“Right now we are living in an Ayn Rand novel…” -Paul Ryan

When Mitt Romney chose as his running mate an avowed acolyte of the serial killer-loving philosopher Ayn Rand, he ensured that the controversial libertarian author would factor significantly in this Presidential race. Here, if you aren’t familiar with her work, are two videos that will bring you up to speed on Rand, who famously referred to altruism as a “basic evil,” and how her “moral philosophy” of individualism over all else, has guided the work of Paul Ryan.

It’s worth noting that Ayn Rand, who consistently referred to those receiving government assistance as “looters” and “moochers,” secretly took advantage of both Medicare and Social Security later in life. And, much like his hypocritical idol, Paul Ryan, who is now known for his efforts to dismantle social programs, payed his way through college with the Social Security survivor benefits that he collected from the government when his father passed away. It would seem, I guess, that a social safety net is OK in some instances… like when it’s employed to assist white, middle class conservatives.

update:Our friend Doug Skinner had the following to add:

Here, if you’re curious, is an appreciation of Rand from the Church of Satan. They do point out, though, that although they share Rand’s values of reason, greed, selfishness, and atheism, they’re not as dogmatic. Apparently, Satanists see Rand as someone who takes those Satanic values too far.

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31 Comments

  1. Posted August 12, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Quote: It would seem, I guess, that a social safety net is OK in some instances… like when it’s employed to assist white, middle class conservatives.

    That’s exactly it. A very large percentage of our voting population will vote for Romney just so those black/non-white lazy assholes have to get up to go to work like the rest of us and stop having the life of leisure. I was in a FB conversation with someone who seemed alright, but who said he was sick of “getting up and going to work every day while others got free money”. Later on, he referenced Detroit and so I knew exactly who he meant by “others”. Again, this guy seemed decent (despite some obvious prejudices), wasn’t going to vote for Romney, but had the perception that voting for Obama would mean continued monies flowing to “others”.

    As I said yesterday, this pick was brilliant as many, many low income and middle income whites are going to be secretly cheering this guy.

    On another note, what the HELL was wrong with Ayn Rand? What shaped her life views? Was she locked in a closet and raped by a Satanic cult as a child? What? Did she get picked last for the gym teams? Did she need a cookie? What the HELL!??!

  2. Charlie Carter
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Patti – I just had a similar interaction on fb today. Can’t say the person seemed ok (by the wild sentence structure I’d guess either poorly educated or heavily medicated) but when pressing her to try & find some evidence to support her claims that another Obama term would turn us all communist, she immediately recanted a story about how she had a relative & a friend back in the 60’s who were black. The irony was that I hadn’t suspected or accused anyone of racism, but once the race issue sprang up out of her like projectile guilt vomit I immediately knew the score.

  3. dragon
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    -John Rogers

  4. Knox
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I think you give the American people a little too much credit when you suggest that Rand will now dominate the public discourse. On CNN this morning, I heard their reporter introduce Ryan like this – “He listens to Led Zeppelin and has ripped abs”. That’s how they started their coverage at the top of the hour.

  5. Knox
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    To answer your question, Patti, Rand escaped Russia after the revolution. I think this explains her fear of government. Why anyone else would listen to her, though, is beyond me. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about her early years.

    “Rand was born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum (Russian: Алиса Зиновьевна Розенбаум) on February 2, 1905, to a bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She was the eldest of the three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna Rosenbaum, largely non-observant Jews. Rand’s father was a successful pharmacist, eventually owning a pharmacy and the building in which it was located. Rand was twelve at the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917, during which her sympathies were with Alexander Kerensky. Rand’s family life was disrupted by the rise of the Bolshevik party under Vladimir Lenin. Her father’s pharmacy was confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and the family fled to the Crimea, which was initially under the control of the White Army during the Russian Civil War. She later recalled that while in high school she determined that she was an atheist and that she valued reason above any other human attribute. After graduating from high school in the Crimea, at 16 Rand returned with her family to Petrograd (the new name for Saint Petersburg), where they faced desperate conditions, on occasion nearly starving.”

    She moved to the United States in 1926.

  6. Posted August 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Remarkable. I suppose Ayn is having some great times explaining her ideas to Hitler while on her 5 minute break between endless back-to-back 12 hour shifts shoveling brimstone into the eternal fire.

    So, is this the year we vote between good or evil? Is this the year our “better angels” triumph, or are ground up and sold to China, to be repackaged as pet food and sold back to us by a former Bain Capital company? Holy Swiss Bank Account!

  7. Posted August 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Here, if you’re curious, is an appreciation of Rand from the Church of Satan. They do point out, though, that although they share Rand’s values of reason, greed, selfishness, and atheism, they’re not as dogmatic. Apparently, Satanists see Rand as someone who takes those Satanic values too far.

    http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/SatObj.html

  8. Bob
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Rand was not from a very bourgeois family as she claimed. She lied even about her passenger status on the boat to the U.S. I’m curious to know how Paul Ryan manages to justify his religion with his worhip of Rand. She hated religion as much as she worshipped capitolism.

  9. Edward
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Footage of a 71 year old man being tacked by private security forces for asking Ryan about his proposed cuts to Medicare.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBhdXfCdaA8&t=0s

    This is not the kind of thing that plays well with retired voters.

  10. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Can anyone doubt that this is nihilistic modernity come home to roost? Rand is the modernist par excellance, who saluted smoke stacks and believed ciggerette smokeing is a patriotic duty. Ryan believes we are living in one of Rand’s novels, this is true, but not in the sense he thinks. Our dark and worldless world is indeed governed by antisocial, sociopathic charecatures of serial killers who ernestly believe (in err) they are superior beings because of their vast wealth, who are morally obliged to cast off the shackles of the parasitic masses and let the poor and homely drown in their own blood. The major difference is that these people will be just as dead as everyone else when the ocean dies. There is no alternative vto earth, no off shore planet to run to when the atmosphere becomes as Venus, no arc to carry you above the rising tide.

  11. anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Doug. The addition of your comment on Satanism really made the post something special.

  12. Eel
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    If I’m living in an Ayn Rand novel, how come I’m not having sadistic sex with any hot, young, subservient women?

  13. Meta
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    More to consider.

    In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard in 2010, Mr. Ryan, an observant Roman Catholic, played down the possibility of a truce on social issues, which had been suggested by Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican.

    “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Mr. Ryan said then. “You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.”

    In nearly 14 years as a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, Mr. Ryan has not only voted for legislation that would cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood and the Title X family planning program, but also backed bills to establish criminal penalties for certain doctors who perform the procedure known as partial-birth abortion.

    He is a co-sponsor of a bill that would define fetuses as people entitled to full legal protection, a proposal that has become the latest focus in the battles over abortion. The bill declares, “The life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”

    The concept of personhood is a fundamental tenet of the anti-abortion movement, and under this definition, abortion and some forms of birth control could be construed as murder.

    Like most Republicans, Mr. Ryan has strenuously opposed the new health care law championed by President Obama. He has criticized Mr. Obama’s efforts to guarantee free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, including those employed by Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies.

    “The contraceptive mandate is an affront to religious liberty,” Mr. Ryan has said.

    Read the rest here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/us/politics/paul-ryans-views-on-abortion-guns-and-same-sex-marriage-come-to-forefront.html

  14. John Galt
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Paul Ryan is not enough of a culture warrior for me. I would have preferred it if Romney had picked this woman.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3mDLsyn6ns

  15. Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Charlie, I need to stop schooling these people on Facebook because here I am again today, trying to school someone WHO JUST DOAN WANNA KNOW!!!! I generally presume that every person I meet, online or in person or in my head, will one day be my friend; I am starting to replace that vision with a much less happy, less butterflies & hops reality :(

    Knox, thanks for the info. I guess I can see why one would not like *that* government, but I hope I would not a) extrapolate that to hate *all* governments and b) write awful books about it. :) She really did need a hug, too.

  16. Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh my God, John Galt–YES! I walked around yelling SLYKICS (or however she says it) for weeks after I saw that. Just random yelling of the word. It makes for fun times.

  17. Arturo
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Eel,

    Having not read Rand, I didn’t get your reference, so I searched and found an interesting conversation on the “welcomed rape”, or “rape by invitation” , in Rand’s novels.

    http://jezebel.com/5490207/a-welcomed-rape-sex-and-ayn-rand

  18. Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Ayn Rand collected Social Security. Pretty much as soon as she could.
    Hypocrite.

  19. Bob
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    The tone of the media regarding the Romney/Ryan ticket is discouraging. The Huff Post/MSNBC crew and late night comics seem to be tickled at how unelectable they are against Obama. They have even momentarily stopped talking about how much more money Romney has raked in over the last several months. It’s starting to sound like the attitude they had towards W’s chance against Gore and even Kerry. We know how well that turned out.

  20. anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Paul Ryan has broken things off with Ayn Rand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T_39o-cXVg

  21. Meta
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s music to my ears. Paul Ryan being booed and called a “liar” by seniors today at the annual AARP conference.

    http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/09/21/889511/ryan-gets-booed-at-the-aarp/

  22. Meta
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    After being booed by the AARP, Paul Ryan is desperately trying to distance himself from his earlier statements concerning social security.

    Paul Ryan Disowns Remarks To Ayn Rand Group Decrying ‘Collectivist’ Social Security

    Read more:
    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/paul-ryan-ayn-rand-divorce.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  23. Posted September 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    The thing about being in the House, is that you can be as extreme as you like since very little of what you say will ever become a reality.

  24. Meta
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Andrew Sullivan on the evidence that Catholics are fleeing Romney Ryan.

    A small word of thanks to Cardinal Dolan, Robert George and K-Lo for helping shift the Catholic vote massively toward Obama with their summer campaign for religious liberty. And special thanks to Paul Ryan. No actual Catholic could ever find anything but puerile cruelty in the works of Ayn Rand, or rally to the idea that home-care for the elderly should be sacrificed to reduce tax rates for the super-rich. Paul Ryan believes that the basic principles of Rand can be compatible with Catholicism. American Catholics are just not that dumb or confused about their faith.

    Read more:
    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/09/catholics-flee-romney-ryan-dolan.html

  25. anonymous
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Obama called Ryan out for his love of Ayn Rand, saying that her books are for misunderstood teenagers.

    Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a “you’re on your own” society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/obama-ayn-rand-is-for-misunderstood-teenagers?ref=fpb

  26. Meta
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Funny news.

    “Atlas Shrugged producers turn to Kickstarter for help warning others against moochers”

    In an effort to further Ayn Rand’s message critiquing altruism and promoting the virtue of selfishness, rejecting all moochers who would dare claim your money by tears, the producers of the third Atlas Shrugged movie have launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for donations, predicated on reminding supporters of the critics who have hurt it. As reported earlier this year, despite the free market repeatedly determining it would rather not have any Atlas Shrugged movies, producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro boldly refused to relinquish their rational self-interests to a world that would dare take their ideas from them, chiefly by not paying to see them. And because of their indefatigable commitment to film Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? by the fall—and thus propagate its titular character’s manifesto to “never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine”—Kaslow and Aglialoro have turned to asking other men to give them $250,000.

    Of course—using the same foresight that’s convinced them it’s the third Atlas Shrugged movie that will finally reach the masses, despite the first two earning less than $8 million combined—both have already anticipated that certain people may find something ironic about their asking others to give, all to create a movie that’s little more than one long speech decrying the act of asking others to give. “Isn’t asking for charity antithetical to Ayn Rand’s philosophy?” reads the FAQ, to which the answer is an obvious no, because Rand’s philosophy just had a problem with being forced to give through some absolute moral authority, which Kickstarter definitely isn’t (yet).

    “The Atlas Shrugged Kickstarter campaign is of course a voluntary value-for-value exchange. You are not obligated to contribute,” it says, reassuring you that donating your money to a wealthy Hollywood producer and fitness equipment magnate who definitely don’t need it still qualifies as supporting rugged individualism, because you ruggedly, individually made the choice to do so, rather than out of some sense of subservience to a larger ideology.

    Rad more: http://www.avclub.com/articles/atlas-shrugged-producers-turn-to-kickstarter-for-h%2C103253/

  27. Be Careful With my Heart
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I was reading about the resurgence of Black Lung among miners this weekend and thinking the same damned thing.

  28. Free
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    When you see Rand in hell, ask her what she thinks of rape and murder.

  29. Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    As a recently outed Libertarian, I can’t describe how happy this makes me.

  30. anonymous
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Ryan could be evolving. He said the following yesterday.

    “There was a time when I would talk about a difference between ‘makers’ and ‘takers’ in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. ‘Takers’ wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

    “So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong.”

    – See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/watch-paul-ryan-publicly-repents-past-comments-about-poor#sthash.0ydAdbZt.dpuf

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    That speech was a political power play. As speaker, he’s a key player if the GOP primary goes to a brokered convention. There are rumors he could be put forward as an alternative candidate. But it’s nice to see one of the GOP in charge step off the rhetorical bandwagon. There really is no more room to cut federal welfare benefits. so what did he have to lose? He said nothing about providing more or even adequate benefits. It was just time to kill the welfare queen narrative. She had a good run. People know better now. I wonder if EOS got the memo.

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