Ayn't Life Rand?

Surprise! The Philosopher Behind the New GOP Budget Hated Gays!

So who’s the inspiration of Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future? (You know, the courageous federal budget proposal to save the government money by making seniors pay buckets of money more for healthcare, because, you know, elderly people are at the peak of their consumer powers, particularly when it comes to knowing what to do in the face of their looming mortality.)

Is it any surprise that the source is an anti-gay philosopher and writer? You see, Ryan, a Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, is a devotee of Ayn Rand. Jonathan Chait at the New Republic has pointed out that Rand is a “twisted, hateful thinker.” (Her shoes were ugly too.) Rand basically believed the rich are not just better than you and I, but we should be grateful that they lord it over us. Well, it’s more subtle than that, but it always seems to end up looking like that.

And of course, when it comes to gays and lesbians, Rand lives up to Chait’s billing. As the high priestess of libertarian thought, Rand believed that the government had no role in criminalizing homosexuality. But that was a triumph of principle over personal belief. Being gay, said Rand, “involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises …. Therefore I regard it as immoral … And more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion. It’s disgusting.”

Kind of like balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly. Ryan has certainly applied Rand’s visceral hatred of gays to his voting record, which includes voting against gay adoptions in D.C., voting against a federal nondiscrimination law and voting for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Not exactly a consistent embrace of libertarian principles, but what do you expect for a rising star in today’s GOP?

Photo courtesy Wickipedia


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  • ithunk

    You should read a few books by Ayn Rand before you go around making statements about her philosophy. Then read a bit about her life history.
    Ignorance is not a good color on anyone.

    And maybe you should mention the source when quoting statements from her?

  • Mike in Asheville

    Geez, there is so much more fun to be had concerning Repugnantans, Ayn Rand, movie flop Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, hypocrisy, and this is what you cover?

    How about lampooning Rand Paul, named after Ayn Rand, hypocrisy that Rand (Ayn) was a serial adulterer with her student-followers, etc.

    But to your point, a big fail. Rand invented libertarianism and maintained a consistent belief that government should not be involved in the personal private affairs of citizens. The hypocrisy of the GOP, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and Ron Paul, the Tea Parties — they claim to be libertarians yet they also want government to regulate non-heterosexual sexuality, drug use, adoption, and more.

  • ggreen

    Besides being a near moron Rand was a complete hypocrite also. Never following her own hateful advice. She applied for and received Medicare and Social Security under her married name to avoid discovery by her fan base. Another welfare queen sucking on the US government’s teat.

  • LulzingLulzer

    Rand basically said she found homosexuality gross, but that the government shouldn’t get involved in it. Rand advocated the abolishment of all anti-gay laws, despite her personal view that it was immoral. She was a libertarian.

    Rand definitely had flaws, but she wasn’t a persecutor of gays.

  • ChiGuy76

    This is nothing new. I knew she was severely anti-gay to begin with. Although she did not believe criminalizing homosexuality, she would not support any laws protecting LGBT citizens.

    I find it very ironic that many of her supporters in the Republican Party also tend to express their undying belief in in Jesus Christ. Ms. Rand abhored Christianity and was an avowed athiest (which goes to show that Christianists to not hold the monopoly on homophobia). She felt that Christianity’s message of giving to the poor, helping your neighbor, loving your enemy were antithetical to her Objectivist philosphy. Thus, Christianity needed to be eliminated. I bet we don’t see that on Tea Party pamphlets.

    Sadly, I have read two of her books in high school, “The Fountainhead” and “Anthem.” I will never forgive her for those horrible works of fiction and will never read anything else by her again. Who is John Galt? Who the f*#! cares?

  • greenmanTN

    All you need to know about Ayn Rand is this:

    In her journal circa 1928 Rand quoted the statement, “What is good for me is right,” a credo attributed to a prominent figure of the day, William Edward Hickman. Her response was enthusiastic. “The best and strongest expression of a real man’s psychology I have heard,” she exulted. (Quoted in Ryan, citing Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 21-22.)

    So the question is, who exactly was [William Hickman]?

    In December of 1927, Hickman, nineteen years old, showed up at a Los Angeles public school and managed to get custody of a twelve-year-old girl, Marian (sometimes Marion) Parker. He was able to convince Marian’s teacher that the girl’s father, a well-known banker, had been seriously injured in a car accident and that the girl had to go to the hospital immediately. The story was a lie. Hickman disappeared with Marian, and over the next few days Mr. and Mrs. Parker received a series of ransom notes. The notes were cruel and taunting and were sometimes signed “Death” or “Fate.” The sum of $1,500 was demanded for the child’s safe release. (Hickman needed this sum, he later claimed, because he wanted to go to Bible college!) The father raised the payment in gold certificates and delivered it to Hickman.

    “At the rendezvous, Mr. Parker handed over the money to a young man who was waiting for him in a parked car. When Mr. Parker paid the ransom, he could see his daughter, Marion, sitting in the passenger seat next to the suspect. As soon as the money was exchanged, the suspect drove off with the victim still in the car. At the end of the street, Marion’s corpse was dumped onto the pavement. She was dead. Her legs had been chopped off and her eyes had been wired open to appear as if she was still alive. Her internal organs had been cut out and pieces of her body were later found strewn all over the Los Angeles area.”

    Quite a hero, eh? One might question whether Hickman had “a wonderful, free, light consciousness,” but surely he did have “no organ for understanding … the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people.”

    But before we assume that her admiration of Mr. Hickman was merely a quirk of her salad days, let’s consider a few other quotes from Ayn Rand.

    In her early notes for The Fountainhead: “One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one’s way to get the best for oneself. Fine!” (Journals, p. 78.)

    Of The Fountainhead’s hero, Howard Roark: He “has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world.” (Journals, p. 93.)

    Link to the essay from which the above excerpts were taken:

  • Jperon

    Sorry but this post and the comments are full of bull shit. Rand was born in 1905 and not thrilled with gays, few people born in 1905 were, but she had several close gay friends and wanted repeal of sodomy laws and such. I personally know two gay people who were close friends to her and know of two others, but don’t know them. If anything she had a disproportionate number of gay friends given her age. Remember she was in her 60s when Stonewall took place. Her brother-in-law, with whom she was very close, was gay. She said gay people had the same rights as everyone else. And the moronic post about Hickman intentionally ignored Rand’s full comments where she called Hickman depraved and said he only suggested a character for a short story she was working on, and that her character was NOT Hickman. The quotes are being taken out of context purposely and dishonestly.

  • NoelG

    @Mike in Asheville: She founded a philosophicla belief system that came to be called Objectivism. She did not found Libertarianism. Rather, it was founded by two devotees of Objectivism who wanted to create a political expression of Objectivism. Rand was originally intrigued by this new political movement/party but eventually disassociated herself from it when the party schismed and deviated from Objectivist principles.

  • NoelG

    @greenmanTN: In order to understand Rand, you have to know her particular use of words. For example, in the Hickman quote the operative word is “good.” Her use of the word excludes any connotations which would “victimize” another person, if I can use that word, because such a result would be immoral and by definition could not be called good.

    As for the Fountainhead quote, the supposition is that you have already analyzed the situation and decided upon a course of action which is moral by Objectivist principles (e.g. do no harm to others who have done nothing to you). But if someone has chosen to prevent you from obtaining your goals, you have the right to metaphorically or literally crush them, depending on a rational assessment.

    And Roark was a Romantic idealization. He was never meant to be taken literally.

  • NoelG

    @ithunk: The quota is from a 1971 lecture she gave in Boston. In 1983, Nathaniel Brandon(sp) said Rand was, “absolutely and totally ignorant” about homosexuality, describing her view “as calamitous, as wrong, as reckless, as irresponsible, and as cruel, and as one which I know has hurt too many people who … looked up to her and assumed that if she would make that strong a statement she must have awfully good reasons.”


  • NoelG

    @Jperon: There is nothing contradictory in Rand having gay friends while believing homosexuality immoral. And, yes, she did say those things about homosexuality in a 1971 lecture. The fact is, Objectivists are split on the issue of whether homosexuality is immoral or not. You can find Objectivist writing on both sides of the issue. What is not up for debate is that Ayn Rand, herself, found homosexuality disgusting. To wit, Nathaniel Branden in a 1983 interview called her ignorant, reckless, and cruel on the issue.

  • Pensive


    Actually, Rand considered Hickman to be the model of her “superman” because of his sociopathic ability to not care about the feelings of others:

    “Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” she wrote, gushing that Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.'”

    This echoes almost word for word Rand’s later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: “He was born without the ability to consider others.”

    The hear of Rand’s belief system is selfishness is a good thing. In particular, the lack of concern for the welfare of others, with the singular focus of one’s own desires as the primary purpose in life. That which makes us a caring society, the ability and desire to come together for the greater good is ANATHEMA to Rand’s world view.

    Imagine that kind of world where there is no form of collectivism at all. What would a world of sociopathic humans be like? Look to Paul Ryan’s budget that would kill off Medicare and Social Security. Rand considered any who prospered from government assistance to be “parasites” (even though she was a Social Security and Medicare recipient herself!).

    Ironically, many of the supporters of Ayn Rand ignore utter contempt for Christianity, which is collectivist at heart. How can one be a true Christian if one believes that selfishness is the highest form of human behavior? Where in Christ’s life did he ever say or do anything that was congruent to Rand’s philosophy? A man of charity, who would literally feed and give drink to hundreds? A man who believed that it was easier for a animal to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven? How could such a man and his philosophy be acceptable to a follower of Rand?

  • Scott

    Her actual comment regarding homosexuality was that she had not given it much thought but that she found it disgusting. She was not a conservative or libertarian mind you. She found both philosophies repugnant for different reasons.

    The problem with this post is that it seeks to discredit the message by smearing the messenger. Ayn Rand no doubt had some contradictions in her life, but her ideas were and are still incredibly convincing if you examine them with an open mind to be swayed only by reason.

    There are certainly things in her writings I disagree with and I find the rape scene in The Fountainhead to be repugnant.

    If you read her writings though you will find that her concept of selfishness, or rational self-interest, involves much more than a nihilistic me-first attitude.

  • Kev C

    Ayn Rand was transgendered. She dressed and acted like a male and had a bad case of penis-envy. A Freudian term for women who envy male power. Ayn Rand was also a lesbian icon and is admirred by some lesbians for being a strong fe-male. Everything I just said .. truth.

  • Kev C

    Ayn Rand was transgendered. She dressed and acted like a male and had a bad case of pen.is-envy. A Freudian term for women who envy male power. Ayn Rand was also a lesbian icon and is admirred by some lesbians for being a strong fe-male. Everything I just said .. truth

  • TomMc

    Reference for your Ayn Rand quote please?

    That aside, I’ve always maintained that Rand is good to read, before one studies real Philosophy.

  • ChiGuy76

    @TomMc: I couldn’t agree with you more! Ayn Rand is like the kiddie literature of philosophy: good to start out with at the high school level and then you work your way up to real Philosophers when you mature into adulthood.

  • Pablo Romero

    I have almost given up arguing the point with other people that point this out to me– a lot of gay people are hung up on “acceptance” and being “liked”— my partner once said it very succinctly that he didn’t care whether or not someone hated him for being gay, that they were perfectly free to do so, however irrational their bases ~ they simply did not have the right to use force against him, or the government against him.

    Rand herself may have disliked it personally, but she admitted that it was immoral to enact government force against it. What GOP or Democrat has ever made a similar statement? With the GOP constantly using gays as their scapegoat, and the Democrats promising the sun and the moon in terms of “setting things right” (read: repealing DOMA, fix binational same-sex immigration prohibitions) and immediately bowing down and backtracking to appease the religious right? And yet this deplorable excuse for a hack of a writer somehow thinks that Rand’s adherence to principle while having a dislike for something (the concept of homosexuality) is deplorable, as opposed to both parties’ complete abandonment of principle and chasing after their pet peeves with irrational fervor?

    Someone seems to have missed out on the brain lottery here.

  • BT

    This is just pathetic. First, linking homophobia tangentially to a budget proposal is just a pathetic and obvious attempt at, once again, focusing the spotlight on gays. Seriously? Talk about narcissism, guys. Second, by Rand’s own admission, homosexuality was not a topic she had spent oodles of time analyzing. At the time, the medical consensus was that homosexuality was indeed a psychological disorder. The fact that she parroted this is definitely a fault, but not a fundamental flaw or even a landmark of her philosophy. I’d say that something far more important to acknowledge is her support of gay rights when it was especially unpopular. I suspect that, had she lived longer, she would have come around to a more wholehearted support of the LGBT community – judging from the marvelously ahead-of-its-time essay she wrote, “Racism,” which denounced any attempts to demonize people based on an intrinsic characteristic over which they have no choice. Basically, vilifying and entirely dismissing her for being homophobic (but supportive of gay rights) at a time when it was incredibly common (but support for gay rights wasn’t) shows a clearly irrational bias. Stop smearing her and come up with some actual arguments.

    And that goes to the commenters here as well: Rand was not a “serial adulterer” (a vicious libel which I won’t even dignify by debunking), she did not hate the idea of charity (just that charity is a moral duty to be forced upon us by the state), she did not idolize a murderer (she liked some of the language he used in court and was appalled by his actions – writers take inspiration from everything), and she was not a “welfare queen” (she was wealthy enough from book sales not to need to rely on welfare; she merely accepted Social Security and Medicare because she had already paid for them in taxes). The people calling her a “kiddie philosopher” without justification are showing their true colors: they are just as small-minded as the homophobic bigots whom, supposedly, they are superior to.

  • BT

    Also, anyone with confusion as to Rand’s support of individual rights (gay, straight, black, white, etc.), watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R9GVU0mAi4. Everything she’s saying is the exact explanation as to the evil of Prop 8. Shouldn’t we consider her an ally rather than an enemy?

  • skzip888

    More like Callously Dismissed. The Woman nearly destroys her entire organization because she’s mad at her own paramour and then has the gall to say she finds something unnatural. Blowing up Homeless shelters is the height of romantic and philosophical purity, but two dudes doing it is just too icky? I don’t want to know how that freaking logic works.

    From what I hear, she didn’t have penis envy, she LIKED men to dominate things and for women to naggingly evaluate their domination. I believe this is called “topping from the bottom.”

    …but I digress. A bit like their attitude toward Segregation, Objectivism pretty much had an “It’s okay if the Government’s not doing it” attitude. It was enough to remain neutral as Switzerland in the face of harassment and (privately) institutionalized homophobia when it was going on, only to pop out of the woodwork and try to pass itself off as cool and progressive once Gay rights became somewhat popular.

    This being said, A lot of us gays don’t want to be egotistical antiheroes with uber-capitalist power-boners. You shouldn’t have to be a sociopathic ubermensch just to date another guy.

  • Bruce Majors

    Kind of an inconvenient fact that Ayn Rand was best friends with her husband’s gay brother and his lover, and that they read her two main novels as she wrote them, isn’t it?

    But then gay leftovers lead a fact free existence, shilling for their masters on the tax predator ruling class.

    I mean for decades you defended a regime where gays pay FICA taxes to the hetero-normative welfare state even though their partners and partners’ kids get no Social Security survivor benefits, unlike a private retirement account which gay spouses could inherit from or bequeth to a partner. Indeed, in attacking Paul Ryan’s notions about reforming the bankrupt welfare state you are continuing to defend a system that taxes gays and denies them equal benefits.

    I suppose regurgitating long refuted smears about Ayn Rand kept you off the streets for a day, so you at least fell behind on rounding up your daily quota of blacks kids to sell to the educrat unions in exchange for campaign dollars for Democrats. The modern slave trade doesn’t work without you!

  • Bruce Majors

    @BT: Facts, schmacts. Why cast these pearls before the back room swine. Just hand them some poppers.

  • Bruce Majors

    @greenmanTN: So when gay film makers make a movie that glamorizes Leopold and Loeb (coincidentally born the same year as Ayn Rand) that “tells you everything” you need to know about the homicidal pedophile nature of gays and gay culture, by your logic.

    I think you’ve been in Tennessee too long.

  • Bruce Majors

    @Mike in Asheville: Rofl. Another ignoramus anus. Rand Paul was not named after Ayn Rand. You could google a you tube where he discusses this (his name is Randall I believe) if you take some time off Manhunt.

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