OBJECTIVISTSPaul Ryan, Mark Sanford, Ron Paul, and Other Politicians Who Love Ayn Rand (Photos)The Daily Beast08.14.12OBJECTIVISTSPaul Ryan, Mark Sanford, Ron Paul, and Other Politicians Who Love Ayn Rand (Photos)Paul Ryan isn’t the only politician who idolizes Ayn Rand. The Daily Beast rounds up the most famous.The Daily Beast08.14.12 8:24 PM ETR to L: Getty Images; AP Photos; Getty ImagesPaul Ryan loves Ayn Rand. Or maybe now that he’s running for vice president, he loves her not. The Wisconsin congressman tapped to be Mitt Romney’s running mate has cited Rand’s objectivist philosophy, which divides the world into the noble “makers” and the reprehensible “takers,” as one of his guiding principles even though a few months ago he began backing away from her because she was an atheist. But Ryan’s not the only Rand acolyte in American politics. From Alan Greenspan to Barry Goldwater, The Daily Beast finds her most famous fans. J. Scott Applewhite / AP PhotosPaul RyanRyan has given out copies of Rand’s most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged, to his staff as Christmas presents. In 2005 he praised Rand’s views of capitalism and said her influence pushed him towards politics. “[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Paul said. “And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” However, in April Ryan told National Review that his fascination with Rand is an “urban legend.” Mark Wilson / Getty ImagesAlan GreenspanAlan Greenspan was introduced to Rand at the tender age of 25. He married into the Collective, her inner circle, which met every week to discuss her writings and philosophy. The future chairman of the Federal Reserve was said to be enamored by the fact that she defended capitalism on moral grounds. He even went so far as to write The New York Times after the paper criticized Atlas Shrugged as a book dedicated to hate. “Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness,” Greenspan wrote. “Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.” BRETT FLASHNICKMark SanfordIn 2009, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford wrote an essay for Newsweek praising Rand’s books. Rand’s writing, according to Sanford, is important because it broadcasts the idea that the individual can achieve things without the help of bureaucrats. “I think at a fundamental level many people recognize Rand's essential truth—government doesn't know best,” Sanford wrote. “Those in power in Washington—or indeed in Columbia, S.C.—often lead themselves to believe that our prosperity depends on their wisdom. It doesn't.” Damian Dovarganes / AP PhotosGary JohnsonHow romantic. Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, gave his fiancé a copy of Atlas Shrugged when they first started dating and said, “If you want to understand me, read this.” Johnson, who unsuccessfully ran for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, is a renowned libertarian who believes in gay marriage and legalizing pot as well as free markets. Andy Manis / AP PhotosRon JohnsonRon Johnson, Wisconsin’s junior senator, is also an Ayn Rand devotee. Johnson has called Atlas Shrugged his “foundational book” and has said it was a major influence that helped shape his political philosophy. "It's a warning of what could happen to America," Johnson said during an October 2010 debate shortly before he was elected to Congress. "We have more people who are net beneficiaries of government than are actually paying into the system. That's a very serious thing to think about." Mark Wilson / Getty ImagesRand PaulA noted libertarian who was swept into office as Kentucky’s junior senator in 2010 amid a wave of anti-incumbent fervor, Rand Paul likes to quote Ayn Rand at length. During an April 2011 hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee about phasing out incandescent light bulbs, Paul gave a synopsis of Rand’s novel Anthem. “Individual choice is banned, and the collective basically runs society,” Paul said. “There’s a young man, and his name is Equality-72521. He’s an intelligent young man, but he is banned from achieving, or reaching any sort of occupation that might challenge him.” Ethan Miller / Getty ImagesRon PaulRep. Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas, has earned the distinction of being the member of Congress most likely to mention Ayn Rand (that his son Rand and his hero Ayn share the same name is apparently merely a coincidence). Paul used Rand’s words to criticize the United States Post Office and to praise famed economist Milton Friedman. But he usually mentions Rand when he’s talking about NASA, one of the few government agencies he sees great value in. His favorite quote: “Think of what was required to achieve that mission: think of the unpitying effort; the merciless discipline; the courage; the responsibility of relying on one's judgment; the days, nights and years of unswerving dedication to a goal; the tension of the unbroken maintenance of a full, clear mental focus; and the honesty. It took the highest, sustained acts of virtue to create in reality what had only been dreamt of for millennia.'' Michael Dwyer / AP PhotosClarence ThomasSupreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas isn’t technically a politician, but he has a summer ritual that’s become famous in Washington, D.C. Every year, his four new clerks go to his house to watch the 1949 film adaptation of The Fountainhead, one of Rand’s most famous books. The novel depicts an architect who would rather blow up his building than have to compromise his standards. Thomas says he identifies with the main character, Howard Roark, who decides to stand alone instead of conforming. "If you think you are right, there is nothing wrong with being the only one," he said. "I have no problem being the only one." AP PhotosBarry GoldwaterBarry Goldwater wrote to Rand in 1960, praising her conservative positions on capitalism and complimenting her writing. “I have enjoyed very few books as much in my life as I have yours, Atlas Shrugged,” the five-term senator from Arizona added in his note. For a while, the admiration was mutual. Rand thought Goldwater’s staunch anticommunist credentials were promising. But when he failed to deliver a speech she had written and had hand delivered to him, she decided he wasn’t worth her time.