Think of it, Ryan has said that the most influential person in his life was Ayn Rand. Not Jesus, not Goldwater or Buckley, but Ayn Rand. This makes absolutely no sense and stamps him as loony tunes. Ayn Rand was a self-described "objectivist" who not only espoused atheism but claimed to have emancipated herself from metaphysical notions and especially superstitions of all sorts. (I have no way of knowing how apocryphal may be the story that she once attended a cocktail party and, making a broad gesture with her arm, tipped over a salt shaker, thereafter prompty taking a pinch of the stuff and tossing it over her shoulder. The origin of this silly myth is presumably the fact that Judas of Kerioth apparently tripped a bowl of salt at the "Last Supper," though I cannot recall at the moment whether Leonardo actually incorporated the image into his famous painting.) How on earth can an ardent fan of Ayn Rand be a faithful Catholic? That is what is genuinely troubling.
The only apsect of Rand's philosophy that Ryan really likes is the common definition of "objectivism": "enlightened selfishness." I met a Rand fan once, spent a couple of days around him. He convinced me that there was nothing enlightened about an objectivist, thought they certainly are selfish. Like the man I met, Ryan is anything but enlightened if by "enlightened" we mean humanist, or at least compassionate. Ryan's selfishness is palpable, since he espouses supply side economics, privatization of almost everything the government does for the people, and all the other characteristics of laissez-faire capitalism. He is stooge for the 1% -- the Koch types, for whom he not only wants to enjoy the Bush era tax cuts but even greater relief from revenue-collecting.
But Ayn Rand would never have approved of Ryan's positions on contraceptives and abortion. She would immediately recognize his ideas as dogma based on his Catholicism. Even some "pro-choice" advocates make exceptions in the case of rape and threats to the life of the mother. Not Ryan. He takes the official Vatican posture on such things. And that suggests he is dangerous schizoid.
I wish Obama would echo this point on a Debate platform.
I don't think he knows what he's talking about. He probably just picked her name out of thin air.
I think he is both psycho and mixed up.
I met Jimmy Carter just briefly (Habitat project at Pine Ridge, SD) but knew his brother Billy pretty well. My impression is that President Carter really does believe Christian dogma. How can this be so for an obviously very intelligent person who actually functions in the world? Good question! He grew up in a culture defined by Christian belief; one so strong in the US South that to be outside it is almost unthinkable. In Plains, GA to be something other than a devout Christian was (is?) tantamount to insanity. That Mr. Carter retains profound personal morality and apparent intellectual integrity in the face of such a belief system is a thing I don't understand, and one reason why I tend to give some devout Christians credit.
I think that his beliefs hindered him in Israeli/Palestinean negotiations during his presidency, and it seems that he now thinks so too. Still, even with that baggage he did more than most US presidents on the matter, which is admittedly a pretty low bar.
I met him during a brief swing through Vermont on the campaign trail. I was impressed by his gentle manner and I concur with your assessment, Ted. He is the kind of person who, without holding up religion as his motivation, would make the Perfect Humanist. In fact, I think of him as a Humanist in wolf's clothing. He is the sort of person whose personal morality -- integrity, really -- would be just as it is had he never been exposed to Christianity. There are few Christians like him. All too few.