BY KAREN WEBB
When I started my “Who is Paul Ryan?” quest a few days ago, I was about to do a sympathetic piece comparing him to my father because they both lost their fathers as teenagers. I read this long article that used quotes from Ryan’s neighbors, his brother, his schoolmates.
It talked about a serious altar boy who went door to door collecting money for Jerry’s kids. At 16 he found his dad dead from a heart attack. His mother had to go back to college and he went to work because all but one of his three siblings were away from home.
It sounded to me like he had a chip on his shoulder. He had running for office on his bucket list even back then.
My dad’s father actually died while he was in bed with my dad because my grandmother could not handle the almost constant seizures. At one time they owned a lot of land in east Texas, but this was at the end of the Depression and they had sold most of it.
My dad had seven older siblings, some of them much older, but they were all off taking care of their own families. All of them contributed to their mother’s care in some way. My dad got a full scholarship in engineering to SMU, but couldn’t go because he couldn’t afford the other things he needed. He was in the Pacific in World War II and I don’t think he ever had any goals of living in the White House or becoming a millionaire.
The only office he ever held was union steward and when he passed away on his 78th birthday the only thing he left my mom – besides a 50-year-old house, that needed a lot of work, and a five-year-old SUV – was what he had organized for, negotiated for and picketed for: a benefit package.
I was just about to sympathize with the plight of a 16-year-old taking charge and having a huge chip on his shoulder until I found out that the Ryans were wealthy, even before his dad died and are much more wealthy today. Not only that, but he married wealth.
Ryan’s wealth comes from building roads and bridges with government contracts. His wife’s wealth comes from using government subsidies to frack.
First you buy mineral rights, then you frack, then you pump the results of your fracking back under the unsuspecting owner of the surface. Then dead areas start appearing in the guy’s wheat fields, or stuff starts bubbling up in his well water or ground water, and if they are really lucky they might even be able to light their tap water.
Alrighty then, we now know that Ryan did not pull himself up by his bootstraps any more than Romney did. I am sure the Ryans aren’t as wealthy as the Romneys, but we will never know because Romney isn’t going to show us his taxes – we might not like what we see.
So, how did a devoted altar boy become a devoted Ayn Rand fan. Oh, but wait, he is now saying he never was an Ayn Rand fan. Here is what he has said since Romney chose him:
“I reject her philosophy. 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. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.”
Thomas Aquinas believed man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. Paul Ryan grew up in the tech age so why does he think we don’t know what he has said in the past when he knows there are video and audio recordings. Beats me, but every Republican on the planet, and even some Democrats, believe they can say they never said that, right up until they time they say, “Oops, I misspoke.”
No you didn’t – you said exactly what the people you were talking to wanted to hear so you could get votes or contributions.
March 17, 2003, The Weekly Standard:
“I give out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.”
You know, in my family, we were just crazy Protestants, but Bibles were a more popular Christmas gift. Books devoted to the pursuit of unbridled greed is just not that much in the spirit of Christmas.
I am having difficulty grasping the idea that a Christian Right that boycotts department stores every year for using “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” in their decorations would embrace a guy as the savior of the U.S. who gives Atlas Shrugged as a gift and requires all his employees to read it.
In 2005 he says in an audio recording:
“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand … It is so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are.”
Mr. Altar Boy, gird up your loins with Ayn Rand?
Well, we over on the left are fans of separation of church and state and Ayn Rand really fits that bill much better than “God led me to run so I can reward the wealthy with tax breaks paid for with cuts in programs the poor need to feed their children.”
In a video Ryan says:
“Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism and this to me is what matters most.” And he says: “It doesn’t surprise me that sales of Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged has surged lately with the Obama Administration coming in because it’s that kind of thinking and that kind of writing that is sorely needed right now. And I think a lot of people would observe that we are now living in an Ayn Rand novel, metaphorically speaking.”
I have to agree. I certainly feel like I am in an Ayn Rand novel. Someone else needs to explain whether the morality of unrestrained individualism comes from any part of the catechism because I am not Catholic. I would suggest not asking the Pope because he has already spoken on not only the Ryan budget, but the GOP as well.
When you ask him, try not to call him a Communist if he says he thinks everyone should have healthcare or be fed. There is a lot of that community organizing stuff done through Catholic churches so don’t call him Stalin.
Remember back during the GOP primary when Mitt Romney was praising the Center on Budget and Policy when they were talking about Rick Perry’s budget. Never mind, because he isn’t praising them now. There are Reagan advisors working there, but now they are not non-partisan because they said:
“The new Ryan budget is a remarkable document – one that, for most of the past half-century, would have been outside the bounds of mainstream discussion due to its extreme nature. In essence, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse – on steroids. It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times [and possibly in the nation's history].”
The Ryan budget is definitely Ayn Rand and not Jesus Christ.
A few videos for your viewing and some with Ayn Rand herself.
– Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer