The Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” contains an article titled What did Ayn Rand teach Paul Ryan about monetary policy?.
Paul Ryan proudly admits that, among other books, Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is mandatory reading for his office staff. Ryan reminisces that his views on monetary policy are inspired by this novel.” In particular he refers to a speech delivered by one of the main characters of that novel, Francisco dAnconia, at the wedding of another main character Bill Taggart.
That speech is very long and rants against the dropping of the gold standard for American currency but, despite it’s length, it should be required reading for every American. In particular, two paragraphs of Ayn Rand’s dAnconia speech stand out as lessons for the situation our country is facing today.
“You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it’s crumbling around you, while you’re damning its life-blood: money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men’s history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor.
“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose, because it contains all the others, the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money’. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.”
Ayn Rand was born, raised and educated in Russia where she learned, first hand, the evils of collectivism and Communism.
Where Paul Ryan separates himself from Ayn Rand is in her atheism which is a major element of her Objectivist philosophy. Ryan describes himself as “more of a Thomas Aquinas guy than a Randian.” Ryan is a life-long Catholic.
Ryan is an economic Conservative but, to his credit (at least in my opinion) he is not a hard-line Social Conservative.