Paul Ryan-- In Trouble With The Nuns For His Grotesque Selfishness
Paul Ryan can't make everyone who works for him read Ayn Rand's adolescent, anti-religious, anti-democratic novellas-- but he gives them out to his employees... and the only ones who ever get promoted are the ones who become Ayn Rand converts, like himself. Unless today is the very first day you've ever visited us here at DWT, you've probably seen the above video clip of Ayn Rand talking with a couple of TV hosts about why, in her own words, she's "against God." Here's how Paul Ryan inserted himself into the national debate over Ayn Rand. Notice that this clip was produced, paid for, and released by Ryan For Congress:
But the nuns who are warning Americans about Paul Ryan aren't talking-- at least not directly-- about his religious standing in light of his fervent promotion of Atlas Shrugged, nor are they asking that Ryan give every person who he inflicted that book on a copy of the antidote, Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned!. Their beef with Ryan is about his virulently anti-Christian budget, which, in fact, is Atlas Shrugged come to life... or almost to life. (It was defeated in the Senate, 57-40.) And back in April Ryan started getting pressure from Catholic bishops about the intent of his toxic, sociopathic budget.
“We fear the pressure to cut vital programs that protect the lives and dignity of the poor and vulnerable will increase,” the bishops wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. The bishops also voiced alarm over proposed cuts to Pell Grants, food and housing aid, low-income tax credits, and scholarship programs in letters to Senators and key Congressional committees.
Some Catholics have been more blunt. On the eve of a Ryan speech Thursday at Georgetown University, 88 professors on the Jesuit campus wrote to Ryan, challenging his “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching” to defend his budget.
Catholics United, a social justice group, held a rally at Georgetown to protest Ryan’s address and gathered 6,500 signatures on a petition calling on Catholic bishops to denounce the Ryan budget. The group has also been seeking face-to-face meetings with a handful of Catholic conservatives on Capitol Hill, including Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), to register concern about their votes in favor of the spending plan.
“We are focused on some of the Catholic lawmakers who are acting more in line with the tea party than they are with the teachings of Jesus Christ,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.
But now a group of nuns has chartered a bus and are traveling across the country warning people about Ryan and his proposals. I'm sure Rob Zerban, Ryan's Democratic opponent, would love to host the sisters in Janesville, Kenosha and Racine So far their scheduled tour takes them to Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia to explain "how federal budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-WI), and passed by the House of Representatives will hurt struggling families." Crassly, Ryan claims his budget reflects Catholic religious teaching rather than Ayn Rand militant atheism.
Sister Simone Campbell, spokesperson for the nuns, doesn't think Ryan understands the meaning of Jesus' message. “He took the words," she said, "but he took none of the meaning in the forming of the budget... It is one thing to have political differences, but to try to hide a budget that will devastate people and claim that it is supported by your faith. It is unacceptable. He is wrong and he needs to be told so... There are some Catholic representatives who have voted for the House budget that Representative Ryan proposed and we as Catholics believe that we should go talk to them and talk to their staffs."
Stephen Goldstein, author of Atlas Drugged is planning to visit bookstores in Wisconsin to sign copies of his new book and discuss how Ayn Rand's and Paul Ryan's deranged philosophy are a threat to American society, which is the theme of the book. For those who missed it in all the hubbub about Scott Walker spending enough Koch cash to escape being replaced, voters in Ryan's corner of Wisconsin sent a message that Congressman Ryan had better be paying attention to. In 2010 Racine County gave Ryan 65% of it's votes. Even in a Democratic wave year, 2008-- when Racine was giving Obama 53% against McCain-- Ryan faired very well there (62%). But Last Tuesday Ryan ally-- some would say Ryan clone-- state Senator Van Wanggaard was defeated by John Lehman. Every one of those voters will be eligible to vote in the November race pitting Ryan against Zerban. Ryan had been barnstorming for Wanggaard in Racine and had even dragged Hate Talk Radio hosts Dana Loesch and Tony Katz along with him. Here's a picture of Loesch and Ryan taken at the big Racine Tea Party rally for Wanggaard 2 days before he lost his seat in Ryan's home district.
The results for Lehman were very encouraging for Zerban, who campaigned for him and with him. "The results of the recall election should scare Paul Ryan," Rob told us. "Democrats regained the State Senate by winning a critical swing district in Racine. Because of this win in our district, Democrats now have the ability to block the Scott Walker agenda in the Senate. Our district showed it will stand up to outside money and send extreme tea party Republicans packing. The results are even worse for my opponent. With all voters participating, President Obama is leading Mitt Romney by 11% showing that this state will once again strongly support President Obama. I expect the momentum for Democrats in this district will grow as we approach November and our campaign will be able to tip this critical swing state for the President and defeat Paul Ryan." If you'd like to help Rob Zerban defeat Ryan in November, you can contribute to his campaign here. On the other hand, if you'd like to help Blue America making Ryan's life unbearable on his own turf, think about helping out our I.E. Committee.
UPDATE: Will Paul Ryan Ever Really Kick The Thing He Has For Ayn Rand And Her Justification Of Egocentric Selfishness?
And speaking of the Republicans' favorite religious leader, The Guardian ran an interesting piece yesterday, Confessions Of A Recovering Objectivist, by a former Ayn Rand devotee who says she now sees "what a pernicious philosophy rational egoism is-- and how dumb!" She seems to have fallen for Ryan's spurious assertions that he's no longer Washington DC's #1 Ayn Rand fanboy.
I quickly devoured nearly all of her atrocious tomes with a sort of blind hunger-- that ferocious pseudo-intellectual reading you do only to confirm your beliefs, if you will. Indeed, I devotedly hung on her every word, even becoming an officer of my university's Objectivist club. At one point, I may even have been president.
Much to the lament of my philosophy classmates, I was that girl who frequently (and loudly!) argued in favor of Rand's illogical claims that altruism doesn't exist; that selfishness is a virtue; and that "rational egoism" is the only right way to live.
Thankfully, I grew out of that phase. Not surprisingly, but a few years of minimum-wage work cleaning up cat faeces, without benefits, and other thankless, unstable odd jobs made me question Objectivism's foundations and rekindled an earlier interest in anarcho-syndicalism.
Eventually, leaving Rand was no more different or difficult than, say, leaving a friend who had grown to annoy me over time-- sure, I was very intimate with her ideas, but that just gave me more insight into their outright dysfunctionality, and the strength to say "sayonara!"
What's scary is that so many Americans have not grown out of that mentally puerile phase. Instead, this contingent-- now largely comprised of Tea Party radicals-- remains mired in her pop philosophy.
(Only now has Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, perhaps realizing that supporting an atheist adulterer might hurt his veep chances, changed his tune from Objectivist fanboy to follower of Thomas Aquinas.)
Granted, it's doubtful that any political group so suspicious of the intelligentsia would actually read Rand's 1,200 page magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, but her ideas are clearly being used to justify inequality, giving credence to institutionalized wealth-based elitism.
This has to stop, and stop now. But not just for the reasons that typically get brought up. Anti-Rand commentators have long pointed out both the pragmatic and personal problems with Rand. As evidenced by the Great Recession, for example, anything even remotely close to the unfettered capitalism advocated by Rand plainly does not work.
Also, as evidenced by her personal life, she was more a hypocritical, questionable character than a moral role model. As a teenager in Russia, "she watched her family nearly starve while she treated herself to the theater." She railed against government benefits but cheerfully collected social security and Medicare. She championed integrity, but bastardized Nietzsche's best ideas.
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