COMMENTARY | Dave Brat, the economics professor who toppled House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, runs a program to bring the ideas of philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand to the classroom. He is not, he says, a Randian but has been influenced by her works.
One can confidently predict that the left is going to try to exploit this connection to its advantage. As Altnet asserts:
“Brat, you’ll be delighted to hear, is an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College who counts the fantastically nutty Ayn Rand as his intellectual hero. Not another one! Paul Ryan was about as much Randian baloney as we could swallow. But there could be another course coming: As Samantha Lachman reported, the professor gets dough from the banking sector to push Rand’s libertarian nonsense on college students.”
Rand’s philosophy of free markets has influenced a several generations of libertarians and conservatives. On the other hand, the woman was a bit – well – eccentric.
For example she carried on an adulterous affair with one of her acolytes, Nathanial Brandon, who has decades her junior in the full knowledge of both of their spouses. She actually justified the affair with her Objectivist philosophy.
She was also, by the way, a militant atheist, something that will surely delight the religious right. On the other hand, Brat is deeply religious, having attended a seminary.
This is not going to sink Brat’s candidacy. He remains a well-spoken economist and the district Cantor will soon be leaving is reliably Republican. But such an attack is going to complicate the life of the political neophyte who is likely as surprised as anyone that he actually won the primary and is likely headed for Washington. He is certainly a good economist and professor, but now he has to learn to be a good politician on the fly/
The best thing he can do is to ignore any attempts to tie him too closely to Rand and keep pushing the free market agenda. That will be the path to victory for a lot of Republicans in 2014.