Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate brings what the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer calls “the ghostly presence” of Ayn Rand to the Republican ticket. It’s not hard to understand why Rand’s reactionary hyper-libertarian philosophy has long been attractive to disaffected adolescents — it allows someone who is frustrated with the stupidity of the dominant culture a way to feel superior without committing to struggle. It is frightening when the leadership of a political party is guided by an adolescent philosophy. To understand how influential Ryan has become, read Ryan Lizza’s profile in the New Yorker, “Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan captured the G.O.P.”
The public radio show “On the Media” covered what it called journalists “Ayn Rand Obsession” and the longstanding American interest in Rand’s philosophy.
Rand’s philosophy is likely to alienate enough voters that Ryan will have to back off from public expressions of his devotion. The Daily Kos’ Ian Reifowitz has charted Ryan’s backflips. Some segments of the Republican Party condemn Rand not for her lunatic social and economic philosophy but because she was an atheist. For them, “Christians Must Choose: Ayn Rand or Jesus.”