Paul (Rand) Ryan: More on His Mentor

Well, we are all getting lessons we never wanted in one of the strangest fawning reversals in recent history.

Paul Ryan, as late as 2005 was handing out free copies of Atlas Shrugged by his reluctant mentor Ayn (pronounced like ‘swine’ she said) Rand.  He’s back-peddling now like a circus clown on a wobbly-wheeled bicycle on account of her pronounced views on Christianity (“the best kindergarten for communism possible”) and atheism — the only possible stance for a true individualist.  How Ryan didn’t know all this when he was inviting his subordinates to join him in Rand fealty is beyond me, but so are many things.

Here’s a good, short column to bring you up to date on the Lady herself, and what she might have thought about her drum major…

She would have denounced Mr. Ryan as she denounced Ronald Reagan, for trying “to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.”

…when his embrace of Rand drew fire from Catholic leaders, Mr. Ryan reversed course with a speed that would make his running mate, Mitt Romney, proud. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he told National Review earlier this year. “Give me Thomas Aquinas.” He claimed that his austere budget was motivated by the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which holds that issues should be handled at the most local level possible, rather than Rand’s anti-government views.

This retreat to religion would have infuriated Rand, who believed it was impossible to separate government policies from their moral and philosophical underpinnings. Policies motivated by Christian values, which she called “the best kindergarten of communism possible,” were inherently corrupt.

Free-market capitalism, she said, needed a new, secular morality of selfishness, one she promoted in her novels, nonfiction and newsletters.

… Years before Roe v. Wade, Rand called abortion “a moral right which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved.” She condemned the military draft and American involvement in Vietnam. She warned against recreational drugs but thought government had no right to ban them. These aspects of Rand do not fit with a political view that weds fiscal and social conservatism.

Jennifer Burns on Rand and Ryan

Maureen Dowd, fellow Catholic with Ryan, doesn’t like much of what she sees.

He’s the cutest package that cruelty ever came in. He has a winning air of sad cheerfulness. He’s affable, clean cut and really cut, with the Irish altar-boy widow’s peak and droopy, winsome blue eyes and unashamed sentimentality.

Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?

He’s Scrooge disguised as a Pickwick, an ideologue disguised as a wonk. Not since Ronald Reagan tried to cut the budget by categorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables has the G.O.P. managed to find such an attractive vessel to mask harsh policies with a smiling face.

 

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