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Paul Ryan was not on my radar a lot. This morning I listened to Democracy Now as I always do and there was some information in today's interviews I consider disturbing in its meaning.

Here are some  excerpts of the transcript from this mornings interviews of Amy with Matthew Rothschild, editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine and John Nichols, political writer for "The Nation "and the author of "Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street."

AMY GOODMAN: When you, Matt Rothschild, heard the news, as you were there in Wisconsin—you have covered Ryan from the beginning at The Progressive magazine. Talk about who Paul Ryan is.

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Well, Amy, ... I was surprised, ..., Paul Ryan, though, is a better snake oil salesman of free market capitalism, unbridled capitalism ... He also has better, I think, retail political skills. He’s a better person-to-person kind of guy, down to earth.
But he’s always been this kind of policy wonk. He considers himself a genius in economics, but he’s kind of the one-eyed man in the kingdom, because his theory of economics is really absurd. I mean, he blames FDR and FDR’s policies for making the Great Depression worse. .... I think any economist of any stature would say that FDR certainly helped get us out of the Great Depression by reducing unemployment from 25 percent to 10 percent ... And so, you know, Ryan gets a lot of mileage for understanding, so-called, the budget and economics, but if you look closely, he doesn’t really get it.

Another quote from Ryan himself:
REP. PAUL RYAN: 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 the fight we are in here—make no mistake about it—is a fight of individualism versus collectivism. ...
And when you look at the 20th 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.
Amy then asked Nichols what he thought about Ryan's Ayn Rand fixation:
JOHN NICHOLS: ... And Paul Ryan is a deep, deep scholar of and reader of Ayn Rand. ...throughout her [Rand's] writing career [she] was a militant opponent of what she called collectivism, but really what she meant was government, and beyond that, a critic even of helping your neighbor. She said that selfishness must be the central organizing precept of your life and that the most important thing was to take care of yourself, don’t worry about others.[me: How much more disgusting can it get?]

Now, Paul Ryan started reading Ayn Rand as a very young man, ... He cut a video in which he said that in these times—this was a video cut about two years ago—one of the most important things people can do is to read Ayn Rand. It’s—he said it was one of the best ways to respond to Obama’s election. So he’s been deeply into this writer.

Now, what’s fascinating is that about a couple months ago, when he was going to speak at a Catholic university, a number of Catholic scholars wrote a letter saying, "You know, we kind of have a problem with this, because Ayn Rand was an atheist who was very condemnatory of what we think of as Catholic social justice teaching and all that." Well, Ryan immediately ran over to the National Review, did an interview and said, "Well, I’m not really a fan of Ayn Rand." It was a bizarre thing, because he was distancing himself from a hero.

Put this together with little tid-bit:
AMY GOODMAN: Think Progress writes, "Rand described altruism as 'evil,' condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as 'phony,' and called Arabs 'almost totally primitive savages.'"

JOHN NICHOLS: But there’s something more than that. All of that, she did not back Ronald Reagan in 1980 because he was anti-abortion, because she thinks—she thought abortion was a great idea—maybe not for the best of reasons. Now, the fascinating thing is that despite Paul Ryan’s wild attempts in recent months to very much distance himself from Ayn Rand, there was a quote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday from his brother Tobin, who said, "Oh, Paul can quote every verse of Ayn Rand." And so, I think it’s very important to understand that Paul Ryan—I don’t think he’s an atheist. I think Paul Ryan melds extreme right-wing Catholicism, particularly on social issues, with Ayn Rand’s philosophy as regards government and a very kind of selfish image of how we should relate to others.

Well, in addition somewhere I heard in this interview that Alan Greenspan was also a supporter of Ayn Rand philosophy.

My question is who finances all those Ayn Rand promoters in this country? I heard  they are strong at George Mason University. How much money got Ryan from Ayn Rand ideologists out of the Wall Street and Banking industry?

I mean not only does he want to dismantle the New Deal of Roosevelt, but I think they would like to go back to Capitalism of the early 20th century. How is it possible that Ayn Rand cults developed and thrived in the US ? Does she have a followership in Europe? I had heard about her for the first time only here in the US, but then I am not well read nor did I study history, political science or philosophy. But there are people here, who know about that. Is there a cult-like followership in Europe of her? Or may be a revival of her writings that spread from the US back to Europe lately? I sincerly hope not.

Originally posted to mimi on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 09:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Ryan Inc.

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