Ayn Rand on Drugs
CANNABIS CULTURE – After saying that Ayn Rand was required reading for all his interns, and his biggest influence for getting into politics, GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan has now said he enjoyed Rand's novels but rejects her atheistic philosophy.
That's too bad, because Rand opposed drug prohibition, although she called taking drugs "suicide" and said marijuana "destroys the mind." At least, so says a web search.
According to the book Ayn Rand Answers by Robert Mayhew (Penguin, 2005) as quoted by OnTheIssues.org, Rand said,
I do not approve of any government controls over consumption, so all restrictions on drugs should be removed (except, of course, on the sale to minors). The government has no right to tell an adult what to do with his own health and life. That places a much greater moral responsibility on the individual; but adults should be free to kill themselves in any way they want.
I would fight for your legal right to use marijuana; I would fight you to the death that you morally should not do it, because it destroys the mind. What the government should do is protect citizens from the criminal consequences of those who take drugs. But drugs would be much cheaper if it weren't for government.
Rand can be heard on tape saying, "I think drugs should be sold openly because it is an individual's right to commit suicide if he wants to ... If drugs were sold legally, that would put that whole underworld and all the drug addicts as pushers out of business."
The Daily Kos quotes Wikipedia quoting Jennifer Burns's book Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford University Press, 2009) with this tasty nugget:
While completing her second novel (The Fountainhead), Rand began taking the prescription amphetamine Benzedrine to fight fatigue. ... Her continued use of it for several decades also may have contributed to volatile mood swings observed by her associates in later years.
The Rand Watch blog explored the theme for a 2010 story, "Was Ayn Rand a Drug Addict?", which says,
In addition to her indisputable addiction to nicotine (she was a chain smoker) there's no question that Ayn Rand was a habitual consumer of amphetamines starting in 1942, when she was prescribed Benzedrine for weight loss (a common medical practice in that era) and discovered that it gave her the energy to put in the long hours needed to finish the first of her two major novels, The Fountainhead. Rand liked the boost that 'speed' gave her, and from that time until at least 1972 – a period of 30 years – she continued to use amphetamines, moving on to Dexedrine and Dexamyl.
Judging from the way they spun their lies in convention speech after speech, Republicans will have no trouble spinning away Ryan's admiration for that godless speed freak Ayn Rand with her wild ideas on everything but the economic policies that favor his tax bracket.
Rand also said, "I am certainly in favor of abortion ... I'd like to express my indignation at the idea of confusing a living human being with an embryo ... The idea of some bitches – and I don't apologize for that – trying to prescribe to all other women what they should do with their lives is disgusting. And they call it a right to life!" I'm guessing the GOP won't be adopting that moral stance either.
Jennifer Burns appeared on The Colbert Report on August 29 and called Rand's writings "the gateway drug" for the New Right. Burns said the last thing Rand wrote was a denunciation of Ronald Reagan. Too bad Ayn's not around to give her opinion on Ryan. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, a band who Ryan says he admires, has written an eloquent response in Rolling Stone. Wait until everyone from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin have their say.