The GOP’s ‘Ayn Rand Budget’ vs. Jesus

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Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I have been writing about the GOP's alleged boy genius, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and his GOP Roadmap to America's Ruin for more than a year now. The GOP budget Ryan drafted was approved by all but four Republicans in the House and all but five Republicans in the Senate. Recently the GOP budget that has become a litmus test for Tea-Publican politicians has acquired a new name: the "Ayn Rand Budget."

This led to an interesting confrontation at Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Conference in D.C. over the weekend. Steve Benen provides the context. Political Animal – This Week in God:

First up from the God Machine this week is a little something Amy Sullivan describes as “Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand Problem.”

The right-wing House Budget Committee chairman is well known as a Rand acolyte — he demands his staffers read her novels — but what’s less well known is that Ayn Rand was actively hostile to Christianity. The problem was ideological, not theological — Jesus touted principles such as charity and compassion towards the less fortunate, concepts Rand and her followers strongly reject. Randians believe altruism is evil and those in poverty should wait for the hand of the free market to lift them up.

With this in mind, Ryan appeared at a major religious right gathering yesterday, Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Conference in D.C., and was confronted by a young man from Faithful America. The far-right Wisconsinite was asked a good question: why not base his budget plan on Biblical teachings on economic justice instead of Ayn Rand. The discussion didn’t go well:

Amy Sullivan continues the story at Time's Swampland. Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand Problem | Swampland:

I am fairly certain that when Paul Ryan first decided to publicly share his admiration of Ayn Rand, he could not have imagined it would lead to him speed-walking to his SUV to avoid a young Catholic trying to give him a Bible and telling him to pay more attention to the Gospel of Luke.

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These days, when people question a politician’s “morality,” they usually mean his or her personal behavior and choices. But an interesting thing is happening right now around the GOP budget proposal. A broad coalition of religious voices is criticizing the morality of the choices reflected in budget cuts and tax policy. And they’ve specifically targeted Ryan and his praise for Rand, the philosopher who once said she “promote[d] the ethic of selfishness.”

Across the street from the Faith & Freedom Conference Friday afternoon, a group of religious leaders continued the attack on what they now consistently refer to as “The Ayn Rand Budget.” Father Cletus Kiley, a Catholic priest, declared the Ryan budget “does not pass our test” of Catholic teachings, and suggested that supporters of the budget “drop Ayn Rand’s books and pick up their sacred texts.”

Rand’s influence on Ryan’s politics is also the subject of a new ad produced by the religious group American Values Network, which hopes to run the spot in Ryan’s district.

Something on which the Christian Right and Progressives and Liberals can agree. We have had quite enough of this cult of Ayn Rand.

1 COMMENT

  1. This post touches on some interesting points. I wish instead of a 2 minute gotcha with a bible that the folks at Faithful America would challenge the folks at the Ayn Rand Institute to a public debate on the topic of charity and compassion.

    I am still wishing that Paul Krugman would take up Robert Murphy’s debate challenge but oddly he hasn’t, leaving a possible $66,000 donation to the Food Bank of NYC in limbo.

    http://krugmandebate.com

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