Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Would Ayn Rand Say About Her Most Public Disciple Now?

Paul Ryan stopped to get a photo op. There's nothing wrong with that. Politicians do it all the time. The problem for Mr. Ryan is two-fold. First, this particular photo op is at a soup kitchen, a charity. Ayn Rand, a person that Ryan claims influenced him greatly, would not be amused. She after all believed that charity was not a moral virtue; in fact, she made it her duty to "fight" that idea:
My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.
The second problem is the fact that the photo op shows Ryan washing clean pots and pans:
Ryan had stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to the airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. By the time he arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned.
Upon entering the soup kitchen, Ryan, his wife and three young children greeted and thanked several volunteers, then donned white aprons and offered to clean some dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of Ryan and his family washing pots and pans that did not appear to be dirty.
On second thought, if no one really benefited from Ryan's actions actions except Ryan, who got the benefit of appearing to care for 15 minutes even when he didn't, Rand might be very proud of her disciple. After all she believed that charity is only a "marginal issue." Apparently, charity is only political for Ryan as well.

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