I admit it. I used to be a bit obsessive about Ayn Rand. It was in the first years of the Clinton presidency, and somebody pointed out to me how Clinton’s class-warfare speeches had been ominously anticipated in Rand’s novels. So, I read everything she ever wrote with eagerness.
As I went on, however, I would have to quell more and more the disquiet I felt over her militant atheism. I kept thinking I could separate out her political notions from her philosophical ones. And then, the facts of the tragic awfulness of her own personal life, as she strove to live out her selfishness, ended up making all the lofty ideals of her novels appear to me to be a sham.
Objectivism is really rotten through and through, and is incompatible with a Christian social thought. It is a dangerously seductive set of ideas that calls for and validates elitism and selfishness. When I was in the early stages of withdrawal from Randianism, I asked Catholic philosopher Ronda Chervin, for a “good Catholic response to Ayn Rand.” She shot back, “All of Catholic teaching.”
So, imagine my excessive disconcertedness yesterday, to read in Daily Variety that Crusader Entertainment has just purchased the rights to make a movie of Atlas Shrugged.
Crusader Entertainment is one of the film production entities recently set up by Christian billionaire Phil Anschutz. I have met with the principles there on several occasions, and they have stated to me their intent to produce films that would reflect a Christian wolrdview. So, okay, let’s make a movie that will send thousands and thousands of people out to read Ayn Rand!
I can’t figure out if this is a sell out, or some kind of wishful thinking, like I used to have, that it would be possible to separate out the secularism of AYn Rand from her ideals for human development. It ain’t. You can quote me.
But instead of me, why not quote Ayn Rand herself:
Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.
And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: I.
The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive- a definition that invalidates man’s consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence…Man’s mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God… Man’s standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man’s power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith….The purpose of man’s life…is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.
Here’s more on the subject from her followers