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Monday, August 13, 2012

Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand and the 2016 Election

Between the ages of 17 and 20 I was profoundly selfish. a lot of that had to do with the philosophy of Ayn Rand, which this blogger more or less embraced. Then I grew up a bit and developed a more sophisticated view of life. Some people are materialistic, pragmatic, earthy realists -- these people tempermentally are well suited for American business; these people tend to be financially successful.

And there are others in life that are less materially ambitious, and there are other in life that are of an artistic or spiritual or intellectual orientation. Financial success for these types is more elusive as it is not their primary goal. And for some among this type -- particularly in recessions or depressions or medical emergencies or in old age -- there are moments when society should be of help. Ayn Rand's philosophy, steeped i selfishness, would deny that; and so with Paul Ryan, her most prominent defender after the disgraced Alan Greenspan. From The Guardian:

"When I was a teenager, my American girlfriend at the time gave me Ayn Rand's cult novel Atlas Shrugged to read. It changed her life, she said. It changed mine, too. She was not my girlfriend by the morning. It was the most unpleasant thing I'd ever had the misfortune to read.

"As a work of literature, Atlas Shrugged is drivel, and not simply because it is so up itself with its own perceived radicalism; fundamentally, all propaganda is drivel, even if it is propaganda in a good cause. Rand's cause was to celebrate what she called "the virtue of selfishness", to denigrate the poor as scroungers and to celebrate the muscular individualism of the creative heroes of capitalism. Altruism, she contends, is "complete evil". The question she poses: what would happen if all the bankers and captains of industry went on strike? What would happen if these Atlas-like gods, who hold up the world, decided one day to shrug and refuse to support everyone else? Then the world would be buggered, she contends. Atlas Shrugged is cheap pornography for the nastiest side of capitalism."
Agreed. I will be fascinated to see how the Catholic bishops react to Romney-Ryan and the doubling down on a fiscal policy that is incommensurable with the philosophy of Jesus Christ. Or if their obsession with abortion will align them with Romney-Ryan despite the obvious hypocrisy. The article here.

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