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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.

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That's gotta be the most embarrassing Customers-Who-Bought-This- Item-Also-Bought of all time.

2.  Sarah Palin as Dagny Taggart

If modern life has taught us anything, it's that science can always make things worse. What if, for example, we were -- by grafting -- able to create a monstrous hybrid of Ayn Rand and the very worst of American conservatism?

"This is a real life Dagny Taggart who built herself up from nothing," writes  Living Jersey. He is speaking of...Sarah Palin.

"[Palin] is an American original," sighs  View from the Right, "almost like, say, an Ayn Rand heroine, Dagny Taggart, the beautiful young woman who runs a transcontinental railroad." (Actually Palin only ran a car wash --  and badly -- but you get the idea.)

"I speculated a while back that Sarah Palin was positioning herself as a new Rush Limbaugh," says  Amused Cynic in "Sarah Palin as Dagny Taggart," "probably not a radio personality, but something like Rush, a rallying point, a Joan of Arc sort of figure, Neo in The Matrix." "Sarah Palin sounds like Dagny Taggart," said  Ben Barrack.

Commenters are all over it: "BTW, does anyone else see  vague similarities between Palin and Dagny Taggart?" "Sarah shares a lot of the  plainspoken, free market tenets of Dagny Taggart." "...she is the  embodiment of Dagny Taggart." " Sarah Palin is Dagny Taggart incarnate," etc.

Despite her self-evident tendency to make a virtue of selfishness, some Randroids don't see the relevance of the early-retiring former governor to Objectivism. ("Interest any which way in Sarah Palin, from my perspective, is the litmus test for one's irrelevance to me and my life," sniffs  Save The Humans.) But that hardly matters. For the new conservative Randians, Palin and Rand share the one key attribute that trumps everything else -- they can both pull a crowd in election season. And as far as philosophy goes, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" isn't exactly Ayn Rand, but -- for both the purists and the political fixers -- it's close enough. 

3.The rise of the Randroid op-ed

Once upon a time, you'd find Randian rants only in conservative and libertarian publications, where only true believers would see them. But since the dawn of the Obama socialist menace, Randroids have actually been recruited to spread the gospel of Chairman Ayn in major papers and magazines via op-eds.

As overheated as conservative writers have gotten lately, it's still weirder to see full-on Rand cultists raving in the pages of, say,  the Wall Street Journal. It's like opening the  New York Times and seeing the estate tax discussed in terms of the works of Carlos Castaneda.

An excellent example is this March 2010 nugget from the  Christian Science Monitor: " Apple vs. GM: Ayn Rand knew the difference. Do you?"

You may wonder what "Apple vs. GM" means. (God help us, not an iCar!) But Yaron Brook and Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights aren't talking about anything so dull as a market conflict -- they're talking about a moral struggle between "producers" like Apple -- those few, sterling individuals who wrest value from the earth -- and "looters" like GM, whom they describe as "pseudobusinessmen" whose "business isn't business, but political pull."

You'd think Brook and Watkins could find better examples of looters than GM -- Enron, say, or Goldman Sachs, or Jack Abramoff. But Randroids are generally quiet when such people use political pull to amplify profit, even illegally. (In fact, way back in the  scandal-ridden days of 2002USA Today did a story about suits who found themselves harassed by "prosecutors, regulators" and "a Republican president"; these poor, rattled execs read Ayn Rand,  USA Today said, to "remind themselves that self-interest is not only the right thing to do from an economic standpoint but is moral, as well.")

 
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