Congressman Paul Ryan, the man behind the proposed Republican budget, has said that the single greatest influence on his career path was Ayn Rand. His budget reflects this, disdaining the needy while rewarding the wealthy. The rich, according to Rand, are the benefactors of society and the poor deserve their fate as inferior beings. Selfishness, according to Ayn Rand, is a moral good and the pursuit of money a moral goal. Sacrifice for others is foolishness.
Paul Ryan is a Catholic. That he, and other free market Catholics, can cite such a wicked woman as an inspiration is appalling. Conservative Catholics have long- and rightly- derided prochoice Catholics for their inconsistency. But where is the outcry over Catholics who admire a philosophy so mistaken that it can accurately be described as the opposite of Christianity?
At every point the thought of Ayn Rand contradicts the teachings of Christ. Where Christ counsels humility, Rand counsels pride. Christ lived a life of selflessness and sacrifice. Rand lived a life consistent with her principles, indulging her desires and lusts, betraying anyone who got in her way. Christ said it was the poor, the meek, the lowly who were blessed. To Rand, they were to be despised.
Indeed, most philosophical errors consist of emphasizing one good at the expense of others. Randian philosophy is unique in its utter wrongheadedness, its embrace of primal evil, of selfishness. It is truly the ethics of Antichrist.
But is there any outcry about this? Any demands that bishops deny communion to anyone promoting such drivel?
I’m afraid that too many Catholics are selective in their outrage, overlooking what is after all only one of the more extreme examples of the Americanism that has haunted the Church in this country for most of its history. Apparently you can be a “good Catholic” while adhering to a philosophy totally contrary to the faith you profess.
But then, consistency is not the strong suit of American Catholicism…