Much has been written about the current republican budget put forth by the likes of Paul Ryan and his committee. Straight from the texts of Ayn Rand. A self involved, self centered sociopathic personality that bears a strange resemblance to such historical figures as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Most people today probably do not remember very well her unapologetic diatribes against anyone who she deemed less that her self. Her personal philosophy – if you can call it that – was one of extreme megalomania.
The philosophy, such as it was, which Rand laid out in her novels and essays was a frightful concoction of hyper-egotism, power-worship and anarcho-capitalism. She opposed all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support for the poor and middle-class, regulation of industry and government provision for roads or other infrastructure. She also insisted that law enforcement, defense and the courts were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between “moochers” and “producers,” with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry. The “moochers” were more or less everyone else, leading TNR’s Jonathan Chait to describe Rand’s thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism. Marx considered wealth creation to result solely from the labor of the masses, and viewed the owners of capital and the economic elite to be parasites feeding off that labor. Rand simply reversed that value judgment, applying the role of “parasite” to everyday working people instead. On the level of personal behavior, the heroes in Rand’s novels commit borderline rape, blow up buildings, and dynamite oil fields — actions which Rand portrays as admirable and virtuous fulfillments of the characters’ personal will and desires. Her early diaries gush with admiration for William Hickman, a serial killer who raped and murdered a young girl. Hickman showed no understanding of “the necessity, meaning or importance of other people,” a trait Rand apparently found quite admirable. For good measure, Rand dismissed the feminist movement as “false” and “phony,” denigrated both Arabs and Native Americans as “savages” (going so far as to say the latter had no rights and that Europeans were right to take North American lands by force) and expressed horror that taxpayer money was being spent on government programs aimed at educating “subnormal children” and helping the handicapped. Needless to say, when Rand told Mike Wallace in 1953 that altruism was evil, that selfishness is a virtue, and that anyone who succumbs to weakness or frailty is unworthy of love, she meant it.
Is it any wonder that the Ryan budget sounds remarkably like a passage from one of Rand’s novels ?
Ryan was a speaker at the Ayn Rand Centenary Conference in 2005, where he described Social Security as a “collectivist system” and cited Rand as his primary inspiration for entering public service. He has at least two videos on his Facebook page in which he heaps praise on the author. “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism,” he says.
Unfortunately Ryan’s and the republican idea of individualism sounds more like that ravings of a spoiled, badly parented two year old child. With all the moral maturity there of. How any one can use Rand as an ideal or inspiration is mind boggling. Rather like the inspiration that the Aryan Nation gets from Mein Kampf. Both of which deserve to be hurled on to the trash bin of history, never to be spoke of again. And to take anything that these people propose as anything but an attempt to create the same kind of sick, psychotic government that the world rejected in the past – is a major mistake at best.