Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Altruism as Evil

Those of us in an ideology free zone are often amazed by our ideological brethren. The amazement is caused by their remarkable ability to embrace belief systems that are utterly contradictory. Paul Ryan is a devout Catholic and a disciple of Ayn Rand. If you have even the slimmest understanding of those two philosophies, this should make your head throb. It is as if a celibate pacifist celebrated the life and times of the Marquis de Sade.
But then, Ayn Rand, the individualist who wanted to dismantle government programs, gratefully embraced the collectivist wonder of Medicare when her health failed.
Paul Ryan is considered an "intellectual" in the conservative movement. In a land of the blind, a one eyed man can be king.
This land is your land.

"People don't generally care what politicians read. But Rep. Paul Ryan is different. His fascination with the Russian-born novelist Ayn Rand could spell trouble for the GOP's new vice-presidential candidate. It could put him at odds with the Christian right and the Roman Catholic Church.
It all depends how much you believe that he is in the thrall of Ayn Rand.
Rand (1905-1982) is controversial because of the extremism of her views. In researching my recent book, I found that Rand's influence on the Republican Party, which dates back as far as her endorsement of Wendell Willkie in 1940, has been sharply growing, largely due to her vise-like hold on the imagination of the tea party and people like Ryan.
Rand was the author of two best-selling novels, "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged." These books, along with her other novels and essays, set forth an ideology which she called objectivism. ...
College students notoriously go through an "Ayn Rand phase" because her books emphasize self-reliance and breaking away from one's parents. For most people, it's a kind of literary infatuation. But for a few, Rand becomes a lifelong passion.
What made her books controversial is not violence or sex, though both "Fountainhead" and "Atlas" have their share of bodice-ripping, but an extremist vision of America that celebrated greed and selfishness, rejected altruism as "evil" and opposed the fundamental tenets of Judeo-Christian morality. (She was also a militant atheist who favored abortion.)"