Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, Self-Reliance, And Taxes

Much has been in the news since Paul Ryan was chosen as Romney’s VP candidate about Ayn Rand, whom Mr. Ryan is known to have highly regarded. As one familiar with much of what Ms. Rand wrote, I have been disappointed in how her views are being represented by the liberal side of thought in such a negative and condemning manner.

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Ryan has of late - abandoned his admiration of Rand’s views, for reasons not very clear. Interestingly, the characteristic of Ryan most have commented on in favorable terms, is Paul Ryan’s self-reliance. This is the essence of what Ayn Rand stood for, and how she herself, lived her own life.

Self-reliance is the soul of American character and life. It is the key of our democracy. In the words of Rand, it is based upon an individual’s own “motive power”.  We are a country of immigrants: the hardiest stock of all, and founded in individualism.

The power; shall we say, the “self-power” of the individual is what Ayn Rand was trying to point out in her novel Atlas Shrugged. In this book of larger than life personalities, she showed us the power of each individual to define their life as a “producer” or as a “looter”.

How does this connect to taxes, meaning income or estate taxes? Well, we all have the power, and the right - to keep our taxes to the lowest cost possible. To do so is self-reliant: it is up to you.

I think Ms. Rand said many ridiculous things, in addition to being a beautiful writer and novelist. She is reported to have been an adulterer, atheist, to not believe in families, to think all people should live as she said they should. I do not think this is representative of her core beliefs, though many of reported comments appear to be true.

What matters in life is not what we have, or what we get. What matters is what we do. In this sense, both Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand have very much in common: they both made the best of difficult life circumstances from a young age. And they share the virtue of self-reliance.

The above is not in support of Ryan’s political views; I am a centrist.

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