Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not?

28 Apr

The Love Song of Paul Ryan

It appears that Mitt Romney is not the only major liar in the GOP. With statements from Rep. Paul Ryan like:

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” – 2005


“I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.” – 2003

It is surprising to see Rep. Ryan say this recently in an interview with the National Review discussing Ayn Rand:

I reject her philosophy…It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.

When I first read this on Think Progress I did a double take and assumed this must be an attempt at being like The Onion. I’m afraid that is not the case. Even though he has now dissed his hero, and appears to be going for a more “Godly” approach, we should notice that he has not dissed his budget cuts plan (inspired by his hero Ayn Rand) that would cut important social programs like Medicare and Food Stamps, and give trillions in tax cuts to corporations and the rich – thus shifting more tax burden onto the poor.

What I find amusing about all of this is that Rep. Ryan calls Rand’s selfish philosophy an “atheist” philosophy despite noting that as a Christian he followed her philosophy and admitted to getting into politics because of her. Obviously, the “virtue” of selfishness, as Rand referred to it, is not exclusive to atheists, but can be found in any walk of life.

The big question is, what is the catalyst for his change of mind? The answer could be videos like this from The American Values Network.

The video is clearly designed to clarify, “Look, the GOP are following an ATHEIST! That does not reflect the values they should have as Christians.” Rep. Ryan was even asked recently why he based his budget plan on Rand and not on Biblical principals like sharing and caring for everyone. His bizarre claim that his budget is based on his Catholic faith has been demolished by numerous groups of Catholic leaders and scholars.  He has not answered the question or the criticism; this pressure could be another reason why he has lied.

I do not believe that Rep. Ryan had any sort of epiphany or his budget would have also changed. We all know that you can follow a person’s philosophy without adopting the religion (or lack of religion) that person has. For example, I am a non-believer but I can still appreciate Biblical views of a loving nature without having to claim Christianity…By TSM Contributor James Queale

8 Responses to “Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not?”

  1. Jay April 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Secular libertarians tend to adore Rand, while religious libertarians either reject her, or cherry-pick her. I’m not sure if Ryan’s rhetorical back-pedaling regarding Rand represents a sincere reappraisal of the importance of religion in public life, or is mere pandering to the religious nuts who dominate the Republican Party, but Rand’s hyper-individualistic ethos continues to pervade Ryan’s budget proposals.

    As an aside, libertarianism of all stripes has long struck me as a very adolescent philosophy. I flirted with libertarianism and the Libertarian Party when I was around 15. To me it screams of that teenaged desire to be free of parental authority, and to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible, with government and society becoming proxies for mean old Mom and Dad.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 29, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Your analysis of the Libertarian Party could not be more spot on. As I was reading your comment I was thinking of Howard Zinn’s “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.” My experience of many libertarians in the past 20 years is a lot of white entitlement wrapped in privilege refusing to look at or engage in conversations around inequitable distributions of wealth and power.

      • James Queale April 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

        I had never heard about Ayn Rand until I was in the States the last couple of years. I decided to research her recently (shortly before I came upon this story) and what I found was alarming. Not only are her views selfish in nature, as she gladly admitted, but her views regarding social issues were alarming. She disliked feminists, calling it “hero worship” and believed that women should submit to men, in all ways including sex. Even though she despised religion, she seemed to be a fan of right-wing religious views of women. She also had a great dislike for the LGBT community, calling us “disgusting” and “having a mental disorder” and disliked feminists because they would “hang out” with Lesbians.

        Now, I have looked at The Ayn Rand Institute website and they renounce Rand’s views about the LGBT, but I can only imagine how many still take her feelings seriously.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

        I have always found a great deal of pathology in Rand.

  2. nevercontrary April 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    I have not read anything of hers. I suppose I should read up than contribute educated conversation. But I will say I cannot stand that the christian right has decided anything that is not christian is evil. I think miss julia sugarbaker says it best.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      I love the link to a great speech. Sadly, in real life Dixie Carter was a very conservative Republican.

  3. Cystal January 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    They shouldn’t insult each other and just be professional. If you are a good leader then you show your quality’s for that. You don’t insult the people running against you.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      Wouldn’t it be nice if the rules changed during elections and we could just stick talking about facts and what is best for all people in the nation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: