The Madeleine Brand Show for August 13, 2012

Paul Ryan and the Ayn Rand connection

Ayn Rand's bestselling novel Fountainhead

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Paul Ryan has said he was inspired to go into politics after reading Rand's two bestselling novels, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

Paul Ryan's political philosophies were shaped in large part by author Ayn Rand. He said he was inspired to go into politics after reading Rand's two bestselling novels, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

Rand's novels sparked a movement called "Objectivism" which called for laissez-faire capitalism and a pursuit of "rational self interest".

Ryan has embraced Rand's philosophies of limited government and even said he required his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged.

The congressman authored a budget that would bring US government more closely in line with Rand's vision by ending Medicare as an entitlement program and replacing it with a system of vouchers.

Ryan has since backed away from his connections with Rand, calling his identification with her an "urban myth" but her philosophies have clearly affected his political worldview.

Madeleine Brand speaks to investigative journalist Gary Weiss, who's book Ayn Rand Nation, chronicles Ayn Rand's influence on modern politics.


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