Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Ryan Plan: Radical or Capitulatory

Without doubt the funniest thing we've read on deficit politics is Holman Jenkins' piece in today's WSJ.

Read it carefully, so that you don't miss the point of view it adopts. And note how it indicts those who accuse the Ryan plan of radicalism. Compared to a full-force conservative plan that would privatize government entitlements, it's more like a capitulation to the permanent welfare state.

11 comments:

JB in CA said...

I think it's amusing (and telling) that Paul Ryan's political philosophy is inspired by Ayn Rand's writings. I guess some guys are perpetually stuck in adolescence.

Dr. Love said...

I'm constantly baffled by the ease with which so many people readily identify Ayn Rand with adolescence. I've never known an adolescent person to read Rand, though I've known many (including myself) to be infatuated with Marx. I'm guessing it's the passionate, uncompromising nature of Rand which mostly spurs on this association, though I'm at a loss as to why that should be taken negatively. Whence this popular metanarrative that with age (and presumably wisdom) comes ideological moderation? It's silly; what is more, it's untrue.

Furthermore, the lengthy list of negatives which inferred by this assumed correlation with adolescence hold no water for me, from a literary standpoint at least. Most lovers of Tolkien begin loving him as adolescents and never love him more than they do then. It doesn't mean that the literature itself is juvenile, it patently isn't. It's because Tolkien excites a deep emotions which are happily laid bare by adolescence. When we reread such literature, it is in the hope that we can recapture that state, not in spite of it.

At any rate, Elihu was right and not Job or any of his older friends. Even if Rand is demonstrably juvenile by some argument I've never heard of, why shouldn't we listen to her if she is in fact more fundamentally right than the other voices in the discussion?

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Because she wrote bad books?

PS: We think that Jack Kemp is more of a formative influence on the young Mr. Ryan than is Ms. Rand, who is more the ideological mentor of another notable Republican, a certain junior senator from KY.

JB in CA said...

Dr. L,

The only people I have ever known who were attracted to Ayn Rand's philosophy (and I've known quite a few) were angry young men (usually with anarchist tendencies). On the other hand, I have known all sorts of people from all age groups who have been attracted to Tolkien's writings. Perhaps my experience is wildly unrepresentative of the general population, but I doubt it. At any rate, your point is well taken. Rand's thought should stand or fall on its own, regardless of what age group (or gender) it primarily appeals to. My assessment--as you may have guessed--is that it falls.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

And the books reek. Only the movies are worse.

Sorry, we just have to insist on that.

Dr. Love said...

Bah, humbug!

JB in CA said...

"Bah, Humbug!"

So you're saying Scrooge was inspired by Rand? Makes sense, I guess. I've often thought her followers were unreal.

KevinAK said...

I have a hard time taking SWNID's criticsm of Ayn Rand seriously when he places Harry Potter on his fiction club list.

Dr. Love said...

I strike at the bait once, but not twice.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Potter rocks. Rand reeks.

JB in CA said...

Dr. L: I know, that was one too many on my part, but I couldn't resist. There it was, a hanging slider right down the middle of the plate. Hope I didn't swing too hard.

KevinAK: I'm afraid I have to defend SWNID on this one. Rowling's psychology of friendship is outstanding, and even though her prose is rather average, her use of symbolism is superior—much in the tradition of Tolkein and Lewis. And regardless of what her detractors say, the Harry Potter series is profoundly Christian.