Liberty & Power: Group Blog
The Three Rs
ff on the Ryan/Rand connection, from the usually insufferable Lawrence O’Donnell:
How disappointed would Ayn Rand be in her formerly devoted public disciple Paul Ryan? Well, she wouldn’t miss his devotion very much. Because his recent betrayal just wouldn’t surprise her. Because Paul Ryan was never true to Rand’s philosophy. Right-wing hero Ayn Rand couldn’t stand Ronald Reagan. She urged people not to vote for Ronald Reagan and insisted that Reagan clearly did not believe in freedom and respect for the rights of the individual, because, among many other reasons, Reagan opposed the right to choose abortion.
That’s right, Paul Ryan, a Republican anti-abortion fanatic, has until very recently been publicly proclaiming his philosophical hero to be a woman who was a relentless champion of a woman’s right to choose. And Ryan’s pro-war stance in the Congress on every issue and every funding issue involving the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War would have disappointed Rand too. …
Ayn Rand was a much clearer and much more consistent thinker than Paul Ryan could ever be. And she would have seen through Paul Ryan’s phony devotion to her long before Catholics United and vice presidential politics made him turn on her.
Ayn Rand was smart enough to know that Paul Ryan used her. Used her to appeal to wacky conservatives who oppose every abortion and support every war, and then delude themselves into thinking they are devoted followers of Ayn Rand. Citing Ayn Rand was the right wing’s cheap way to sound intellectual, trying to sound like a thinking conservative.
Ryan was using Rand to label himself that way. Paul Ryan couldn’t have disappointed Ayn Rand, because she would have always known he was just using her. And despite all those pretty words he said about her for years and years, she knew he never really loved her.
(I do think that in the rest of his remarks O’Donnell exaggerates the distance between Ryan’s earlier “endorsement” and his current “repudiation” of Rand. The endorsement, however insincere, was always about ethics and politics; the repudiation is about theology.)