By Alicia M. Cohn - 07/11/12 09:03 PM EDT
“Conservatives believe that every person who comes to America or is born here, they have a ladder that they are given as their birthright,” he said in an interview with The Atlas Society released on Wednesday.
“Sometimes you fall off of that ladder, but we believe that there is a safety net that is there, and that safety net is to catch you and get you to bounce back up and continue to climb on the ladder,” he explained. “But liberals tend to believe that the safety net is a hammock, so you can stay there the rest of your life.”
In the interview, the Tea Party favorite also gave his philosophy for letting frequent criticism roll off his back: “I get criticized for a lot of things, but that does not bother me one bit because as they say in the military, you only take flack if you are over the target.”
He spoke highly of the controversial novel that inspired the name of the organization.
“I think that ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is the most widely read book second only to the Bible, which is a good thing,” West claimed of the 1957 ode to objectivism by Ayn Rand. He said he is hopeful that people are “waking up” to the idea that the government is “trying to subsume those things that the individual should be seeking to do for themselves.”
West, who called the book “prescient,” said that Atlas Shrugged helped inform his understanding of the choice between economic freedom and economic dependency.
West’s comments comparing economic dependency to slavery have recently landed him in the headlines, not unusual publicity for the outspoken freshman congressman.
“It’s not about embracing an individual, but about embracing some fundamental concepts and premises that she brought forth,” West said. “I think right now the people who read Atlas Shrugged and really pay attention to that message that it has ... they will all the sudden say, that’s happening right now. And they will make the right choice come November.”