While everybody is busy having the vapors over exciting, dynamic Catholic Paul Ryan, permit me to throw a wet blanket on the festivities, as is my custom, by pointing out that a) he was (until it became awkward) a fanatical devotee of one of the great enemies of God the 20th century produced: Ayn Rand. You know. Ayn Rand the lunatic atheist who swore to devote herself to selfishness? The zealot for abortion? One of the most poisonous writers who ever lived? Here’s where things stood a couple of months ago when I wrote:
I simply want to direct your attention to Daniel Nichols, who points out passages from Sts. Thomas and Ambrose as he looks at Paul Ryan’s sudden and preposterous claim that his love affair with the thought of Ayn Rand is an “urban legend”. Riiiiight:
I’m quite happy to welcome any move to reject Rand and follow St. Thomas. But by “welcome” I mean, “Trust, but verify”. When a former embezzler walks into Church and immediately sets out to convince everybody to put him in charge of the finances, common sense suggests a prudent evaluation of his claims to be a Reformed Character. And when Ryan starts his proclamation of fealty to the thought of St. Thomas with a good solid lie that it is a baseless “urban legend” that Rand has been a huge influence on him, he does not inspire confidence that what he is saying about anything else is going to be honest either. This is, after all, a man who was, just this past October, addressing the Heritage Foundation using the Manichaean jargon of Rand to divide the human race into “Makers” and “Takers”. Reader Dan C (a doctor, not an out of work Occupy protester with a degree in puppetry) summarizes my own caution about Ryan’s sudden invocation of St. Thomas and his ridiculous pretense that Rand was never an influence:
[H]e used the vocabulary paradigm of Ayn Rand in his address to the Heritage Foundation in October in which he identified the world as divided into the “Makers vs. the Takers” and he insisted he was going to protect the Makers (John Galt-style men) against the Takers, which I guess is me and my family. As a “Taker” in his construct, he is a threat to me and my family. Takers, in this construct, is everyone south of the creative productivity of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. As such, not being a John Galt, I am declared his enemy and he is out to wage war on me and my family.
Perhaps he changed or maybe this was just an Academy-Award performance at Georgetown. Why should I believe him now after he issued a call to class war on me and my family in October?
In your commentary about some “lie,” I ask you, is the urban myth comment he made a “lie”? Why is he hiding the past association and clear intellectual influence (Maker vs. Taker) and enthusiastic admiration (as a speaker at an Ayn Rand conference)?
I need more than one new speech to trust the man who declared class war on me.
I am similarly dubious. When I hear Ryan a) ceasing to pretend that he was never an acolyte of Rand and b) doing more than paying lip service to Thomas and citing more than the word “subsidiarity” to give his rhetoric a veneer of Catholic respectability, I will take his Sister Souljah Moment with regard to Rand seriously. Till then, I’m not buyin’ Ryan. He seems to me to be a particularly odious epigone of the Randian Class Warrior against the weak, dressing his class warfare with a few rags from Catholic social teaching to make it look nice. When the Randian jargon goes and is replaced with actual Catholic social teaching beyond the bare repetition of the sacred word “subsidiarity” (interpreted to mean “individualism and hostility to the state”) I’ll start to trust that he is serious.
As far as I can see, not one thing has changed since that was written. The man is a champion for the Ruling Class’ war against the rest of us. He denies, not repents, ever having said things like this:
He is also an unreconstructed neocon who gives every indication of having learned not one thing about the disastrous Bush policies, foreign and domestic, that led to the election of Obama in the first place.
By the way, another thing that has not changed is that the Etch a Sketch Candidate is a liar who will say anything to win. So here he is courting the conservative Catholic vote:
Oddly, he neglects to mention that he did exactly the same thing Obama is doing to the Church nationally, but he did it in Massachusetts, ordering Catholic hospitals to dispense abortifacients.
Some folks want to believe Romney’s etch a sketch claim. I believe it as deeply as I believed Obama’s claim to have never been influenced by 20 years of Jeremiah Wright, his claim to support traditional marriage, and his solemn promise to never impinge on religious liberty or the conscience of Catholics.
If you trust either of these party leaders, I have a bridge to sell you.