Re "Ryan Shrugged: A parable," Opinion, Aug. 22
Here's my novel to follow-up on Michael Kinsley's preamble to his parable about Paul Ryan, with the title, "A Tale of Two Pieties." Introduction:
It was the best of times, when "I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are" (from a speech in 2005). It is now the worst of times, when: "I reject her philosophy. It's an atheist philosophy" (from an interview this April).
Ryan pondered what he had just said, then let out, "Trust me!" He said: "If somebody is going to try to paste a person's view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don't give me Ayn Rand" (from the same interview in April).
Some of those who had gathered to hear Ryan speak shook their heads, muttered, "Paste on Thomas who?" and quickly moved on.
I have significant disagreements with both Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand. But an article like Kinsley's demands a response. Unlike him, I'll refer directly to his writing and use Rand's actual words in "Atlas Shrugged":
"He saw the article … which was not an expression of ideas, but a bucket of slime emptied in public — an article that did not contain a single fact, not even an invented one, but poured a stream of sneers and adjectives in which nothing was clear except the filthy malice of denouncing without considering proof necessary."
By the way, if Kinsley wishes to dump on Ryan and "Atlas Shrugged" in his title, he shouldn't take his article's theme and opening line from Rand's "The Fountainhead."
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