Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the right-wing chairman of the House Budget Committee, scoffed at the notion that he’s an acolyte of Ayn Rand. “I reject her philosophy,” Ryan said, adding he prefers Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy. He concluded, “Don’t give me Ayn Rand.”
This led me, among others, to note some of Ryan’s previous comments on the infamous author, including the congressman’s famous boast, “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.” But what else has Ryan said about Rand?
Our pal James Carter passed along this piece from the Atlas Society, which has now, for the first time, released the full audio of a speech the Wisconsin Republican delivered at a 2005 Atlas Society event.
It’s an interesting set of remarks, in which Ryan explains Rand’s books “taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are.” The novels “inspired” him, became “required reading” for his staff and interns, and compelled him to seek public office.
“[Y]ou 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. I always go back to, you know, Francisco d’Anconia’s speech on money when I think about monetary policy. And then I go to the 64-page John Galt speech, you know, on the radio at the end, and go back to a lot of other things that she did, to try and make sure that I can check my premises so that I know that what I’m believing and doing and advancing are square with the key principles of individualism. […]
“[I]f we’re going to actually win this we need to make sure that we’re solid on premises, that our principles are well-defended, and if want to go and articulately defend these principles and what they mean to our society, what they mean for the trends that we set internationally, we have to go back to Ayn Rand.”
“I reject her philosophy”? Sure you do, Mr. Chairman. Sure you do.
James also passed along this clip of Ryan gushing about Rand in 2009 and how relevant he considers her work in his attacks on Democrats and the modern welfare state.
Update: A spokesperson for the Atlas Society, which actively promotes Ayn Rand’s vision, still wants Ryan to run for president.