Mitt Romney has selected a running mate who is supposedly a disciple of the great free market, laissez-faire thinkers. Indeed, Paul Ryan speaks of economics with much the same verbiage as Hayek and Mises. From that perspective, I actually like some of the things that Ryan has to say. I, too, consider myself a disciple of Mises and Hayek. And, although I dislike the dogmatic aspects of Randian Objectivism, I, too, was inspired in my youth by Ms. Rand’s vision of human potential, free rational societal structure, and the need for man to thrive through leveraging our uniquely human trait of reason. Rand’s vision, as seen through the eyes of people like Nathaniel Branden, David Kelley, and my friends Stephen Hicks and Michael Newberry (not the dogmatic views of Peter Schwartz and Leonard Peikoff) is inspiring. They will never consider my ties to my Judaism as intellectually valid; but neither do they disparage me for them.
So, then, you might think that I would like Paul Ryan… and…. you’d be….. WRONG.
You see, neither Hayek nor Mises, NOR UNQUESTIONABLY RAND, would accept Paul Ryan’s socially conservative positions. Remember that Rand has issues with both the Left AND the Right. Remember that Peikoff and Schwartz tried to sever all ties between Objectivism and David Kelley just because David was WILLING TO TALK TO Libertarians. Rand, Hayek, and Mises would certainly look upon Ryan’s economics as derivative of their own and they would fully embrace those views. But none of those thinkers are, like Ryan, willing to divorce their social politics from their economic ones. None of them would embrace the inconsistencies between Ryan’s notion of economic freedom and his acceptance of governmental social coercion (like laws about who can marry who or who can or can’t have an abortion.)
It’s like I’ve said before, you can NOT accept Laissez Faire economics and Evangelical Christian social values at the same time, and then try to call yourself consistent. We can all love or hate the Tea Party Movement, but I’m quite confident that Rand would have none of it. The willingness of the Tea Party to accept inconsistent views would turn her off more than the comparable acceptance of those inconsistencies in the Libertarian movement.
So, it’s absolutely fair to say that Ryan was influenced by Rand, Hayek, and Mises. But, don’t be deluded into thinking that any of them would actually view him as their disciple. Believe me, I’m at least as inconsistent as Paul Ryan. Then again, I’m not running for Vice President. If I was, most of you would not vote for me; which is how I feel about Paul Ryan.
Try asking Ayn Rand what she thinks of the notion that our rights were granted to us by God. See how far Rand would follow Ryan then.