JIM CREES: Listen to the nuns, less to the nuts
I simply have to admire Mitt Romney.
He has basically handed the November election to Barack Obama.
A lot of people were concerned it was going to be tough getting Pres. Obama reelected. He hasn’t had a great run of things by any stretch of the imagination. But then Romney pulls a McCain-ian move and picks a running mate who will simply scare people away from voting for him.
And yes, Paul Ryan is a scary guy.
Ryan is a perfect example of what I believe is worrisome in our country at this point in history. He is the ‘poster child’ of the “It’s all about me” philosophy.
As odd as it may sound, I still think we’re all in this together - Republicans and Dems, conservatives and liberals, Americans of every race, color and creed. We’re all in this together.
Ryan, on the other hand, isn’t wired to think that way. Take for example, the Ayn Rand thing.
Ryan, (despite all his current protestations), was and is a HUGE fan of the author Ayn Rand - the goddess of the “It’s all about me” movement.
In her literature, Rand promoted a hyper-brand of individualism that is much more akin to flaming egoism.
Recently, Ryan said he actually didn’t admire her philosophy at all.
In 2003, Paul Ryan said in an interview with the Weekly Standard “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents and make sure all my interns read it,” he said. “Atlas Shrugged” is Rand’s seminal work.
A couple years later he told members of the Ayn Rand think tank, the Atlas Society, “The reason I got involved with public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
A few years after that, Ryan wrote on his Facebook page: “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this to me is what matters most.”
“It’s all about me.”
Yet, Ryan then basically comes out and asks, “Rand who?”
A little too disingenuous.
So, why should voters - especially the Evangelical right - be worried?
Well, if you happen to be a God-fearing anyone, you need to be sweating Ryan’s admiration for the Rand way more than Romney’s Mormonism.
Ayn Rand hated the very concept of God, and understood a belief in God to be a weakness.
During an interview before she died, she was asked: “You are out to destroy almost every edifice of the contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government regulated capitalism, our rule by majority will. It has been said you scorn churches and the concept of God. Are these accurate criticisms?”
Rand answered simply, “Yes.”
Any Rand openly suggested there were two courses one could take in life - the Ayn Rand path, or following God.
She said: “I am the creator of a new code of morality ...a morality not based on faith, not on arbitrary whim, not on emotion, not on arbitrary edict, mystical or social, but on reason.”
“Faith is a sign of psychological weakness, she continued, “I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desire, above the evidence of what your mind knows. That’s what you’re doing with the idea of God.”
Ayn Rand wrote in “Anthem”:
“And now I see the face of god, and I raise god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.
“This god, this one word: I”
Yessir. This is the author philosopher who so influenced the wannabe vice-president of the United States.
This is the person who gave him the “Reason I got involved in public service ...”
What’s amazing though, is that after Ryan authored his now infamous national budget, he suggested the thinking behind that same budget was not Randian in any way, but rather was influenced by his education as a Catholic kid taught by nuns.
This claim got a whole bunch of nuns in Wisconsin completely bent out of shape. They were outraged and told Ryan not to dare saying such a thing.
Then, a whole movement of American nuns got involved - the same group of nuns who sent Romney a letter bemoaning his “Woeful lack of knowledge’ about the poor.”
“Paul Ryan has claimed to be a faithful Catholic, and I have no reason to suspect that isn’t accurate,” said Sister Mary Ellen Lacy Daughter, in an interview with the news blog Raw Story. “What we do know, and what the bishops agree with us on, is that the document, the budget that he wrote, is not a moral document. It is not a faithful budget. It is not consistent with Catholic social teachings. He may claim one thing, but it is clearly in opposition to what we believe.
“The reality is that we should be voting for people who espouse our values. What we can judge is the product of what they put out, and Ryan put out a budget that descimates programs that provide for people’s futures.”
Indeed, because for Ryan and his Ayn Randian friends, “It’s all about me.”
The strong, (read: rich), survive, and to Hell with the rest of ‘em.
Today, Ryan is back peddling hard to put some distance between him and his admiration of Ayn Rand.
The nuns are suggesting Ryan take a serious look at the needs of the majority of people in this country.
I doubt he will.
Like Mitt, Paul Ryan never knew a hungry or unemployed day in his life ...or his daddy’s life ...or his grandad’s life for that matter.
At the end of the day, for both Mitt and Paul, “It’s all about me.”
They both need to listen more to the nuns.