Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his VP candidate has already brought out from Obama worshippers the new leftist talking point with which they hope to smear both Ryan and Romney: Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand worshipper!
Take a look: the “meme” is s already all over Twitter.
Ryan the extremist! He’s picked Ayn Rand as his running mate! Don’t forget Paul Ryan’s obsession with Ayn Rand!
As they say, a lie goes right around the world while the truth is getting its boots on.
This about a man who voted for both TARP bailouts and Bush-era expansion of Medicare drug program. True enough, he did give copies of Atlas Shrugged as Xmas presents, and he once credited her with inspiring his “interest in public service.” Suggesting, perhaps, he hadn’t read it too well himself.
Look, it’s not hard to explain Ayn Rand’s appeal to the better part of better people. Truth is however Ryan is at bottom just another confused Catholic conservative who said only recently,
“I reject her philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas…Don’t give me Ayn Rand."
As the quote suggests, whatever enthusiasm he has for her novels, he has little understanding of Rand’s philosophy (no, Virginia, Rand’s philosophy does not reduce human interactions down to mere contracts). Still, as the head of the Ayn Rand Institute says, the controversy that’s going to go all the way to November is sure as hell great publicity for them. (Here, for instance, is one of the first “attack ads” along these lines, featuring great footage of the great woman.)
And as Michael Hurd argues, “this conflict within Paul Ryan is a good case study in the whole problem with “conservatism” as we know it.”
Ultimately, conservatism is, like leftism, based on fear. Leftists are afraid of personal responsibility, sometimes for themselves and always for people in general. Conservatives are afraid of being punished by God, and all religions (including Paul Ryan’s Catholicism) teach sacrifice of the self to the deity.
My question for Paul Ryan and others is: How do you justify a society based on individualism and individual rights by starting with an epistemology of supernaturalism?
He’s right, you know.