Bill Maher delivered a blistering critique of modern libertarianism on Friday’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, slamming adherents for developing a “creepy obsession” with author Ayn Rand.
“It’s all stuff that seems very deep when you’re 19 years old,” he said, before making a quick exemption for one of his guests, young anti-creationism advocate Zack Kopplin. “About how government is a dirty trick played by the weak on the strong, and I can see how, if you’re a privileged college kid, you read that and think, ‘Yeah, that’s right, I don’t need anything. So shut up, Dad, and pay my tuition.’”
Rand’s work has often cited been as an influence on Republican lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Ryan went so far as to once say that Rand taught him “what my value systems are.”
“I believe him,” Maher said of Ryan. “Because [Rand##Q##s work] has a strange appeal to people who are kind of smart, but not really.”
Years ago, Maher conceded, he supported some libertarian ideals, saying he wanted to keep the government out of his bedroom, his medicine chest, “and especially not in the second drawer of the nightstand on the left side of my bed.”
But somewhere along the way, he said, libertarians became devotees of Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, which he called “a book that’s never been read all the way through by anyone with a girlfriend.”
But even as he said he still supported notions like “shutting down the American empire,” Maher also had a message for people attempting to shame him for allegedly turning his back on that stance.
“I didn’t go nuts, this movement did,” he said. “Like when you see a stop light, your reaction should be, ‘Great, an easy way to ensure we don’t crash into each other.’ Not, ‘How dare the government tell me when I can and cannot go!’”