Paul Ryan was clearly selected as his Vice Presidential candidate by Romney in order to appeal to the Tea Party and other denizens of the extreme right, territory that the moderate Romney is, to his credit, unfamiliar with. The briefest look at Ryan’s political career will immediately illustrate just how extreme he is, but his self-serving and uncaring approach to life is summed up in two words: Ayn Rand.
Most educated people consider Rand’s philosophy, “objectivism,” to be intellectually shallow and in its rejection of social responsibility morally bankrupt. I always considered it something that young college students espoused and then rejected when they were more mature and better educated. Not Paul Ryan. Several months ago, in response to criticism from the Catholic Church regarding his fiscal policies he asserted that he did not follow Rand, whose philosophy was atheistic and contrary to his Catholic beliefs and his hero Thomas Aquinas. This is quite a turn-around, considering that only three years ago he was touting objectivism in his campaign ads, and his sincerity is in question since he has also claimed that the notion that he was ever a Rand follower is an “urban legend.” I guess that is some other Paul Ryan in those videos.Actually, there is a certain thruthiness in his denials, since while he adopted the socially ruthless and self-serving parts of objectivism, he rejected Rand’s social libertarianism, presumably because that would conflict with one of his core convictions – that a woman should not have complete control over her own body. In this regard he is the same sort of hypocrite as the Pauls, the father and son libertarians, who feel that the government should stay out of just about everything, except a woman’s reproductive system. For this reason the Ayn Rand Institute has declared that Ryan is not a follower of their beloved mentor.
Well, whatever his lies (don’t these people realize that everything they say in public is recorded?), three years ago at least he was out-Randing Rand. He praises her for doing the best job ever in “building a moral case for capitalism,” that is, the “democratic capitalism” that helps secure the individual and his freedom from the attacks of “collectivist government,” as personified by the Obama administration. The idea that unregulated capitalism has a moral quality is already approaching National Socialism on the nonsense meter, but he goes further and equates this simpleton and self-centered philosophy with the “moral foundation” of America. This is somewhat of a surprise since the writings of the Founding Fathers (and they deserve capitalization in order to distinguish them from the bozos we now elect) constantly emphasize the importance of social responsibility as a facet of individual freedom.
Ryan is one of those social Darwinists who believe that the glory of America is that the competent individual can succeed in the capitalist system, while those who do not are by definition losers, and they of course do not deserve any social safety net at the expense of the winners. And thus the purity of capitalism cannot be sullied by regulation, the conspiracy of losers looking to limit freedom and undermine American values. Let business do its thing and the general welfare will improve.
This is of course absolute destructive nonsense that one should not have to argue against, but apparently more than ever the electorate responds to nonsense if it is aligned with their beliefs, even to the point of declaring false what the rest of the planet accepts as scientific fact, such a climate change. It is absolutely and perfectly clear from the last century and a half of American history that unregulated capitalism DOES NOT contribute to the general welfare and is in fact ultimately destructive to it, inevitably widening the gap between rich and poor. And if the invisible hand of the market actually exists outside of textbooks, uncontrolled capitalism will inevitably produce monopolies and conglomerates that will do whatever they please in the marketplace. This is especially true in the world of a global economy and a computer-driven financial industry, where unregulated capitalism can actually compromise the entire world economy in order that a handful of people profit.
This is not a judgment call. The economic history of the modern world clearly demonstrates that even regulated capitalism is dangerous. Thus, one has to conclude that Paul Ryan – and all those like him – is either incredibly ignorant or, more likely, beholden to the businessmen and corporations that support his campaigns. His own Church did not criticize him because it is anti-business, but because his policy positions are ruthlessly harsh on the weaker members of the flock. But that is objectivism. To label any of this “moral” is a gross insult to the intelligence of every voter, but then many, many voters seemingly are not intelligent enough to recognize this. Is there anything so pathetic as a non-wealthy person supporting such policies, which ultimately mean that this person and his family will suffer?
Of course, none of this really matters, since if Mitt Romney is elected President, the global economy is likely to collapse and all of us suffer, making the actions of the little objectivist irrelevant.