Yes, Willard thinks 47 percent of us are people who think of ourselves as victims and suck the teat of government relentlessly, but Paul Ryan thinks even worse things than that. The audio file above is a speech Ryan gave in 2005 to the Atlas Society, the august organization dedicated to the memory and psychobabble of Ayn Rand. Rand's nonsense is worthy of high school angst, but at some point you'd expect people to outgrow it. Unless they're Paul Ryan and his merry band of 'ism' chasers.
C&L friend R.J. Eskow writes about it over at Huffington Post:
How extreme, how far from the mainstream, was Rand's thinking? She was profoundly hostile to the idea that human beings should help one another, writing that "If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject." Rand also wrote that "Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life."
Oh, and the hero of Rand's novel The Fountainhead commits an act of terrorism. He's an architect who blows up a building because he's angry that his design was changed.
Watch your back, John Boehner.
But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.
(2:38) In almost every fight we are involved in here, on Capitol Hill, whether it’s an amendment vote that I’ll take later on this afternoon, or a big piece of policy we’re putting through our Ways and Means Committee, it is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict: individualism vs. collectivism.
Compare and contrast that to Ryan's speech at the AARP last week:
“When I think about Medicare, I don’t just think about charts and graphs and numbers,” he told the crowd. “My thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville. My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer’s and moved in with mom and me. Though she felt lost at times, we did all the little things that made her feel loved.”
He added, “We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it’s there for my mom today.”
Yeah, they're smearing lipstick all over that pig. Ryan truly believes, just like his heroine Rand, that Medicare is an evil socialist, collectivist plot to undermine individual autonomy. As RJ points out in his piece,
"In case that wasn't clear enough, Ryan added: "I think if we win a few of these right now -- moving health care to a consumer based, individualist system, moving Social Security to an individually pre-owned, pre-funded retirement system -- just those two right there will do so much to change the dynamics in this society."
Randian extremism speaks through Romney, too, as when he says of the now-famous and mythical "47 percent," "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Randian extremism may have spoken through Romney, but Ryan actually has concrete plans to execute and end Grandma's "looting" of the rich boys' bucks. Privatize Social Security, hand out coupons for Medicare, bankrupt the elderly while the poor just die in the streets and the rich get richer, because Ayn wrote it thus:
Here's what Rand-as-d'Anconia says about any wealthy person with a conscience: "Swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt -- and of his life, as he deserves." (Rand's writings frequently exult in the deaths of anyone she considers inferior.)
The speech also says that "Money is the barometer of a society's virtue," adding: "The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality... Now the looters' credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards... "
This is what Paul Ryan believes. He puts it into lofty, philosophical terms, but if it were stated in the kind of matter-of-fact way Romney said it, it would simply be that money is the true measure of a man's worth, and those who have none are worthless.