The rumor is that Paul Ryan is an “Ayn Rand devotee” as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote. Rand was an atheist author who wrote books like Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness.
Father Thomas Reese has portrayed Paul Ryan as a believer in Ayn Rand-style “Social Darwinism” in order to attack his budget reforms.
Paul Ryan told National Review that he rejects her philosophy:
“I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” Ryan says. “They spurred an interest in economics, in the Chicago School and Milton Friedman,” a subject he eventually studied as an undergraduate at Miami University in Ohio. “But it’s a big stretch to suggest that a person is therefore an Objectivist.”
“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.
I earnestly hope that Father Reese and others will now stopping pushing this urban legend now that Paul Ryan has categorically rejected it. Trying to paint Paul Ryan as a bloodthirsty capitalist with no mercy or compassion for the poor might be effective propaganda, but we as Catholics have a responsibility to not bear false witness.