Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rand Again

The other day I read that Republican congressman Paul Ryan who is leading the Republican budget battle against the Obama side is a devoted disciple of Ayn Rand. Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged, so galvanized his thinking that he had his entire staff read it. He credits Rand's philosophy with the reason he got into politics. Ok. There are lots of reasons people get into politics. Ayn Rand has become something of a hero of the conservative side of the Republican party. Some tea partyers are helping to market a new movie based on her book. It's not a good movie from what I have read so far so I don't know if it will help get the Rand message (and Republican message) out to the voters. Rand's philosophy which she set forth in novel format is a kind of hyper individualism, that creates a pure form of capitalism. She champions an extreme self interest that answers to no one, not even God. Rand was an atheist. The one thing that matters is one's pursuit of personal happiness. She was an early advocate of whatever turns you on. She was totally amoral in sexual matters and an early pro -abortionist. Still, Ryan and other Repubs interest in her have to do with her economic ideas and her warnings about governments that penalize self centered ambition in order to support the welfare of the "collective." They believe Rand would save us from Obama. I am glad to know who Ryan's main mentor is. I don't have a particularly positive opinion of Rand. I have read parts of her books but only because I had to for some course I took. At a Christian school where it was mentioned that Rand's philosophy was about as far from a Christian philosophy of life as one could find. She is also not an especially gifted writer. But then again there are her ideas. I was both puzzled and surprised to read a column by Cal Thomas the day after the movie, Atlas Shrugged, debuted. Cal Thomas is nationally syndicated but he used to be simply a Christian speaker and writer. I have heard him speak about issues from a Christian perspective at Christian gatherings. Thomas ends his column with a rousing call to his readers to see the film if we care about where this country is headed. Used to be Christians cared about things like sexual ethics, and abortion and caring for the poor, and whether or not someone believed in God. Used to be those were some hot topics when we considered where this country is headed. Now, I guess it's all about the economy, stupid, and if Rand's vision gets us to where we think we want to go, the heck with everything else.