Anyone familiar with literature will know Ayn Rand as a voice of reason and advocate of personal knowledge over faith and religion. She is the author of several classic novels such as Anthem and Atlas Shrugged. Rand was also an atheist.
Anyone famliar with politics knows that it full of greed, personal power, and saying whatever it takes to win over votes. In the case of Rep. Paul Ryan, a Congressman from Wisconsin, this means reversing his enjoyment of Rand’s novels.
Yesterday, in Religion Dispatches, Ryan was reported to have changed his mind about Rand because she was an atheist. Even though he admitted to “enjoying” her novels and even posted a video to his facebook page in 2009, describing how Rand “did a fantastic job explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and that, to me, is what matters most.”
It could have been a letter he received from 90 professors, headed by Thomas Reese, S.J., from Georgetown, where he spoke yesterday, accusing his budget of being more a reflection of Ayn Rand than the Gospels. They evidently felt that “her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.”
It would be sad if a high-ranking member of the government was forced to pretend he didn’t like a classic novelist because of pressure from a group of priests. That is not seperation of Church and State, an ideal that America gets further away from every day. Ayn Rand, according to her writings, believed in individual rights. It’s not selfish when a philosopher tries to get people to think for themselves and search out their own knowledge.