May 26, 2011
Teaching Rand in Law School
A while back I got into a debate with Roger Donway of the Atlas Society's Business Rights Center, which led to some offline discussions and an attempt to get an associate of Donway's, William Thomas, to come to Akron to give a presentation on Ayn Rand's Objectivism. We were never able to make the presentation happen, but I continue to believe that there is value to exposing law students to Objectivism because I believe Rand's philosophy continues to animate much more of our regulatory policy-making than is openly acknowledged. That is not to say there aren't "out-of-the-closet" Randians in positions of power--Alan Greenspan likely being the most prominent recent example--but many more who personally adhere to the philosophy likely prefer to keep that belief quiet because of the drubbing Objectivism has taken in many philosophical circles (for some examples, go here and here).
Thus it was with some interest that I read Michael Sean Winters's recent post on the letters exchanged between House Budget Chairman Congressman Paul Ryan and New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan (HT: Stephen Bainbridge). Writes Winters:
The second thing to note is the irony of seeing Ryan invoking Catholic social thought so forcefully. This is the same congressman who said he was inspired to go into politics by reading Ayn Rand, and who instructs his congressional staff to read Rand’s works if they want to understand his mind.
The irony might be summed up with: "[I]t is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matt. 19:24.