House Speaker Paul Ryan is the first foot soldier in the "Ayn Rand revolution" to seize a significant position of power in the Federal government. While Ryan often cites Rand as an inspiration, you don't often hear from the guru herself.
In this spooky interview, Rand speaks from beyond the grave about her philosophy that taxing the rich to help pay for programs that serve the poor and vulnerable in our society is "evil."
Oh, wait, you're not familiar with Ayn Rand?
Remember in Dirty Dancing when Baby pleads with that jerkface Robbie to take responsibility for his part in getting Penny pregnant?
Robbie shrugs and famously says,
"Some people count, some people don't."
Then he pulls out a paperback and says, "Read it." That book was Fountainhead by, you got it, Ayn Rand. The book, along with other Rand works, promotes Rand's unabashed philosophy that greed and selfishness are not only good, but that it is immoral to care about anyone other than yourself.
As you can imagine, these books are most popular among a certain segment of adolescent young men. Most get married, have kids, and grow of it as they appreciate all of the complexities in the world around them. (You know, like in Dirty Dancing).
But, there are some that never grow up. They cling to this unworkable, silly view that a society as we know it could function without a government as we know it. (You know, because government-free places like Somalia have such a great quality of life: WE COULD DO THAT HERE!)
Back in 1959, the numbers of these Ayn Rand disciples were still small, but they garnered the attention of Mike Wallace. At the time, Wallace said that if "the philosophy ever does take hold, it would revolutionize our lives." He then proceeds to interview Rand and she really is crazy. (see below.)
A little over fifty years later, the philosophy has definitely taken hold. Beginning with the 2010 election, self-described Ayn Rand disciples such as Wisconsin's Ron Johnson have flooded into Congress and helped secure majorities in both houses.
And now, for the first time in U.S. history, someone from the "Ayn Rand Revolution" is Speaker of the House.
Paul Ryan has on numerous occasions extolled the virtues of his Ayn Rand philosophy. In fact, in 2005, he said he makes every new staffer read Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead, because, "I grew up on Ayn Rand. Everybody does their soul searching and try find out who they are and what they believe. I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems and beliefs are... its inspired me so much that I've made it required reading in my office."
"The reason I got into public service, by and large, the person I'd have to credit is Ayn Rand."
You can see where Ryan got his idea that taking away Food Stamps would help the poor feel more motivated to work, and that tax policy should help society's "makers" (big corporations and the rich), not the "takers" (children, the elderly, and the poor.)
Most Americans would be appalled by Ayn Rand if they saw her philosophy of radical selfishness up close.
Check out the interview and see if you agree.