I wonder how many people in Wisconsin's first congressional district know that Paul Ryan is a follower of Ayn Rand who didn't believe in morality or duty or faith or any principles beyond egoism and selfishness.
"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," Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."
Do the voters in Kenosha know what Ayn Rand said about charity?
"My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty."
She even wrote a book called "The Virtues of Selfishness".
Do voters in Janesville Wisconsin know what Ms. Rand said about faith?
Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason.
Do people in Racine worship Ayn Rand's God?
And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: I
Is that what Paul Ryan means when he writes on his campaign web site?
In many aspects of our society, morality has become relative, ethical behavior is now a mere technicality, and God has been pushed from the public realm with a fervor previously inconceivable.
Does he mean people are not selfish enough? That's the Randian translation of what he wrote.
But both Rand and Ryan accepted government help when they needed it. When Paul Ryan's father died, he got Social Security survivor benefits. When Ayn Rand was old and widowed she took both medicare and social security benefits. Those were available because some people took seriously a commandment "to look after orphans and widows in their distress" (that's from James in the Bible, not from Ayn in "The Virtue of Selfishness").
so that [..] the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
That's from the chapter Deuteronomy in the Bible, and it's not really in tune with the message you can find in the works of Ms. Rand or in the budgets of Mr. Ryan.
Congressman Ryan, like a good follower of Ms. Rand simply hates taxation and government regulation. Ayn Rand wrote:
Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.
Although just as with Ms. Rand when she qualified for medicare, Mr. Ryan is willing to make exceptions sometimes. For example, the government right now has special tax subsidies for oil companies and President Obama proposes getting rid of them. Congressman Ryan got very angry about that.
We’re going to single out one sector of our economy, a very important sector of our economy, and say higher tax rates if you produce in the U.S. than any other sector in the economy. This is just ridiculous economics, redistribution, but more importantly, it’s just punitive. It’s punitive and it’s political and it’s not going to help our economy.
Actually what the President proposes is not "higher tax rates" but to make the oil companies pay the same as other businesses.
The Founders of the United States had a really different idea about the role of government.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
That's from James Madison in the Federalist Papers - Federalist #51. President Obama was in line with Madison when he said that arguing about big versus small government is a distraction - the important question is smart government versus dumb government. Dumb government gives subsidies to oil companies when the government is in debt and when those subsidies help block a transition to green energy.
Here's an example of a big government plan from long ago that Madison certainly would have considered smart governnment although Rand and Ryan would have disagreed.
Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
Can you imagine what Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand would have said about that plan? They would have screamed about big government. They would have proposed letting the market figure it out, so that during a famine the poor would just starve. But smart government takes care of those we are morally obligated to care for and helps us prepare for things like crop failures or climate change so that "the country may not be ruined".
The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food.