Forums - Politics Discussion - So Paul Ryan now rejects Rand's Objectivism.

badgenome said:
richardhutnik said:

The GOP had better end up clarifying what they view Rand is.  As it was, they were trumpeting Rand as something awesome.  Ryan even said Rand was suitable to provide a moral basis for capitalism.  These are his words.  I would also suggest people be careful what they are saying now, particularly yourself here.  As it is now, you have turned Ryan into some sort of ink blots to make him say what you want him to say.

Why do you consider it some kind of massive flip flop if Ryan agrees with Rand on economics and her moral justifications for capitalism but doesn't agree with her atheism or what people often interpret as her unfeeling rigidity?

Either way, I'm not really sure why Olasky is all bent out of shape about it, unless as an uber-Christian he just can't stand to see people saying something nice about a very un-Christian individual like Rand. But Olasky himself is probably best known for arguing that American anti-poverty programs have been ruinous, and although he later supported Bush's private-public partnerships and faith based initiatives, I remember him running away from those like a scalded dog as they foundered and came under fire.

The point i would say is that if you have issue with a certain part of someone's thinking, then you shouldn't hold up their philosophy as an unqualified good and then later, when it suddenly becomes politically expedient, say "i only like this part of her philosophy, the rest of that crap is dangerous."

It would be just as damning if a Christian Marxist did it, went around touting social revolution but later said "oh, but we need to keep religion around," in a blatant effort to increase political appeal later on.



Thanks for making voice acting an a-list pastime.

Slowly rebuild social life go!

Around the Network
Mr Khan said:

The point i would say is that if you have issue with a certain part of someone's thinking, then you shouldn't hold up their philosophy as an unqualified good and then later, when it suddenly becomes politically expedient, say "i only like this part of her philosophy, the rest of that crap is dangerous."

It would be just as damning if a Christian Marxist did it, went around touting social revolution but later said "oh, but we need to keep religion around," in a blatant effort to increase political appeal later on.

Not really. While he admires Ayn Rand's books and they had a profound impact on him, he isn't an Objectivist. I don't see how that's a contradiction. It's not really much different than touting Robert E. Howard's work while not being a racist, or Robert Heinlein's without being a libertarian.

I admire both George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens a great deal. I'd recommend their books to anyone. If I were a congressman, I might even make certain of their writings required reading among my staffers. I am not a socialist, however.



badgenome said:
richardhutnik said:

It is, at best, a token effort to throw support at it.  It isn't in the same league as what Rove did to push to organize evangelical churches to support GW Bush's reelection efforts.  It is just words, not a strategic targeting, like Rick Perry saying the GOP is the party of life, in response to an angry mob at a GOP debate.  You do have defaults, like black churches, but the evangelical wasn't really targeted in a meaningful way.  Reminded of a bit of politics that John Kerry did by dropping the Dick Cheney's daugher is a lesbian in a debate.  Just marginal stuff done in passing to say they tried.

That's rather arrogant of you. To be very frank, I probably know a lot more about Marvin Olasky than you do. Also, it was Edwards, not Kerry, who debated Dick Cheney. (VP candidates debate each other, wot.)

Again, you're just defining it down to your liking (black churches don't count for some reason, neither does the Catholic left nor very liberal churches like Episcopalians) and then accusing Democrats of being insincere in their religious pitches. I suppose if you only count the angry frothing mob (real or imagined) of Southern Baptists or those weird Mormons with their funny magic underwear, then yes, I guess Republicans do have something approaching a monopoly on bringing religion into politics. But that has precious little to do with reality.

I am glad you know who Olasky is, so you know why he was mentioned, and why he would have issues with Rand.  

In regards to Kerry, he did use reference to Cheney's daughter in the debate in the 2004 election:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-10-14-lynne-cheney_x.htm

He did also make a play with that for evangelicals, and with a few other statements.  It didn't work.

 

In regards to religion, and I spoke about EVANGELICALS, the GOP has played to them, and made them part of their base.  I had first said that the GOP attempts to wrap itself in Jesus, in response to someone saying that the GOP economic policies had nothing to do with Jesus.  Then I spoke of the GOP party actively targeting Evangelicals, which they do.   You saw a chunk of this under GW Bush who did do a push for faith-based initiatives while he was in office.

There is a reality of a fault line in GOP support between Libertarian free market individuals, who side with Rand, and the socially conservative evangelical base, which has issues with Rand.  That is the main focus of the discussion here.  If you want to argue over it, you are splitting nits and missing the main point I discuss.

In regards to sincerity, I don't hold politicians to be sincere about much of anything, and do just about anything to get sufficient votes to get elected.



badgenome said:
richardhutnik said:
Mr Khan said:
Likely just flopping as part of the veepstakes. At least he used to be honest about how modern GOP fiscal programs have nothing to do with Christianity

The GOP does attempt to wrap himself in the name of Jesus though.

So do the Dems, when it suits them (welfare, Obamacare, military adventurism, etc). Obama invokes Jesus more than Bush ever did.

Figured I would go back and quote this, because it was discussed.  How exactly is what the GOP does diminished by what the Democrats do?  If you want to argue that the GOP doesn't attempt to wrap itself in Jesus, you need to speak about what the GOP does, NOT what thew Democrats do.  If you couldn't do this, then you really had no business commenting here, because you are distracted from the point I raised, in regards to someone's comment about how modern GOP fiscal programs have nothing to do with Christianity.  Would you rather the point be going with that the GOP tries to wrap itself in the name of Jesus, or that GOP fiscal programs have nothing to do with Jesus?  Those are the two choices, which do you prefer for the GOP?



richardhutnik said:

In regards to Kerry, he did use reference to Cheney's daughter in the debate in the 2004 election:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-10-14-lynne-cheney_x.htm

There is a reality of a fault line in GOP support between Libertarian free market individuals, who side with Rand, and the socially conservative evangelical base, which has issues with Rand.  That is the main focus of the discussion here.  If you want to argue over it, you are splitting nits and missing the main point I discuss.

Ah. I guess I don't remember Kerry making that particular scumbag statement because it was overshadowed by Edwards bringing up Mary to Cheney's face, making some patronizing statement about how great it was that Cheney didn't kick his own daughter out of the family just because she was a dyke, and Cheney basically told him to go fuck himself.

Maybe it's your peculiar writing style, but I have to confess that I often have a hard time telling just what it is you're trying to discuss sometimes. It usually seems like you're just banging on about whatever happens to be the left blogosphere's talking point of the day, and I suspect that's the case here since it's been ThinkProgress who has been trying to make this into some kind of huge story. Then anything I say to the contrary is met with general displeasure and claims that I'm going off topic, which may be true but a conversation is a pretty organic thing. But sure, there has always been a potential fault line in the GOP. The Democrats actually had some success with exploiting this in the Bush years and especially in 2008, though not by luring SoCons away but the libertarians who were so fed up after Bush's shitty presidency that they bought what Obama was selling. It seemed like about half the writers at the very, very libertarian Reason voted for Obama, although they've been mugged by reality ever since.

I doubt very strongly that the Democrats would have much success with courting the religious right, though, because even if they might be susceptible to the argument that Jesus would want the government to take care of the poor (and a lot of them don't buy this at all, believing instead that it's an individual responsibility to do so), I think the abortion deal will always remain a dealbreaker. Not to mention the fact that the cultural left could never hide their visceral contempt for the religious right long enough to seal such a deal, anyway.

As for Olasky, I can understand why he philosophically disagrees with Rand. But from a practical governing perspective, not so much. Rand believed that taking from one person and giving to another is fundamentally immoral. Olasky doesn't believe it's immoral, but he does believe that government welfarism simply doesn't work and in fact wrote a very influential book on the subject. As far as I can tell, that doesn't exactly give him or those like him much of a reason to switch parties.



Around the Network
richardhutnik said:
badgenome said:

So do the Dems, when it suits them (welfare, Obamacare, military adventurism, etc). Obama invokes Jesus more than Bush ever did.

Figured I would go back and quote this, because it was discussed.  How exactly is what the GOP does diminished by what the Democrats do?  If you want to argue that the GOP doesn't attempt to wrap itself in Jesus, you need to speak about what the GOP does, NOT what thew Democrats do.  If you couldn't do this, then you really had no business commenting here, because you are distracted from the point I raised, in regards to someone's comment about how modern GOP fiscal programs have nothing to do with Christianity.  Would you rather the point be going with that the GOP tries to wrap itself in the name of Jesus, or that GOP fiscal programs have nothing to do with Jesus?  Those are the two choices, which do you prefer for the GOP?

I wasn't taking issue with the idea that Republicans do this - they do - but rather the fact that you seemed to be saying that the GOP does this and the Democrats don't. And it appears I was right to interpret it that way, because you later said exactly that (you seem to be going a bit wobbly on whether you think they don't try to court evangelicals, or they do but just aren't successful at it). Sorry, but that is a misconception I find extremely annoying.

Also, and I'm doubly sorry for this, I'll comment wherever I please.



killerzX said:

heres more:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has made no secret of his admiration for Ayn Rand in the past. As far back as 2009, in this article, Ryan was letting his geek flag fly:

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.”

This led the likes of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman to describe Ryan as  ”a garden-variety modern G.O.P. extremist, an Ayn Rand devotee who believes that the answer to all problems is to cut taxes on the rich and slash benefits for the poor and middle class.”

There’s just one problem with this whole “Paul Ryan as Ayn Rand cultist” narrative. And that is that there‘s a big difference between being a casual admirer of Rand’s individualist vision, or her views on free markets, and embracing her Objectivist philosophy wholesale. Liberals like Krugman tend to conflate one with the other, usually because pure, unleaded objectivism has a number ofpolitically toxic tenets. It’s a bad faith argument, but it‘s one that Ryan hasn’t taken the time to shoot down.

 

Until now. From the Huffington Post:

“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan told National Review on Thursday. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.”

Note the wording there. “If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas.” Here is a list of things Ryan is not saying:

1. He thinks Ayn Rand is wrong about economics.

2. He thinks Ayn Rand is wrong about politics.

3. He thinks Ayn Rand is wrong about ethics.

4. He thinks Ayn Rand is right about religion.

He is simply saying he rejects Rand’s epistemological claims, which is a very specific subset of philosophy. And indeed, many people (including and especially Roman Catholics like Paul Ryan) would reject that part of her philosophy in favor of Aquinas.

Unfortunately, the Left didn’t quite get that little bit of nuance. In fact, in the same Huffington Post article linked above, the author spends multiple paragraphs rehearsing all the times Ryan has said he admires Rand (typically on political/economic grounds), as though this somehow contradicts his stated position above (the first few passages of this are below):

But any urban legend about Ryan’s affinity for Rand surely started with Ryan himself, who, prior to this week, had no qualms about gushing about Rand’s influence on his guiding principles.

“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 during a 2005 event honoring Rand in Washington, D.C., the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in April 2009.

During the 2005 gathering, Ryan told the audience, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill … is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict — individualism versus collectivism.” The event was hosted by The Atlas Society, which prominently features a photo of Rand on its websiteand describes itself as a group that “promotes open Objectivism: the philosophy of reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom.”

Ryan also said during a 2003 interview with the Weekly Standard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well … I try to make my interns read it.” He noted that he “looked into” Rand’s work when he was younger, but reiterated that he is a Christian and reads the Bible often.

Note that none of those cited Ryan quotes mentions anything about agreeing with Rand on religion – in fact, Ryan explicitly says he is a Christian and reads the Bible often. This is perfectly consistent with admiring Rand for her political and economic views, but not agreeing with her entire philosophy. However, based on the reaction from HuffPo, apparently this wasn’t clear enough, so Ryan’s spokesperson had to explain it further:

Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert downplayed the lawmaker’s apparent change of tune on Rand.

“I wouldn’t make too much of this one way or another. Congressman Ryan was not ‘distancing himself’ from Rand, merely correcting several false storylines that are out there, such as the myth that he requires all of his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. Saying he ‘rejects Ayn Rand’s philosophy’ was simply meant to correct a popular falsehood that Congressman Ryan is an Objectivist — he isn’t now and never claimed to be,” Seifert said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

Of course, this is not a “change of tune,” based on Ryan’s paper trail regarding Rand. Indeed, he has never claimed to agree with her on religion, or on epistemology. What’s so complicated about this is not clear, but hopefully it’s been explained properly now.



badgenome said:
Mr Khan said:

The point i would say is that if you have issue with a certain part of someone's thinking, then you shouldn't hold up their philosophy as an unqualified good and then later, when it suddenly becomes politically expedient, say "i only like this part of her philosophy, the rest of that crap is dangerous."

It would be just as damning if a Christian Marxist did it, went around touting social revolution but later said "oh, but we need to keep religion around," in a blatant effort to increase political appeal later on.

Not really. While he admires Ayn Rand's books and they had a profound impact on him, he isn't an Objectivist. I don't see how that's a contradiction. It's not really much different than touting Robert E. Howard's work while not being a racist, or Robert Heinlein's without being a libertarian.

I admire both George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens a great deal. I'd recommend their books to anyone. If I were a congressman, I might even make certain of their writings required reading among my staffers. I am not a socialist, however.

Orwell was a socialist? I figured he was one of those radical anti-socialists. What was the point of Animal Farm then?



Thanks for making voice acting an a-list pastime.

Slowly rebuild social life go!

Mr Khan said:

Orwell was a socialist? I figured he was one of those radical anti-socialists. What was the point of Animal Farm then?

Anti-Stalinism.

Orwell was both a socialist and what's generally called a left-libertarian, the divide between left- and right-libertarians being that right-libertarians see economic freedom as an inalienable part of individual liberty. He had a fundamental distrust of authority and dislike of dogmatism that made him a strange kind of socialist. But while he seemed sadly resigned to the fact that socailism is collectivist and will pretty much invariably lead to despotism, he distrusted the free market so much that he thought it would be worse than tyranny (probably owing to the fact that he lived in a very classist society).



Around the Network
Mr Khan said:
badgenome said:
Mr Khan said:

The point i would say is that if you have issue with a certain part of someone's thinking, then you shouldn't hold up their philosophy as an unqualified good and then later, when it suddenly becomes politically expedient, say "i only like this part of her philosophy, the rest of that crap is dangerous."

It would be just as damning if a Christian Marxist did it, went around touting social revolution but later said "oh, but we need to keep religion around," in a blatant effort to increase political appeal later on.

Not really. While he admires Ayn Rand's books and they had a profound impact on him, he isn't an Objectivist. I don't see how that's a contradiction. It's not really much different than touting Robert E. Howard's work while not being a racist, or Robert Heinlein's without being a libertarian.

I admire both George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens a great deal. I'd recommend their books to anyone. If I were a congressman, I might even make certain of their writings required reading among my staffers. I am not a socialist, however.

Orwell was a socialist? I figured he was one of those radical anti-socialists. What was the point of Animal Farm then?

Orson wells was actually part of the "Independent Labor Party."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Labour_Party


Well, until they decided to take a Pro-hitler stance.