Thursday, February 11, 2010

John Galt and Paul Ryan: Separated At Birth?

via TPM (follow the link for the full text):
Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) determination to privatize Social Security and dismantle Medicare -- what he calls a "collectivist system" -- comes, at least in part, from his longstanding devotion to the works of Ayn Rand… Ryan, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, reportedly requires staffers and interns to read her opus, Atlas Shrugged, and gives out copies as gifts…

Fearing political suicide, Republican leaders have tried to distance themselves from Ryan's "roadmap" budget proposal, which calls for privatizing Social Security. But Ryan is upfront about it….

"If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society…"

In interviews, he has said Republicans should frame the choice between "collectivism" and capitalism as a moral choice. "We have an opportunity to make a choice clearly once and for all in the next two elections, and we owe it to the American people to give them a clear choice: Do you want a collectivist welfare state or do you want to get back to being a free market? We need to make a moral, not just practical or statistical, case…"

In last year's CPAC address, he claimed the White House had blamed the free market for the financial crisis, then used the crisis as an "excuse to impose a more intrusive state."

Obviously a lead in to next week's slog through libertopia, but not exactly irrelevant to Polanyi either as it happens.


  1. Libertarians and Republicans make strange bedfellows. Are Libertarians masochists? For in the end, this odd political union always produces authoritarian, neo-conservative policies. I'm not sure why Libertarians would submit to this domination.

    Libertarians often state their alliance in pragmatic terms. They say they are just using the Republican political apparatus as a tool for their ends. According to them, without the resources of the Republican Party, Libertarian ideals would never gain clout.

    But ultimately the neo-cons are using them. Libertarians make the fatal assumption that they can eventually divest themselves from the Republican political apparatus once their ideals gain a foothold in political discourse.

    Unfortunately for them, they fail to realize that there is no "safety word." The neo-cons always come out on top, dominating the relationship and mutilating the ideals of "liberty" and "freedom."

    It will be interesting to see how this sado-masochistic relationship will play out with Ron Paul's son, who is perhaps not coincidently named "Rand" Paul.

  2. Somebody once wrote: "One will never go far wrong when confronted by a self-described libertarian in America simply to assume that by this term they mean to say they are a Republican who wants to smoke pot or chew some hooker's foot without fear of arrest."


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