Who is Worthy of Love?

This originally posted on June 6th, but I’m reposting in light of the announcement of Paul Ryan for VP.

This video on Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and a foremother to our current extreme right politics, is educational to me. It’s outrageous really, she says that a weak man or woman is beyond love. The interviewer asks:

I: If a man is weak, if a woman is weak, he is beyond, she is beyond love?

Rand: He certainly don’t deserve it, he certainly is beyond.

I: There are very few in this world, by your standards, who are worthy of love?

Rand: uh, unfortunately yes, very few.

The video was created by Think Progress, an unashamedly progressive but non partisan info center. Even though Paul Ryan has recently turned against her, her work is still undoubtedly read, seen (Atlas shrugged came out on film last spring), and admired by a healthy portion of the Republican leadership and constituency. From a National Review – an unashamedly conservative magazine – piece this spring:

“You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine,” chuckles Representative Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, as we discuss his purported obsession with author and philosopher Ayn Rand.

“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “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,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.

Several have called Ryan out on his rewrite, such as Lawrence O’Donnell here. O’Donnell’s delivery is a bit dramatic (to a discredit), but start watching at 5:00 to hear an expanded version of Paul Ryan’s own speech on Ayn Rand. The post, The Hording Hoarde discusses the clash of Rand’s philosophy and that of Jesus.

Rand eventually found it necessary to accept social security and Medicare. Her thoughts were recorded in a paper she did called, A Question of Scholarship:

The recipient of a public scholarship is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism. Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have. If this sounds like a paradox, the fault lies in the moral contradictions of welfare statism, not in its victims.

It does indeed sound like a paradox. Talk about getting the facts to fit the frame! I wonder if she still found herself worthy of love while she had cancer from smoking too many cigarettes? Jesus would have.

Chart courtesy of UPWORTHY.com.

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8 thoughts on “Who is Worthy of Love?

  1. lokywoky says:

    Paul Ryan has not turned against Ayn Rand. He just said that so as not to alienate his Catholic base. He still believes her “philosophy”. (I’m using quotes because what passes for her philosophy is one of the most selfish, mean-spirited pieces of drivel I have ever heard, read or thought about. I’m sorry if that means I’m too dramatic or uncivil for you by saying that.)

    This idea that each individial is only responsible for themselves – and that “collectivism is somehow responsible for all the evils in the world” is ridiculous. No person is totally responsible for his/her own welfare. We all depend upon others to help us survive and prosper in this world. We always have. Even that pox on humanity Ayn Rand did. Other people built the house she lived in. Other people built the sewers, the electrical system, the phone lines, printed her books, drove the trucks that delivered them to booksellers, sellers sold her books, farmers grew her food, other farmers grew the tobacco in her cigarettes (Ha!). All the food and cigarettes were put into trucks driven by other people to get to the markets where she purchased them. Someone else built the water system that provided her water. The government she despised provided legal services so she was not swindled out of the money she made selling books, and that the property she either owned or rented was hers under the law. Other people working in factories made the dishes she ate off of, the pots and pans her meals were cooked in, the furniture she sat on, and the bed she slept in. They also probably made the clothes she wore as it doesn’t appear that she was a particularly industrious person who actually did much in the way of “doing for herself”.

    All this falls under her vaunted heading of “collectivism”. Yeah, where would we all be without it? Dead most likely. And if we all follow Ayn Rand’s “philosophy, – that is exactly where about 80% of the population would be – starved to death, dead from minor illnesses (or major ones), killed in their workplaces from preventable accidents, and so on. Because according to her (and Paul Ryan et al), people are just disposable commodities who deserve nothing. Unless of course you happen to be filthy rich and then you can just buy whatever you need.

    No thanks. I prefer a world where every person is worthy of not only love, but has a right to food, shelter, and medical care. Most other countries in the world believe that people have all three of these rights and have signed treaties to this effect. The United States – the great champion of human rights – has not. Believe it or not, the USA is the only country who has not signed on to the idea that people have a right to food! How about that! We are the only one. I am ashamed to live here sometimes. Ugh! And you think that O’Donnell is being too dramatic.

    • Amy Meier says:

      Hear hear. Insulting a “philosophy” is ok, especially when it does call for such inhumanity. We do need to be able to call a spade a spade. Insulting people is not (and are not).

      Good points about how she couldn’t even wake up in the morning without being indebted to someone else for building the roof.

      Any yeah, Lawrence’s dramatics are not my cup of tea. When news people do call outs like that, I don’t like feeling that they are appealing to my emotion. I want it to feel like news and information.

      Interesting because I often make the argument that emotion must be used to communicate stories, but our news services are so compromised that “straight news” can be hard to come by. I want more straight news, even if they are reporting on news that is of special interest to special interest groups.

      • lokywoky says:

        Lawrence’s segment “Rewrite” which is the one you linked to is strictly commentary and is listed as such so if you were looking for “news” that one is not news and is not intended to be news – it is intended to be commentary and nothing more. Most of the shows on MSNBC are not “straight news” – nor do they claim to be, unlike Fox News – which claims to be straight news and certainly is not. The MSNBC line-up after about 4pm is almost all commentary on the news so if you are watching that cable channel you are looking in the wrong place for straight news. And I would suggest that even MSNBC’s earlier lineup is mostly commentary even though some of them purport to be more straight news than others. But all you have to do is look at the names of the shows – in fact they are called “shows” and not “News” to know the difference. So don’t get insulted by Lawrence O’Donnell making commentary – that’s what he is, a commentator – not a news guy. He never was, and never claimed to be.

      • Amy Meier says:

        My problem is less with O’Donnell, more with the state of TV news today.

        (It’s a big reason why I don’t watch corporate tv news – I don’t trust it. Even it they do a good job reporting, I am wondering who selected the stories and what news they aren’t including.)

        Any time emotion is inserted where I just want the facts makes me suspicious of what I am hearing. I want to decide for myself.

  2. lokywoky says:

    If you want to actually watch actual straight news, your best bet is The Guardian, BBC, al Jazeera, or RTV. (English, British/Canadian, Middle Eastern, or Russian respectively)

    You can find these all on the internet. They all have much better reporting than any American so-called news channel. You will hear stories on each of them that are never reported here (stories from right here in the US!) And very little if any commentary.

    Jes’ sayin’!

    • Amy Meier says:

      I’ve been doing this since W. NPR was even sadly compromised after 9/11. There is a fear since then, reinforced by the President’s office, of saying anything that could be conceived to be unpatriotic.

  3. Robert Malt says:

    “All this falls under her vaunted heading of “collectivism”.”

    As usual, you are wrong again. You list items of free market capitalism…houses, clothes, even roads (which are paid for by the users through gas/diesel taxes (really user fees) and tolls, and water and electrical systems (again user fees)…..these have nothing to do with collectivism. I suggest you read a few books to begin educating yourself about the differences between collectivism and capitalism. At that point, we can have an informed and intelligent discussion.

  4. Robert Malt says:

    The UNICEF report that the “child poverty chart” is based on is a fraud. It measures what it calls “relative child poverty”, which is a very deceptive way of making the US look bad by musing a longer yard stick than the other countries. When the more objective child deprivation scale was used, the report conveniently left out the US citing a lack of data.

    Read it for yourself here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/us-child-poverty-report-unicef_n_1555533.html

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