When I was a teenager, I think 15 or so, as most American male teenagers of higher than average intelligence do, I went through an Ayn (pronounced ‘ein’) Rand phase. I’m not ashamed to admit it, even though it is the philosophical equivalent to a spoiled teen girl’s belief that the world revolves around her. As a philosophy, Objectivism is not without redeeming features. However, in order to implement Objectivism in the real world, it would require two conditions be met in order to not collapse into a Somalian style warlord society. The first condition is that everyone be a genius, and the second would be that everyone have an innately benevolent nature. In fact, despite the nature of some of her more ardent followers, the entirety of Rand’s philosophy rests on an innate belief in the good nature of man. It was her general belief that it was only when given institutionalized authority over other men that the more negative aspects of man’s nature took over. To summarize: if we lived in a world where everyone was a genius with no ill will towards his fellow man, objectivism would be a perfect philosophy for everyone. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.
There is one thing, however, that Ayn Rand and I are in basic agreement on, and that is religion. Her intense dislike of organized religion is what attracted me to her works in the first place, as it was clear to me from early on that most religion was a sham designed to exploit the weaker minded by taking credit for man’s innate virtues. However, our viewpoints diverge here, as while I believe that Christianity takes credit for man’s innate better qualities by claiming they come from the divine, Rand felt that those exact qualities espoused as Christian virtues, i.e. compassion, kindness, forgiveness, etc. were actually moral faiilings. This is where she and I diverge paths, and pretty much the beginning of the end of everything I could agree with Ayn Rand about. Otherwise, she and I have a very fundamentally different definition of freedom, and since that definition is intrinsic to our philosophies, they are fairly irreconcilable. That is, of course, because I am not an intellectual fraud. Which brings me to Paul Ryan.
It is difficult to say any more clearly than this: one cannot like anything about Ayn Rand, and claim to be a ‘good Christian’. Much less a Catholic, a group whom Rand despised with a passion. This is akin to saying, “Yes, I’m a Communist, except for the whole ‘workers controlling the means of production’ thing.” So, basically like Chinese Communism. Anyways, the entirety of her philosophy is founded on principles that could most easily be described as anti-Christian. More to the point, towards the end of her life she was very vocal about her dislike of Ronald Reagan, as she felt that his mixing of religion and politics would lead to theocracy and fascism. So, I guess there’s two things I agree with her about. But I am not Paul Ryan, and for Paul Ryan to so deeply pontificate on the virtues of Rand’s philosphy, while at the same time fighting tooth and nail for a government that imposes his religious views on all of its citizens; well that is a kind of hypocrisy that merits a little serious discussion, as it would indicate that he is utterly fraudulent about one, or both, of his ‘two major influences’. Furthermore, since he is so utterly passionate about legislating women’s reproductive rights (obvs Rand was relentlessly pro-choice) while simultaneously trying left and right to gut aid to the poor and elderly, I really have to go with both.
That’s right, I’m calling Paul Ryan a complete intellectual fraud. While he may pretend to be a Catholic, or an Objectivist, or both, he is in reality neither. He, like many members of his party, has hand picked only the religious tenets and philosophical aspects of Objectivism that allow him to control his fellow man/woman (religion) and that excuse ridiculously selfish and corrupt financial policies. The reality of the situation is that Ayn Rand and Jesus would look at Paul Ryan, hear him blathering on about how God needs to be all up in women’s private parts all the time, while simultaneously espousing gutting government benefits for the elderly and disabled to finance ludicrous tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, and they would both just want to vomit. The real philosophy followed by Paul Ryan is the same kind of greedy, exploitative, paranoid corruption that has been a major force in politics for thousands of years; and as far as his real greatest influence goes, they are somewhere around equal parts Caligula and Ferdinand II of Aragon.