Randism is a cult, the political equal of Marxism. Cults and ideologies always begin from a naming of the primary center of reality. This center then becomes the prescription for every ill, every wrong, every modern failing, every Utopian hope, and structures every sphere surrounding its heartbeat from the walk of one's own life to the will of government. Religious ideologies name this center as God (as proxy for the Church hierarchy), Clan ideologies name the center as one's heredity and are closely related to Nationalist ideologies who name the center as the state and its dictatorial head, Marxist and communist ideologies name the center as the collective organism, and Rand simply took Marx's center of the collective organism and shifted it to the singular (self-centered) organism.
This cult-like prescription of the renamed center is present in the spread of Randism, but there is something yet more troublesome in the context of its 'populist' rise on the Right. Paul Ryan's version of Rand's ideology emerges in the context of America's transition to a multi-ethnic society. This is important to note for it lays bare the confounding problem how a populist movement could proliferate whose end result is seemingly counter to the interests of the commoners. A good portion of White America fears the change brought about to their familiar way by the new multi-ethnic community. They fear this just as they feared integration in the 60's and school desegregation in the 70's and the ongoing influx of minorities into their suburbs.
Some of us see pluralism as the fulfillment of America's promise. Others, however, see it as its demise. Pluralism threatens their perceived structure and invades their comfort zone. Randism to them is a way to 'stick it' to the rising pluralism -- to those whom they deem as inferior, as slackers living off government programs, those who are now taking over their neighborhoods and the reins of politics, changing America. Randism offers a way to pull out the ladder from their upward mobility. It comes in a time that 'minority' babies in the United States outnumbered white babies for the first time. That's the context, the racial fear that provides the identity for this Tea Party brand of 'Objectivists.' And, it is happening at the same time that these very same 'patriots' are destroying the anathema of affirmative action and erecting electrified border fences.
The gutting of all meaningful social programs is the New Right's way of making their stand, drawing the line, joining the border patrol, and taking on 'the others.' It reminds me of the last, reactionary years of Apartheid as the power structure tried desperately to cling to the final remnants of their power. 'If we're on the way out, we're going to tear it down for you.' It does not matter that these same people depend upon so many of the programs they seek to abolish to maintain their middle class standard of living. It does not matter that their parents depend upon Medicare and Social Security to survive just above poverty level. There is a cognitive disconnect born out of underlying racial fear to which they have hitched their wagons and assimilated as a group identity. The cult of Randism has wedded the cult of the clan and the prescription has been handed down.
This is why you hear the right wing pundits on talk radio and Fox News and in editorial pieces laud the virtues of Rand on one hand and slip into racial slurs and stereotyping on the other. The two are part of the same meme. It would not surprise me at all if this were an actual strategy formed within the Right Wing think tanks to cultivate the dumb white masses to provide what their backing plutocracy could never expect, populist allegiance. The infamous "wedge" has been employed to such great effect on these same saps in order to corral them toward the hidden causes behind the front causes they thought they owned.
This populist Randism, however, is even more subtle, more insidious, because it is touted as "values" and "work ethic" and "patriotism" even though it is nothing more than the unstated throttle of base racism. The clue that this is indeed a political manipulation rather than ideological or even philosophical organic chemistry is that Rand's individualism, the naming of the self as 'the' center, runs absolutely counter to the idea of a 'populist' movement, a movement of the masses.
Ayn Rand herself despised these movements and these easily led people referring to Libertarians as "monstrous," "disgusting," and "scum." In Rand's own words, “All kinds of people today call themselves ‘libertarians,’ especially something calling itself the New Right... I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect.”
Ayn Rand, The Moratorium on Brains, 1971
Don't tell this to any Tea Partier or vague Libertarian caught in the clutches. They won't hear it because they are something else, some new brew drunk on precepts kept just beyond their wits end, guided by racial resentment that they dare not name in mixed company or social media, and set out to burn down the community of America in a race riot orchestrated by those who want to divvy up the ruins. If I am right, Mitt Romney's seeming gaffe in introducing Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States" is not so much a gaffe as it is a Freudian slip. It says that the shackles put on the recovery by Republicans during Obama's first four years are to pale to the unabashed arson they intend during Obama's next four years -- for it is the very notion of pluralism to which they are setting fire and from whose ashes they will have positioned a prescription.