Ayn Rand’s Subversion of the GOP

The discussion about the face of modern conservatism during this week’s Republican National Convention will inevitably avoid the looming problem of Ayn Rand. The vice presidential nominee, up until his consideration for that position, praised Ayn Rand. He credited her ideology with spurring him into politics and required his staff to read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Curiously, it seems Rand’s masterpiece has a habit of drawing in younger conservatives, as it did for Paul Ryan. Like communism for college liberals, Rand’s trumpeting prose comes off as revelatory. This message often appeals to misguided anarchists and conservatives trying to find real answers that America’s two parties fail to provide. Yet, in drawing in such audiences, Rand devotees often put themselves in danger of obvious conflicts of interest.

When Randist-Republicans like Paul Ryan abandon Rand’s atheism and her contempt for America’s two parties, they make a mockery of what Rand’s brand of conservatism really embodied. Rand summed it up like this: “There is no party, are no voice that offer a pro-capitalism, laissez-faire, economic freedom and individualism [sic].”

One philosophy Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand considered evil to her system of politics and economics was altruism. The one redeeming value of Christianity is its message of love, charity, forgiveness and its inescapable message of caring for the poor. Rand was crystal clear in Atlas Shrugged that Christian ethics had no place in her society. Modern Republican interpretations opportunistically shift this outright rejection of altruism towards an argument against legislating altruism: food stamps, subsidized healthcare, and so on. But in her words, Rand hates even the private act of giving where the motive is not self-interest, or to be less circuitous, one’s own personal monetary gain.

The RNC is missing the opportunity to have a debate about whether we as a people will continue to care for our poor. Does the Republican Party want to stand with altruism? It seems problematic for Ryan, a Christian, to advocate abandoning state-sponsored altruism. Imagine a Catholic trying to make that argument to the American people. This might not be a problem if Ryan was not a member of the flock of Christians who have ignored the American tradition of keeping religion and politics separate – which his views on the female body indicate.

It seems like a fatal case of cognitive dissonance. Christ was nothing if not an altruist. Yet Ryan’s budget relies on heavy reductions in altruism. I assume Ryan has America’s Christianity in mind based on his record. Yet, he’s either lost himself in his mutually contradictory views or is utterly insincere about either his Randian conservatism or his Catholicism. But, his proposed budget gives him an alibi for his sincere attachment to Ayn Rand and his social views do the same for his Catholicism.

Attempts for Randists like Ryan to hold on to their Christianity have already led to embarrassing exposes of this fatal cognitive dissonance. During an early Republican debate, fellow Randist and Christian Ron Paul, when asked what the role of the state was for an uninsured man dying in a hospital, was essentially to let the man die.

Ayn Rand was and will continue to be an albatross in the Republican Party. She had no place in either party and she knew it. Yet, in their desperation, the Republican candidates are setting themselves up for more embarrassing examples of their utter insincerity, or worse, their blatant idiocy.


Ryan’s Budget: It’s Evil And Actually Kinda Dangerous

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Paul Krugman* labeled the plan a “fraud” on the Sunday talkabouts:

The plan is a big bunch of tax cuts, some specified spending cuts, basically for poor people, and then a huge magic asterisk which is supposed to turn into a deficit reduction plan, but, in fact, if you look what’s actually in it, it’s a deficit-increasing plan.

That covers dangerous (e.g. painting a deficit cutting plan as a deficit increasing plan).

Where it gets evil comes from Ryan’s backtrack on his inspiration for his fiscal ideals, which I think I neglected to mention in this forum.

Paul Ryan is quoted saying, and audio exists at the above link:

“It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”

Follow that with a quote in National Review saying

“I reject her philosophy.”

In the first instance, Ryan is referring to the book Atlas Shrugged and in the second instance Ryan means Ayn Rand‘s philosophy. The above link also has several quoted instances of Ryan getting elbow deep in embarrassingly effusive praise for the meth-addicted comic book reader**, Madam Rand.

The point of all this is just to paint Ryan as a fraud and it seems the only reason he’s made this pivot was to  appear more likeable as a potential vice president.

To wit, Ryan is clearly too inconsistent to be leading much of anything besides a fitness class for pillow-shaped Congressman. The man is deeply religious, but an avowed objectivist, despite Rand’s persistent insistence that magical belief is counter-intuitive to her entire philosophy. Ryan also jams out to the band Rage Against the Machine, apparently completely unaware of the lyrics, which paint people like him as worthy of murder.

What a fucking leader for America. Inconsistent and totally not bothered one bit.


*I realize a lot of you don’t even listen to anything the Nobel Prize-winning economist says because of his liberal nebbish-ness. That’s fine. Just move along.

**Her close followers essentially have confirmed the only books Rand read after publishing Atlas Shrugged were comic books and the equivalent of grocery store paperback mystery books. I make this stab because of the amount of praise this intellectually uncurious person receives.

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