Obama On Paul Ryan’s Hero: Ayn Rand Is Something You Pick Up When You’re “17 or 18 and Feeling Misunderstood”

In his recent interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama explained that Paul Ryan’s obsession with Ayn Rand is actually kind of adorable in a misguided-teenager sort of way:

Q: What do you think Paul Ryan’s obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?

Obama: Well, you’d have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else …  that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a “you’re on your own” society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party

Now, in Paul Ryan’s defense, keep in mind that when Ayn Rand died, she had a six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign  placed near her casket, which is something that teenagers and grown adults alike can appreciate as being totally baller.  And ballin’ is something you never outgrow.

*In celebration of Ayn Rand’s memory, please be extra capitlaistic today and buy something (for yourself, obviously) on Amazon through this very helpful link we are providing right here.


35 Responses to Obama On Paul Ryan’s Hero: Ayn Rand Is Something You Pick Up When You’re “17 or 18 and Feeling Misunderstood”

  1. Barjack


    Speaking of numbers, this four-minute-miler needs to be deep-sixed. (Hee hee hee . . .)

  2. Brian


    He'd of course prefer we read Karl Marx's epic tale — The Communist Manifesto.

    • Rentedname


      Brian: Looks like you haven't read Marx. The Communist Manifesto is brief. Perhaps you are thinking of Das Kapital. It is a LOT longer. And my saying this does not make me a communist.

      • Anonymous


        McCarthy era thinking that you have to clarify yourself like that. Makes me sad that we're regressing as such

    • Adogmatic


      And why not? Reading a book or understanding a philosophy doesn't mean you have to agree with it.

      You should understand as many different perspectives as you can.

      Only in doing that can you truly make an educated decision.

      And who knows, while you might disagree with Karl Marx, reading his different perspectives may help you polish or better articulate your own.

      (Reading Karl Marx's philosophies might also help you realize that Obama is not a communist.)

      • Luke


        Its funny, I recently read the communist manifesto for the first time, then washed it down with Anthem by Ayn Rand.

      • Nihuli


        Couldn't have said it better myself. Your wise words make me happy =)

    • Erik


      Perhaps you think we should… "STUDY IT OUT"?

    • Mike


      I wish people would read communist manifesto. It would be nice if you understood the terms "socialist" and "communist" before hurling them at anyone who wishes to help others.

    • Larry


      Difference here being that Obama doesn't actively support Marx and Ryan does active support Rand

  3. dr dolittle


    the koch bots are loose in the comments, watch out!

  4. Michael


    Seriously, Brian? You can't really be that naive? You either are seriously misinformed about Obama's policies or about what communism actually is, or probably both. Do your country a favor, stop watching Fox News, and start learning and thinking for yourself.

  5. Dillon


    Before another person shouts communism please realize that a dictator exploiting a political system doesn't mean that political system should be represented by those exploiting it. Also realize that during communist Russia my father had to escape the country as he was Jewish and caught selling homemade jeans, which would result in him being put in a labor camp. So no, only because Obama approves of affordable healthcare and fair taxes doesn't make him Hitler, Stalin, Mao or whatever other person your delusion compares him to.

    • Rentedname


      Dillon: Agreed. And for what it's worth, I think Rand's best work was We the Living, which describes life in Communist Russia, and it was a lot different from Obama's America.

  6. Drgo


    Have you ever read the communist manifesto? It is one of the most powerful pieces of writing. It appeals to all people with a sense of humanism. Ayn Rand had some revolutionary views, but ultimately self centered and unable to grasp the full scope of geopolitics and philosophy. Karl Marx was a master of economics and politics. Ayn Rand was essentially an attention whore.

    • David


      One cannot fully understand philosophy without reading Marx, and I think it's a fascinating perspective. However, I believe his economics to be deeply flawed by his bias against markets and capital. I am skeptical of any economist who I feel doesn't marvel at the beauty of markets as an objective concept (regardless of their opinion).

      • Anonymous


        Obviously many of Marx's view on economics were wrong. Many of our views on economics are *still* wrong. They're better now than they were of course, just as they were better in Marx's time than before Marx's time, but to focus on these errors is to miss the forest for the trees. The main strength of Marxist philosophy was in showing that you can't just look at the market as this objective austere thing in which humans are instrumental. It is a thing in which humanity is at the *core*. Where the math is not mere numbers, but the making and breaking of human lives. His point was that despite the mathematical beauty of self organizing economic systems, there is no beauty in the starvation they beget. Or, in terms Marx didn't have but certainly foresaw, the natural neatness of the Pareto Principle in action is nothing compared to the lives the resulting Gini coefficient forces into wage slavery.

  7. Honest Abe


    This is an absolute hack job. I can't believe the president would so grossly and negligently mis-summarize Ms. Rand's work, merely because an opponent subscribes to her views. If you read Atlas Shrugged and ALL you got out of it was 'people are self centered' then you are most likely an absolute retard and have no business taking part in the political process. To the author, you should find another profession.

    • Action Camus


      You're hilarious, really.

      If you think that Rand's love affair with Capitalism was anything more than a manipulative and egoistic grab for gold, then you are sorely mistaken.

      As someone who has read substantial Objectivist literature, it's hogwash. Dangerous hogwash.

      • not_dracula


        Amazingly well said.

        Honest Abe needs to listen to you on this. I'm sure both of you guys have read Rand, but you actually thought about the content of what you were reading.

    • Anonymous


      Not only did I get "I'm a selfish asshole" ( it wasn't the only horrible message in that book either) from Atlas Shrugged, I got it from nearly every other Rand book I have read… Stop brainlessly defending something just because you enjoy it; you sound like an idiot.

  8. civil_love


    If I was a bully, I'd call you a bully.

  9. Jared


    I believe he would prefer to see a restless teen picking up his own work, the Audacity of Hope perhaps. As to the Communist Manifesto, I think y'all got trolled.

  10. Tony Clifton


    Replace the name Ayn Rand with Barack Obama and the passage makes a lot more sense!

  11. stock


    Have more people prospered under socialism or capitalism? Have more of the worlds great inventions and innovations happen under capitalists or socialists?

    I think it is clear that people who believe in capitalism are not the selfish ones they are the true humanitarians, as their system has helped the most people.

    • Just checking


      So do you mean todays capitalism? If so then you do realize that modern capitalism only came to be after the 2nd world war?

  12. Obama,s Aunt


    I personally can testify that Barack Obama is not a communist. So please give it a rest. By the way I also know for a certainty that he was born in Hawaii.

    Thank you for your interest in this matter. Bye.

  13. Hurndurr


    Gee, could the fags in here be up Obama's ass anymore. Instead of acting cool countering communistic remarks, how about you just look at :

    A. What he promised in 2007

    B. That much of it was a lie

    C. What has actually occurred in last 4 years

    D. Results of such

    Then jump off a cliff so I don't have to bare the thought of idiots here voting for two party systems.

  14. David Rice


    Obama's point is well taken. Rand appeals to the simplistic, ego-centric, developing adolescent personality. Marx, it should be noted, has a similar appeal for different reasons: he is responding to rudimentary capitalism and the obvious Dickensian moral issues of early industrialism. It is an important step in the growth of any thoughtful individual to read and absorb both authors. It is even more important to move beyond them. Truly, anyone who hasn't gotten over these two by their twenties is suffering from Arrested Intellectual Development Syndrome. (Not to worry, like Romnesia and other pre-existing conditions, it's covered under Obamacare.)

  15. Jay


    Obama is an idiot. He is a puppet just like Mitt. The amount of idiots on this plant amazes me everyday. Get rid of this idiot and vote in somebody who actually is smart. No, that is not Mitt either. That guy is a puppet as well. We need a smart person to be elected president.

  16. We're here to help. Vote Canada for U.S. President this fall.

    • Whitney 70548


      Vote Canada? I wish we could! I have a house in Newfoundland and the means to live independently but Canada still doesn't want me – too old and no half million to invest in Canada.

  17. Dr House


    In the world I live, I wish many more people would think of themselves because then they would take care of themselves and their responsibilities and then our society would actually improve.

    That is a fundamental contention between conservative and liberal life-theory.

    The liberal methodology is identified as a psychological disorder 'over-functioning' that is primarily the result of varying degrees of negligence in their childhood (something as "simple" as both Mom & Dad work is enough).

    They have a deep-seated unfulfilled need to be taken care (wrought from the childhood neglect) so their reaction to the world is build a world that takes care of people.

    Sound great on the surface; please google and read about the 'Cobra Effect'. When a system is put into place to handle something then people stop dealing with it – why should they? There's an excellent safety net to protect them.

    The elementary school that my kids go to provides them with "breakfast". I was one of two people that complained about the program – everyone else thought it was great that they didn't have to feed their kids breakfast.

    And the school, of course, feeds them junk food the best of which is kid's (corn-syrup-"enhanced") yogurt and sometimes they actually give them pop-tarts. What the teachers must think of us parents, and rightly so.

    So what you say, if you want to make your kids breakfast just get up and do so.

    No, it doesn't work like that – because I get up and I make breakfast but the kids know they will be fed junk at school. Even if they do eat they eat less to save room.

    This is a microcosm of how liberal policies wreck things.

    So… please, please think of yourself and your responsibilities and handle them.

    Once you have everything in your life squared away… then, and only then, do you have bandwidth to start helping other people (the conservative way). You can regard pretty much any/everything written by Dave Ramsey to explore this idea in detail.

    Whereas the liberal methodology prevents you from ever taking care of yourself because they force you to surrender 20~85% of the income you generate which makes it that much more difficult and take that much longer for all of us to get our lives in order.

  18. Michael Jeter


    I read Rand as a teen, after listening to _2112_ by Rush.

    I find Rand's work incompatible with Christianity(Rand herself agrees with me), and I agree with President Obama that this is a "philosophy" for 17 and 18 year olds.

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