Hypocrisy isn’t the important thing here. Ideological failure is.
The title of this post comes from an excellent diary at Daily Kos, that you should read. It’s great not just on it’s main point about Ayn Rand accepting Medicare and Social Security, but more generally. Hypocrisy arguments often end up failing to state what you are for. They can even come off as though you agree with the conservative principle, implying that it’s a good thing. But Scientician shows how to use such moments as a hook to make a larger argument that is rooted in our values. Those values include the idea that everyone deserves security and opportunity, by virtue of being a human being. Social insurance is designed to ensure our shared fate includes protecting against shared risk, risks that come about simply by living in our world.
That’s the failure here; Rand needed society’s help. Rand ran headlong into the very premise of why Medicare was created in the first place: The for-profit insurance market is terrible for the elderly and particularly to those already stricken with serious diseases. It’s not about chortling at Rand as yet another greedy right wing hypocrite, it’s about realizing she implicitly acknowledged the superiority of liberalism with her actions. This is her endorsement, and as Paul Ryan’s sort gears up to destroy Medicare, we shouldn’t hesitate to remind them that Ayn Rand, whatever her rhetoric and books, ended her life on our side.
To quote Will Ferrell: “That’s how you do it. That’s how you debate.” (Also, check out his blog, Autonomy for All).