Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, a professed Christian, is also a disciple of the Russian-born writer and novelist Ayn Rand. In fact, many Republicans espousing a strong faith in God also embrace Rand’s philosophy of objectivism at one-in-the-same-time
In a 1959 interview with CBS’s Mike Wallace Rand was asked if her philosophy rejected the altruism present in the teachings of Christ and commanded for thousands of years by God. The answer she gave was an unequivocal: “Yes.”
The central tenet espoused by Rand’s Objectivist Philosophy is “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
When faced with the stark choice between the altruistic helping of a weaker, helpless, human being or turning away and placing the “self” and “reason” above all else Rand dictates to us that we must turn toward the self as being higher than any other person or being. That includes God Congressman Ryan. How would evangelical Christians who love you so much in the halls of Congress feel about that?
How would your God feel about that? Central to Christ’s teaching on this Earth was his model behavior for his disciples of emptying himself and becoming as a “slave” or “servant.” Rand too rejects religion entirely.
Ryan has publicly stated on more than one occasion that he believes firmly in Rand’s philosophy. He puts it in terms of how she explains capitalism and the market. But he also made it clear that he likes her philosophy across the board.
Tea Party Republicans have fallen in love with Ayn Rand and her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
The Scott Walkers, Michelle Bachmanns, and now Paul Ryan’s of the political arena have all embraced her. It explains a great deal about the beahvior of so many American leaders today in the face of suffering and want in an America wracked by the worst economic depression since the 1930’s. Imagine if FDR had adopted the Ayn Rand philosphy then? Where would we be now?
The fact is that Rand never had any use for religion and its call to believers to do justice to others. For her, the exploration of the “self” and its individual promotion regardless of its impact on other human beings was to be pursued with an unrelenting ferocity.
For people who themselves share Rand’s view that religion is not something they need concern themselves with, many still profess some sort of ethical framework or morality that should force them to rejct objectivist philosophy. And for those who court the religious right there ought to be a problem too.
Why does the religious right and so many Tea Party Republicans embrace Ayn Rand? Simply that she saw the New Deal as pushing us toward a collectivist form of society and the twin programs of Social Security and Medicare were on her list of things that most represented the flight from reason and required instead the abandonment of the disabled, children, and the elderly and the ill for the deification of the self above others.
With sadness, Wallace asked Rand if that meant that there were few people that she could love and care for. She replied “very few.”
The Tea Party, the Republican Party, and Ayn Rand’s most active disciple today have to explain how traditional Judeo-Christian morality, squares with their turn to Rand as their new god. That should be an even more interesting interview. What would Paul Ryan’s minister say about his support for objectivism over Christ’s teachings?
Wisely, academics and literary critics rejected Rand’s ideas. But their adoption and popularity now is cause for concern.
It is the most selfish of philosophies that clothes itself in reason above all else in order to place the self-interest of the one against the many.
Struggles for Justice asks Congressman Paul Ryan to write a piece for this blog explaining his discipleship for Ayn Rand and how that squares with what his previous religious training and faith teaches him? We dare you Congressman Ryan. Please explain how you can reconcile the two.