House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced that he will not seek re-election in November.
Ryan listed Rand’s, Atlas Shrugged, as one of the three books he most frequently rereads but the principles of Rand never seemed to sink in. As House Speaker, he acted more like a weak LBJ than Rand.
Here’s how politicians pander to their base.
The GOP pretends to care about “limited government,” free markets, individual rights, and financial prudence in DC. Of course, they don’t. Not one bit. Historically, the GOP has been equally as bad as the Democrats on these matters. But these things appeal to the general voting block of Republicans. Again, the voters don’t actually care about these things either– though their concern about them does lie on a spectrum, some caring more than others. But nevertheless, the politicians in the Republican party style themselves has holding to these positions for the sake of electability and popular support.
The Democrats are careful not to point out that the Republicans are terrible on these issues. Because if they did, they couldn’t offer up themselves as the alternative which believes in government care for the poor, increased regulations, and a centralized government. So they instead exaggerate and play up the limited government “extremism” of the GOP. This plays right into the general Washington narrative: GOP = limited government; Democrats = government for the poor and underclasses, defenders of the oppressed.
Both parties, however, represent more of a politically correct, corporatist, war-centric regime. Limited government has nothing to do with it. And while there are some elements of “consumer and worker” based legislation, the majority of the actual influential efforts are corporatistic and along of the lines of the wishes of the most powerful– a plutocracy.
The democrats are dangerous because they agitate the masses, the 99% against the wealthy. This means that they sometimes pass laws which are “socialistic” in the Russian sense (leveraging the state on behalf of the working class, and against the free market); and other times pass laws which are “socialistic” in the German sense (leveraging the state on behalf of the cronyist business lobbyists, and against the free market). But they do all this under the banner of helping the downtrodden. And of course, like all forms of interventionism, their efforts fail to improve economic conditions over the medium and long term.
The republicans are dangerous because when they are in office, when they are passing laws, they do it all under the name of liberty and limited government. This means that, when their interventions fail, as all interventions do, the “lesson” that the academicians, well-connected bloggers, and media commentators push is that, well, free markets don’t work after all. It would be better if the republicans were more honest: if they admitted their big government ideas and stopped pretending to be, as Paul Ryan does, friendly toward the philosophies of liberty.
So Paul Ryan likes to say he’s a fan of Rand, for political expediency, and then he does the opposite. And leftist hacks like Robert Reich swoon and hyperventilate that “the Randian anarchists are taking over our government!” No they aren’t. Though the thought of that sounds just fine to me.