Jordan Bloom has investigated how the second Atlas Shrugged movie was made. He spoke with the film’s producers, and this is one of the things they told him:
Despite its marketing “Atlas Shrugged Part II“ isn’t exactly a movement propaganda film; Aglialoro speaks of the “fear” in the Republican Party to “embrace capitalism.” He sees Paul Ryan’s attempt to distance himself from Rand as a capitulation, though a necessary one. “I think the real Paul Ryan would be the Paul Ryan that spoke at the Atlas Society in 2005 and said he had given books away, applauded what she did, and that he believes in a moral basis for capitalism. I believe that’s what he believes, but for some reason there is this hesitancy of accepting Ayn Rand.”
It’s that “for some reason” qualification that makes this such an entertaining quote, as if there were a mystery about why someone might not be eager to continue identifying himself with a terrible writer with so many abhorrent ideas. It isn’t flattering for Ryan to think that he would just pretend to like something so plainly antithetical to the Gospel, but it would be so much more discrediting if he actually believed this stuff. It’s natural that a Rand fan would hope that this is who the “real” Ryan is, but it’s hard to believe all the same.
There’s a strong desire among many of Ryan’s critics and admirers to think that he genuinely accepts at least some of Rand’s ideas. That’s strange considering that Ryan’s voting record is almost exactly the opposite of what a true-believing Rand fan would have done in Congress. Then again, it’s doubtful that a true-believing Rand fan would have run for public office in the first place, much less spent his entire adult career as a politician. The absurdity of all of this is that Ryan was most vocal in his Rand-enthusiasm when he was serving in the Republican majority and casting all of those votes for government-expanding, deficit-financed legislation in the Bush years that supposedly made him so “miserable.” If the “real” Paul Ryan was the one from 2005, he is someone who says one thing and then votes in an entirely different way.