I find it interesting that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) can blithely toss around phrases like “the morality of capitalism,” “democratic capitalism,” and “free will” in order to justify his Randian vision of a world in which individuals are free to exploit one another in pursue of their own selfish ends. The idea of community and common good are viewed as an immoral assault on the rights of the individual, which trumps any and all considerations. The social contract is viewed with the same level of disdain reserved for Socialism, pedophilia, and Barack Obama.
To Ryan’s way of thinking (and his devotion to Ayn Rand), the highest, most noble goals are that of the individual- to achieve and to succeed under “democratic capitalism,” which is currently under assault on all fronts by a corrupt government committed to “crony capitalism” (a coffee-spew moment if ever there was one). We live in an era where Ryan is leading the charge to turn over America to a cabal of billionaires, who will then buy enough government to allow them to game the system to their advantage. This isn’t “free will.” It’s not “democratic capitalism.” It’s not even moral. It’s the very same “crony capitalism” that Ryan represents himself as despising, except that “crony capitalism” appears to be defined as “any system in which benefits don’t flow directly to the 1% and their Republican fluffers.”
When Conservatives do it, it’s capitalism, the expression of the will of the free market. When Liberals do it, it’s the worst sort of corrupt collectivism and crony capitalism imaginable.
If Ryan was truly all about capitalism, free will, and morality, he’d be working to dismantle a system that tilts the playing field to the advantage of billionaires (what free market?). If he’s all about achievement, success, building a moral case for capitalism, he’d be working to create a system in which opportunities for success are available to anyone willing to work hard and sacrifice. What exists now is the very same “crony capitalism” he claims to oppose. Markets and regulations are gamed so that the fabulously wealthy have advantages unavailable to those farther down the economic food chain. Ryan claims that Government under Barack Obama is selling “crony capitalism”- because he’s insisting that billionaires pay their fair share of taxes. Ryan’s philosophy, evidently based on his understand of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, is that the free market should be just that- completely free and unfettered. No regulations, no checks and balances…every man for himself. Dog eat dog.
I got mine; you can damned well get your own.
If that was to be the case, I wonder how Ryan can square his philosophy with Citizens United, which has created anything BUT a free market when it comes to political speech. Is it “democratic capitalism” when a billionaire can literally buy an election? Does the “morality of capitalism” justify the 1% buying power and influence that far outstrips anything available to the 99%? Does “free market” mean a system in which benefits, tax breaks, and opportunity flows upward?
Conservatism has always been about personal responsibility, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that…but when it drain itself of anything resembling compassion?
(Ed. note: Ryan has now “rejected” Ayn Rand’s teachings, which only makes him a liar. He can’t credibly reject the same philosophy he’s spent years advocating for. The fact is that he’s a corrupt ideologue devoid of compassion, though he claims to be a committed Catholic. Somehow, I don’t think Jesus’ teachings paralleled Rand’s philosophy.)