Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paul Ryan throws his idol Ayn Rand under the (most likely government funded) bus

Growing right wing celebrity, and boy genius, Paul Ryan has been having a pretty bad week. The other day he said his faith inspired his ultra right wing budget agenda. Certain high ranking officials of said faith said he's full of shit.

“Our problem with Representative Ryan is that he claims his budget is based on Catholic social teaching,” said Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, one of the organizers of the letter. “This is nonsense. As scholars, we want to join the Catholic bishops in pointing out that his budget has a devastating impact on programs for the poor.” [...]
“I am afraid that Chairman Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Father Reese. “Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”

 If you'll pardon the pun, Goddamn!

Since the Republicans, including Ryan, were complaining endlessly that disobeying the Bishops was tantamount to declaring war against religion itself, at least when it came to the issue of contraception, I was curious to see how Ryan would respond to this. I have to say, I was somewhat surprised:

I reject her philosophy [...] It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas [...] Don’t give me Ayn Rand.
 I thought he was simply going to dismiss these Bishops as dirty commies, but no, he actually went ahead and disowned one of the most important figures that shaped his philosophy.

Now, many people have pointed out that Ryan has an amazing level of contempt for his followers, given that he's blatantly lying and hoping no one will notice. But while that deserves to be pointed out, I'm much more interested in what Ryan actually means when he says he "rejects her philosophy". When he says he "rejects her philosophy", is he just referring to the atheism portion? How does one "reject her philosophy" while still supporting a low tax, low regulation, safety net shredding budget that Rand herself would be ecstatic over?

As for being a fan of Thomas Aquinas? Ryan may want to pick another role model:

Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man's needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man's needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals(Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): "It is the hungry man's bread that you withhold, the naked man's cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man's ransom and freedom."  (Question 66, Article 7.)

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