Ayn Rand In Congress

Atlas-Shrugged-Movie-Poster_2_250The National Journal has taken the time to analyze the number of times Ayn Rand has been mentioned in the last ten sessions of Congress. Only 23 times (here we go again – 23 enigma fans stand up) it turns out, mostly by Ron Paul and now his son Rand. The awful new Ayn Rand movie Atlas Shrugged that debuts this weekend will probably put a stop to it though!

Yesterday, Senator Rand Paul did what many saw as inevitable: he quoted at length from Ayn Rand, specifically from Anthem, during an Energy and Natural Sources committee meeting to make a point about individual will being squashed by a collective rules society. The speech got us wondering: before Paul the younger arrived to the Senate how often does Ayn Rand get mentioned in Congress?

A good measure, we thought, would be searching through the Congressional Record, which is the official record of the proceedings in the United States Congress as well as a sort of a bulletin board that legislators use to place written remarks about people they like, occasions they want to celebrate and other things they want to put in the record.

In our search of the Record from the last 10 sessions of Congress, spanning from 1993 to 2011, the libertarian hero has only been mentioned 23 times. Ayn Rand has been invoked in praise of her former book printer, Caxton Printers, and during references to her book Atlas Shrugged in arguments to eliminate the death tax in 2001 and while denouncing the National Competitiveness Act of 1993. She also gets 5 mentions by legislators who were quick to note that Alan Greenspan was once a disciple of hers (“Don’t hold that against him,” Congressman Harkin said in 2000.)

By far, though, the person most likely to mention Ayn Rand is Ron Paul, the current libertarian hero and father of the newest Senator from Kentucky, Rand. (That his son and his hero share the same name is just a happy coincidence.) He has invoked Ayn Rand’s name nine times in the span we surveyed: when criticizing the post office, while commemorating the 100th anniversary of her birth, and in an article submitted mentioning her during a tribute to Milton Friedman. And Ron Paul is notably the only member of Congress to actually quote Ayn Rand during this period…

[continues in the National Journal]

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  • Andrew

    John Galt is a vampire.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Yeah, makes sense to me that Rand would be an apostle of the Prophet of Banality.

      Aim higher next time, Rand; like your own head

  • Andrew

    John Galt is a vampire.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, makes sense to me that Rand would be an apostle of the Prophet of Banality.

    Aim higher next time, Rand; like your own head

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, makes sense to me that Rand would be an apostle of the Prophet of Banality.

    Aim higher next time, Rand; like your own head

  • Butter Knife

    I wonder how many times she has been cited as a theological philosopher in Congress? I’d assume it’s roughly never, since none of her fanboys are violently atheistic, and the vast majority are quite the opposite.

    It always baffles me that Conservatives are generally unwilling to accept the premise that a person or piece of writing can espouse good ideas and bad ideas simultaneously, and insist that a body of work be appraised in purely black and white terms: either good or bad, right or wrong, worthy of praise or contempt… and yet idolize the writings of someone who hated Communism only very slightly more than she hated Christianity (or any other religion).

  • Butter Knife

    I wonder how many times she has been cited as a theological philosopher in Congress? I’d assume it’s roughly never, since none of her fanboys are violently atheistic, and the vast majority are quite the opposite.

    It always baffles me that Conservatives are generally unwilling to accept the premise that a person or piece of writing can espouse good ideas and bad ideas simultaneously, and insist that a body of work be appraised in purely black and white terms: either good or bad, right or wrong, worthy of praise or contempt… and yet idolize the writings of someone who hated Communism only very slightly more than she hated Christianity (or any other religion).

  • Butter Knife

    I wonder how many times she has been cited as a theological philosopher in Congress? I’d assume it’s roughly never, since none of her fanboys are violently atheistic, and the vast majority are quite the opposite.

    It always baffles me that Conservatives are generally unwilling to accept the premise that a person or piece of writing can espouse good ideas and bad ideas simultaneously, and insist that a body of work be appraised in purely black and white terms: either good or bad, right or wrong, worthy of praise or contempt… and yet idolize the writings of someone who hated Communism only very slightly more than she hated Christianity (or any other religion).

  • Butter Knife

    I wonder how many times she has been cited as a theological philosopher in Congress? I’d assume it’s roughly never, since none of her fanboys are violently atheistic, and the vast majority are quite the opposite.

    It always baffles me that Conservatives are generally unwilling to accept the premise that a person or piece of writing can espouse good ideas and bad ideas simultaneously, and insist that a body of work be appraised in purely black and white terms: either good or bad, right or wrong, worthy of praise or contempt… and yet idolize the writings of someone who hated Communism only very slightly more than she hated Christianity (or any other religion).

  • Butter Knife

    I wonder how many times she has been cited as a theological philosopher in Congress? I’d assume it’s roughly never, since none of her fanboys are violently atheistic, and the vast majority are quite the opposite.

    It always baffles me that Conservatives are generally unwilling to accept the premise that a person or piece of writing can espouse good ideas and bad ideas simultaneously, and insist that a body of work be appraised in purely black and white terms: either good or bad, right or wrong, worthy of praise or contempt… and yet idolize the writings of someone who hated Communism only very slightly more than she hated Christianity (or any other religion).

  • 5by5

    “Estate Tax” not “death tax. “ESTATE TAX” A tax on filthy rich dead goobers who don’t need the money anymore. The precise kind of thing we SHOULD be taxing, to pay off the debt these Ayn Rand cultists ran up, rather that cutting off school lunch programs to poor kids.

  • 5by5

    “Estate Tax” not “death tax. “ESTATE TAX” A tax on filthy rich dead goobers who don’t need the money anymore. The precise kind of thing we SHOULD be taxing, to pay off the debt these Ayn Rand cultists ran up, rather that cutting off school lunch programs to poor kids.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Ayn Rand is to political philosophy as Bruce Almighty is to Christian theology

  • Tuna Ghost

    Ayn Rand is to political philosophy as Bruce Almighty is to Christian theology

  • greengestalt

    Y’know, falling victim to the “Left/Right” stereotype and being mostly “Left” I’ve been silent too long on the “RandDroids”. Not that anyone else (unless they agree) respects MY opinion, I’m supposed to respect theirs which even means being silent…

    But, the “Rand” stuff is STUPID. It’s just a “Right wing capitalism lite” designed to take wind out of the sails of change. Like Libertarian is “Anarchy, dood, but for rich people”.

    Nothing would have pleased me more if there was a massive “Going Galt”…

    Imagine the country without:
    1. Kiss up/Kick down “Middle Managers”…
    2. “Engineers” and other “professionals” who slept through college and beat and berate the “Peons” who have to finish their work. (really, I could talk all day the “Dockside” engineering jobs I’ve done just to get machines even working, then had to hide I touched them)
    3. Architects who make clearly dry imitative and oppressive work but SUE photographers and even sketch artists.
    4. “Doctors” who can give a stripper a boob job but would be caught blind doing even boy-scout work and fight like rabid animals to get funding for crises centers cut so they can somehow suck the $.
    5. A good number of “Politicians”.
    6. Annoying “I’m Libertarian/I’m Randian” college kids.
    7. The crud working a minimum wage dead end job, or 3 of them, that listens to the right wing tripe on the radio and sucks in every word.

    Let THEM go and make their OWN country! If they are too chick chick chicken to leave the USA, let’s just seceded a worthless part of it, like from Utah, and give it to ‘em. Let them go there. No laws. No rules. Bye!

    I wish them only well, let them make a shining utopia of free spirits that we’d all beg to get into, but they’d snootily deny us. IMO, though, it’d make “Terminal Island” look merciful.

  • Anonymous

    Y’know, falling victim to the “Left/Right” stereotype and being mostly “Left” I’ve been silent too long on the “RandDroids”. Not that anyone else (unless they agree) respects MY opinion, I’m supposed to respect theirs which even means being silent…

    But, the “Rand” stuff is STUPID. It’s just a “Right wing capitalism lite” designed to take wind out of the sails of change. Like Libertarian is “Anarchy, dood, but for rich people”.

    Nothing would have pleased me more if there was a massive “Going Galt”…

    Imagine the country without:
    1. Kiss up/Kick down “Middle Managers”…
    2. “Engineers” and other “professionals” who slept through college and beat and berate the “Peons” who have to finish their work. (really, I could talk all day the “Dockside” engineering jobs I’ve done just to get machines even working, then had to hide I touched them)
    3. Architects who make clearly dry imitative and oppressive work but SUE photographers and even sketch artists.
    4. “Doctors” who can give a stripper a boob job but would be caught blind doing even boy-scout work and fight like rabid animals to get funding for crises centers cut so they can somehow suck the $.
    5. A good number of “Politicians”.
    6. Annoying “I’m Libertarian/I’m Randian” college kids.
    7. The crud working a minimum wage dead end job, or 3 of them, that listens to the right wing tripe on the radio and sucks in every word.

    Let THEM go and make their OWN country! If they are too chick chick chicken to leave the USA, let’s just seceded a worthless part of it, like from Utah, and give it to ‘em. Let them go there. No laws. No rules. Bye!

    I wish them only well, let them make a shining utopia of free spirits that we’d all beg to get into, but they’d snootily deny us. IMO, though, it’d make “Terminal Island” look merciful.

  • http://twitter.com/MiddleAmericaMS MiddleAmericaMS

    If people actually understood this, Ron Paul would have very little support. I know this because I was one of his supporters & nearly none of us understood this stuff. Currently I’m a progressive & think that Obama will shift left in policies after the election, but who knows what Congress will look like.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/MiddleAmericaMS MiddleAmericaMS

    If people actually understood this, Ron Paul would have very little support. I know this because I was one of his supporters & nearly none of us understood this stuff. Currently I’m a progressive & think that Obama will shift left in policies after the election, but who knows what Congress will look like.