"These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist," said the magazine's Robert Costa, who quoted Ryan as saying, "You know you've arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine."
If Ryan is getting a bad rap as a Randian, then he is definitely a victim of an injustice. But Ryan didn't have a brief flirtation with this atheistic, amoral -- but highly appealing -- philosophy as a youth. He was a full-fledged Randian as a Congressman. He didn't change his views. He is lying about them.
In 2005, he gave a speech to the Atlas Society, an organization devoted to the promulgation of Rand's views. A tape recorder was running. An audio file of his speech can be accessed here. It's important to listen to the entire tape, which runs about 20 minutes, to understand the full depths of Ryan's dishonesty.
"I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It's inspired me so much that it's required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff."The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism. "When you look at the 20th century experiment with collectivism that Ayn Rand more than anybody else did such a good job of articulating, the pitfalls of statism and collectivism, you can't find a thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand." He went on and on like that, speaking like the strident Objectivist that he is, invoking Rand hero John Galt and the "money speech" in Atlas Shrugged, beloved by all Rand followers, given by the dissolute playboy (but covert government-hating revolutionary) Francisco d'Anconia: "It's so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand's vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding principles are. I always go back to, you know, Francisco d'Anconia's speech ... on money when I think about monetary policy," Ryan said.