So I don’t mind the idea that the Russian emigre’s books shaped Ryan’s word view. I just think he wasn’t a very discerning reader. The first clue came in that same 2005 speech. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he said. There is a term for characters in Rand novels that proclaim a desire to spend their lives serving the public. They are villains. Or as she put it in one of her works of nonfiction:Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that “the public interest” supersedes private interests and rights, can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others. If so, then all men and all private groups have to fight to the death for the privilege of being regarded as “the public.”
Read the whole thing — which includes a number of specific policy comparisons between Rand and Ryan — here.