Class Warfare Blog

March 11, 2013

Paul Ryan and the Randites: In for a Penny, In for a Pound?

Ayn RandRep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s budget guru, is a disciple of the “everybody for themselves” philosophy of Ayn Rand. This makes sense in that Ayn Rand was opposed to the minimum wage, believed capital punishment was morally justified as retribution against a murderer, and believed that taxation was a form of theft. So far, so good as far as the über-conservatives are considered.

But Ayn Rand created an all-encompassing philosophy (a form of Objectivism) and had positions on a wide variety of issues, such as:

• Rand opposed racism and any legal application of racism. I suppose this would involve voter suppression efforts to disenfranchise racial minorities and the elderly.

• Rand advocated the right to legal abortion. Uh, oh.

• And while Rand believed capital punishment is morally justified, she also considered it dangerous due to the risk of mistakenly executing innocent people. On those grounds she opposed capital punishment. Hmmm.

• Rand opposed any form of censorship, including legal restrictions on pornography. Hey, wait a gosh darned minute.

• And other Objectivists, while endorsing conservative wedge issues like: opposing antitrust laws, the minimum wage, public education, and existing child labor laws . . . others have railed against faith-based initiatives, the display of religious symbols in government facilities, and the teaching of intelligent design/creationism in public schools. Even the Ten Commandments?

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that conservatives like Paul Ryan and Senator Rand Paul of Tennessee have cherry-picked the bits they like in Rand’s philosophy and ignored the rest. I mean, if they are willing to do it with the Bible, God’s own word, then certainly it is allowed for a relatively minor philosopher.



  1. Ayn Rand: “Selfishness is the only virtue.”

    Yep, that seems to encapsulate Ryan.


    Comment by john zande — March 11, 2013 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

    • My guess is she never had children. And she would have had a clever definition of selfishness.

      As much as the Dali Lama is flawed he does say “compassion is my religion” which is a heck of a lot better than “Selfishness is the only virtue.”



      Comment by stephenpruis — March 11, 2013 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

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