Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand and the Budget Problem

In a speech in 2005, Paul Ryan said, “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”  He went on to say that “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.”

Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-American novelist and philosopher. She is known for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.

From  Rand’s Philosophy in a Nutshell, “The philosophy Ayn Rand laid out in her novels and essays was, ” a frightful concoction  of hyper-egotism, power-worship and anarcho-capitalism.  She opposed  all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support for the poor and middle-class, regulation of industry and government provision for roads or other infrastructure.  She also insisted  that law enforcement, defense and the courts were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between ‘moochers’ and ‘producers,’ with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry.”

Let’s see how Rand’s philosophy would apply to me.  I’ve been a “producer” all my life and now I’m comfortable.  Why should I care about the “moochers?”  I’m going to stop donating to charities like the Child Fund that supports children all over the world.  I’ll also stop donating to feed other children in Africa.  I want my money back for a fresh water well I paid for in a village in a third world country.  I won’t support Smile Train anymore.  I don’t care about children with cleft palates.  They are their parents’ problem.  The Diabetes foundation can look elsewhere for my annual contribution.  Same for the Cancer Society.  Forget annual NPR  contributions.  St. Jude Hospital can close, as far as I’m concerned.  Who cares if catastrophically ill children get medical help?  If their parents aren’t rich enough to afford it – too bad.

On to taxes.  Yes, I’m one of those “50 percent” who pays income tax.  And if I wasn’t worried about being jailed, I’d quit paying my taxes.  Speaking of taxes, to heck with your kids who need to be educated.  Mine are educated and so why should I keep paying for yours?. Anyway, teachers should find another line of work.  Don’t become a policeman or fireman, because I won’t pay for them either. I don’t drive as much as when I worked so I refuse to pay taxes that keep our roads and bridges in good repair.

Am I now a “moocher” because I take my monthly Social Security checks and use my Medicare benefits?  I found this on Michael Tomasky’s blog “From Joshua Holland at Alternet:

[Ayn Rand’s] books provided wide-ranging parables of “parasites,” “looters” and “moochers” using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes’ labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor).

She was elderly and sick and needed surgery (lung surgery, after knocking down two packs a day for decades). Presumably she had a fair amount of money. But she turned to Social Security and Medicare.”

Her actions are so American conservative; complain about all the services others are getting but when you need them, they’re justified.  I did look forward to how Mr. Ryan is going to explain his fascination with such a great philosopher.  But he disavowed his fascination with Ms. Rand’s philosophy and has turned to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Given his plans to fix Medicare, I’m not so sure he understands him in practical terms.  Mr. Ryan’s plans are directly at odds with traditional Catholic teachings and if I remember correctly, St. Thomas was one of Catholicism’s seminal thinkers. Oh heck, that’s not important in post-truth politics.

Robert DeFilippis 

Author: The Blue Route

What say you, the people?