Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand: What’s the Connection?

I will admit up front that the only Ayn Rand novel I’ve read (so far) has been Anthem. I liked it. It reminded me of Brave New World and 1984. A lot of books came out at around the same time as Anthem that had themes of the struggle between totalitarianism and the individual. Recent commentary has focused on Rep. Ryan’s connections with the late, great author, though, and Will Wilkinson does a great job of summing them all up in a post over the Economist. An excerpt:

In practice, arguments like Mr Black’s and Ms Walsh’s tend to come to the silly idea that one’s ideological opponents are duty-bound (by their own lights!) to either unilaterally disarm or shut up. Heads, I win; tails, you lose. It’s a cheap trick. The argument as usually deployed also depends on a combination of lazy partisan Manichaeism and the naive practice of taking politicians at their word. Paul Ryan is an elected official whose views therefore fall squarely within the ambit of conventional political wisdom. Despite his professed admiration for Ayn Rand, and the ardent wishes of his admirers and detractors alike, Mr Ryan is far from a laissez faire radical.

Indeed. Do read the rest of the post here.

What are your thoughts on Ryan as Romney’s VP? Longtime reader Hank has shared his thoughts here. Personally, I agree with Hank and I don’t think the nomination matters all that much, and I share libertarian sentiments that Rep. Ryan is hardly a fiscal conservative, but I am also curious as to what you think.

One thought on “Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand: What’s the Connection?

  1. Mr. Ryan may be a libertarian; however, he is far from being an Objectivist; which is what Ms. Rand was. In fact, she created the philosophy of Objectivism.

    She held nothing but disdain for libertarians calling the the “Hippies of the New Right” and saw them as so far right as to be borderline left but in the guise of anarchist instead of collectivist, each faction holding complete disdain for individualism and individual rights, especially, property rights.

    Objectivism, as defined by Ayn Rand, is a unique philosophy that has a core set of beliefs and principles and she saw libertarianism as an amalgam of many philosophic subsets used in a way to force means to fit predetermined ends. Libertarianism is just another form of anti-intellectualism and purveyors of force against individual rights, while Objectivism is a system with four key components where individual rights are a central feature:

    Metaphysics: Objective Reality
    Epistemology: Reason
    Ethics: Self-interest
    Politics: Capitalism

    Above all, Ms. Rand was an advocate of reason and believed that by applying reason, all the rest; capitalism, egoism, and defining objective reality would follow.

    Mr. Ryan would be the epitome of he plagiarist libertarian Ms. Rand held in contempt and she would certainly not be an ally of his or Governor Romney.

    She would also have noting but contempt for President Obama and VP Biden.

    I am not a spokesperson for Objectivism, but I do the best I can to live a life as fully as possible under Objectivism as defined by Ms. Rand as I understand it.

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