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Friday, October 28, 2016

Ayn Rand Is A Curious Choice For Conservative Veneration

Rep. Paul Ryan, now the GOP vice presidential nominee, is an Ayn Rand acolyte, a loyal adherent to the philosophies of a woman whose views have enthralled fringe segments of the conservative movement for more than half a century. He is famous for giving her novels to staffers in his office.

He has even called her works the inspiration for his government career, according to an August profile by New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, who quoted from a 2005 speech the congressman gave to the Atlas Society, an Ayn Rand fan club.

“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. The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism,” Ryan told the group.

That helps to explain Ryan’s ideas about the federal budget, which he would radically downsize to shrink the programs that help the elderly, the poor, the unemployed, and just about everybody else who needs the occasional helping hand. In Rand’s philosophy, the brilliant, the well-born and the lucky have no obligation to the struggling stiffs whose jobs don’t guarantee riches. Indeed, she believed altruism was foolish.

But nothing explains how the author of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” came to captivate so many economic gurus of the modern conservative movement, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Her “objectivism” is nothing more than rank selfishness promoted to a grand economic and cultural philosophy. (Among her works is one titled “The Virtue of Selfishness.”)

What’s more, Rand was an atheist and libertine whose private life was testament to her fierce belief that individuals should be free to do whatever they please, no matter the consequences to others. Though married, she conducted a long-running affair with one of her young disciples, in view of their spouses.

She mocked Christianity, proclaiming it anathema to reason. She once told an interviewer that faith “is a sign of a psychological weakness. … I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desire, above the evidence of what your mind knows. That’s what you’re doing with the idea of God.” She’s a strange role model for members of a political party that claims to represent religious conviction and personal probity.

  • adler56

    Is there a picture of this doofus that doesn’t have him looking up. That must be a habit he formed kneeling before priests.

    • WhutHeSaid

      No, that’s him kneeling before David Koch, preparing to receive his ‘trickle down’ economic stimulus.

  • nhirsch

    Ayn Rand’s philosophy is so totally wrong. It only takes observation of so many species of animals and human civilizations to see that collectivism is how things get done in a society. Sure if everyone strives to better only themselves, some will succeed and those are the people who embrace her philosophy so they have a basis to justify their success. Her philosophy teaches that not only shouldn’t you try to help those less successful, but it would be immoral to do so. I’m not making this up. It’s crazy. It’s akin to giving everyone a gun and saying kill or be killed.

  • howa4x

    It is easier for conservatives to embrace Ayn Rand than liberals or progressives. Ever since the Protestant Ethic came into being, this country has veiwed capitalism as not only a way to enrich themselves, directly contrary to the teachings of Jesus, but to determine their place in heaven. This is why Evangelicals can cherry pick Rands ideas justifying sslfishness, and has helped them overcome the religious teachings of Jesus and his veiw of the poor and turn them upside down to think of the rich as more godly and the poor as shiffless and lazy people. The works of Charles Darwin has also helped to form the veiw that survival of the fittest is what makes some people rich and some poor, almost like it was ordained. Couple that with the new ethic of hard work determining your place in the after life, and the teachings of Ayn Rand and now you have the current evangelical philosophy. This forced the reinvention of Jesus as one who supports the accumulation of wealth instead of the plight of the poor. Kinda how the old south reinvented him to justify slavery. Now the religious right can have a grounded justifacation for their distain of the poor and worship of the wealthiest 1%. It is a confluence of some of the worst attributes of human kind passed off as devout Christianity.

    This is why thinking people are wary of the evangelical movement, since they know what it is really about, and know it has nothing to do with what Christ really said or did.

  • quasm

    Ms. Tucker;

    One can ascribe to Ayn Rand’s views on individual freedom without accepting her political beliefs. Otherwise Pres. Obama would have to own all of Rev. Wright’s beliefs.

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

    • Dave_dido

      You’ll know a tree by it’s fruit. The Ryan budget indicates to me that Senator Ryan has incorporated some of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and would like to impose it on our U.S. economic policy.
      I haven’t seen any evidence that President Obama is trying to impose Reverend Wright’s beliefs on us. Anyway, I believe Reverend Wright’s comments were taken out of context and don’t reflect a consistent position. Ayn Rand, on the other hand seems to have been pretty consistent in her philosophy of selfishness.

  • Go over to the Nathaniel Branden website and read about how Ayn Rand reacted when he edged out of his relationship with her (she was many decades his senior) and fell in love with another woman. She became completely unhinged to the point of publicly denouncing him and his ex-wife in a slanderous feud.

    Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan (who Matt Taibbi rightly calls ‘the biggest asshole in the universe’) also were part of this unholy group of Ayn Rand worshippers. That woman’s writing has done more to justify socially regressive policies than anyone else on the planet. A civilization is not civilized until all within it have their needs taken care of. Ayn Rand gave us the top 1% bragging that they pay 13% in taxes while the majority are poverty stricken and paying far more than that. She gave us banks that throw people out of houses and into the street so that the houses can go vacant and the banks can make ever more money. She’s the epitome of the worship of money over the needs of the people. Is this really how we want to order ourselves? Kissing the asses of anyone with more bits of little green paper as if they’re better then the rest of us?

    And what’s wrong with Ryan that he didn’t see through all this by the time he was 18?

  • “Her ‘objectivism’ is nothing more than rank selfishness promoted to a grand economic and cultural philosophy.”

    Well, there’s your answer. Ayn Rand’s rank selfishness appeals to people who are themselves plagued by rank selfishness. She wasn’t an intellectual so much as a vendor of the light intellectual fluff that catered to her audience’s preexisting prejudices.

    She was her generation’s FOX News, in other words.

  • dsjz59

    This article is just plain wrong on too many points to take seriously. There’s much about Ayn Rand’s philosophies that I don’t agree with, but it’s clear the author hasn’t a clue about Rand ‘s political philosophy or the novel Atlas Shrugged. Paul Ryan is not a conservative. He is a neoconservative globalist and is the polar opposite of the economic philosophy of Ayn Rand.

    If Ryan truly embraced this philosophy, our never ending war mongering would come to a halt, huge tariffs would be imposed on imported goods made in slave labor gulag nations, the NDAA, Patriot Act would be repealed and the DHS and TSA would be shut down. Unfair competition, Crony Capitalism, The Federal Reserve Banking cartel are every bit as much a threat to the free market as is Socialism.

    The government NEVER takes care of the poor. History has shown this time and time again. Under all types of schemes; National Socialism, Fabian Socialism, Communism and the New American Soft Fascism, we witness the government creating more poor and simultaneosly doing nothing for them. In a prosperous free society, charitable donations from individuals and organizations are generous. Government handouts enslave the working lower and middle class, by devaluing their hard earned savings through hyperinflation. Foreign Aid and our war mongering is to blame, just as much as allowing companies to shut down factories in the US and still profit off the people.

    Ryan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and is not a conservative. He is a Neocon.

  • greghilbert

    Greed by any other name is ultimately no less murderous.

  • Paul Ryan has said his obsession with Ayn Rand was in his “youth” when he was “young.”

    This was apparently before 2009 — the last time Ryan praised Rand in public.

  • onedonewong

    As compared to Obama who’s guiding lights in Life were Adolf, Mohammed and Castro

    • WhutHeSaid


      I thought you liked to complain that Obama is a ‘lefty’? Why would he have ultra-ultra-right heroes like Hitler?

      I do believe that you are the first person in history who actually sucks the IQ points out of any group you join.

      • onedonewong

        Hitler was a card carrying SOCIALIST just like Barak, but of course you knew that

        • WhutHeSaid

          You really have earned your nickname, OneDingDong. Hitler was a Nazi. Nazism is a form of fascism, which is a violent and racist totalitarian ideology. Just because the term ‘national socialist’ translates with your favorite word (socialist) doesn’t mean that you’ve stumbled on to some clever idea.

          Because you are a nitwit and really need the help, let me explain it to you this way: Your beliefs (as stated in this forum) are far closer to Nazism on the political spectrum than Obama’s. Does that help?

          • onedonewong

            Hitler was a socialist his world view is identical to Obama’s, that’s why your going thru the gymnastics to try and separate the 2. Sorry your not that clever.
            No barak’s idea of a totalitarian state is in lock step with Hitlers. No one was allowed to criticize the Fuhrer and No one is allowed to criticize the Messiah. Both Hitler and Obama hated Jews. Hitler stole from the Jews and Barak stole from the bond holders.
            Hitler arrested people as he wanted and Obama got a bill passed that allows him to arrest any US citizen in this country with out charges and to hold them indefinitely
            Sorry Whutt when you look at 1 its the mirror image of the other

          • You’ve obviously let yourself become brainwashed by Faux News…there’s not a word of truth in anything that you’re saying which is typical of the GOP. It’s Pure gibberish.

          • onedonewong

            Every word posted is 100% accurate,,, it drives the left wing crowd nuts to realize that they vote for a Hitler protege

          • WhutHeSaid

            I don’t know what kind of wacky weed you’ve been smoking, but you are obviously hallucinating. Obama is routinely criticized in this country, most notably by you yourself — even though you are stupid enough to criticize Obama and then declare that nobody is ‘allowed’ to criticize him in the very same breath. Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, was fond of stringing up his critics with piano wire. That’s why there were so few public critics of Hitler in Germany, whereas you (and others) flap you jaws incessantly about Obama with no fear of reprisals.

            I’m sorry, OneDingDong, but you have been awarded today’s ‘Ding Dong of the Day Award’ for the most thoroughly stupid argument. Congratulations.

          • onedonewong

            Really and what is the normal response from the WH and the state run media “racism racism racist racist…… ya ya ya. The SS has been arresting people for criticism
            You think you have any idea of home many folks have been disappeared under this administration now that they can detain anyone they want???
            Once again a left wing nut post more dribble, if I didn’t know better I would think this is Joe Biteeme posting its written at the same level of insanity

  • I read Ann Rand fifty years ago and got excited about her views. I was a young adult then, certain I’d be one of her chosen few, get rich quick and never have to worry about the poor and needy. But life soon brought me up short with the horror of Vietnam, segregation, ecological crisis, recessions and so much violence all over the world, people killing people, putting others down, living by greed and corruption. I began to question more deeply and continued reading, discovered Thomas Merton and finally took Jesus seriously. I’ve followed him to prisons, hospitals, AIDS victims, the hungry, refugees, the homeless, despised and rejected. Along the way I’ve visited monasteries, gone to seminary and been ordained priest. It baffles me that some politicians can equate Ann Rand’s self serving rationalism with the sacrifical offering of Jesus. We need continued discernment on the many issues that confront us and wise stewardship of our resources, but her pathetic anti-Christian philophy of greed doesn’t offer it. Christians, be ware of idolatry!

    • Dave_dido

      I’ve had a similar experience, James. I read Ayn Rand as a young man. At first I thought she made some sense, but life’s experiences taught me otherwise. It is amazing to me that people who call themselves Christian embrace her. But then, many people are Christian because they think it will bring them earthly prosperity, which is something Jesus never promised.

      “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest execises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
      — John Kenneth Galbraith
      There are ways, other than government programs, to help the poor and needy. But the Ryan budget plan points toward more suffering for the poor, therefore I cannot endorse it nor the party that backs it.

      • rustacus21

        Great takes Dave & especially James… It may be helpful to ‘glean’ some of these justifications by hearing what Ryan/Rand enablers have to say here: (http://thedianerehmshowdotorg/shows/2012-08-20/ayn-rand-and-2012-presidential-campaign/transcript), where a show was devoted to the subject & the person from the Rand Institute twisted himself all in knots trying to ‘justify’ Rand’s/Ryan’s… ‘theology’ (as it represents nothing coherently close to a ‘philosophy’, but rather a fanatical, fundamentalist set of beliefs) as it compares w/our Constitutional imperatives & Enlightenment ‘PHILOSOPHIES’ that are at its foundation. Selfishness, at its core, is a childish obsession, that they want, want, WANT, w/no regard to outcomes or consequences. It is only upon reaching ‘maturity’ do human beings retire such backwards thinking. A ‘knowing’ we should all remind ourselves of as election day approaches…

  • Ayn Rand’s socio-economic philosophy is based on the conviction that the best way to find Nirvana is to let the merchants run the Temple.

  • newman1979

    Every time Ryan or Romney speaks or is shown visualize a $ sign on their foreheads, like Rand, who had the $ sign on her headstone.


  • ClarkKent46

    I’m an Atheist and I am saying that ayn rand (lower case deliberate) was a psychopath. I do not consider her to be one of us. Most of us Atheists do not share her selfish rabid capitalst beliefs. She was also a hypocrite, benefitting from both Social Security and Medicare.

  • I’m not sure why anyone is surprised that America’s largest anti-Christian organization (the GOP) whose total focus is on MONEY would embrace Ayn Rand. It’s been pretty obvious over the past 30 some years that nothing matters to Republicans beyond their love of MONEY…being it at the expense of the country, the planet or the needy. Everything the GOP stands for is anti-Christian.

  • rich white slave owners bought this country before anyone alive now were born, any questions? if you think any republican will ever give up a dime for anyone other than the rich white assholes they represent, you are deluded . the stealing of america started fiersly with prescott bush, the bush klan are hitlers lovers. never believe anything the family who brought us the patriot act ever says. g.h.w. bush pres 41 planned and exicuted the 9/11 mess to get it passed, a vote for ANY gop candidate is a vote for slavory.

  • attrition of the species, darwinian? woe to seamus-likes out there, & those with abilities less than those who excel?

  • Many Christians are hypocrites when it comes to Politics. They will sell,out, or ignore the teachings of Christ, and the Bible, when it comes to their TRUE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: Right Wing Neo-Conservative Rhetoric; which often-times is Godless and certainly Un-Democratic!

    Ann Rand was a brilliant, but selfish Writer and Human Being. Because of her Ego and Self-centered viewpoints; she did not believe in God; and certainly felt little or no Compassion for the Under-class. Non-belief gave her license to be provocative, insulting, and immoral. She really liked that asset than only men possess.

    What is really tough to fathom is how professed Christians – – Ryan – – or whoever; could hold this person up as their, Hero! in order to justify selfishness, sleight of hand, and unethical behavior. Rand types are greedy Extractors who exploit the weak, and, every loophole in the Laws of Society, to further their own, selfish ends. If survival of the fittest is their newly adopted Creed – – because, as they see it – – it is the natural order of things; then let’s declare it so – – and shout it from the Mountain Tops – – then, we can all go home and prepare to aggressively go after the Rich – – by any and all means at one’s disposal. Hey, if it is, “Survival of the Fittest;” if, reality today is what Thomas Hobbs preached: the Man in a State of Nature, is in a State of War; then, it best we all prepare. Hot Damn! Someone better make some sandwiches!

  • The woman was a russian born rabid anti-communist. Not a bad thing, however her novels while entertaining were not any kind of model for the real world. As for why the right wingnuts idolise her even tho she was a devout athiest? They have no values, souls or hope, just greed and hate.

  • rustacus21

    We can always depend on THIS premier author & commentator to look well beyond the surface, the superficial & give us just that little bit more to think about. In doing so, we’re able to see this not in isolation, but as a piece to a complex whole; case in point – while we’re talking about Aiken’s Neandertalian mentality towards… well, anybody but white men, we’re closing the window slowly, on discussing economic details, job proposals, environmental preservation initiatives, regulation of banking/investment industries & the like, between the candidates. Meanwhile, Ms. Tucker appropriately spotlites Rand at a time when her sociopathopathic rantings has gained mainstream attention, courtesy of the selfish, savage, in fact, barbarism of the Romney/Ryan candidacy & their “prescriptions to ‘save’ America” – but which America, we’re left to wonder? Atheism being the least distressing aspects of ‘ANY’ American’s support for this Russian who lived in the shadows of the chaos & savagery of Stalin’s Russia, which began in earnest, ironically in her last years there, carried those ‘scars’ directly into her work, from the the remorseless, murdurous characters she spotlites as ‘hero’s’, to the viciousness that is all too common in the perverse rape & assault passages of her novels (tho admittedly, I’ve only glanced thru some, but never able to read them in their entirety for obvious reasons…). The ‘shadow’ of her influence is plainly marked on the Ryan budget, as the Americans who have already suffered the most, are now placed upon the sacrificial ‘blood’ alter, to give those few drops remaining that the 2001-2009 administration hadn’t extracted & couldn’t after the fact, b/c of President Obama stand that ALL 100% of Americans deserve the same opportunities enjoyed by the 1% during the previous administration. The American Democratic (NOT the PARTY!!!) tradition is what is at stake here, in joining w/one another toward the ‘PROGRESS’ of a better America for ALL Americans vs. the conservative vision of savage selfishness, which includes thievery, lies & murder, in order to obtain to ‘RETAIN’ power & money. A Greek tragedy is shaping up here, as conservatives are seriously contemplating a re-run of 2001-2009, while internalizing the psychotic theology of people like Ryan, Romney & Rand…