By Justin Sink
In a 2005 speech Ryan said he grew up reading Rand's writing, which included notable novels like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
"It taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are," Ryan said. "It's inspired me so much that it's required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff."
Ryan went on to say that "the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism."
But in an April interview with the National Review, Ryan said that his fandom was an overstated "urban legend."
“I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” Ryan said. “They spurred an interest in economics, in the Chicago School and Milton Friedman. But it’s a big stretch to suggest that a person is therefore an Objectivist.”
Ryan went on to say he rejected Rand's philosophy.
“It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas, don't give me Ayn Rand," Ryan said.