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Rand's influence on Ryan is disturbing

Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan revealed that the single most influential person in his personal and political philosophy is novelist, philosopher, playwright Ayn Rand (1905-1982).

A cursory review of Rand's philosophy reveals her total rejection of all forms of faith, religion and the concept of ultimate truth. Reason alone can guide society. She espouses the ascendancy of the individual over the common good and each individual's right to assert self against government, the ultimate evil. Applied practically, unimpeded private "rights" and laissez-faire capitalism will make society stable and peaceful. Taxes, gun violence control, health and education issues should not be concerns of government. Only stalwart individualists deserve security and wealth; if the weak suffer, it's their own fault.

In varying degrees, her philosophy permeates the Republican-Tea Party-neo-conservative movement and spills over into Ryan's budget priorities. It's ironic that the Romney-Ryan base, composed largely of religious fundamentalists who insist that the United States is a Christian country, support such a narrow notion of democracy.

How Ryan, a Catholic, can embrace Rand's atheistic philosophy is even more amazing in light of 120 years of his church's Papel Encyclicals on social justice and traditional Judeo-Christian principles. True, most Sunday Catholics are ignorant of the church's stand on social issues (the exceptions being abortion and pornography), while many catholic theologians brand much of the Ryan budget as incompatible with the church's teaching.

The pro-Republican media and the candidates themselves will avoid detailing the Ryan budget's anti-education issues and anti-poor, anti-women provisions. Instead, we will hear eloquent, hollow platitudes and gross distortions of facts to win independent voters. If the budget is brought up, listen carefully. As often said, "the devil is in the details."

Paul Bredestege


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