Tag Archives: Social Security

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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The Right Entitlement

The New York Times published an article over the weekend titled “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It“, which profiles several families and folks that describe themselves as conservative, the area recently helped sweep out a Democrat in favor of a tea party candidate. It is especially interesting because it strips individuals away from rhetoric or group think and confronts them on inconsistencies. This might be considered a “gotcha” style of report, only it’s not. It’s tone, sensitivity, and questions offer a personal glimpse into these folks lives (the individual vignette videos under the introduction). Everyone interviewed either used some of the government safety net or had someone in their immediate family who did, plus one guy who was adamant that he would not accept money from the government.

“Plan ahead! I don’t expect the rich to cough up the money that they work hard for, to give to to the people that are too foolish or too lazy to provide for themselves”, says Matt Anderson. This is pretty typical of a libertarian/republican line of rhetoric, perhaps it is more than a talking point for this guy. The only problem with this logic is that it assumes that the rich have worked hard and those that cannot provide for themselves are foolish and/or lazy or don’t plan. This is the essential crux of the “entitlement issue”; do people “deserve” benefits? If so, what is the criteria for deserving those benefits? Continue reading

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