Gail Combs alerted me to this story: Ayn Rand-acolyte Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists. Well isn’t that interesting? Yes. It is.
Well, let me do some excerpting and analyzing.
THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump has decided to risk a confirmation fight, officially nominating ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state this morning.
Tillerson and Trump had no previous relationship, but the Texas oilman and the New York developer hit it off when they met face to face. One of the things that they have in common is their shared affection for the works of Ayn Rand, the libertarian heroine who celebrated laissez-faire capitalism.
“Atlas Shrugged” was big in my High School (Omaha Central High) the year I graduated – ’62. Quite a few kids were carrying it in the halls that year. I thought it rather odd. I did not look into it until many years later.
This has now officially become a trend. Trump is turning not just to billionaires but Randians to fill the cabinet:
Andy Puzder, tapped by Trump last week to be secretary of labor, is an avid and outspoken fan of Rand’s books.
One profiler last week asked what he does in his free time, and a friend replied that he reads Ayn Rand. He is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which is owned by Roark Capital Group, a private equity fund named after Howard Roark. Puzder, who opposes increases in the minimum wage and wants to automate fast food jobs, was quoted just last month saying that he encouraged his six children to read “Fountainhead” first and “Atlas Shrugged” later.
That is quite encouraging. Trump is inclined to nominating and associating with people who prefer smaller government. I have been one of those guys since I joined in with the Libertarians in 1988. Since 9/11 I have been more of a libertarian. But still…
And it looks like there is a guy who may be brought back into the fold. At least he is not unfamiliar with the ideas Rand espoused.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also used to be an outspoken booster of Rand, but he distanced himself in order to advance his political ambitions.
In a 2005 speech, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns.
“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told a group called the Atlas Society, according to a New Yorker profile by Ryan Lizza.
He has since disavowed his interest in Rand. And it shows in his behavior. Maybe Trump can convince Ryan to return to his small government roots.
Politico has a look at how libertarians in government view Trump.
…several libertarian leaders noted, there’s been much for libertarians to cheer about as well, from high hopes for scaled-back regulations, to strong selections, in their view, for appointments to lead departments like the Environmental Protection Agency and Health and Human Services.
“People have some concerns, but for the most part I think are pretty positive with the big-picture outlook, with regard to lower taxes, less regulation,” said Brian Darling, a former top Senate aide to Paul. “So I think you’ll see the liberty movement, moving forward, being critical at times, but being very supportive on big issues like repealing Obamacare, regulation reform, tax reform.”
Well I’m encouraged. But you know me. I want to know who he has in mind for the head of the DEA. I doubt he will announce that until after 20 January 2017, if he has someone controversial in mind. Like say Ron Paul. Or Bernie Sanders. The pain a Sanders nomination for that position would cause Democrats would be a sight to behold. And just think of Sanders being put in a position to make government smaller. The cognitive dissonance (trolling?) all around would be a sight to behold.