By Sam Foster
David Cay Johnston left us a little love note after we lambasted his hyperbole on MSNBC last night.
For context sake, here is the video and the transcript below:
Ed Schultz: You know Mr. Johnston, I just don’t know how the Democrats could not line up to defend these people when it is so clear what their target is. It’s an economic target what the Republicans have in this country and that’s the elderly, seniors, the disabled, students, the vulnerable and the just…Also they can, course, get more tax cuts to what they say will create jobs.
David Cay Johnston: I don’t think their plan will pass but it’s important to understand what they are proposing. Congressman Ryan requires his staff to read Ayn Rand whose fictional hero, Howard Roark, is a man who blew up a building because it wasn’t built exactly to his specifications as the architect. I mean that’s the kind of society we want where our leaders say not only are we going to take from the sick and poor, but we are going to hold out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings. We really need to dig into understanding the kind of people who would put forth these ideas.
Left Coast Rebel summarized Johnston’s logic:
David Cay Johnston's deductive logic goes like this:
• Paul Ryan is a big fan of Ayn Rand and instructs those around him to read her work.
• Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead.
• In The Fountainhead, the fictional hero architect (who embodies many of Rand's ideal man attributes) Howard Roark, sabotages a building because it wasn't built to his specifications.
• Paul Ryan wants to blow up buildings and kill people because he is a fan of Rand and has a plan to right America's big-government Leviathan (that I don't think is nearly radical enough, but it's a start).
To which David Cay Johnston replied to Left Coast Rebel:
Your logic is nonsense.
I did not say and do not think Ryan wants to blow up buildings.
I said we should dig deeply to understand.
In his campaign materials a, Mr. Ryan says he wants us to embrace the values of Ayn Rand. And what are those values?
She was vehemently anti-democracy and anti-religion, hated capitalism and communism, regarded altruism as evil and whose most famous character in his courtroom speech says because of his ego he had the right to blow up someone else's building.
Imagine for a moment if a politician you dislike said he wanted us to adopt those values. Would you feel the same way?
I want us to dig into all politicians to understand what motivates them. And all that logically does is mean I want more inquiry -- which is what investigative reporters do.
In any event, don't make stuff up, just criticize what I actually said. I am sure that without making stuff up you can find plenty to criticize.
So to clarify, David Cay Johnston says that he does not believe Paul Ryan wants to blow up buildings, even though he said Ryan advocates felonies like blowing up buildings. What he wants is to investigate someone because he requires people to read fiction.
That’s the real catch here. There is nothing in objectivism that is about blowing up buildings and committing felonies. Ayn Rand used action as a vehicle to entertain readers. I suppose in reading the Count of Monte Cristo, I’m pro-starving people to extort money even though the scene where food is withheld from Dunglars is really just about literary climax.
David Cay Johnston has built up a following by going on TV shows for high fives from the left. His comments were all about impressing Schultz and his audience. He overstepped in his hyperbole and looked like a fool.
Hey David, that’s not our fault!
Speaking of mistakes in hyperbole and in tribute to David Cay Johnston and his residency in Brighton, NY; I post the following video from a Brighton Town Hall meeting. In the video, the town clerk suggests that the chief of police should shoot a resident for annoying her. It’s not every day I get to heckle a local Rochesterians.
Correction: An earlier version had misspelled David Cay Johnston's name