Ayn Rand Connections Could Dog Paul Ryan In Presidential Race
Ayn Rand is revered in conservative political circles for the self-sufficient ethic that pervades her books, but the connection to the writer might become a political concern for newly named VP candidate Paul Ryan.
Ryan’s adoring relationship with the Russian immigrant novelist has made him the nation’s most powerful “Randian,” ABC OTUS reported. The relationship started with a 2005 speech he gave to The Atlas Society, an objectivist research and advocacy organization started in Ayn Rand’s honor.
The ideas and writing from Ayn Rand would continue to influence Ryan’s politics.
“I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are,” he told the group. “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”
Paul Ryan later walked back the comments and said he didn’t actually require his staff to read the books. But he did confess his admiration for the author, adding:
But 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. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.
The connection might be a positive in conservative circles, but Ayn Rand’s work has gotten criticism from the other side of the aisle. Literary critic Harriet Rubin said in the New York Times that her major work Atlas Shrugged is a “glorification of the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest.”
Democrats and Paul Ryan’s critics believe this self-serving ideal is seen throughout the Wisconsin Congressman’s politics. Ryan crafted the GOP’s deficit-cutting budget plan, but it has been criticized for returning tax cuts to the rich while slashing programs like Medicare.
Paul Ryan went on to disavow his connection to Ayn Rand and her scorn for religion, TheStreet.com reported.
‘I reject her philosophy,” Ryan said in the National Review. ‘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,’ who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. ‘Don’t give me Ayn Rand.’ “