The Left falsely portrays Paul Ryan as an Ayn Rand devotee

If Mitt Romney chooses Rep. Paul Ryan to be his Vice Presidential nominee, as seems likely, we can expect to hear a lot about novelist Ayn Rand in the coming weeks:

In truth, Ryan once admired Rand but now rejects her philosophy:

‘You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine,” chuckles Representative Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, as we discuss his purported obsession with author and philosopher Ayn Rand.

Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, recently called Ryan “an Ayn Rand devotee” who wants to “slash benefits for the poor.” New York magazine once alleged that Ryan “requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged, Rand’s gospel of capitalism. President Obama has blasted the Ryan budget as Republican “social Darwinism.”

These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature. As a practicing Roman Catholic, Ryan says, his faith and moral values shape his politics as much as his belief in freedom and capitalism does.

“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.

  • JoeMyGod

    And by “the left” Twitchy again finds eight tweets from people you’ve never heard of. Bet I can just as many tweets claiming that Bigfoot just married Madonna.

    • Jesse Malkin

      there are at least several dozen such tweets. Just look at the “Related Tweets’ box to the right of our post. We left out many examples because we did not want to bore our readers.

      • JoeMyGod

        Twitter has 600 million users. Got anything from any actual *leaders* of what you call “the left”?

        • bret robertson

          don’t hate cuase they proved you wrong

        • doc255

          Not yet. Liberal leaders are currently too busy having a collective panic attack to be able to put forth a coherent tweet. Once they’ve had a couple of Xanax though, I expect them to be out in full force.

        • Larry Baron

          Do you think 600 million “users” are all tweeting on this subject? You need your head examined. And, by the way, you do the exact same thing in some of your responses.

      • Chip

        Easily understandable when all you see from them are the same old leftist talking points…

      • ghtharby2

        A quick search on twitter for Obama Hitler finds dozens of tweets that say Obama is Hitler, or is following Hitler. Are you going to do another story saying that the Right falsely portrays Obama as Hitler?

    • Derek Webb

      — I’d argue that it’s better to hear from the people than people I’ve heard of. It’s more down-to-Earth.

    • vphilly

      Well, eight people is all you need to get a good understanding of the sheer stupidity of people like you.

    • doc255

      So only “celebrities” are worth following? LOL!!!

  • Michael O’Shaughnessy

    After reading all the comments, I see all the racist left-wing nut jobs are out in force, showing their hatred for the “white” race! If Romney chooses Paul Ryan as VP he will be choosing the best man for the job… period!

    • BleuSkies777

      Be here Nov 6, 2012….after the results are in

      • madmomma5

        Looking forward to it!

      • doc255

        Oh, we’ll be here all right…The question is “Where will you be?”

  • Cameron Brown

    The good news is that Romney isn’t trying to pick someone that will win people like the above tweeters over. I hope he’s trying to pick someone who may one day be thrust into the oval office and will also help with the election.

    • Larry Baron

      Right, Rubio and others might have been a better pick as a gimmick to get elected but Ryan will do the best job.

  • Chip

    What these idiots know about Ayn Rand they got from Wikipedia, the same place the go the premise for every thesis they had to write…… that’s, of course, the one’s that attempted an education.

  • TruthCop

    None of these folks read Ayn Rand’s books.
    They think they know her views based on a few YouTube video’s.
    All liberals are dumb.

    • Warren C. Bennett

      I’ve read about half of Atlus Shrugged and a quarter or so of the Fountainhead. I did read all of Anthem. I actually quite liked that one. I don’t know if it is considered a novel or a novella though… I honestly wonder if the people say such things because Ryan and Rand are so close together.

    • Scagsdale

      I agree. I like much of what Rand said – Atlas Shrugged had a very large positive impact on my life. People who are afraid of Rand either don’t understand, didn’t read her work, or are on the government gravy train themselves and don’t want to see it dry up.

    • Doug White

      I’ve read all of Rand’s books including her “non-fiction” books (in which she quotes her characters as if they are real people, ROFL). Her philosophy is nonsense. CEOs of companys aren’t Galt-style inventors, or Roarke-style Operations experts. They’re mostly salesmen, financiers and marketers. The one trait they all have in common isn’t intelligence or honesty or honor, it’s ruthlessness. They are willing to take money from people who work hard for it because they can, because their capital leverage allows them to offer a choice of ‘my way or starve’ to the workers who slave for them. To be for both laisse-faire capitalism and democracy proves you are an idiot. In government, you want a system with checks and balances, term limits and every member of society having a vote, but in your economic society you want something that closely resembles feudalism. Rand’s nonsense about how the wealthy will run things the right way is pure fiction. It has never happened in history and never will. They have alwasy and will always crush the life out of those who have less than them. It’s not about creating markets of jobs or helping the economy, it’s about personal power, and lording over the common people like Gods.

      • Michael


      • J. Cox

        Yet the socialism your messiah touts has worked so well…where exactly?

    • Albert Leo

      I have read Atlas
      Shrugged twice, once as a teenager, when it seemed to make some sense, and
      later as an adult, when I realized what hateful, negative garbage she
      spews. I recently read half of Anthem but found it so depressing that I
      gave up. Mankind did not become great because of isolated self-anointed
      geniuses. Cooperation and teamwork are what made homo sapiens dominant,
      and the same is true for the United States. Her philosophy of selfishness
      is narrow and juvenile, as shallow as the unformed adolescents she
      targets. Oh yes, you are special and great. You don’t need anyone
      else. Everyone else is jealous of you and wants to pull you down.
      In German, it’s called Ubermensch, and Rand shares a lot in common with the
      sponsor of that monstrosity.

      • HalleysFifth

        Despite your claim to have read Ayn Rand so much, your comment shows you understand nothing about objectivism and spout many of the popular falsities about the philosophy.

    • Guest

      Really? You think NONE have read her books? What are the chances of that being true? Pretty low if you know math at all.

  • bret robertson

    wow it has begun already won’t it be funny if its not paul ryan ? I would loveto see rice or rubio for multiple reasons the main one to take away the dems favorite tool the race card,but ryan is a good pick as well

  • BleuSkies777

    Ryan learned the Romney Flip/Flop …
    He fits right in with his new boss

    • bret robertson

      what he is working for Obama?

    • IronGoddess

      That camel humper currently in the white house has done more flip flopping than the last 10 presidents put together. He has set a new record for gutter sludge that will be hard to beat! It will take YEARS to undo the harm he has caused to America!

    • Owen007

      Hey, how many campaign promises did Obama keep? Hmm…

      Closing Guantanamo in his first year? …This must be the longest year ever, then.
      Reading every bill that crosses his desk “line-by-line”? Ha!
      Getting that pesky deficit and monstrous debt down? Well, let’s ask the S&P about that one.
      No mandates in healthcare plans? Eesh, that one goes all the way back to the primaries, no less.
      Being “the most transparent administration ever?” Oh, the laughter over that one.

    • doc255

      Sure, Robert….nothing at all like Obama’s “I’m against gay marriage (unless it’s politically expedient for me to accept it)” position. Is that all you got??

  • annski
  • Justin M. Lesniewski

    Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will be in theaters Oct 12, 2012.

    • Lee McLaurin

      And it”ll be a flop just like part one. Lol

    • HalleysFifth

      And I’ll be there. When I saw Part 1 in Tempe, AZ (twice), the theater was packed with the friendliest, most cheerful audiences I had ever seen in my life!

  • Donna G

    And to vote for an Obi/Bi ticket is essentially voting in George Orwell!

  • Bruce Armstrong

    So you’re saying that “the Left” wrote this campaign speech for Ryan and that he delivered it, just because, what, he just wanted to mess with everybody?

  • Hiraghm

    The most terrifying and moving Ayn Rand tome for me was not “Atlas Shrugged”… but “Anthem”. Scarier than “1984”.

    • $21590057

      I agree, but Rand showed us what can happen if people refuse to accept that different people have different abilities and the right to choose their own path in life. Rand is a powerful writer; I was thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if Ryan were a Rand devotee. I understand why he has to ultimately reject her writing for the atheistic themes, but she does understand clearly why capitalism is the ultimate human freedom. She lived under socialism. It’s not like she hasn’t seen both sides of the coin.

  • Hiraghm

    And the most important part of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, reject the rest if you want… is free will for the individual. God gave us free will, to decide to do good or ill, and let us differentiate one from the other. Leftists reject that idea in their collectivist yearnings.

    • Guest

      Rand didn’t believe in God. She hated religion.

      • HalleysFifth

        And your conclusion is what – that everything she said can be rejected?
        That would be pretty dumb.

  • John Urban

    We in “the base” are tired of the defensiveness by Romney. We do NOT want to see ANY Republican even discussing Ryan and Rand. Instead, discuss Obama and Frank Marshall Davis. Obama and Rashid Khalidi. Obama’s belief that the Constitution is broken and that the Supreme Court exists to redistribute wealth. ATTACK!

  • Valjean

    Ryan’s response to the Ayn Rand comparison is incredibly articulate and serves to dismiss and dispatch his critics (including the morons tweeting above) by summarily renouncing Rand in favor of his own compassionate, Christian worldview shared by Thomas Aquinas. As usual, hard left cynics such as the cretin Krugman reveal their appalling ignorance and dishonesty.

  • madmomma5

    Everyone needs to go see 2016. Now that’s scary s**t! Who is this guy Barry, Obama…WTH!!! We still don’t know. Doesn’t that concern anyone???

    • madmomma5

      Romney/Ryan ticket sounds good to me…

  • Jim Rodriguez

    Well, let’s see who has and still does influence Obama and who are considered his friends: Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, Hugo Chavez, Moammar Gadhafi, and on and on. Just look up some of these Obama friends and you’ll be wondering why main stream media does not talk more about this. Talk about Obama’s friends before talking about Ryan’s…

    • plawler

      Yeah, umm… that would play much better if you had some actual proof that any of these people are close friends who “still does” influence Obama. And if Ayn Rand wasn’t dead.

  • SheerPolitics

    I personally don’t have a problem with Rand philosophy and I’m not an atheist. Just because you don’t agree with part of someone’s philosophy doesn’t mean you need to reject the whole thing. I’d be glad to see she’s being discussed.

  • Robin Morrison

    Quit lying to yourself. The truth about Ryan and Rand:

    Paul Ryan, 2005, speaking to The Atlas Society, either adoring Ayn or blatantly pandering (lying)::

    “I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people.””I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.””It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well.””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 when you look at the twentieth-century experiment with collectivism—that Ayn Rand, more than anybody else, did such a good job of articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism—you can’t find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand.”
    “Because there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works.”

    • doc255

      The fact that he endorses her economic views doesn’t necessarily mean that he espouses her anti-religious philosophy. These two concepts do not necessarily connect.

      • Guest

        None sense! Religion and economics are connected! what are you talking about!?? GOD (Jesus ) was telling us to help the poor, help each other and protect the powerless! instead you capitalists believe in “selfish greed” strongest survive mentality, you corrupted the Christian religion! with your evangilical beliefs, it is not even real christianity, it is SUDO religion. you make money and money is your god, simple fact, sooner you understand this sooner you will reach JESUS.

    • redheadgrl

      I agree with Ryan’s statements above. I became interested in political goings on after reading Atlas Shrugged. I believe it should be required reading in every high school in America, so he youth of our nation can see what could happen when success in demonized.
      I think it’s great that he was so open about how he got involved in public service in 2005. Also, you can still appreciate Ayn Rand’s philosophy even if you you have religious beliefs that are different.

    • Bumr50

      That’s awesome. Individualism and capitalism are what built this great nation, and it’s high time we bring these concepts back to the debate, rather than the collectivist claptrap that’s sinking Europe.

      Don’t like it?

      Move to France.

      • Guest

        why don’t you move to whereever you came from?? this is Original indian land. heellooo? LOL
        you have NO right to call anyone to move, love jesus or love Ayn Rand, simple, cannot have it both.

        • HalleysFifth

          Every tribe that existed in the Americas in 1492 stole their territory from an earlier tribe, which was often exterminated or enslaved by the conquering tribe. Yes, they were “noble savages.”

          • Guest

            from your writing I can see what kind of christian you are also, No wonder I talk about Sudo- fake Christians here in US. you are one of a kind, not real christians, you took the religion and changed it so much to make money, greed, and steal. How does that compatible with Jesus? you probably have an answer to that also, bending religion for your own sick purposes

          • HalleysFifth

            I’m not a Christian, you fool.

          • Guest

            Also “you shall not STEAL” one of the main rules, just by stealing Indian land, you broke the rules, so Get off your high chair calling racist comment saying” savages” etc to humans, Hair scalping was started with the whites, but you did not know that did you?? read it then learn and comment here like a real “love your neioghbour” christian like, not Hateful fake one.

          • HalleysFifth

            I’m still not a Christian, dummy. Only a moron like you would make that lame-brained presumption. Get off the computer and read a book.

  • FDR2016

    Right…the Left is falsely portraying him as an Ayn Rand devotee…ftw.

  • Skevvy

    “The Left is falsely (fill in the blank)” and now their false portrayal has been refuted with hard evidence, but will they stop their false portrayal. No. The Left is false. To borrow a phrase, “They can’t handle the truth” (it would burn their skin)

  • Jacob Bradley Pemberton

    As a staunch atheist and a libertarian, I am not ashamed to say that I have great respect for Ayn Rand, and I find her philosophy ground breaking.

    • josef

      A devoted exterminator of the faithful.

      • HalleysFifth

        You’re a plain idiot.

  • Garth1066

    It wasn’t the left, it was Ryan.

  • Doug_Piranha

    If Ryan gets people reading Atlas Shrugged just out of curiosity, we win in a walk.

  • Guest

    Ah well, this is the usual liberal collectivist thought. If he’s likes Ayn Rand no doubt he plans to implement all of her ideas. Much as they believe practicing right-wing Christians will implement every concept in the Bible.
    “It will be back to the dark ages!” they cry, wringing their hands in fear and trepidation. I have otherwise reasonable liberal friends who espouse this cariacture, so it has been an effective tactic. Strangely enough Jenna Jameson has effectively pointed out that her industry has thrived just as well under Republican administrations. Out of the mouth of….babes?
    I, for one, am looking forward to Rearden metal.

  • molosky

    Rand’s economic policy implications follow directly from her philosophy.

    If he supports those beliefs — as he clearly does — but not the underlying philosophy then he may not be an objectivist, but he is a brainwashed fool who doesn’t understand what he claims to believe.

    But we know that is not true. To say that Rand proved “the morality of capitalism” is to agree with her underlying beliefs and to reject Catholic traditions — which are to temper the selfishness of capitalism with community, not justify it “morally.”

    • HalleysFifth

      As an objectivist, I think you’re entirely right. But I’d still crawl over barbed wire and broken glass if necessary to vote the tyrant out of the White House.

      • molosky

        Thanks for your honesty. You are welcome to hate Obama if you wish and to use whatever vessel to obtain power, hopefully democratic. I realize that means stringing along the fundies and pro-life types.

        But in a forum like this, I’d like to think that we can admit the plainly obvious: that Ryan is either being fairly portrayed as a Randian or he is an idiot who doesn’t understand his own claimed core philosophy.

        I find it hard to believe that so many commenters here sincerely disagree with you on the basis of Ryan’s very recent (i.e. election season) walk back, selectively chosen here.

      • molosky

        I do have to wonder though — is there real value to replacing a “tyrant” with a few confirmed neo-cons?

        I hope you are a Johnson voter if you believe what you say, because I think anyone who thinks R&R will actually reduce authoritarianism is dreaming. Ryan rubber stamped many of the biggest federal power grabs of the last decade and Romney (when asked) was similarly supportive.

  • jeffreyk3

    I wish Ryan were truly a devotee of Ayn Rand. Her morality of rational self-interest is the correct view.

  • Gary Street

    This blog post says liberals are falsely accusing Ryan of being a Rand devotee, but everyone here LOVES Rand!

    Why aren’t you angry at Ryan for denouncing Rand when it became
    politically inconvenient for him to continue to tout her as his moral
    compass for the radical free market economic policies in his legislative
    agenda. In this 2009 video ( Ryan says,

    “[The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged] are the kind of thinking we need right

    Seems to me that Ryan is running as fast as he can away from Ayn Rand, purely for political reasons. What would Dagny think?

    And it looks like Ryan used Social Security to put himself through college. ( ) Shouldn’t he write a compensatory check to the US Treasury?

  • advancedatheist

    Ryan’s conflicted allegiances show how much traction Ayn Rand’s alternative humanism has gotten in American culture despite such unpromising beginnings. And this happened spontaneously, without any central planning, despite the long-standing, built-in advantages both the Catholic Church and political progressives enjoy in the U.S. People keep trying to dismiss Rand as a sociopath, a kook and an ignoramus, yet she managed to bypass both the Magisterium’s indoctrination system and the left’s propaganda channels in education, academia and government by taking her radical view of a proper society straight to the market, and finding enthusiastic customers. She must have gotten quite a few things right to have pulled that off.

    • Gary Street

      Again, the original post attacks liberals for trying to assert that Ryan is a disciple of Rand’s writings. Your response is to PRAISE and DEFEND Rand and refute liberal criticism of her ideology.

      If you find Rand to be such a revered figure, what does it say about Ryan that he has publicly repudiated his previous statements of admiration for her and her philosophy?

      If I was a cynical person, I might conclude that all the Rand devotees who view Ryan as a Randian Hero, understand perfectly well that Ayn Rand it radioactive politically and accept Ryan’s repudiation as a political necessity. All this while conveniently side-stepping the logical conclusion that Ryan’s cynical actions would be completely antithetical for a true Randian Hero.

      But that would require a very, very cynical approach to politics. So, that cannot be the explanation for all the comments ignoring the assertion in the original post and Ryan’s repudiation of Rand, while blindly attacking liberals and praising Ayn Rand.

      • HalleysFifth

        A candidate need not be an objectivist (“Randian Hero”) to get my vote in the general election. Just be less evil than the current tyrant. Romney and Ryan are that in my view and will get my vote.

  • Guest

    Ryan is a Ayn Rand beliver, he admited it, why back down now? No guts? typical politician, whatever make him get elected he will turn into that, you will see, Now he will act like he is a real Jesus believer! Ayn Rand was an Atheist (not that anything wrong with that) he believes her idea of selfishness, strongest survive etc. With her Logic, we should have left Jews in Europe to die since strongest survive!! sick ideology indeed. they are sick, they hate Poor people, hate government helping them, while the 1% RICH do not pay any taxes! check the IRS reports released the other day, – Is this FAIR? is this what JESUS did not rose up against!! MONEY EXCHANGERS in the temples! You wild bankers and rich lovers are the NEW MODERN money exchangers and you will never to go HEAVEN, that is for sure, and I am so happy for that. You cannot play both sides, believe in Jesus and love the money like god.

    “their average effective tax rate rose to 19.9%. That’s the highest since the Bush tax cuts lowered the top rate on long term gains and qualified dividends to 15% in 2003. (By contrast, the top rate on salary and other earned income is 35%.)”

    • HalleysFifth

      If you had a clue about objectivism – which you have demonstated you don’t – you’d know that there’s no such thing as an Ayn Rand “believer.”

      • Guest

        I have news for you, there is no OBJECTIVISM in the world. If you have not learnt this by now, you will never learn it. I am guessing you are believing Fox news being objective? :)) ( i am no democract either, they are all the same, wall street slaves, money loving, their god is money)

  • Bumr50

    The level of activity by the Leftists on this site and others tells me that the Ryan selection is brilliant.

    These folks are genuinely enamored by the welfare state model that’s proven unsustainable throughout history and is going down in flames, literally, throughout Europe.

    Rand may have been an immoral atheist, but she embraces concepts that allow her the personal freedom to be just that. Without that personal freedom and true individualism faith itself becomes a moot point, as government legislates it’s prescribed morality (wtf is a “hate crime” anyway) and removes the need for self-regulation.

  • Guest

    By falsely accusing do you mean directly quoting him? Because direct quotes would work just fine in showing that. Must be nice living in denial. I was wondering how Christians would spin this so it makes sense in their heads. Just read his own quotes about her. That’s all you have to do.

  • Guest

    “I am virtuous for I am Selfish.” i just found this on that video youtube. Christianity is about being UNSELFISH, so you are either a Christian or Atheist Ayn Rand follower, you cannot be both at the same time,
    simple, you are either with US or against us! chose.

  • Tanker74

    Karl Marx devotees are unable to honestly and accurately describe anyone else’s belief system.

  • Guest

    Nice going mr Fake Christian and sudo Atheist Ryan and Romney
    “Ironically, Ryan came to national attention trying to
    dismantle the very program that helped him go to the college of his
    choice, pushing an even more radical version of President Bush’s Social
    Security privatization plan, which failed. He has since become the
    scourge of the welfare state, a man wholly supported by government who
    preaches against the evils of government support. He could be the poster
    boy for President Obama’s supposedly controversial oration about how we
    all owe our success to some combination of our own hard work, family
    backing and government support. Let’s say it together: You didn’t build
    that career by yourself, Congressman Ryan.Thus Paul Ryan
    represents the fakery at the heart of the Republican project today. It
    starts with the contradiction that Mr. Free Enterprise has spent his
    life in the bosom of government, enjoying the added protection of
    wingnut welfare benefactors like the Koch brothers.”

  • phillymac

    Well, I think it would have been harder to pin on him if he hadn’t done the youtube video putting forth Ayn Rand as a defender of the morality of capitalism. I seriously hope it was just a phase and I’d like to believe his later statement as proof of growth as a human being. Thomas Aquinas is a much better role model – and author for that matter.