Paul Ryan just can’t get away from Ayn Rand.

In the September 14, 2014 New York Times Magazine, Ryan was the feature interviewee of the “Talk” page . Among the questions:

I always understood you as being an Ayn Rand aficionado. But you distanced yourself from her writing during the campaign. What’s your real view of her? No, I wasn’t distancing. I adored her novels when I was young, and in many ways they gave me an interest in economics. But as a devout, practicing Catholic, I completely reject the philosophy of objectivism.

There’s a lot more to Atlas Shrugged than free-market economics, and Ryan used to have a more appreciative and nuanced understanding of that content. Paul Ryan Ayn Rand distancing himself Pope Catholicism objectivism
But perhaps in saying he “completely rejects” Objectivism, Ryan may have meant that he:
  • . . . doesn’t advocate dog-eat-dog-selfishness.  But then, Objectivism doesn’t either . It advocates the pursuit of happiness in life. What’s wrong with that?
  • . . . isn’t for the rich and against the poor. But then, neither is Objectivism . Ayn Rand was for the productive, responsible, and independent, not for one class or another.
I have a positive overall view of Ryan’s politics. I think he wants to move government policy in generally the right direction: towards more respect for the individual and towards a more sustainable, more limited government.
And I realize that it’s hard for a politician with national ambitions to be associated with a radical view like Objectivism, which so many people misunderstand . But Ryan would do himself and Objectivism a service if he would represent his disagreements with Rand more clearly.
And it’s a sad commentary on our culture that it’s viewed as better to swear fealty to the Pope and to Catholic doctrine, neither of them known for standing staunchly for science or individualism, than it is to agree with even the least little thing that Ayn Rand said, even though she stood for reason, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom.
EXPLORE:paul ryan ayn rand
Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand's Ideas: In the Hot Seat Again
The original 2005 audio of Ryan, speaking at an Atlas Society event, and detailing the significant influence that Ayn Rand's ideas and writings have had on his public career, thinking, and policy views. Cited by ProPublica as excellent reporting.
 
The Republican Party’s Civil War: Will Freedom Win? Edited by Edward Hudgins.
What will the outcome be of the "GOP civil war"? What changes need to happen? (This book will be available for free this week, starting Tuesday and ending Saturday.) Previously a #1 best-seller on Amazon.
Myths About Ayn Rand: Popular Errors and the Insights They Conceal , by David Kelley, William R Thomas, Alexander R. Cohen, and Laurie Rice. 
A short, informative read. Previously #2 in the Amazon best-seller list in "political philosophy" and "ethics and morality."

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