(Now that noted slave-holder and Hebrew-fearer Ron “Rugs” Paul has retired from Congress, and would-be veep Paul Ryan has been adjudged The Loser, slinking back into the House, where the Orangeman is giving him the back of his hand, there is Hope that the Americans may no longer need to hear, at least for a time, incessant references to the late and unlamented howling imbecile Ayn Rand.
(Unlike this past summer, when it occasionally seemed like the woman would never climb back into her coffin, but would forever stalk the land, like some shrieking electrified corpse. It was during one such period that the piece below was penned, for the same shooting-star iPad app wherein appeared this thing and this thing.)
If the so-called “law of attraction” is valid—if, indeed, “that which is like unto itself is drawn”—then, as Joan McCarter pointed out, the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate was inevitable.
Because if one thing has defined the defeated 2012 GOoPer standard-bearer this campaign season, it is that the truth is not in him: he is a lie with feet; a prevaricator of pre-whale-Pinocchio proportions.
Whatever the truth is, Mitt Romney, the man whose very ass is on backwards, will run from it like Richard Pryor with his body on fire, straight into the arms of its very opposite.
And thus it is so with Paul Ryan as well.
Ryan, we now know, will, like Romney, his co-aerialist on the Hindenburg that is the GOoPer ticket, lie about anything and everything. Including, as Richard Cranium outlined, the very roots of his political philosophy.
Preparing even then to serve aboard the Hindenburg, Ryan earlier this year lied to the National Review:
“You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine,” chuckles Representative Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, as we discuss his purported obsession with author and philosopher Ayn Rand.
“I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged in here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people.”
“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. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on.”
“But 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 when you look at the twentieth-century experiment with collectivism—that Ayn Rand, more than anybody else, did such a good job of articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism—you can’t find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand.”
“It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are.”
“Because there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works.”
It is understandable that, once he went stumbling across the nation preparing to be beaten like a gong by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Ryan would deny that he “ever had a connection with that woman, Ms. Rand.”
Because Ayn Rand is one of the most pathetic clowns of the 20th Century. Everything about her is embarrassing. From her glow-in-the-dark racism—”If you mean whose side should we be on: Israel or the Arabs?,” Rand told Phil Donahue in 1979, “I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages”; “[Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using,” another of her wisdom-nuggets—to the circumstances of her funeral, wherein she commanded that a six-foot floral wreath in the shape of a dollar sign be placed so as to loom over her casket.
In this last, it is like Rand, even unto the grave, wished to prove that everything Europeans say about Americans lacking even the most rudimentary taste, sense, dignity, or decorum, is absolutely true.
The first thing that her acolytes maintain about Rand, is that she was a “writer.” But this is so only in the sense that a chimpanzee, dazed from multiple electroshock treatments, and placed before a typewriter, is a “writer.”
Susan from 29 provided a great service in posting a piece featuring copious extracts from the collected gibberish of Ayn Rand.
One cannot be expected to actually read, in full, this monstrousness—oh no; such a thing is simply not possible; and it is certainly not sane—but even a brief scan reveals that what H. L. Mencken once said of Warren G. Harding, is equally true of Rand:
She writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.
What is next said of Rand, by her people, is that she formulated a “philosophy.” Her cultists call the thing “Objectivism,” but it is more accurately described as “Fourteen-Year-Oldism.”
It can be briefly and accurately summarized as follows:
“I am a genius. Everything I think, say, and do, is absolutely right and correct. And if you dare to deviate even one iota from even a fraction of anything I think, say, or do, then you are a moron, without rights on this planet. And I can then lose my shit, and flatten you with a steamroller, because, really, you’re not even there.”
Or, as a young woman who became a Randian about five years late, at age 19, puts it:
“The Fountainhead changed my life. I loved that whole philosophy of being who you want to be and doing whatever the hell you want to do in the most selfish way possible. Who gives a shit about what people think or expect from you? It became my Bible for life for a while.”
The kind of human that Rand thought truly Kool was William Edward Hickman, a man who roamed the land dismembering little girls, and to whom Rand composed multiple odes, veritably orgasming over “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel other people.”
This “Superman” later became the model for Howard Roark, the hero of The Fountainhead, a man who “was born without the ability to consider others.”
In one of the very finest demolition jobs in all of film criticism, John Powers used the occasion of Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon to also annihilate the director’s earlier Heaven’s Gate and The Deer Hunter. Cimino, like Paul Ryan, was a Rand true-believer, who pitched to the studios The Fountainhead, prior to Gate. Wrote Powers:
In Rand’s jejune novel, Roark is invariably, indisputably right. He’s misunderstood, yes, beleaguered, you betcha, but in the end he’s cosmically vindicated in his work, in his life, in the hay. That’s why fourteen-year-olds identify with him. Out in the world, however, things aren’t so simple. If Howard Roark isn’t a genius, wouldn’t his rampaging self-assurance be simple megalomania? What if Howard Roark turned out to be Captain Queeg? Nimrod? Rasputin? Wile E. Coyote?
Powers also damns both Heaven’s Gate and The Deer Hunter as, in concert with Rand’s scribbles, “a corrupt, empty work, that betrays the absence of humane judgement.” Which describes the Ryan economic “plan” quite well.
As Joe Klein observed:
The trouble with Ryan’s deep thinking on so many of these issues, though, is that it’s not very deep at all. He lives in a libertarian Disneyland where freedom is never abused, where the government is an alien entity whose only function is to flummox the creative intelligence of übermensches like Ayn Rand’s hero, the architect Howard Roark. It is remarkable and, frankly, a bit terrifying that this puerile vision has become the operating philosophy of the Republican Party . . . .
Ryan’s Medicare proposal is Exhibit A when it comes to his casual inhumanity: he would force the elderly, many of whom are addled and decrepit, to make market choices in one of the most complicated, opaque markets around. Ryan’s Medicaid proposal would eviscerate long-term care for the elderly poor. Republicans whine about class warfare, but what is this? It is a reversion to a more brutal, less humane state of nature. It is an “idea” whose time has gone.
As Klein intimates, Ryan is hardly alone, among GOoPer pols, pundits, prebends, and potentates, in his Rand worship. The illiterate tub-thumpers Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck consider her “a prophet.” The felonious perjurer Clarence Thomas rends his garments for Rand. The director of policy for the Kochian hit-PAC Americans For Prosperity bends the knee to Rand. The Rand nutbar was considered the “novelist laureate” of the Reagan administration. Rick Santelli, the bellowing fraud selected to stain the nation with the racist teabagger movement, is Randian.
And then there is Alan Greenspan. Who literally worshipped at the feet of Ayn Rand. And who, decades later, when driving the nation’s monetary policy, did so in a Randian fashion. Thereby presiding over “what respected economists refer to as the Holy Shit We’re All Gonna Die Fuckstorm Of 2008.” Greenspan has since confessed that, in unleashing Rand upon the land, he was horribly, grievously wrong. But this realization came too late to save him from his fate: when his name appears, in the histories, it will give off a pungent stench, and for a thousand years.
Not too long ago, one Paul DePodesta was appointed general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball team, at the tender age of 31.
Like Paul Ryan, DePodesta was an Ayn Rand worshipper. And he made no secret of the fact that he wished to use success with the Dodgers to propel him into politics. Where he would bring Randianism to all the people.
However, and because of his Randian megalomania, DePodesta’s tenure with the team lasted but 18 months. He was fired after presiding over what is generally acknowledged as one of the most embarrassing disasters in the history of professional sports. And so—fortunate for the nation—ended his hopes of a political career.
It is truly too bad that Paul Ryan did not also work a little in the private sector, so he too could have failed spectacularly, and thereby been saved the humiliation of playing bent second fiddle in the losing twosome of the presidential race of 2012.