Rand Paul Quotes Ayn Rand, At Length

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 12 2011 2:40 PM

Rand Paul Quotes Ayn Rand, At Length

Admit it, you were waiting for this: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ken., using his time at bat in committee to describe the plot of an Ayn Rand novel.

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Ayn Rand wrote a novel, Anthem . It’s a dystopian novel where individual choice is banned and the collective rules society. There’s a young man and his name is Equality 72521. He is an intelligent young man but he is been from achieving or reaching any sort of occupation that would challenge him. He is a street sweeper. 

Over time he discovers an abandoned subway and rediscovers the incandescent light bulb. And he thinks, naively, that electricity and the brilliance of light would be an advantage for society and that it would bring great new things as far as being able to see at night, being able to read and the advancement of civilization. 

He takes it before the collective of elders, and they take the light bulb, and basically it’s crushed beneath the boot heel of the collective. The collective has no place basically for individual choice. 

Now, I’m not suggesting that this collective body is against electricity per se, or that your goals are to quash individualism. But I am suggesting that we’re against choice.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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