Our latest Forbes.com column looks at last Thursday’s debate. Bottom line? Rand’s defense of the free market was nowhere to be found.
Paul Ryan has been called the “Ayn Rand candidate,” owing to his praise of Rand’s philosophic novel Atlas Shrugged. But her name, and more importantly, her ideas, were absent from last Thursday’s debate.
That should bother those of us concerned about the growth of government intervention in the economy. Rand’s defense of free-market capitalism is potent stuff. Since President Obama was elected, Atlas—which celebrates its fifty-fifth anniversary this month—has sold nearly two million copies. No other thinker in the last century has done more to change people’s minds about markets.
What makes Rand so powerful is that she is not a timid apologist for the free market, but an idealistic champion of it.
First thoughts on the debate? I wish there was one.
In his closing statement, Paul Ryan said that Americans face a choice between two different visions of America. But you wouldn’t know it from the debate. Neither candidate took a stand for limited government.
What you saw instead was two Big Government politicians quibbling over the details of how to regulate, tax, and redistribute other people’s money.
Take the issue of entitlements, which is the issue Ryan made his name on. We all know the Obama administration wants to expand entitlements. Did Ryan come out and demand that we cut them? No. Instead he went on about how important and noble these programs are and how vital it is to save them.
The best statement on how to fix the economy actually came from Biden, who urged several times: “Get out of the way!” Biden, unfortunately, was referring to Republicans getting out of the way of the left’s policies. The real key to fixing the economy is to get the government out of the way. But neither candidate advocated for that.
Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate. In one corner will be Paul Ryan, whose appreciation of Atlas Shrugged has led some to label him the “Ayn Rand candidate.” In the other corner is Joe Biden, who as far as I know has never been accused of being overly influenced by a philosopher. In any case, Yaron and I will no doubt have a lot to say about the ideas raised in tonight’s debate. In the meantime, here is some of our existing commentary on Ryan and Rand.
Yaron was interviewed on Butler on Business to discuss Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate. This interview was broadcast on August 15, 2012.
I, meanwhile, discussed Paul Ryan on the Wall Street Shuffle.
Ayn Rand Institute board member Harry Binswanger has a new piece up at Yahoo! on Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand. The theme? Rand stood for laissez-faire capitalism. Ryan and the rest of today’s establishment? Not even close.
Ryan has been called an “extremist” for wanting to tinker with the way government funds a couple of programs and seeking to slow the growth of government spending. For the actual extreme — i.e., liberty uncompromised — step back for a moment and consider what Rand’s laissez-faire would be like.
No Social Security, no Medicare or Medicaid, no welfare for anyone, no government-provided disaster relief, no post office, no public schools or state universities. That’s only part of it. There would be no antitrust laws, no Federal Reserve, no regulatory agencies of any kind. . . .
What would be left to fund, in an “Ayn Rand budget”? Only the three legitimate functions of government: the military, to protect you against foreign aggressors; the police, to protect you from domestic aggressors (criminals); and the law courts, to settle disputes under objective law.
Whole thing here.