“My philosophy,” wrote Ayn Rand, “is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
“Objectivism,” the so-called philosophy she concocted, is better summarized in the title of one of Rand’s later books, “The Virtue of Selfishness.”
“If I had to credit one thinker … it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said when asked who influenced his entry into politics.
I read “Atlas Shrugged” some time ago and found something lacking. Thanks to professional football player Chris Kluwe, I discovered what it was — and I realize now how monstrous that missing something is.
“The only thing Ayn Rand forgot to take into account when writing ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is empathy,” Kluwe explains.
“Who is John Galt?” asks the first sentence in “Atlas Shrugged.” In his new book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies,” Kluwe has the answer:
“John Galt … is a deeply flawed, sociopathic ideal of the perfect human. … John Galt is brilliant but doesn’t have the long-term vision to maintain the society that allowed his brilliance to flourish.”
Galt, Rand’s story goes, is one of many spectacularly accomplished men and women fed up with leeching mediocrities living off their hard work. They all flee to an oddly Communist-like utopia in the Rocky Mountains where they watch the world crumble without their collective genius.
Rand’s fantasyland is the political ideal espoused by Ryan and other tea party politicians like Sen. Rand Paul, who conveniently forget they were educated in society’s schools, use its highways, are protected by its police and military, and, yes, have their snouts buried deep in the public trough.
In fact, Ayn Rand would have considered Ryan a leeching mediocrity, such was her contempt for politicians.
Empathy is not only missing in Rand’s novel, it’s also absent in today’s tea party conservatism. Recall those lusty cheers when, during the 2012 Republican debates, the moderator asked if a man without health insurance should be left to die of cancer. And what is Rand’s “virtue of selfishness” if not a pithy description of discredited trickle-down economics?
“John Galt talks about intelligence and education without discussing who will pay for the schools,” Kluwe continues. “John Galt has no thought for his children. … John Galt does not recognize the societal structure surrounding him that allows him to exist. … John Galt spends his time in a valley where no … real life takes place.”
“I think Ayn Rand did the best job of anybody to build a moral case of capitalism, and that morality of capitalism is under assault,” Ryan declared in 2009.
Only a lifelong politician with zero business experience and who’s beholden to billionaires would describe capitalism as moral. Unlike Ryan, I’m a capitalist who owns a business with employees. I have learned first-hand after 30 years that capitalism is completely amoral.
I’ve also discovered I’m not some lone organism floating haphazardly around in a matrix of oxygen and carbon, as the congressman believes. My success and happiness is contingent on the success and happiness of the people around me; I’m part of an interconnected web, where the common good is the common denominator.
“(John Galt) takes in everything he requires for his own happiness without thought of the cost to others,” concludes Kluwe, “rending and tearing the stability of social interactions until his once-teeming world is barren and lifeless, collapsed under the gluttonous appetite of self.
“Are you John Galt?” Kluwe asks.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.