Ryan's 'Secret' Tape Is Even More Extreme Than Romney's
Editor's Note: AlterNet's Adele Stan reported last week about the Ryan remarks Eskow discusses here, highlighting Ryan's call for ending social security, which he described as a "collectivist system," and Ryan's assertion that Democratic "collectivists" seek to create a ' victimization class' largely populated by minorities.
When they booed Paul Ryan at the American Association of Retired Persons last week, most people didn't even know he called Medicare and Social Security "third party or socialist-based systems." Or that he said he wants to privatize them in order to "break the back" of a "collectivist philosophy."
On recently transcribed remarks from an audio recording, Ryan said his ideas and values were shaped by an extremist author who thought humanity must "reject the morality of altruism," and that his opinions on monetary policy are guided by a fictional speech which says "the words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality."
That author says the "collectivist philosophy" Ryan ascribes to Social Security and Medicare is a "looters' credo." By that reckoning, anyone who receives assistance from the government -- including disabled combat veterans or impoverished children -- is a "looter."
"Seniors are looters." Wonder how that would have gone over at the AARP? "Disabled veterans are looters." How would that play at the local VFW?
This recording confirms that the GOP's Vice Presidential candidate is the most politically extreme major-party candidate in living memory. His views have already drawn the opposition of Catholic theologians, as well as advocates for lower-income people, the middle class, seniors, the disabled and children.
If those views were better known, they'd also alienate independents, Democrats and seniors, as well as most Republicans and Tea Party members.
And by "alienate," we mean terrify.
Ryan's 2005 remarks were made at a gathering entitled "A Celebration of Ayn Rand," in which Rand's often-cultlike followers gathered to celebrate their strange heroine.
How extreme, how far from the mainstream, was Rand's thinking? She was profoundly hostile to the idea that human beings should help one another, writing that "If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject." Rand also wrote that "Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life."
Oh, and the hero of Rand's novel The Fountainhead commits an act of terrorism. He's an architect who blows up a building because he's angry that his design was changed.
Watch your back, John Boehner.
People should be free to explore any ideas, no matter how far out of the mainstream, without public censure or government restrictions. I've debated Rand acolytes and have always enjoyed the exchange of ideas. But imagine how the press would react if the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate had attended, say, "A Celebration of Karl Marx," where adherents approvingly quoted the final paragraph of the Communist Manifesto?
That's the paragraph which concludes, "... the ends can only be achieved by forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions."
Sects, Lies, and Audiotape
Ryan said this at the "Celebration":
I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we're engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand ... and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.
Ryan also said "the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand."