I agree with Aaron’s post below. I write to add that I know numerous, numerous conservatives, myself included, who thrill to part of Rand’s message while utterly rejecting other parts of it. There is not a single contradiction in that unless somebody actually says he embraces Rand in full and then still tries to claim to be a devout Christian. But Ryan never did that.
I will be inspired by, and refer favorably to, some of Rand’s ideas until the day I die. But I challenge anybody to tell me it makes me any less Christian, any less religious in any sense. (In fact, if I weren’t a Christian, I would threaten to punch in the nose anybody who said so — but that wouldn’t be turning the other cheek, as Christ commands!)
I actually like Dave Weigel personally a lot, and I think his interest in the subject is sincere. But I think it is absurd for people to get out their “hypocrisy meters” on such matters, on such thin reeds of evidence. And I think it’s especially questionable, as Aaron accurately notes, to apply different standards to Ryan than to Obama. If Obama’s deep background as an instructor of and adherent to Saul Alinsky’s teachings is not a fit subject for inquiry, then neither is Paul Ryan’s favorable mentions of Ayn Rand in a speech to a libertarian outfit. This is especially so when so many liberals also found inspiration from parts of Rand — Hillary Clinton not least among them. It is far, far more common for ordinary people to have been influenced by Rand than for them to have been influenced by the nihilist radical, Alinsky.