Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan: From Ayn Rand to Romney

The Republican ticket will consist of Two Suits, aptly enough for a party of wealth, privilege and social Darwinism.

Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan will propel the word “wonk” into Google heaven, reflecting the poverty of ideas in a time of nasty attack ads and sound bites. His not-Palin qualities may elevate the tone of the campaign, if not the content.

The VP nominee could offer focus to the fuzzy figure President Obama has dubbed “Romney Hood” and allow serious analysis of their desire to take from the poor and give to the ultra-rich.

The changeable Romney must surely be attracted to Ryan’s consistency, but he should not count too much on his running mate’s steadfastness under fire.

In 2005, Ryan revealed “the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” the cult figure who in the turgid 1200-page novel “Atlas Shrugged” proclaimed money as “the root of all good” and labeled those who don’t agree as “moochers” and “looters.”

This May, under pressure in the primaries, Ryan backpedaled on his patron saint when a questioner called her "an outspoken atheist [who]... felt altruism was evil, supported abortion and condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor."

“Just because you like someone’s novels,” he weaseled, “doesn’t mean you agree with their entire worldview philosophy...which is completely antithetical to mine because she has an atheist philosophy."

The would-be VP may still subscribe to Randian uber-selfishness but, in debate with Joe Biden and elsewhere, he will no doubt find other language to justify it.

All in all, however, the choice of Paul Ryan should be welcomed by serious voters, who will want to be persuaded that castrating labor unions and dismantling Social Security and Medicare among other safety nets for the needy will strengthen American society.

They may admire Ryan’s verbal dexterity, but will they want to buy a badly used country from him?

Update: As he usually does, James Fallows of the Atlantic reacts cogently, calling the Ryan choice “a good one for the country. It makes the race ‘about’ something, beyond just being a negative referendum on how the economy is going under Obama...

“I hope that when reporters are writing or talking about Paul Ryan's budget plans and his overall approach, they will rig up some electro-shock device to zap themselves each time they say that Ryan and his thoughts are unusually ‘serious’ or ‘brave.’ Clear-edged they are, and useful in defining the issues in the campaign. But they have no edge in ‘seriousness’ over, say, proposals from Ryan's VP counterpart Joe Biden...

“As Jonathan Chait argued in a long and very-much-worth-reading New York magazine article this spring, the ‘brave and serious’ cliche largely reflected a successful positioning campaign, which many people who view themselves as ‘serious’ swallowed credulously.”


Sean W. Scott said...

Once upon a time it would have been considered political suicide to espouse the dismanteling of Medicare and Social Security, Medicaid perhaps, after all that's just poor people, but never ever mess with senior's benefits lest you bring down the rath of the elder voting block. Apparently, however, in the new world politic according to the Ayn Rand, self-seeking, individual über alles mentality of the "new" fiscal conservatives, the senior vote can be discounted and overcome by appealing to the egocentric core of the human condition. Paul Ryan and his ideological clone Marco Rubio, will tell you that the Republican Party is the party of Lincoln, and based upon the principals of emancipation. Both Ryan and Rubio are here from the government and they are here to help you, help you free you and your family from the chains of entitlement programs so you can self-motivate and take care of yourself. Let us emancipate you from those government programs that remove your will to be self sufficient. After all, if we pull the safety net, your focus should be much keener not to fall.
Remember though, its not the fall that kills you, it's that sudden stop at the end.

Jayemel said...

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will be in theaters October 12th, 2012.

Kelly Cowan said...

Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand have divorced, he will, however, be keeping her as a mistress!