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Paul Ryan as Vice Presidential candidate

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There is no flip-flop, nor is their any perceived flip-flop in the eyes of the public... The news is that they picked the guy behind The Path to Prosperity.

"When speaking with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo last year, Ryan explained his views on Rand: 'She, through her novels, did a very good job of defending the morality of the free enterprise system.' But 'Objectivism, by definition, requires atheism. So how on earth can a devout Catholic consider themselves an Objectivist?

Although 'Atlas Shrugged' inspired him as a young adult, Ryan told National Review’s Robert Costa that it’s a stretch to assume that he considers himself a Rand devotee: 'I reject her philosophy. 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.'” ~ http://www.catholicv...dex.php?p=34483

Given the history of presidential election campaigns, I suspect the news about the guy behind The Path to Prosperity will appear "under the fold", with the more prominent headline being, the guy who invoked Ayn Rand on economics, now rejects her philosophy. Fundamental to any serious political discussion about the economy is the issue of individual mandates, which Romney can't challenge with any credibility. And Ryan, apparently in order to distinguish himself as a Catholic, has undermined the credibility of a key economic ally by publicly rejecting AR's philosophy. Again, I think a better response would have been to distinguish responsible economic policy as being non-denominational (citing a necessary separation of church and state), but we'll see how his approach plays out with the public.

Consider the following as a sample of headlines to come:

Paul Ryan loved Ayn Rand, before he said he didn't

http://www.latimes.c...0,1175099.story

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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"When speaking with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo last year, Ryan explained his views on Rand: 'She, through her novels, did a very good job of defending the morality of the free enterprise system.' But 'Objectivism, by definition, requires atheism. So how on earth can a devout Catholic consider themselves an Objectivist?

Although 'Atlas Shrugged' inspired him as a young adult, Ryan told National Review’s Robert Costa that it’s a stretch to assume that he considers himself a Rand devotee: 'I reject her philosophy. 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.'” ~ http://www.catholicv...dex.php?p=34483

Given the history of presidential election campaigns, I suspect the news about the guy behind The Path to Prosperity will appear "under the fold", with the more prominent headline being, the guy who invoked Ayn Rand on economics, now rejects her philosophy. Fundamental to any serious political discussion about the economy is the issue of individual mandates, which Romney can't challenge with any credibility. And Ryan, apparently in order to distinguish himself as a Catholic, has undermined the credibility of a key economic ally by publicly rejecting AR's philosophy. Again, I think a better response would have been to distinguish responsible economic policy as being non-denominational (citing a necessary separation of church and state), but we'll see how his approach plays out with the public.

Consider the following as a sample of headlines to come:

Paul Ryan loved Ayn Rand, before he said he didn't

http://www.latimes.c...0,1175099.story

I think you have an inflated sense of the presence of Ayn Rand and Objectivism on the American political stage. Most American voters, if they recognize her name, probably couldn't tell you much about her, certainly nothing accurate. She's not an issue in the campaign, and Objectivists are not a voting block that politicians care about pandering to. Of course you can find these stories, and we as Objectivists pay attention to them, but most Americans do not. Flip-flopping on the individual mandate, as Romney has had to do, is big news. Flip-flopping on one's view of some political thinker from the 50s? Not news. Consider that even the story you link to at the end has to explain to the reader who Rand is and why this is a story at all. Most people simply won't pay attention to this. I see the same kind of thinking in your earlier statement:

Actually, of the group looking to find a pony in all this manure, I found your position to be the most defensible. At least Aquinas represents a tenuous link to Objectivism via Ayn Rand's own respect for this significant historical figure. How cowardly though, if this move was calculated to appease both Catholics and Objectivists by playing one against the other. I sincerely doubt either camp will appreciate the "gesture".

Catholics are numerous enough to be seriously considered a voting block to be pandered to. Objectivists are not. Sorry, but no politician is courting our vote. And it's ridiculous to think that his supposed flip-flopping on whether or not he likes Ayn Rand is bigger news than the "Ryan budget."

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Ross Perot is the typical "practical centrist" and -- on economics -- his ideology mirrors Romney's pretty closely. The thing about such candidates is that they take the statist status quo as the given and do not intend to move it too much left or right. Their endeavor, and their rhetoric, is to make is work more efficiently.

My reference to Perot was intended to demonstrate the reaction of a public eager to support something other than the status quo... the following exchange from the movie, The American President, comes to mind:

“People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand." ~ Lewis Rothschild

"Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.” ~ President Andrew Shepherd

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Catholics are numerous enough to be seriously considered a voting block to be pandered to. Objectivists are not. Sorry, but no politician is courting our vote. And it's ridiculous to think that his supposed flip-flopping on whether or not he likes Ayn Rand is bigger news than the "Ryan budget."

You must remember that Ayn Rand's, Atlas Shrugged was a national best seller, and the 2nd part to the movie adaptation comes out in October... I don't think it's ridiculous to presume the electorate is quite familiar with Ayn Rand's name and have some opinion regarding her philosophy, which more often as not, has been described to me as "bleak". The point I'm trying to make is, Ryan's response only plays into the hands of his opponents by unnecessarily highlighting his rejection of a philosophy he relied on to form his economic policy, and I seriously doubt the public won't be continuously reminded of this now discredited link whenever Ryan attempts to discuss his "Path to Prosperity" during the campaign.

Anyway, we'll see what happens, but I hope Ryan hasn't derailed the whole train, in order to appease one carload of riders.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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You must remember that Ayn Rand's, Atlas Shrugged was a national best seller, and the 2nd part to the movie adaptation comes out in October... I don't think it's ridiculous to presume the electorate is quite familiar with Ayn Rand's name and have some opinion regarding her philosophy, which more often as not, has been described to me as "bleak".

They are most certainly not "quite familiar" with her. Look what happened when the first movie came out. Unexpectedly high ticket sales the first weekend, as fans of Rand flocked to the theaters, and then... sharply falling ticket sales immediately. Rand fans came in droves, and the wider public completely ignored it. That's exactly what happens with these Ryan-Rand stories too. They get talked about ad nauseum on Objectivist forums, and ignored in the wider world in favor of other issues.

The point I'm trying to make is, Ryan's response only plays into the hands of his opponents by unnecessarily highlighting his rejection of a philosophy he relied on to form his economic policy, and I seriously doubt the public won't be continuously reminded of this now discredited link whenever Ryan attempts to discuss his "Path to Prosperity" during the campaign.

Actually, the thing that will keep coming up in regards to his budget will be its sound rejection by the Catholic establishment. He has gone to great lengths to reconcile his economic and social policies with Catholic teachings, and those rationalizations have been harshly criticized by prominent representatives of Catholicism. Him being criticized as not Catholic enough is much bigger news in terms of voters than him not being Objectivist enough. It isn't even a contest.

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Apparently he opposes abortion - even in incest and rape cases. Screw this primitive!

Apparently you subscribe to Obama's official twitter stream. Which is fine, but you really should take all the informative tweets about his opposition with a grain of salt.

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My reference to Perot was intended to demonstrate the reaction of a public eager to support something other than the status quo...
Yes, but my response was intended to show that Perot was the status quo. More accurately, Perot represented the "extreme middle". If you take positions the GOP and Democrats can agree on if they really were looking for compromise, then Perot would represent those positions.

If someone like Perot were running, his plan for social security reform would look a bit like the Simpson-Bowles plan, which was the compromise solution framed by Republicans and Democrats, but then ignored by Obama.

The country has a certain "center" in its political ideology. Democratic candidates will always talk "to the left" of the country's center-of-gravity, GOP candidates, to "to the right". Democratic presidents will seldom govern as much to the left as they talk, while GOP presidents will seldom govern as much to the right as they talk.

On economic issues, Obama will govern slightly to the left of the country's center, Romney slightly to the right. A third-party candidate like Ross Perot would target the middle.

Perhaps you think someone like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson can win as a third party candidate? if so, I disagree. They are too far from the country's middle to ever stand a chance. They'd get a bunch of young people to come out and vote for them, but I cannot see them winning. Folks like Perot get the numbers they get because they stick near the country's center-of-gravity. Further, while Perot did well, he did not come close to winning.

Anyway, we'll see what happens, but I hope Ryan hasn't derailed the whole train, in order to appease one carload of riders.
Ryan is not on the ticket for his religious credentials. He is not there to appease the religious right. The folks who distrust Mormons also think Obama is a foreign Muslim... and distrust is too weak a word for what they feel toward him.

There is only one reason Ryan is on the ticket: his budget plan.

As for derailing, the choice of Ryan also comes with political positives. We have to see how this will play out, but it is quite possible that Ryan actually helps Romney win and election that was slipping from his grasp.

Edited by softwareNerd

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It almost doesn't matter if the Ryan plan is a good one or not, as the Marxist Left is already lying through their teeth about what he proposes to do. No, he's certainly not a man I would fully support, and I long for the day when we get a real capitalist candidate who won't backtrack on every issue, but I do think Romney /Ryan is the best chance we have of getting the Obamanation out of office. Gary Johnson has some good ideas, but I don't think he has a chance of winning and voting for him will only provide more Republican splits and the Obamanation will get his second term.

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Apparently you subscribe to Obama's official twitter stream. Which is fine, but you really should take all the informative tweets about his opposition with a grain of salt.

I believe it. I know that Ryan is against abortion and I also know that he is decently intelligent and intellectual. He supports abortion based on the definition of a fetus as a human being and the existence of individual rights. To make an exception in the cases of rape and incest would be the most inconsistent, anti-intellectual position possible.

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He supports abortion based on the definition of a fetus as a human being and the existence of individual rights. To make an exception in the cases of rape and incest would be the most inconsistent, anti-intellectual position possible.
That's the danger: his intellectual consistency in areas where he is willing to use government force. His position on abortion is pretty bad: he is for "personhood", which starts around conception. Given Rand's criticism of Reagan, I can imagine she'd be much more scathing about Ryan.

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Virginia Postrel says Ryan should play the role that Ross Perot once played.

"The Perot commercials treated the voters as intelligent citizens hungry for knowledge and willing to sit still long enough to absorb it. "

"Whatever the exact content, the point would be to focus on policy in more detail than the usual vague talking points,..."

"Politics now seems to be all about attitude and identity, not policy ideas. ... ... So what explains Ron Paul?"

"The American public is in the appropriately desperate frame of mind for a serious policy discussion."

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My position on Ryan is: He is about as good a VP pick as can be expected in this political climate. He’s also a VP so really his role is marginal outside of internal party politics since the majority of a politician’s voters are the party loyal that has to be motivated to show up on Election Day. Obama will smear Romney and Ryan for the same reason, to get their disfranchised voters from 2008 scared enough to ignore the last 4 years and return to the polls. The devil you know is better than the one hiding under your bed.

As of the actual election I’ve voting to fire the egalitarian goof that has decided to force me to buy a product from a cartel he protects with inflationary redistribution of his betters hard work all while claiming I didn’t succeed without his help. The door does need to him in the ass on the way out.

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There is a piece on Rand and Ryan in The Washington Post here. It gives a fair view of Rand, and it includes good links to ARI and to David Kelley's summary of Galt's Speech.

Thanks to R. Latimer for the heads-up.

Edited by Boydstun

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Let's see, TARP, auto bailout, prescription drug benefit, and No-Child-Left-Behind. Ryan's voted for them all. Add to that his views on abortion and his recent public statement about Ayn Rand: "I reject her philosophy. 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.” Forgive me if I'm not enthusiastic...

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... and the beat goes on...

" Is Paul Ryan for or against Ayn Rand?

Paul Ryan can either be an objectivist or a Christian. He can't have it both ways. He faces a serious problem among Christians, moderate Republicans and others who dislike Rand's views if his expressions of support for Rand are believed, rather than his denials. "

http://edition.cnn.c...rss_igoogle_cnn

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Paul Ryan can either be an objectivist or a Christian. He can't have it both ways. He faces a serious problem among Christians, moderate Republicans and others who dislike Rand's views if his expressions of support for Rand are believed, rather than his denials. "

Christian. That was easy. He has never said anything to indicate that he's an Objectivist, only that he agrees with Rand's views on moral individualism and capitalism, and that she expressed those views particularly well.

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"I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It's inspired me so much that it's required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff...

... 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."

Paul Ryan, speaking to the Atlas Society in 2005

"I reject her (Ayn Rand's) philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview."

Paul Ryan, speaking to the National Review in April (considered a possible vice presidential pick)

Evidently the path to prosperity has come to a fork in the road, with one path leading to the White House... so what is capitalism to Paul Ryan? The political expression of moral individualism, or mere contracts between greedy individuals??

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Let's see, TARP, auto bailout, prescription drug benefit, and No-Child-Left-Behind. Ryan's voted for them all. Add to that his views on abortion and his recent public statement about Ayn Rand: "I reject her philosophy. 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.” Forgive me if I'm not enthusiastic...

There was never any reason to be enthusiastic. The voters dont' want an Objectivist so no Objectivist will get a party nomination. Your fight isn't against politicians. It's against the public.

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Just saw an interview of Paul Ryan on Fox News Channel, and I don't think his position will be a threat to Objectivism in any way whatsoever. He says he was inspired by Ayn Rand's novels and the politics presented in there, and acknowledged that Ayn Rand came from the Soviet Union and that he doesn't want us to sink that far into State control, but he says he is not for Objectivism on the grounds that it is atheistic and claims that Objectivism contradicts what she presents in her novels -- which leads me to believe that he doesn't understand either the novels or Objectivism, so it is good that he is distancing himself from Objectivism. Besides, his policies are not full capitalism, he only wants to tinker around the edges, so I'm glad he is stating publicly that he is against Objectivism.

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