cartoon from fishink.us
Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, Ayn Rand (1905-1982), Ryan’s fascistic, rather kooky heroine, is in the news, with Ryan, donning Romney flip-flops, repudiating his ties to her. She was in the news back in the early 1960s when Barry Goldwater was the Republican candidate for the presidency. Rand was credited with pointing Goldwater and the right-wing of the Republican Party down the libertarian, laissez-faire, anti-government path that it has been tripping down ever since. Nearly a half century ago, in 1963, I published a brief article on Rand in the final issue of a radical magazine that liked to think it was descended from the legendary The Masses. But the times they were a-changing, and William Buckley became the John Reed and the National Review the The Masses of the right. In “Ayn Rand’s Dollar Mysticism,” my point was that though Rand considered herself an atheist, I thought she had made a religion of the so-called Free Market. However much Ryan is now trying to deny it, Rand inspired Free Market Fundamentalists, like himself, who, a half century later, have seized control of the Republican Party in a coup orchestrated by Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and the National Review.