Ryan’s Godless Philosopher of Wealth, Power and Class Narcissism: If you want to understand Ryan know from whom he draws his inspiration.

Ryan says Ayn Rand is the reason he entered politics and he requires all staff and interns to read her books. Says Ryan: “Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.”

Here’s Ryan in his own words in an address to the Atlas Society: “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well…..But 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. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism….And when you look at the twentieth-century experiment with collectivism—that Ayn Rand, more than anybody else, did such a good job of articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism—you can’t find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand…”

 

Rand’s novel/polemic “Atlas Shrugged” and other less well know works idealize unchecked capitalism as the source of wealth for all. Her writings espouse a moral philosophy that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes..

Her books provided wide-ranging parables of “parasites,” “looters” and “moochers” using the levers of government to steal the fruits of the labor of the “job and wealth producers.”. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor).

But even reality did not stop Rand. Years after applying for benefits she wrote:  “Morally and economically the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.”

Ryan is a faithful disciple but he is not alone.

Clarence Thomas requires his law clerks to watch The Fountainhead, and has said “I tend really to be partial to Ayn Rand.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, Ryan’s GOP colleague from Wisconsin, calls Atlas Shrugged his “foundational book.”

Rush Limbaugh calls Ayn Rand “the brilliant writer and novelist.”

Fox News repeatedly promoted the terribly reviewed and hardly ever seen contemporary movie version of Atlas Shrugged, airing the trailer on several shows and interviewing cast members.

What does not fit the GOP public image is that Rand was also vehemently anti-religion, and referred to Christian teachings as “evil” and “monstrous.”

The conservative evangelical leader Chuck Colson has become so concerned about Rand’s booming popularity in the GOP that he recently recorded a video warning that Rand “peddles a starkly anti-Christian philosophy.”

Richard Cizik, a former top official at the National Association of Evangelicals, says it is  necessary to remind politicians that “being consistently pro-life requires more than caring for the unborn, it requires following the Biblical call to care for the poor and the downtrodden.” I wonder if Ryan will take Cizik’s call?

Sources 

http://www.atlassociety.org/ele/blog/2012/04/30/paul-ryan-and-ayn-rands-ideas-hot-seat-again
http://swampland.time.com/2011/05/13/the-gops-godless-philosopher/
http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/149721/ayn_rand_railed_against_government_benefits,_but_grabbed_social_security_and_medicare_when_she_needed_them/

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escribacat
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Interesting post, Murph. I read the Fountainhead back in high school or thereabouts and of course related to the independent thinking Roark as opposed to the other useless dweeb, whose name I’ve forgotten. The big fallacy in all the Rand worship you see on the far right is the idea that liberals are the “collectivist” thinkers and rightwingers are such independent, original thinkers. My experience has been the opposite. It’s conservatives who are more likely to conform and obey and it’s liberals who are most likely to question authority and strive for big changes. Oh, the irony.

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AlphaBitch
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AlphaBitch

Not to mention the charming yard signs carried in Austin when the Supremes were deciding who would be leader – er, I mean decider. They mostly had “Bush/Cheney” yard signs plain and simple. The Progs had “Hail the the Thief” and “Brothers Don’t Let Brothers Steal Elections” (but of course they did). Lot’s of fun, creative images. In fact, it was when W. had the face boil (not to be confused with Rush’s anal cysts, though it is easy to do so) and I had a bandage on the same spot on MY face that said “You can’t cover up democracy”. My friend had one that said “I’m BOILing mad!” We laughed ourselves silly, about the only way to get through those next 8 years. – AB

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KQµårk 死神
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Great to see your ole moniker cat.

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escribacat
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Hey, I’m not ole!

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KQµårk 死神
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😆 I missed the cat sense of humor.

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KillgoreTrout
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Hey e’cat, long time no see. Your comment makes me think of all the RWs who condemned people at Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity by saying they “littered,” and the TP rallies were clean and liter free after they ended. The same thing RWs said about OWS. The righties were more concerned about tidiness than the actual protests themselves.
They are incapable of civil disobedience. It’s just not in them. They are born followers and would never go against what their leaders tell them. And these TPers say they want a violent revolution? Ha!

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choicelady
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My grandfather knew the woman who laid the path for Ayn Rand. She was Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of “Little House” fame.

Rose was devoted to individualism for reasons that made little sense – she was pretty much a personal failure and quickly came to blame her personal losses and family hardship on government even though family setbacks were entirely the result of the 1929 Crash and earlier from railroad exploitations of the Homestead Act. She opposed the New Deal, and it was she, not Rand, who called Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme”.

Like Rand, she was paranoid, hated pretty much everyone, and thought the world was out to get her. She was a rabid anti-communist (in fairness she had seen a lot while acting as a war correspondent after WW I that brought her into contact with the upheavals in the USSR.) She was anti-racist, but her primary focus was on the power of the free market – despite how unfettered capitalism had harmed her and her family.

The cult of hyper individualism cannot be sustained. The mythology of the frontier – the John Wayne images – have no basis in fact. America was built by communities, by sharing resources and by people who cooperated against the harshness of nature and later the pressures of rapacious capitalism. Those who were harmed by unfettered giant capital yet who embraced it as the only social good continue to tie themselves in knots as reality intrudes. By exploiting her mother’s “Little House” books, she may have avoided having to take Social Security as Ayn Rand finally did. But she built her philosophy, the foundational principles of libertarianism, on a fiction about what America was and is.

And why is she less revered than Rand? Apparently she was lesbian. So much for libertarianism in personal issues.

These people are so tiresome. Reasoning from one’s own ideas is solipsism and nothing more. When your philosophy has to be shored up by myths and distortions, you are probably NOT in a position to be telling the rest of us what to think, do, and believe. So Mr. Ryan – take note of how dreadfully marginalized Ayn and Rose and Ron and Rand all are. It’s not that we are commies – it’s that we have better sense than to think we all can be Rockefellers either. Get a grip. The rich do NOT run America or the world – except into the ground.

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KillgoreTrout
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AdLib
Admin

It’s an interesting cocktail we have on the GOP Presidential ticket, the atheistic selfishness, greed and class warfare of Ayn Rand and the materialism, dictatorial authority and oppressive conformity of The Mormon Church.

It just ain’t a tasty cocktail for most Americans.

What is interesting is that there are similarities between Ayn Rand and Mormonism. Prejudice against those who aren’t followers, absolute beliefs in things that defy provable realities, the self-righteousness to want to force others to live under their beliefs and a central worship of money and wealth.

Up until they collide on atheism, the Ayn Rand philosophy and Mormonism are remarkably compatible.

The positive here is that most Americans find this kind of thinking as incompatible with their view of America as being a compassionate, tolerant and inclusive nation.

Only those who have wealth and power support social Darwinism, survival of the fattest that is. Take away money and power from Ayn Rand followers and watch how quickly they change, all of a sudden Unemployment Insurance, Social Security and Medicare aren’t “leeches” on society.

I posted on the other thread, the results of today’s USA Today/Gallup poll on Ryan, only 39% of those polled feel positive about Ryan being Romney’s VP. Aren’t there more than 39% of voters who are Republicans? They don’t even have their whole party on board with Ryan, let alone Indies and conservative Dems.

The MSM will dance around Ayn Rand, Mormonism, the class warfare that this ticket represents (labeling it Ryan’s “bold thinking” and “fiscal responsibility”) in order to enforce the neck-and-neck Presidential race scenario that promises the greatest profits to them…but as fact-deprived as they leave the American public, people are smart enough to know they don’t want to lose their retirement income and medical care.

This was another bad decision by Romney (as I say, he is not a smart man, making mistakes more often then not) and could prove to be the key for Dems to even retake the House.

Voters will now have a face to represent The Party of No and The Party of Extortion that has and continues to block any progress by Obama on improving the economy (if I were advising Obama, I’d recommend him getting Dems to put up many pro-economy bills up in Congress between now and Nov to hang Ryan on the Repubs shooting them all down) a 10% approval rating in Congress and with Ryan on the ticket, there could be a real anti-Repub wave.

We’ve heard repeatedly that Romney needs to do far better with Latinos and women to win, I frankly don’t see how having an anti-woman, anti-immigrant and pro racist Tea Party candidate makes Romney’s situation anything but worse. And add to that the Repub seniors who will either stay home or vote for Obama because they don’t want to vote for killing or going down a slippery slope to losing their SS and Medicare benefits.

We’ll see but I do feel confident that when people look back at this election, they will see the choice of Ryan as VP as locking in a loss for the GOP on the WH and possibly Congress.

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SueInCa
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Adlib

Consider the people who are advising Romney. John Sununu the disgraced member of the Bush admin. Cofer Black spy extraordinaire. Eric Fehrnstrum the etch a sketch man. Andrea Saul if he lived in MA his wife would have had healthcare ins. Meg Whitman(on the side) a long time friend of the Romney’s and a colleague from Bain. All have issues in some way or another and the Obama team(like last time) stays on message. No Drama Obama is running again.

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KQµårk 死神
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Great piece Murph.

RYAND is the avatar for modern day right wing social engineering. He and the modern GOP have no adult understanding that a society is only as good as the way it treats less fortunate. I view society as a big rubber band stretching from the elites to the poor. The more that rubber band is stretched by realities like economic disparity the more the tension grows. Third world societies are so stretched the are just broken rubber bands. The other implication is if you don’t raise people out of poverty their existence will always hold back the heights society can reach. Only unenlightened people think that all humankind is not connected. Like Andrew Sullivan says true conservatives want a stable society but these Social Darwinist are ever expanding the tensions in modern society. In the future when other factors like climate change kick in the world will be headed to more and more conflicts if the RAND-RYAND philosophies win global acceptance.

Adam Smith the creator of capitalism realized this tension in society. That’s why he said business had a fiduciary responsibility and believed in high wages for workers. RAND-RYAND capitalism is not free market capitalism with open competition and upward mobility. They promote Plutocracy where the game is rigged for the elites and where we end up with a group of oligarchies and a few plutocrats that run them.

Not only are RYAND and RAND radical not conservative, they are both hypocrites. Both lived off of government assistance for parts of their lives.

The bottom line is valuing people based on how much money they make or most times what money they were born into like RMONEY is dangerously wrong. If you ask individuals what they value in people they usually say things like honesty, integrity, empathy, kindness, generosity etc which have NOTHING to do with making money. Therefor wanting a society that values those same principles is true human nature and the true values government should entail. Don’t get me wrong imperfect humans creating a society that is just and fair is much more difficult than giving into selfishness but ultimately a selfish society is self destructive. In this way the RAND-RYAND philosophies are just flat out wrong and are hugely just acts of cowardice.

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Olderandwiser55
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Olderandwiser55

Yes murph-this can’t be repeated too many times. This is the marriage (on the right) between the selfish and atheist philosophy of Rand-yet the evangelicals embrace the selfish part while ignoring-even throwing out) the atheist part. They ignore the “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” part of the Bible and profess extreme wealth is instead very “christian”.

To hold these opposite thoughts together is a feat. I read both novels many years ago and it seems one of Ayn Rand’s points, made over and over, is that artists are creators and should be valued as highly as business owners….she was a not successful screenwriter. Hmmm

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KQµårk 死神
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Like Hitler, Rand was jealous she did not have real talent and was rejected by the artistic community. Spiteful people are obviously the most dangerous people.

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Olderandwiser55
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Olderandwiser55

Very true KQ.

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SueInCa
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Murph

Most people who are “allowed” to vote on the right would not care if Ryan took his ideas from Attila the Hun. They are just not that deep. Trying to get them to understand Ayn Rand mumbo jumbo would be like asking me to take a physics exam. Having said that, we all know the right picks and chooses what they want to believe. Despite the fact they praised Charles Colson to the hilt for his prison ministry they would dismiss his warnings on this because they are so desperate to be on top. BTW Charles Colson is dead. He passed a few months ago. I doubt they would even care about his leanings as is evident by their defending criminals in their midst. To the right a lie is not a lie because you can always say you are sorry later but how many people hear the apology as opposed to the many who hear the lie and believe it.

As I stated on Adlib’s latest piece I am more worried about disenfranchisement of voters who should be able to vote. I wonder if there will be pitchforks and torches on election day when some voters learn they are no longer eligible. I posted an article from a Lubbock paper about a voter rights activist who found out she had been purged arbitrarily by Sec of State in NM.

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KQµårk 死神
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Absolutely. Sure there are true believers on the right. But most people that vote Republican are just voting their racial or religious identity. They have no clue what the viscous right really stands for.

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