What Would The U.S. Look Like if Ayn Rand's Philosophy Were to Rule the Country?

08/15/12 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up today—many Republicans are expressing strong admiration for philosopher Ayn Rand’s ideas—including her belief that selfishness is a virtue…. The best known adherent to Rand’s philosophy these days is the soon to be Republican Vice Presidentiual candidate Paul Ryan. We’ll talk with a South Florida author who has written about Ayn Rand’s ideas in a new book.

But first, two listener comments about yesterday’s program on which we featured an interview with former Republican Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren who quit his Capital Hill job because of his dislike for the direction the Republican Party was taking. We also got a comment about a caller yesterday who said he was a member of the Tea Party. Here’s what two listeners had to say. Tape

Philosopher Ayn Rand’s family left the Soviet Union as Stalin was increasing his grip on power—casting out the democrats and internationalists in the 1920’s. Her wealthy family’s treatment in the Soviet Union colored her views of all government. And when she came to the US she proceeded to write a series of books that characterized all government as the enemy. She also vilified labor unions and almost anyone else on the class chart lower than CEO. To her CEO’s and entrepreneurs who built companies without government help were superheroes and the most valuable members of any society. Her books The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged have become highly cited by many Republicans and Libertarians. Chief among them—Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.

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Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaking about his philosophical hero Ayn Rand.

Joining us now is Stephen Goldstein, a columnist for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale and author of the new novel ATLAS DRUGGED(Ayn Rand Be Damned) ( Grid Press). It’s a sequel to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

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Comments

Regarding the Ayn Rand program on Wednesday Augus

It was disappointing to listen for an hour during which time there was not a single clear conveyance or quotation from Rand’s works or just what she actually said or advocated. Instead there were numerous negative adjectives and much innuendo with an implication that you just have to find that she was either evil or a crackpot. ‘Greedy’ was used quite a bit. More productive and enlightening would have been to present with clarity and accuracy just what she actually said or wrote or advocated on one or more specific points and then discuss the pro’s and con’s of each. It is inappropriate to blame or accuse Ayn Rand for what any individual or individuals misunderstand about what she said or wrote. Nor to blame her for their misuse or confusion of her ideas. (Historically, Plato and Marx have been misquoted/misunderstood or deliberately misquoted and subsequently used to tragic outcomes.) It is neither appropriate nor valid to blame Dwight Eisenhower for the existence or functioning of the congressional military industrial complex – just because he brought it to public awareness and certainly because he advocated against it. Ayn Rand would be the very first person to decry the perverse state of the current American governmental situation wherein all three branches of government are owned and controlled and bought by corporate or moneyed interests. She advocated and warned continuously against its existence and growth. She did so when it was far less visible and influential and destructive than it currently is. If it had been brought to light during the broadcast it would have been noted that Rand clearly stated what she believed was the proper role of the government: police, army, and courts. Then certainly one could discuss what one believed was lacking there. But to imply she advocated a government that controls or would control and influence the ‘free market’ to protect corporations or to limit individual freedom is a clear misstatement of fact. She wrote, among other things, of her concept of hero’s – in an age of the anti-hero, of virtue in an age of organized governmentally sanctioned looting on a now global scale, and against governmental dishonesty in an age where almost no politician speaks truth. (Could Jefferson be nominated or elected dog catcher in the current political climate?) Her essays continuously warned, with accuracy and vision, of the dangers of the young sprouts of governmental chicanery and corruption that have matured to the frightening state it is in today. Before one criticizes something, one ought to understand the object of the criticism. This was not the case during the broadcast. Steve Bradenton, FL.