After Paul Ryan was named Mitt Romney's running mate for the GOP presidential ticket, a lot of attention has been paid to his self-declared affinity for Ayn Rand. And it's not just him - a lot of influential American politicians cite Rand as a major influence.
Ryan has given out copies of Rand's most famous novel, 'Atlas Shrugged,' to his staff as Christmas presents. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan even went so far as to write The New York Times after the paper criticized 'Atlas Shrugged' as a book dedicated to hate. Every year, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' four new clerks go to his house to watch the 1949 film adaptation of 'The Fountainhead,' one of Rand's most famous books.
What is it about her philosophies that so captivate so many in American society? And for the uninitiated - what does Rand stand for?
Gary Weiss, journalist and author of 'Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul,' will join The Daily Circuit Monday to talk about Rand's influence on American politics.
"Rand is controversial because of the extremism of her views," he said on CNN. "In researching my recent book, I found that Rand's influence on the Republican Party, which dates back as far as her endorsement of Wendell Willkie in 1940, has been sharply growing, largely due to her vise-like hold on the imagination of the tea party and people like Ryan."
Anne C. Heller, author of 'Ayn Rand and the World She Made' will also join the discussion.
"Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Jack Kemp all embraced her, but in a half-baked, back-room, wink-and-a-nod kind of way whose inconsistency she could spot in an instant and retaliated against with scorn," she said in the Wall Street Journal. "She knew they wanted her for only one thing, or maybe two: her defense of laissez-faire capitalism and her insistence that the federal government had no legitimate role beyond adjudicating contracts and ensuring the national defense."
Join the conversation on Facebook.