We all embody contradictionsm I suppose, but Mitt Romney’s running mate Rep. Paul Ryan,R-Wisconsin, is one big nasty knot of self-negating nonsense.

You think I’m exaggerating?

Ryan, the buff busker for budget busting, is a wild-eyed prophet of smaller government, raging in the Middle America wilderness against big government. Yet he has been sucking on the government teat his entire working life, first as a congressional aide and since 1999 as a congressman. Ryan is an apostle of free-market capitalism who has never worked in the free market a day in his blue-eyed, six-packed ab, cheesehead life.

Ryan makes a big whoop about being a pro-life Catholic, yet he admits that his fundamental political philosophy came from Russian atheist writer/philosopher Ayn Rand, who thought all religion was a crock of shish-kabob. In her elephantine, mind-numbing, sclerotic novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand worked out her fictional philosophy of Objectivism, based on the mistaken premise that egomania is what makes the world go round. Rationality is all. Now we have the irrational Religious Right going all wet and gooey over a guy whose craven idol believed everything faith-based was superstitious nonsense.

Christianity is all about forgiveness and self-sacrifice. Conservative Christians and radical Republicans are not. So maybe the apostate Ryan can get them to come to him. Most of the conservative opposition to President Obama is racism, so, with the scales of prejudice already tipped far to the right, Ryan shouldn’t have a tough time getting Hale and Mary America to vote against their own best interests by jumping on the Romney-Ryan-Rand bandwagon.

In naming Ryan his vice presidential buddy, Romney made haste to try to distance himself from what former Office of Management and Budget Director David Stockman – mind you, a Reagan Republican – called “Ryan’s fairy tale budget.” The Ryan budget, a roadmap to riches for the few and rags for the rest, is a hateful document that sent both the Catholic Church and fellow Republicans howling in execration when Ryan unveiled it in all its suffer-and-die hideousness. But both Romney and Ryan believe in the virtue of selfishness, which just happens to be the title of my favorite Ayn Rand book. Screw life’s losers. Gimme, gimme, gimme! To the victors go the spoils.

Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, like L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, is a cult that appeals to immature minds because its simple-minded black-and-white principles legitimize, even celebrate, our basest human instincts. Most people outgrow such pseudo-thought when they outgrown juvenile egomania. Paul Ryan (not to be confused with Rand Paul, but, then why not? They’re the name sort of cuckoos) forgives Ayn Rand her atheism and adultery because her philosophy venerates the cutthroat capitalism that Romney embodies and to which Ryan aspires.

The Ryan-Rand Budget would cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans because, after all, they are better, more important people than everyone else, and raise taxes on rest of us. It calls for privatizing Medicare and Social Security so that vulture capitalists like Ryan and Romney might skim a little off the top of human misery.

I’ll bet there will even be tea party tosspots who vote for Romney-Ryan even though their Richie Rich agenda flies in the face of free-market tea party philosophy. Ryan, for example, was a great champion of the Bush stimulus plan because it gave piles of tax money to his corporate cronies. He may have voted against Obama’s stimulus plan, but he was right at the head of the line begging for stimulus funds. Nasty little knots.

Forgive me for repeating myself, but we have a very clear choice in November and Romney’s selection of Ryan, a choice meant to excite the rabid republican right, makes that choice even easier. We can vote for personal gain or for the common good, for selfishness or generosity, for smug self-satisfaction or for higher aspirations, for the fortunate few or for the struggling many, for Romney-Ryan-Rand or for something better.

I want something better.

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In a recent column I mistakenly identified the late state Sen. Roger V. Snow of Falmouth as a Republican. Snow was my first boss back at the American Journal in 1965. I should have known he was a Democrat. I guess the bow ties threw me off. I regret any pain and suffering my mistake may have caused the Snow family.

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Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Yarmouth. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.