early concept for ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as ‘Atlas Farted.’ She then demanded that I fart on her, as James Joyce had commanded of his precious wife. Again, I could not. She ordered me to eat crumbs of government cheese from her thighs; and when I did as she directed, I was chastised for partaking in entitlement programs. For those reasons, I came to accept that we would never be together spiritually. But I vowed one day to make Ayn proud.
Greenspan Fulfills His Dreadful Legacy
Although Rand died in the early 1980s, those closest to Greenspan claim that he never lost sight of his mission to fulfill the legacy his mistress had laid out for him. That moment came around 2005 when Greenspan cleverly caused the bursting of the housing bubble and subsequent collapse of the economy by ignoring and limiting regulations, then blaming regulatory failures for the crash.
“Alan realized that he would never be able to kill a baby and bathe in its blood, as Ayn Rand had wanted him to,” said Professor Ketamine. “But he did the next best thing when the opportunity arose: he killed the economy and destroyed millions of lives around the world. And he’s none the poorer. He managed to finally achieve the ideals of self-interest preached by his mentor. He screwed us all right up the you-know-what. And if it’s true, as they say, that you’ve had sex with every person your partner’s slept with, then we’ve all in some way had dirty, shameful sex with Ayn Rand. It will take years of counselling, hot baths and expensive therapy before we can stop hating ourselves and feel clean again. More than answering Rand’s timeless question ‘Who is John Galt?’ we need to ask ourselves what awful disease we’ve been infected with, and how to cure it.”
(c) 2011. See disclaimers.