Paul Ryan and his idol, Ayn Rand, will never be good for America and Americans
By Sparta Live | April 16, 2018 6:32 am
Democratic Dialog – By Debra Wines
I would be lying if I said that Paul Ryan’s recent announcement that he was not going to run for re-election in Wisconsin saddened me. It certainly doesn’t. I never understood how someone could claim to be a devout Catholic and worship Ayn Rand. The philosophies are diametrically opposed to each other. Granted, the Catholic Church is not exactly a pillar of virtue, and some would say that the amount of money the Catholic Church has is paramount to a great many television evangelical preachers who, if they pooled their net-worth together, might come close to what the church has in its coffers. The basis of the Catholic Church always followed the teachings of Jesus Christ: compassion and love for our fellow human beings, be generous and help those who need it, love and treat each other as you want to be treated. The Catholic Church did not “teach” the Old Testament. Ayn Rand, on the other hand, is all about taking care of oneself and only oneself. Her belief was in total selfishness. Paul Ryan’s actions, for the past 20 years, since he has been in Congress have shown he leaned far into the teachings of Ayn Rand and admitted she was his idol.
In Paul Ryan’s public statement, regarding his resignation in January 2019, he stated that he was proud of his service to the federal government and had accomplished his biggest goal by reforming the tax code. In private, several associates of Mr. Ryan said he was disappointed that he would not be able to do the same thing to Social Security, Medicare, and all the safety net programs that “takers” use and abuse. I never understood his utter distain toward people who used their Social Security benefits, since he used “Survivor Benefits” money from his father’s Social Security to attend college. I guess it might go back to his belief in the Ayn Rand philosophy. Those benefits were there for him to use to better educate himself, but he doesn’t think it is right for anyone else to have the same advantage or use the same benefit.
Reading numerous articles that speculated about the possibility Paul Ryan would not seek re-election, starting back in December 2017, there were a couple of common threads. One was Mr. Ryan felt that he could no longer continue to support Donald Trump’s erratic and unpredictable behavior toward vital issues and policies. The other was the possibility that Paul Ryan might want to run for President in 2020, and it was necessary to distance himself from not only Donald Trump but also the investigations going on around the White House. Mr. Ryan’s public reasons, claiming he accomplished what he wanted to do and adding the fact that he wanted to spend more time with his children, sound very noble. What future voter wouldn’t approve of those reasons?
During the 2012 General Election when Paul Ryan was running as vice president with Mitt Romney, Paul did his utmost to paint himself as just a poorer middle-class guy who worked at McDonald’s flipping hamburgers and various other minimum wage jobs. The truth is, yes, he did those jobs during his summers while he was in high school. He also had other low paying jobs while he was in college for extra spending money and when he went to Washington, D.C. as an intern and later a congressional aide, to help pay his rent. Paul Ryan was born into a rather prominent family, in Janesville, Wisconsin. He was the youngest child of a very successful attorney and the grandson of the top federal prosecutor for the Western Region of Wisconsin. His family also owned a very successful construction company. He didn’t talk about that part of his family while he was campaigning; instead, he did his best to make himself into an average “guy’s guy” who brought himself up the ladder of success because he was so determined not to let low paying jobs define him, and, according to him, he accomplished this simply because he was determined to make himself “top dog.”
I will give Paul Ryan credit, yes, his successful career is due in part to his own drive and self-determination. It didn’t hurt that he came from a very well-to-do family. It also appears members of his family gave him a very strong sense of determination while they also exhibited the value of hard work. Paul Ryan did suffer a tragedy when he was 16 and his father died from a heart attack. According to some family members, Paul threw himself in working hard and taking care of his body. I’m sure we all remember some of those pictures of him “pumping iron” during the 2012 elections. I understand his drive. I also understand when you come from a family of hardworking, type “A” personalities, you don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself. He was lucky that he had role models, even after his father’s death, who encouraged him and showed him what can be accomplished and maintained through honest work.
When Paul Ryan was in college, he “discovered” Ayn Rand and her version of society and how it should work. It become his new “religion” and gave him a mission. That mission was to promote, bend the rules and eliminate regulations for the “producers,” and destroy any programs that would benefit the “moochers.” Paul Ryan did accomplish part of that mission with his tax reform bill that gives more tax cuts to the wealthy, a pittance to keep the middle class in line, and takes away tax deductions that help the middle, lower income, and the poor. Part of Ayn Rand’s teachings were that the “producers” basically would run the country, government had limited power, and the “moochers” were not deserving of any help or assistance.
Another reason that is being tossed around by various media sources for Mr. Ryan’s departure is he did not think he could complete his mission under the current conditions, in Washington D.C. Paul Ryan is a lot of things, but he is not stupid. He has seen what is happening to the Republican Party, and he understands the chaos that is being created by Trump’s administration is starting to have a negative impact on what the Republican Party can do. As much as he wanted to gut Social Security, Medicare, and every other safety net program, too many of his fellow Republicans could not or would not support him in that part of his mission. Some have even expressed concern about the effect their vote for the tax reform will have on them in their own re-election bids.
Ayn Rand was, in the simplest of terms, batsh*t crazy! Yet, her philosophy isn’t too far off with what is happening right here in America, right now. She promoted the thought that the rich should never pay taxes, only the workers should, and, yet, government should do nothing except enforce laws. I don’t know if she thought there would be a president, a Senate and House of Representatives on the federal level, or if she thought there should only be state levels of government. From what I have gathered, governments, in her opinion, were to be run by and for the rich. I remember that Paul Ryan bragged about making every one of his staff members read all of Ayn Rand’s books because that was the kind of government he envisioned. I do believe he was smart enough to know the kind of ineffectual government of Ayn Rand’s dreams would not work for America, but he wanted to create something that was similar. I do believe he realized that the American government was a powerful force, and, in order to remain that way, the government needed funds/taxes. In his perfect world, the majority of the tax burden would be placed on those who can’t really afford to pay more than their fair share. In his world, there would be no Social Security or Medicare because no one would be given the opportunity to pay into such a program. There would be no help for victims of natural or man-made disasters. There would be no unemployment insurance if you lost your job. There would be nothing to help people trying to climb the ladder of success. In other words, if you were not born rich, well, it sucks to be you.
In my opinion, we should be grateful that Mr. Ryan is wealthy enough, not only in his own right but he married very well, he doesn’t have to work in Congress to support his family. The interesting question is what will he do once he retires from Congress? I am sure he still owes a large debt of “gratitude” to the Koch Brothers and others who helped him during his Congressional career. Will he become some kind of lobbyist? Perhaps he will start an Ayn Rand Foundation of some kind and continue to support her way of thinking. Or he may just start working on his bid to replace Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Personally, I would love it if he’d take his Ayn Rand books and burn them and stay out of politics all together. I believe he and his kind have done more than enough harm to the 98 percent of us who he and his idol classify as “moochers.” Just one more interesting fact to think about, Ayn Rand collected on her Social Security and Medicare when she became eligible, and she did it under her married name of Ann O’Connor – just another great example of practicing what she preached.