Ayn Rand provided the intellectual fuel for the political ascendancy of Paul Ryan. Her ideas are also echoed in Mitt Romney’s dystopian vision for America, where you’re either a producer or a parasite, firing people is celebrated as an exercise of individual rights, and a company is a person.
Those poor rich people — according to Rand, they’re being manipulated and unfairly “guilted” into helping others. In Rand’s world, altruism is at odds with individual rights and the pursuit of happiness. They are very sensitive, those Masters of the Universe and One-Percenters, whom Rand calls Prime Movers. In Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, when the producers are demonized and punished for their accomplishments, society slows to a near halt. (Think Romney/Ryan in their insistence that Obama is “punishing wealth creators.”)
Atlas Shrugged provides the conservatives’ answer to Hillary’s It Takes a Village. Asking individuals to sacrifice for the common good turns producers into victims, another interest group whose rights have been trampled on. Don’t you feel their pain? When Atlas shrugs, it means he has liberated himself from the burden of carrying the world–and caring about the world. Now he is free to doggedly pursue his self-interest, as he is naturally programmed to do. It is morally, according to Rand’s view, the right way to organize a society.
Talk about contrasting visions. Ayn Rand should be the Democrats’ Saul Alinsky. Let’s put Rand on trial the way Sean Hannity demonized little known Alinsky and tried to link him to Obama as if they were joined at the hip. Here’s quintessential Hannity:
“…then-State Senator Barack Obama agreed to appear at a play called, “The Love Song of Saul Alinsky,” honoring the life and times of left-wing radical Saul Alinsky. The post-game show included a real panel discussion featuring Senator Barack Obama as well as some of Alinsky’s closest friends and even yes, a handful of communist sympathizers.”
Ayn Rand coined the term Objectivism to describe her brand of “philosophy,” though political ideology may be more accurate. Her ideas have long been absorbed and adopted by Libertarians, but now her credo that selfishness is a virtue and her elevation of individual rights above the common good are dogma in the Republican Party.
Ryan wasn’t merely exposed to Rand. He had what might be called an intellectual love affair with her over many years, and he still hasn’t gotten over her. Her words inspired him to run for office. He even handed out copies of Ayn Rand’s treatises to his staff and made sure they read every word. Therefore, as Sean Hannity would say, the American people have a right to know what Ayn Rand stood for, what her core beliefs were, and how they shaped Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. Here’s just a taste:
- She called Christianity “the best kindergarten of communism possible.” An avid atheist, she saw religions’ support for the common good a violation of individual rights.
- Rand believed “the essence of femininity is hero worship – the desire to look up to man” and that “an ideal woman is a man-worshipper, and an ideal man is the highest symbol of mankind.”
- She supported abortion rights.
- She opposed the Vietnam War.
- She believed in UNRESTRAINED capitalism.
- She sided with Israel during the Arab-Israeli War of 1973, characterizing it as “civilized men fighting savages.”
- Rand thought European colonists had the right to take land from American Indians.
- She believed affirmative action is legal racism.
- She not only supported the right of publishers to produce pornography, but she went farther, arguing for no age restrictions.
- She deemed homosexuality immoral and disgusting.
- She was a board member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. The group, comprised of Hollywood reactionary types like Ronald Reagan, was formed to provide testimony to Congress on suspected Communists in the film industry.
- She believed a restaurant or any other business has the right to discriminate against gay people.
- Rand had an “open marriage,” engaging in an affair with a younger man while she was married.
That’s quite a list, and it doesn’t make Rand seem like a nice person, does it? Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, on the other hand, seem very nice.
But their ideas are very mean.
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