“Cognitive dissonance” is a term coined to describe how a person can hold contradictory views without noticing it. Ayn Rand’s philosophy of elitism, a society run by intelligent and courageous people over the sheep-stupid-and-ignorant masses is UTTERLY in opposition to a belief in the ‘Family of God,’ the equality named in the Declaration of Independence and the compassion at the root of the following of Jesus.
The views of Paul Ryan, a “Catholic” who demands his staff reads Ayn Rand, illustrates perfectly “cognitive dissonance,” the belief that the rest of us are jerks and saints, equals and not-equals. Like so many ideologically-driven people, he has not made up his mind which is fundamentally true. His Ayn Rand philosophy implies that the poor are poor because they want to be poor–to be victims and like leeches live off the blood and sweat of other people. The philosophy implies that intelligent and courageous people need to step forward, take charge of their own lives, and make other people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or suffer the consequences. The philosophy differentiates between the smart, brave (and usually white) elite who make a difference in the (business) world.
The followers of Jesus (i.e., Catholics, which Paul Ryan claims as his Irish heritage) implies that the poor are poor–whether by accident, choice, fate or the hand of God–AND need others to help them carry their burdens (and so fulfill the Law of Christ, according to St. Paul). We are to see the poor as our equals, visit the imprisoned (guilty or not), help the sick (contagious or not), assist the widows and orphans (whether we like them or not). We do not judge the choices of others. We do not “let people stew in their own juice,” but consider ourselves as part of the great pot.
Most of all the difference lies in the points of view: elitism, vs. family. Elitism implies inequality at our human core, such as the days of yore when Southerners truly believed that black skins contained somehow lesser souls than white skin–something that even Abraham Lincoln seems to have held in some form at one time. Jesus taught the one-ness of the human race, the extremely fundamental view that we are all equal sons and daughters of our Creator.
To which view does Paul Ryan actually subscribe? When the voting comes–his budget suggests–it is elitism and not Christianity that governs his public life, his choices in our society.