|The Objectivist Center indeed invited Reps. Ryan and Royce to speak at our February 2 celebration of Ayn Rand's 100th birthday. It is a sign of progress that members of Congress not only know of Rand but also find her insights valuable in their thinking about public policy. I note also that Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) likes Rand and has written about her. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who was mentioned in a post, is a libertarian-leaning member of Congress but NOT a Rand fan. Among other Rand fans in Washington is Justice Clarence Thomas.|
The Center event is to celebrate Rand and to have panels and discussions about her significance and influence. It's not a meeting of true believers only. Thus, while I'm aware of the mixed record, by our standards, of Royce, Ryan (and all other members of Congress), I'm pleased that they find Rand of value and will state their reasons publicly. I also note that in the link provided that Royce has a lot of votes with which Objectivists can agree -- pro-free trade, anti-agriculture subsidies. And Ryan is leading the charge for some sort of Social Security privatization. (Yes, I know, it does not get the government out of the retirement business but it's a move in the right direction.)
I note here the benefits of having non-Objectivists speaking at Center events: 1) Non-Objectivists have many good and insightful things to say that are consistent with Objectivism -- we've had John Stossel, Charles Murray and a long list of libertarians speak at our events and Summer Seminars; 2) Sometimes we want to delve into subjects, policies or particular questions to which Objectivism still needs to be applied, and panels that include thoughtful non-Objectivists can help do just that; and 3) Debates with opponents who are thoughtful on the topics to be discussed often attract audiences better than panels of all-Objectivists, which are seen by the media and potentially interested individuals as propaganda-fests. Since our ideas are shown to be correct when they go head-to-head with opponents, debates can spread our ideas.
At the February 2 Rand birthday bash we have a panel, which I will chair, with David Kelley, Michelle Kamhi and Madeleine Cosman and another panel hosted by Fred Smith of CEI with Howard Dickman (formerly a Reader's Digest editor), Ed Crane from Cato and Bob Poole from Reason. Will Thomas also will make remarks on Rand's life.
So come one, come all and celebrate a century of Ayn Rand!
The Objectivist Center