Election Reveals Ayn Rand Fans
by Ari Armstrong, October 25, 2002
The conservative but liberty-friendly State Senator Mark Hillman says his favorite book is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, according to the Rocky Mountain News' Voter Guide. (The Libertarian in his race didn't bother to respond to the survey.) Brad Young also likes Atlas, and Joe Stengel claims as his favorite book The Fountainhead.
(Note: to see where all mentioned candidates are running, see http://www.lpboulder.org/candidates/. In this article, candidates with unlisted affiliations are Libertarians.)
Could the fact that Hillman, Stengel, and Young -- Republicans all -- face Libertarians in their races have anything to do with their book selections? Perhaps not: Stengel's first comment in the survey is, "I want to continue fostering a pro-business climate in Colorado." (Hillman told the Denver Post the last book he read is The Seven Myths of Gun Control.)
Stengel's Libertarian opponent, Mark Holden, almost scared me for a second with the survey line, "I would propose that the legislative session be increased by two months..." But he continues, "...wherein the only order of business would be the review and repeal of outdated and ill-considered laws." Whew! But why not just devote two months of the current session to that task?
Young's opponent, Paul Berthelot, selected Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and the Tolkien Books. (Judging by the accompanying photo, he looks a little like somebody out of a Tolkien book.) Bo Shaffer also picked Stranger, and Randal Morgan named "anything by Robert Heinlein."
Libertarians Rick Stanley, R. Kent Leonard, Richard Combs, Geoffrey Lloyd, Benjamin Aycrigg, and Randall Grant all selected Atlas as their favorite book. (Combs said the last book he read is Sheriff Bill Masters' Drug War Addiction.)
Desiree Hickson selected The Underground History of American Education. David Aitken and Keith Hamburger chose Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Berntson added Time Enough for Love (here's to hope, John). Dwayne Smilanich and David Morgan picked The Lord of the Rings (as did Democrat Charley Johnson). Sandra Johnson went with the edgy Unintended Consequences by John Ross. At the bleeding-heart libertarian end, Julie Marble named Mary Ruwart's Healing Our World.
Brian Lewis picked one of the all-time greats -- Human Action, an easy choice over the Republican's Augustine's Confessions. Isaac Davenport made an excellent selection with The Skeptical Environmentalist -- but the Republican went with a D'Souza book. Ross Glidewell hit hard with James Bovard's Freedom in Chains. F.A. Hayek earns an appearance via Steve Gresh for The Constitution of Liberty. Anthony Sileo goes retro with Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.
The most popular book chosen by the old-party candidates is the Bible. (Hans Romer, one of the Libertarian candidates with a drug conviction, also picked the Bible.) Andrew Romanoff, a Democrat, selected Rawls' A Theory of Justice as his favorite book. Worse, he studied "public policy" at Harvard. Yikes! His Libertarian opponent didn't bother to respond.
Another Democrat, Joel Judd, lists as his favorite Twain's A Connecticut in King Arthur's Court. His top priority is to "balance the state's budget." He doesn't have a Libertarian opponent, and the Republican in the race spouts flowery nonsense about how she wants to "work every day to ensure the greatest possible future for your children..." Let's hear it for Mark Twain.
Democrats Angie Paccione and Terry Carwile caught my eye with Guns, Germs and Steel, but they must have skipped the part about kleptocracy.
Bob Briggs, Romer's Republican opponent, chose McDonald's -- Behind the Arches. If you've seen a picture of him, you'll understand why that's funny. The Democrat, Debbie Benefield, chose Hooray For Diffendoofer Day! I was about to make fun of her until I discovered that's a Dr. Suess book. But maybe if Benefield would climb the reading ladder a few rungs and read some of the books on the Libertarian list, she wouldn't' say such stupid things as "it's irresponsible to cut taxes..." The Romer-Briggs-Benefield book selection is far and away the most humorous trio.
The best answer about book selection was given by Shawn Mitchell, the sometime-libertarian who battled the DAs to pass 1404, the asset forfeiture reform bill. He said, "Are you kidding? Which is your favorite child?" Mitchell and his Libertarian opponent W. Earl Allen are two of my favorite people in Colorado. It's a shame they can't both win.