I thought the heated debate over Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal had inspired the controversy about the influence of Ayn Rand’s ideas on Republicans, but it appears this “American Values Network” page has been up for several months.
It looks like some Democrats are finally doing what the Republican conservatives have been afraid to do: Challenge the ethical basis of capitalism. Needless to say, they take the wrong side on the issue, but at least they seem to grasp the incompatibility of the two sides (Ayn Rand vs. Jesus Christ).
The anti-Rand youtube video featured here has also apparently been up for about ten months. It includes this remarkable quote from Paul Ryan:
“Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism..”
I knew Ryan had described himself as a fan of Rand and required that his staff read Atlas Shrugged, but I did not realize he had openly praised the Objectivist ethics in such clear terms. You have to wonder: Did Ryan, a self-professed Catholic, have any idea about what he was saying? This becomes even more significant when you consider that Ryan’s name has been put forth as a potential vice-presidential running mate for Romney.
Here’s an interesting quote from one of the numerous Rand-related articles referenced here, citing Glenn Beck’s apparent about-face on his previously expressed admiration for Rand.
Glenn Beck Changes Mind On Ayn Rand
As many of us on Current know, Glenn Beck usually does not change his mind, but two days ago he did! In June of last year he extolled Ayn Rand on his radio show saying, “You gotta love her – she’s great!” But then he watched and played American Values Network's ad, which has been at the center of the recent discussion, and highlights the Rand vs Jesus problem for the GOP. And Beck did an about-face, calling Rand a "bigot" and someone who wrongly used freedom for selfish ends. Check out the video and the link to the article above. If even Beck – Glenn Beck! – can’t ally himself with Rand’s morality, how could some of our political leaders –who claim to be “Bible-believing” – still find it possible to praise her morality and say our federal budget should be modeled on her teachings?
Beck called Rand a “bigot”? How did I miss that?
I think this is fantastic. It’s like: “America—The Final Conflict.” I’m almost tempted to make a donation to the outfit promoting this controversy. I would love to see this ideological confrontation between Ayn Rand and Jesus Christ become the centerpiece of the 2012 presidential campaign.
It reminds me of the following prescient quote from Rand:
From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society. Today, the conflict has reached its ultimate climax; the choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces.