Ryan himself seemed relaxed at a 2005 speech to the Atlas Society in which he not only said in some detail how influential Ayn Rand's philosophy had been in shaping his own outook, but also laid out his views on the "collectivist" and "socialistic" nature of social programs, particularly Social Security. (Earlier this year, without referencing his earlier adulation of Rand all the way back to high school up to at least 2009, Ryan contradicted his previous comments, claiming unconvincingly that he rejected her "atheist philosophy." It was a flip-flop to make Romney envious.)
Some of an audiotape of the speech was transcribed and posted on the Atlas Society's website in April. But there were missing pieces that Vincent Miller at America magazine has now transcribed. They show that Social Security and Medicare, defined benefit programs, have long been explicit targets. The best bits:
But when you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capital Hill, it’s a tough fight. It’s a very important fight. But we need more people on our side to fight this fight. That is why there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security. Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system …If that sounds like the siren song of privatization designed to lure the nation into shattering two of the most successful and crucial social programs in America, it's because it is.
And what’s important is if we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing social security think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society, they will be an owner and a participant of our free enterprise system, of our capitalist system. I would like to have more people on our team who are owners and believers in the individualist capitalist system than on the other side, and if every worker in this country becomes an owner of real wealth, of seeing the fruits of their labor come and materialize for their benefit, then that’s that many more people in America who are not going to listen to likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class warfare-breathing demagogues.
If we do not succeed in switching these programs, in reforming these programs from what some people call a defined benefit system, to a defined contribution system—from switching these programs—and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well—from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually prefunded, individually directed system.
It is what Ryan and Romney have in mind, have, at least in Ryan's case, had in mind all along when talking about "government-dependent" Americans. The solution: Turn everything over to individuals. Make us into a you're-on-your-own society, as Bill Clinton described it in his convention speech in Charlotte. That is exactly the way things were when those programs were initiated 75 years and 45 years ago. A dog-eat-dog society. A let-the-devil-take-the-hindmost society. The good old days.