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10 Shameless Right-Wing Tributes to Ayn Rand That Should Make Any Sane Person Blush

As the evangelical Right's influence has declined, conservatives are adhering to another religion -- one based on the scribblings of a sociopath.

Up until a few years ago, right-wingers who needed to believe in something larger than themselves chose Jesus. But with the evangelicals  fading from the Republican coalition, and Obama's social programs making the whole "compassionate conservative" thing suspect, it look like Jesus is out and Ayn Rand is in.

Yes, Ayn Rand, author of big books about noble capitalists who triumph over the masses, and tomes of "philosophy" like  The Virtue of Selfishness, in which she beat Gordon Gekko to Greed is Good by decades. Rand always seemed like a good fit for conservatives, but until recently their fandom was a love that dared not speak its name -- either out of fear that the born-agains would be alienated by Rand's atheism, or that literate people would giggle at them.

What happened? The Republican collapse, and the arrival of an activist liberal administration in D.C., set conservatives scrambling for compelling new story lines to sell the public. Jesus, unfortunately, had been rendered inoperative by all the family-values Republicans caught in sex scandals. With Him out of the way, the atheist, market-worshiping Rand was their best bet.

The transition has been seamless.  Glenn Beck regards Rand as a prophet. Tea Party people  carry her name on signs. Rightbloggers talk, seriously it would seem, about Going Galt -- a phenomenon previously known as "early retirement," but now judged a political act of resistance against the socialism of our moderate Democrat president.

They're the wave of the future, so let's get to know the Randroids. What kind of people are they?

To follow are the 10 most cringe-inducing -- but sincere! -- Randian tributes I could find. There were some that were crazier, but they tended to be tens of thousands of words long and boring beyond belief. Believe me, this is probably as much as you'll want to hear from them -- ever.

1. Paul Ryan: The most powerful Randroid in politics

You may have heard about Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and his " roadmap" -- the closest thing to an economic answer to the Democrats an elected Republican has yet produced. Few Republicans seem to want to be caught supporting it, perhaps because Ryan's roadmap basically  privatizes Social Security and Medicare. It's not just an assault on the Obama plan; it's meant to destroy the New Deal.

That seems a little hot for your average voter. But Ryan's got a safe seat. He's also got a hero to inspire him to feats of pro-capitalist derring-do.

"The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person," he said at a Rand 100th anniversary party, " it would be Ayn Rand." He also said that "Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill" boils down to "individualism versus collectivism."

We may assume that Ryan's not on the collectivist side, which explains why he wants to gut Social Security -- he says it's a "collectivist system."

You'd think that, with such strong Randian credentials, Ryan would have also resisted the bailouts of 2008. But in fact he voted for the original TARP -- and he was moved to do so by another great literary figure.

Ryan told the  Daily Beast that in 2008 he believed without TARP, "Obama would not only have won, but would have been able to sweep through a huge statist agenda very quickly because there would have been no support for the free-market system."

The author who convinced him of this? Jonah Goldberg, and his right-wing libruls-r-Hitler stroke book  Liberal Fascism.

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