Monday, April 27, 2009

Meet the Ayn Rand Congressman: Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a glowing feature piece in their politics section on Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. It's titled "Ryan Shines as GOP seeks Vision," with the subtitle "Ayn Rand Economics."

It starts off:

Fifteen years ago, Paul Ryan was moonlighting as a waiter at a Mexican restaurant on Capitol Hill.

Today, he's one of his party's most touted young politicians, a GOP point man on the economy and a darling of the conservative movement.

Ryan's emergence this year can be measured in cable news appearances (20), op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times (three)...

Ryan was the keynote speaker in Washington two months ago at the nation's biggest conservative gathering, the Conservative Political Action Conference. He wrote the chief Republican alternative to the Obama budget. His ability to churn out plans and papers, his media skills and his pro-market zeal have thrust him to the vanguard of the party on the economic issues that dominate today's political debate.
But it's the part about Ryan's devotion to Ayn Rand's philosphy that's sure to fire up the GOP's libertarian wing. Continuing:

To that task, Ryan brings an admittedly geeky head for numbers and detail. He also brings a deep philosophical attachment to market capitalism and "supply-side" economics - a world view shaped by such icons of individualism and free enterprise as Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

"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," Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."
Though, Ryan later admits in the article, he's not a 100% down-the-line libertarian, and even cites some occasions where he has disagreed with libertarians on some cultural matters. But rather he's considers himself more of a diehard Randist, with a bit of a socially conservative streak. Continuing:

At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand's writings when he told his audience that, "Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill  . . .  is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict - individualism versus collectivism."

In that struggle, Ryan argued that shifting Social Security (which he called a "collectivist system") toward personal investment accounts was not only good policy, but would change the political landscape, according to a recording of the event made by its host, The Atlas Society.

"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.  . . .  That's that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class-warfare-breathing demagogues," said Ryan.


Rae said...

"Ryan Shines as GOP seeks Vision," with the subtitle "Ayn Rand Economics."Really? Ryan voted for TARP, for the auto bailout, and for the 90% bonus tax.

Anonymous said...

I know his vote on the TARP was a painstaking decision for him. I did not realize he voted for the auto bailout as well.

He is one of the best we have, but I'm not sure what he was thinking.

Valerie said...

Ryan has potential but right now that is being overshadowed by his willingness to join the ranks of the big spending Republicans on capital hill.

Ryan either made really bad decisions under pressure voting for the bailouts, or he is now just trying to grandstand given the new demands of right-minded citizens. I hope it's the former and Ryan can prove that he isn't just another democrat in Republican's clothing.

stefan said...

@ Rae & Valerie: yes, very much a mixed bag with him, he does not seem to have a coherent message, some conflicts. (Eric, Ayan Rand would NEVER have been in favor of any bailout. If you do not understand that, then you do not understand the essense of her philosophy at all).
Ryan spoke in favor of a commodities based currency during CPAC, but unsure whether he co-sponsors Paul's honest money bill.
Mark Pence, for one, has more consistency than Paul Ryan.

Paleoconservative said...

Another anti-Christ. Wearing the clothes of the anti-Christ. Staring the bug eyed stare of the anti-Christ. Clutching his hand as in defiance of God, like anti-Christ Rand's Rearden, in an anti-Christ manner.

F**k this bozo. Most unimpressive.

Eric Dondero said...

Once again, you all miss the point of the post.

The media views him as an Ayn Rand extremist free market type.

I'd say he's 90 to 95% there, but like I said in the piece, not "100% libertarian." But again, the media views him as such.

Shows how extremist and out of touch some libertarians are, who cannot even accept someone whose with them 90 to 95% of the time.

I'd say the burden is on us to be a little more tolerant of the 5 to 10% disagreements and less on Ryan.

stefan said...

Eric, you seem to miss the fact that Ayn Rand's "objectivist philosophy" could also not be described as "100% libertarian" at all. She has a small sectarian following, represented by the "Objectivist Party" and the Ayn Rand Institute. If Ryan would ever have worked at the Ryan Institute (like Jeff Flake worked at the Goldwater Institute), then you could have said Ryan is 90, 95% Randian, but the point is, he is not! Get it???

PS: Should I remind you what Von Mises had to say about Rand?? Alan Greenspan used to be part of Rand's group, but how has he changed through the years. I doubt it you would describe Andrea Mitchell as a "Randian news reporter", or would you?

Valerie said...

The media views him as an Ayn Rand extremist free market type.So what? The media views Obama as the second coming. Free thinking goes both ways.

Like I said Ryan has potential but he's already made two big, no, MONUMENTALLY HUGE, mistakes in my mind since he's hit the national spotlight. He can talk all he wants and the pundits can say all they want, but actions do speak louder than words. I will reserve my final judgement on him until I can be sure which horse I am backing.

Valerie said...

2 things I just learned about Ryan that you might be interested in Dondero.

On top of the bailouts ad the 90% bonus tax, he also voted to make the patriot act permanent and against the use of medical marijuana.

Derrick Enderp said...

Dondero is a media fucker. Even when he complains about media bias, he would gladly let them pee in his mouth.

Eric Dondero said...

I love that! I'm a "media fucker." Damned straight I am. I'll wear that as a badge of honor.

Can I use that quote?

Real name please??

stefan said...

Very fitting description, Eric, the "media fucker". I have another one, Eric, the "media ignoramus", or should I say "constitution ignoramus".

Valerie, Eric has stated before that he would have voted for the Patior Act, and then he calls himself a "libertarian"! With that, he has shown that he is definitely no libertarian and no constitutionalist and an ignoramus.

John morris said...

I don't know much about him but it seems like he is a possible friend but only in fair weather.

This shows in general, the need to build a strong core base of commited fighters for liberty. Once that is done and the train is moving someone like this will climb on board.

Obviously, his position in a swing state is a big factor.

Anonymous said...

My best advice is to look up Ryan's voting record and compare it to the constitution. Who cares what he say. The only real Rand follower in congress is Ron Paul and Ryan laugh at him.