August 06, 2012
Cherrypickers of the GOP

Paul Ryan’s intellectual development was tragically halted in his teen years by exposure to a Russian atheist calling herself Ayn Rand. To this day the congressman requires his staff to read her books, which are very long and full of words arranged so as to resemble thought, if you are a semi-bright 19-year-old coming across books for the first time.

Presumably, though, Ryan’s staffers are not required to adopt every single one of Rand’s insights, any more than conservatives are required to believe some of the New Testament’s more preposterous notions, such as the Golden Rule and the Rule Against Eating Eagles [Leviticus 11.13]. They are permitted to pick the cherries and ignore the lemons, or let’s hope so.

Because this is what the childless Philosopher Queen had to say about abortion:

An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).

Abortion is a moral right — which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?

That was from Rand’s book, The Voice of Reason, not one that Ryan passes out to Republican staffers on Capitol Hill. And here’s another salient quote Ryan and his cronies ignore, from The Ayn Rand Letter: “Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights — and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable...

Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly.

Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 06, 2012 07:51 PM
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Are you sure she was childless? She looks like she might have eaten her young.

Posted by: Phillyboy on August 7, 2012 5:55 PM

And never mind that Ayn Rand LOVED trains, including and especially passenger trains. Why don't Ryan and his friends like trains? Bad Randroids ...

Posted by: Tim on August 7, 2012 7:01 PM

I was introduced to both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged at that age, introduced as Science Fiction Noir, and then having about ten years of good sci fi under my belt I said to myself - naw, that'll never happen. To this day the most unrealistic sci fi ever penned.

Posted by: Ten Bears on August 8, 2012 11:23 AM

I wish Democrats were half as clear and unequivocal about the right to abortion as that passage. I wish they would especially use that very passage and make clear who wrote it.

Posted by: someofparts on August 10, 2012 3:19 PM
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