Ayn Rand – Why Agreement Does Not Mean Devotion
If you follow politics you know that Paul Ryan of the famous “Ryan Plan” is now Mitt Romney’s VP pick. This news is pretty irrelevant and will change nothing beyond what I’ve already said about this presidential election in particular and all American presidential elections in general. Liberals and progressives will keep on screaming to Vote For Obama Because Romney Is Rich™ (even though they wanted us to vote for John Kerry just a few years ago, and he was richer) and conservatives and neocons will keep screaming to Vote For Romney Because Obama Is A Socialist™ (even though Romney is a corporatist, which is just as big-government a philosophy as Western European style socialism). Nothing new there and I’ve talked about that before.
Before I go on with the real subject of this post, let me state for the record, yet again, that I am not a conservative, not a Republican, never vote for Republicans, and never will. Though I think the odds are Romney will be the next president of the United States, I think that’s a terrible thing and I believe he will make a terrible president. (Of course, I think Obama is also a terrible president, and his continued governance would also be bad.) I’ve given up on voting many years ago and will be moving out of the United States some time in the next decade, likely when my kids are grown. I’ll let my fellow liberal and conservative Americans vote themselves into bankruptcy, war and oblivion while I sadly observe the slow catastrophe of my homeland from far away.
Okay. What is interesting is the hoopla over the fact that Paul Ryan has said he’s a big fan of Ayn Rand (and later backpedaled on this when the outrage came). It’s no secret that I too am a fan of Ayn Rand, though as a libertarian, individualist, minarchist, anti-war agnostic, my agreement with Rand comes from a much more genuine place than Ryan’s does, himself being a hardcore Christian neoconservative.
When hearing that Romney’s VP pick was the evil Paul Ryan(!), architect of the evil Ryan Budget Plan(!) that throws those old people and poor people out on the streets(!), liberals predictably went berserk. When hearing that Paul Ryan actually likes Ayn Rand(!), liberals went apeshit berserk.
To liberals, Ayn Rand is the personification of all evil. With the exception of her atheism, Ayn Rand is the exact diametric opposite of everything liberals stand for. Anyone who supports Ayn Rand also supports child murderers (since Ayn Rand once admired one doncha know!), racism (since Ayn Rand said Muslims were savages doncha know!), the abandonment of handicapped children (because Ayn Rand said helping the handicapped will handicap society doncha know!) and all kinds of other psychotic shit.
I’m not going to defend Paul Ryan. I hate the guy. Instead, seeing how I personally and strongly agree with Ayn Rand’s core philosophy, I’m going to explain a basic concept that people often like to ignore. Here it is. Ready?
Just because you strongly support a person’s core views does not mean you support every word that comes out of that person’s mouth.
This blog is a good example. If you read the comments, they’re often guys who strongly agree with me on the overall basics concerning things like monogamy, women, seduction, and even politics. However often there will be strong disagreement about something specific I say, even from these guys. That’s good. While I think my views on how men should live would be helpful to men and to the world if more men adopted them, the last thing I want is an echo chamber here, which is why I sometimes go out of my way to promote dissenting views.
To give another example, I am a HUGE fan of a man named Harry Browne. His writings were the north star of my life starting in my early 30’s. His book How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World is on the short list of books I think every man should read. I love the man, love his writing, love his concepts, strategies, concepts, and worldview. His principles have created great value in my life, and my heart was pained when he passed away just a few years ago.
Does this mean I agree 100% with every view he’s ever espoused? No. There’s one part of How I Found Freedom, written way back in the early 1970’s, where he actually recommends that if your kids are a pain in the ass, you should give them up for adoption. Do I agree with that? Fuck no. That’s insane advice. You made those kids. You need to raise them even if it makes you unhappy to do so. This is one of the very, very few exceptions to your primary goal of long-term happiness. Are there odd exceptions to this? Sure. If your 6’3″, 240 pound 15 year-old son is trying to murder you with a butcher knife, then okay, kick his ass out. If your kid is an infant who was just born and you’re a poor, stupid, immature, single teen mother, then yes, please give it up for adoption instead of ruining that poor baby’s future. But like I said, those are the odd exceptions. Be a man, take responsibility, and raise your kids. I do.
My point is that some guy who hates me could read that I love Harry Browne and recommend him, then could crack open How I Found Freedom, go through it with a magnifying glass, find that particular paragraph, then scream to the world “OMFG! Blackdragon admires Harry Browne! Blackdragon supports kicking your children out of your house and giving them up for adoption if you don’t like them! It says it right here in this book! What a fucking asshole!”
Yeah, it sounds dumb and petty, and it is, but that’s exactly what liberals did to Paul Ryan. It happens all the time.
Hey, I love Ron Paul. I’d vote for him for President in a heartbeat (which could never happen; America’s two-party dictatorship would never allow him to get far enough even if he had the money to do so). I agree strongly with his core stances. However he has some views about the gold standard and the US border that I disagree with. Again, just because I strongly agree with him doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says.
Let’s get back to Ayn Rand. Her views on things like individualism, property, government, and collectivism I absolutely 100% agree with. Strongly. But when she goes off the reservation and says (or implies) you should not help people because weak people don’t deserve help, she’s being delusional. I donate 5% of my income to charity regularly. One of my biggest financial goals is to someday get that to 10%. I feel very strongly about doing that and I think everyone should do that. What I don’t believe is that some third party called “government” should break into your home, put a shotgun to your face, pull cash out of your wallet, then walk across the street and give it to your neighbor who can’t pay his bills because he watches TV all day instead of working. That’s where I 100% agree with Ayn Rand.
Agreement, even strong agreement, does not usually mean blind devotion. Never assume such.