Many of the most visible members of both the Republican Party and the conservative media have heaped praise on libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand. For instance, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said, “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism.” Rush Limbaugh has called her “brilliant.” And both Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) are avowed fans. Nevertheless, Yaroom Brook, the current president of the Ayn Rand Institute, is seemingly unimpressed by their devotion. In an interview published today by the Daily Ticker, Brook told host Aaron Task that no one in the GOP field is a true follower of Rand’s philosophy and, in an unusual moment of clarity and honesty, said anyone who was “wouldn’t be electable” in American politics.
TASK: Is there anyone in the party or in national politics these days who you think really follows and adheres to the Randian philosophy?
BROOK: No. And I think the reason is that they wouldn’t be electable. I mean, Ayn Rand was a laissez faire capitalist. She believes in lassies faire capitalism, which means no government regulation, no government controls and intervention in the economy. […]
So I don’t think that position today in America is one that would get a lot of votes. That’s a fact.
In truth, Brook is almost certainly correct. As ThinkProgress laid out in a previous video, Ayn Rand’s philosophy as she herself described it is remarkably extreme and emblematic of the GOP’s agenda:
On the level of policy, Rand advocated total separation of state and economics: She opposed any and all forms of government regulation, as well as all programs to support the poor and middle class. (To pick just one telling example, she described Medicare as morally equivalent to robbery and murder for the sake of acquiring a yacht and some champagne.) At the same time, the moral framework upon which Rand based her policy preferences was one in which altruism was denigrated as “evil,” while self-love and the pursuit of self-interest were held up as the highest of moral ideals.
While Brook may feel the Republicans have failed to live up to Rand’s ideals, the GOP certainly can’t be faulted for not trying. Between their state-level attempts to gut public programs while cutting taxes for the wealthy and the House Republicans’ budget proposal to massively cut Medicare, Medicaid, aid to the poor, and public investment while again transferring enormous sums of additional wealth to the rich, the modern-day GOP is adhering to Rand’s unpopular philosophy.