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Argument By Ressentiment

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Argument By Ressentiment"

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Ayn Rand is a bad writer and a crackpot exponent of an absurd philosophical scheme. Representative Paul Ryan is, according to Representative Paul Ryan, a devotée of Ayn Rand’s bad writing and crackpot philosophical scheme. Rand’s views are so absurd that a great many conservatives and libertarians in good standing rightly regard them as ridiculous. So how is it that Representative Ryan continues to be held in high regard despite his adherence to a crackpot viewpoint.

Well, as Pejman Yousefzadeh explains in his post “How Do We Know That Paul Ryan Is An Important Political Figure?” it’s fine for Ryan to be in the grips of Rand’s philosophy because though she may be nuts, she also pissed off liberals:

Because people like Steve Benen find it necessary to waste time launching stupid, content-free attacks against him, in an effort to take Ryan down.

Ayn Rand, I should note, is most definitely not my cup of tea. I read The Fountainhead almost nine years ago, found the writing to be over the top, exceedingly poor, and heavy-handed to the point of being laughable at times. But to call someone’s interest in Rand “borderline-creepy,” and “a crackpot,” and to concur with the views of the exceedingly silly and monumentally discredited Matt Yglesias (more on Yglesias here) in saying that Ryan is–wait for it!“a dangerous madman” simply because Ryan purportedly likes Rand, is to engage in overstatement and hyperbole worthy of Rand herself. Are we sure that Benen and Yglesias are not Randians themselves?

This kind of logic seems to account for something like 98 percent of contemporary American conservative “thinking.” We know Ryan’s a good guy because Ryan’s choice of crackpot intellectual inspirations provokes liberals into calling him a crackpot! Amazingly, after acting like this 360 days a year, every once in a while the conservative grassroots pops its head up and complains it’s (once again) been betrayed by its political leaders and launches some new paroxysms of random purging.

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