MSNBC Guest: Liking Ayn Rand Means You Endorse Terrorism, or Something

April 20th, 2011 10:23 AM

Do you read Ayn Rand? Do you enjoy her novels? You do? Well then, you're clearly a proponent of - or at the very least sympathize with - domestic terrorism. That, at least, is the logic put forth by Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston on last night's "Ed Show," in what may be the most absurd, laughable attempt to demonize Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to date.

Johnston insisted that Ryan, by requiring his staff to read Ayn Rand novels - a claim itself divorced from reality - was essentially endorsing terrorism by "hold[ing] out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings," a reference to Howard Roark, the main character of Rand's novel "The Fountainhead" (video below the break, via former NBer Jeff Poor).

I don't think their plan will pass, but it's important to understand what they're proposing, and Congressman Ryan requires his staff to read Ayn Rand, whose fictional hero, Howard Roark, is a man who blew up a building because it wasn't built exactly to his specifications as the architect.

I mean, that's the kind of society we want, where our leaders say not only are we gonna take from the sick and poor, but we’re going to hold out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings? We really need to dig into understanding the kind of people who would put forth these ideas."

Of all the ridiculous attacks on Paul Ryan by MSNBC personalities and their guests over the past couple weeks, this one takes the cake.

As Ben Domenech points out, Ryan does not actually require his staff to read Ayn Rand, though many of them, like millions of other Americans, have read and enjoy her work. Nor has Ryan, to the best of my knowledge "held out" Roark as an example of anything. Admiring a political philosophy is, needless to say (or so one would think), far different from endorsing every action of a fictional character used as a literary device to expound on that philosophy.

Amazingly, this sort of logic makes its way onto the cable news airwaves via Pulitzer winners, yet the litany of lefties actually calling for political figures to be killed somehow escape mention. No mention of lefty radio host Mike Malloy claiming that Republicans, those "evil sons-of-bitches," in his phrasing, "need to be murdered." No mention of Montel Williams begging Michele Bachmann to cut her own throat.

Schultz himself has wished death on former Vice President Dick Cheney on multiple occasions, as the MRC's "Real Radio Hatemongers" report noted.

Yet all of this violent rhetoric somehow escaped mention in a discussion of supposed endorsements of political violence. Go figure.