Years before House Budget Committee head Paul Ryan was declaring his fealty to Ayn Rand's ideas -- Ryan has credited Rand with inspiring his decision to go into politics, and stated that he gives her books as Christmas presents and requires his congressional staffers to read Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged -- another controversial public figure also enthusiastically credited Ayn Rand's philosophy, which celebrates selfishness and the triumph of the strong over the weak, as a key influence: Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, who once reportedly quipped, "I give people Ayn Rand, with trappings."
While Ryan's nearly decade-long record of public praise for Rand's ideas has become a matter of national discussion, the potentially explosive Ayn Rand/Anton Lavey/satanism connection has languished in relative obscurity.
The rising influence of Ayn Rand's ideas is not a minor issue; it is a growing ideological fault line that conservative strategists worry could cause whole segments of disaffected conservative Christian voters to shear off from the increasingly radicalized and Rand-friendly Republican Party.
But it wasn't liberals who have pounced on the clear Rand/LaVeyan satanism connection.
In 2011, prominent Christian conservatives went on a rampage, blasting Randism as "anti-Christian" and "nearly identical" to satanism, and branding Republicans who promote Rand's ideas as "cranks" and "crypto cultists". Exhibit "A" was Paul Ryan.
Needless to say Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate piqued my interest in the subject, and now I have five or six concurrent essays on the Ryan/Randism/satanism link, but time is pressing -- so I'll add some links to those essays as I finish and post them.
But along the way, I started assembling the quote base, below, which I think tells the story as well as I could possibly do. And besides, I rather like allowing the various people in the drama to speak for themselves.
So, here it is - the Ryan/Rand/satanism link made simple.
"I give people Ayn Rand, with trappings"
--- Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan (to Kim Klein of the Washington Post, 1970), as cited on page 2 of Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology, by Jesper Aagaard Peterson (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2009)
"Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism."
--- Congressman Paul Ryan, 2009 official Ryan For Congress video ad.
Mike Wallace: "You are out to destroy almost every edifice of the contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government regulated capitalism, our rule by majority will. Other reviews have said you scorn churches and the concept of God. Are these accurate criticisms?"
Ayn Rand: "Yes. I am the creator of a new code of morality."
--- Mike Wallace 1959 CBS interview with Ayn Rand
"Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is an acknowledged source for some of the Satanic philosophy as outlined in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey... Satanism has far more in common with Objectivism than with any other religion or philosophy. Objectivists endorse reason, selfishness, greed and atheism. Objectivism sees Christianity, Islam and Judaism as anti-human and evil. The writings of Ayn Rand are inspiring and powerful."
--- from the essay Satanism and Objectivism, republished on the website of the Church of Satan
"My great friend, the late Bill Buckley - one of his greatest contributions to modern conservatism was his effort to purge it of cranks and crypto-cultists and for Buckley, Ayn Rand and her followers certainly fit that description... [Ayn Rand's] patently anti-Christian ideas seem to be gaining steam... powerful committee chairmen on Capital Hill make their staffers read her tracts."
--- former Nixon Administration member Charles Colson, May 2011 installment of his "Two Minute Warning" video series, titled Atlas Shrugged and So Should You
"I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we're engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that's what I tell people..you know everybody does their soul-searching, and trying to find out who they are and what they believe, and you learn about yourself.
I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It's inspired me so much that it's required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged."
--- U.S. Congressional Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), 2005 keynote speech in honor of Ayn Rand's birthday, held by the Atlas Society.
"As for his 'religion,' he called it 'just Ayn Rand's philosophy with ceremony and rituals added' "
--- Bill Ellis, quoting Anton LaVey on the intellectual source of his form of satanism, from page 180, Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions and The Media (2000, the University Press of Kentucky)
"To imply or state that the Church of Satan was the first to clearly state the Satanic ethic is to ignore the continuing impact of Ayn Rand...
To illustrate this historical precedent, let us examine the Nine Satanic Statements [from The Satanic Bible] in view of the Rand work Atlas Shrugged. In Galt's speech (pages #936-993) is the written source of most of the philosophical ideas expressed in the Satanic Bible... Note that the sequential order of these Atlas Shrugged quotations parallels the order of the Nine Satanic Statements."
--- Essay by George C. Smith, "The Hidden Source of the Satanic Philosophy", republished in The Satanic Bible (link to PDF file of Anton LaVey's book)
"[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism...
...you can't find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand.
It's so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand's vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are. I always go back to, you know, Francisco d'Anconia's speech (at Bill Taggart's wedding) on money when I think about monetary policy. And then I go to the 64-page John Galt speech"
--- Paul Ryan, 2005 speech to the Atlas Society
"What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."
--- Ayn Rand, 1964 interview with Playboy magazine
"Today you're supposed apologize to every naked savage anywhere on the globe because you are more prosperous."
--- Ayn Rand, 1980 interview with Tom Snyder
"1. Blessed are the strong, for they shall possess the earth - Cursed are the weak, for they shall inherit the yoke!
2. Blessed are the powerful, for they shall be reverenced among men - Cursed are the feeble, for they shall be blotted out!
3. Blessed are the bold, for they shall be masters of the world - Cursed are the righteously humble, for they shall be trodden under cloven hoofs!"
--- from The Book of Satan, part V, in The Satanic Bible
"I am not attacking Rand for the overlap of her views with LaVey's; I am saying that, at their core, they are the same philosophy. LaVey was able to recognize what many conservatives fail to see: Rand's doctrines are satanic...
"[P]erhaps instead of recommending Atlas Shrugged, we should simply hand out copies of The Satanic Bible. If they're going to align with a satanic cult, they might as well join the one that has the better holidays."
--- from The Fountainhead of Satanism, by Joe Carter, published June 8, 2011 in the Neoconservative Catholic-affiliated monthly journal First Things
"[I]f a man smite thee on one cheek, SMASH him on the other!" --- Anton LaVey, from The Satanic Bible (Section III, paragraph 7)
"It's hard for me to imagine a worldview more antithetical to Christianity - also difficult to imagine a more juvenile one"
--- the late Charles Colson, May 2011 installment of his "Two Minute Warning" video series.
"Rand's novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible...
If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence.
--- Michael Gerson, Former Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning, and Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Speechwriting, under President George W. Bush, April 21, 2011 column in The Washington Post, Ayn Rand's adult-onset adolescence
"I read Atlas Shrugged recently and respected its support for innovators... I also was amazed at the viciousness of Rand's view of Christianity, leading up to its conclusion, where the book's hero traces in the air the Sign of the Dollar, a replacement for the Sign of the Cross...
And this, sadly, is the book that a budget expert I admire, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recommends--apparently without caveat--and tells his staffers to read. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is also a Rand fan...
...Ryan and others, if they want support from Christians, cannot merely react to the left's criticism with a shrug: They should show what in Rand they agree with and what they spurn. The GOP's big tent should include both libertarians and Christians, but not anti-Christians."
--- Marvin Olasky, intellectual father of "compassionate conservatism", July 16, 2011, Take a stand against Rand, published in World Magazine
"I am afraid that Chairman Ryan's budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Survival of the fittest may be OK for social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love."
--- Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, as quoted April 24, 2012 in the Washington Times
"There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
--- John Rogers, screenwriter and comic
"I hope you picked it [Atlas Shrugged] up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail." --- Flannery O'Connor, letter to a friend