Monday, January 31, 2011

Ayn-rony shrugging

This story is just too deliciously ironic to ignore.

Remember Ayn Rand, heroine of the conservative/tea partier cause? She believed in individual self-sufficiency. Individuals should stand or fall on their own, based on their own efforts. It is a philosophy that essentially extolls survival of the fittest - or the richest and most ruthless. There is no social contract in Rand-world. We do not owe anything to our neighbors. Most importantly, we should not accept any assistance from the government and government, in its truest and most righteous form, should not offer any.

But if you happen to contract lung cancer, all that philosophy apparently goes out the window, because, you see, Ayn Rand - yes, Mrs. John Galt, herself - applied for and received Social Security and Medicare when she became ill with lung cancer.

An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor).

As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help."

But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so.


Rand railed against such programs during her life, but when she needed them, they were there for her and she took advantage of them. As far as I can find out, she never acknowledged that fact and never told her followers that, actually, Social Security and Medicare are not Satan's tools to ensnare us and can be pretty useful when one needs them.

But today, her disciple, Rep. Paul Ryan, requires all his staff to read Atlas Shrugged and is continuing his covert and sometimes not-so-covert campaign to destroy the two programs.

I don't begrudge Rand her use of the social safety net. Thank FDR that it was there for her - and still there for me. I do begrudge her hypocrisy in not acknowledging the fact that she, too, took advantage of the help that was available to her and that she would have denied to others.

3 comments:

  1. I try to keep an open mind and read material I often don't think I'll agree with- so last year I read her books. I came to the conclusion that if you've always been well off then you probably don't understand the need for programs to help you when you are at the bottom. I guess she reached her bottom. And am glad that they were available for her. But like you, I wish she would have acknowledged it. (But mean side of me sure wishes I would of been the one to process that SSI application!!) Who is John Galt? Someone that's never known true poverty. I believe in hard work but I also realize that sometimes we all may need a helping hand!

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  2. Great title by the way!

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  3. Bad things do happen to good people and even the wealthy can be brought low by medical expenses. Most of us have either experienced that ourselves or we know someone who has, Anonymous, and that's why most of us can see the need for a strong social safety net. It's also why I don't mind paying taxes because, unlike Rand and her disciples, I do believe in the social contract.

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