Jennifer Burns

  • Aired:  08/29/12
  •  | Views: 33,815

Stanford University Professor Jennifer Burns discusses Ayn Rand's influence on right-wing politics, her creation of objectivism, and her denunciation of Ronald Reagan. (5:39)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A STANFORD PROFESSOR AND THE AUTHOR OF AN ACCLAIMED BOOK ABOUT AYN RAND.

I'LL ASK HER IF IT'S PRONOUNCED IEN, ANN, ORANNNN.

PLEASE WELCOME JENNIFER BURNS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING ON!

ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, LET'S GET RIGHT DOWN TO IT, THIS AYN... IS IT AYN?

>> IT'S AYN.

YOU GOT IT.

>> THIS AYN RAND PHILOSOPHER,

THIS IS HER TIME NOW FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

IN SOME WAYS MORE THAN EVER.

YOU'VE GOT RISING STARS LIKE RAND PAUL.

YOU'VE GOT PAUL RYAN.

ALL THESE GUYS LOOK TO HER FOR THEIR GUIDANCE.

YOU'RE THE AUTHOR OF "GODDESS OF THE MARKET: AYN RAND AND THE AMERICAN RIGHT."

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HER TO BE IN STEP WITH THE MODERN REPUBLICAN PARTY?

>> WELL, THIS IS HER MOMENT RIGHT NOW, BUT SHE'S KIND OF ALWAYS HAD HER MOMENT WHEN WE

TALK ABOUT THE MODERN RIGHT.

SO SHE HAS BEEN FOR GENERATIONS WHAT I CALL THE GATEWAY DRUG TO LIFE ON THE RIGHT.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

(LAUGHTER) WHO IS THE PUSHER AND...

(LAUGHTER).

IS HE GOING ONTO PLAYGROUNDS?

>> PEOPLE GET AHOLD OF HER, THEY LOVE HER SO MUCH, THEY TURN THEIR FRIEND ON, THEY START

READING IT, IT GOES FROM THERE.

SO SHE HAS BEEN A WORD OF MOUTH FAVORITE AMONG CONSERVATIVES FOR LITERALLY DECADES.

NOW, WITH THE RISE OF THE TEA PARTY IN 2008/2009 SHE REALLY CAME INTO THE LIMELIGHT AND THAT

HAS MADE HER MUCH MORE MAINSTREAM AS WE SEE WITH PAUL RYAN'S ENDORSEMENT OF HER PHILOSOPHY.

>> Stephen: NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT PHILOSOPHY FOR JUST A SECOND.

OBJECTIVISM AND RATIONAL SELF-INTEREST.

IF I MAY SUMMARIZE, IT'S "I GOT MINE, JACK." (LAUGHTER) DID I MISS ANYTHING?

(LAUGHTER)

>> WELL, RAND WOULD SAY A LOT COMES FROM THE PHILOSOPHY OF OBJECTIVISM SHE ADVANCED.

SO THERE'S THE IDEA OF OBJECTIVE REALITY.

THERE'S THE IDEA OF REASON.

>> Stephen: WAIT, WHAT'S THIS OBJECTIVE REALITY YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT?

>> SHE BELIEVED THAT OBJECTIVE REALITY WAS WHAT YOU FOUND THROUGH USE OF HUMAN REASON.

SO YOU COULD NOT USE FAITH, YOU COULD NOT USE RELIGIOUS LOGIC,

ONLY REASON.

>> Stephen: OKAY, BUT WHY...

IF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS THE PARTY OF GOD-- WHICH WE KNOW IT IS-- (LAUGHTER)

IF THAT'S THE PARTY OF GOD HOW DO THESE GUYS THEN USE RAND AS THEIR PHILOSOPHICAL EXAMPLE?

>> BECAUSE OF THE OTHER TWO PARTS OF OBJECTIVISM.

WHAT RAND CALLED THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS AND THEN THE POLITICS WHICH FOLLOW FROM THAT

WHICH IS ABSOLUTE UNREGULARRED LAISSEZ-FAIRE CAPITALISM.

AND THAT IS WHAT REALLY APPEALS TO TODAY'S MODERN RIGHT.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

SO LET'S SAY THESE ONE AT A TIME.

SO THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF THAT.

(LAUGHTER) WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

WHAT CAN I GET AWAY WITH.

OUT OF THIS PHILOSOPHY, WHAT USED TO BE THE WRONG THING TO DO THAT WOULD BE THE RIGHT THING TO

DO UNDER, SAY, PRESIDENT PAUL RYAN?

>> LET'S SEE.

SO WHEN RAND TALKED ABOUT THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS SHE WAS OPPOSING WHAT SHE CALLED

ALTRUISM WHICH WAS TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN VALUES.

>> Stephen: LIKE CHARITY.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

I AGREE WITH THAT BECAUSE I GET SO LITTLE BACK WHEN I GIVE A BUM A QUARTER.

(LAUGHTER) I'M JUST ASKING HIM TO BREAK IT FOR ME SO I CAN HIT THE GUM BALL

MACHINE AND I DON'T GET TWO DIMES AND A NICKEL.

>> CHARITY WAS FINE.

>> Stephen: CHARITY'S OKAY?

>> IT'S NOT WHAT MAKES YOU A MORAL PERSON.

WHAT MAKES YOU A MORAL PERSON IS BEING INDEPENDENT, BEING SELF-RELIANT, TAKING

RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF AND PURSUING YOUR OWN SELF-INTEREST AND SELF-DEVELOPMENT.

>> Stephen: SO WHO WAS A PARASITE?

THERE WERE PRODUCERS AND MOOCHERS.

WHO WERE THE MOOCHERS IN N THIS PHILOSOPHY?

>> THE MOOCHERS WOULD BE PEOPLE WHO USE GOVERNMENT FAVORS TO ADVANCE THEIR CAREERS.

>> Stephen: SO POLITICIANS?

(LAUGHTER)

>> IN A LOT OF CASES YES.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: ANYBODY ELSE?

>> THERE WERE VERY FEW POLITICIAN IT IS THAT RAND LIKED.

SHE WAS VERY CRITICAL OF MOST OF THE ONE SHE KNEW.

>> ALAN GREENSPAN SPAT WAS A DISCIPLE OF HERS.

>> YES, HE WAS.

>> Stephen: AND MY UNDERSTANDING IS THERE WAS A LITTLE (WHISTLING) BETWEEN HER AND GREENSPAN.

DID THAT HAPPEN?

DID SHE ROCK HIS BALLS?

DID THAT HAPPEN?

(LAUGHTER)

>> RAND CALLED GREENSPAN THE UNDERTAKER.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

>> SHE THOUGHT HE WAS VERY DOUR AND SERIOUS.

>> Stephen: I DON'T SEE THAT AT ALL.

>> STRANGE, RIGHTING?

OVER TIME HE BECAME ONE OF HER FAVORITES AND WHEN HE WAS SWORN IN TO THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC

ADVISORS IN THE WHITE HOUSE HE INVITED HIS MOM AND AYN RAND.

>> Stephen: WOW.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: DOES ANDREA MITCHELL KNOW?

(LAUGHTER)

>> WAY BEFORE HER TIME.

WAY BEFORE HER TIME.

>> Stephen: WHAT WOULD SHE THINK, DO YOU THINK, OF THE ROMNEY/RYAN TICKET?

>> HERE'S THE THING.

THE LAST THING SHE EVER PUBLISHED WAS A DENUNCIATION OF RONALD REAGAN.

SHE SAID "DON'T VOTE FOR HIM,

DON'T SUPPORT HIM, HE COMBINES RELIDGE I DON'T KNOW AND

POLITICS, HE'S A VERY DANGEROUS FIGURE." SHE WAS OPPOSED TO HIS STANCE ON

ABORTION BECAUSE SHE WAS PRO CHOICE.

STAOUP SO SHE WENT SENILE IN HER OLD AGE.

WHAT A SAD STORY.

(LAUGHTER)

>> I THINK SHE WOULD PROBABLY SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT RYAN AND ROMNEY THAT SHE SAID ABOUT

REAGAN UNLESS SHE CHANGED HER MIND AFTER HER DEATH.

>> WELL, THAT'S KIND OF AN ENDORSEMENT FOR ROMNEY THEN.

(LAUGHTER) THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) JENNIFER BURNS "THE GODDESS OF THE MARKET." WE'LL BE