Right wing atheism

Time’s Amy Sullivan draws attention to how a number of Republican leaders are fans of Ayn Rand, the militant atheist whose praise of capitalism led to her ethical principle of the “virtue of selfishness” and her attacks on Christianity for promoting the “weakness” of altruistic love.  We’ve blogged about her before, and some of you have defended her, Christian though you be.  I am less tolerant, having witnessed the family of a good friend of mine torn apart by her influence.  I was interested, though, in the names that Sullivan mentions:

When George W. Bush declared in a 1999 GOP debate that his favorite political philosopher was Jesus, pundits snickered and wondered whether he actually knew any political philosophers. But the answer was politically canny, establishing Bush’s evangelical bona fides with social conservatives.

In contrast, the philosopher GOP leaders quote most reverently these days was vehemently anti-religion, and referred to Christian teachings as “evil” and “monstrous.” Awwwwkward. Fortunately for Republicans, most social conservatives haven’t yet made the connection. (See the dozen Republicans who could be the next president.)

Here’s just a taste of the praise GOP and other conservative leaders have for Ayn Rand:

- Paul Ryan says Ayn Rand is the reason he entered politics and he requires all staff and interns to read her books. Says Ryan: “Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.”

- Clarence Thomas requires his law clerks to watch The Fountainhead, and has said “I tend really to be partial to Ayn Rand.”

- Sen. Ron Johnson, Ryan’s GOP colleague from Wisconsin, calls Atlas Shrugged his “foundational book.”

- Rush Limbaugh calls Ayn Rand “the brilliant writer and novelist.”

- Fox News repeatedly promoted the recently released movie version of Atlas Shrugged, airing the trailer on several shows and interviewing cast members.

The conservative evangelical leader Chuck Colson has become so concerned about Rand’s booming popularity in the GOP that he recently recorded a video warning that Rand “peddles a starkly anti-Christian philosophy.” And the Christian group American Values Network, which presents itself as an alternative to organizations like the Family Research Council, has distributed a memo to congressional offices highlighting Rand’s criticisms of Christianity and some of her more controversial comments, including praise for a man who raped, murdered, and dismembered a 12-year-old girl.

via An Atheist Icon? Social Conservatives Worried About GOP Ayn Rand Resurgence – Yahoo! News.

It sounds like some Christian activists and social conservatives are becoming aware of what Rand and the Randites stand for.  Does this herald a split in conservative ranks between those who believe in moral reality and those who don’t, between  Christian conservatives and materialist conservatives?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    “Does this herald a split in conservative ranks between those who believe in moral reality and those who don’t, between Christian conservatives and materialist conservatives?”

    It shouldn’t unless those who refuse to understand that there are things we can learn from people we don’t agree with on all points – or even on some fundamental points – win out.

  • Joe

    “Does this herald a split in conservative ranks between those who believe in moral reality and those who don’t, between Christian conservatives and materialist conservatives?”

    It shouldn’t unless those who refuse to understand that there are things we can learn from people we don’t agree with on all points – or even on some fundamental points – win out.

  • SKPeterson

    Criticisms from the Right against Rand have been long-standing and span at least 40 or 50 years. Any ignorance of her philosophy is probably willful, and i think she appeals to many on the right because she is an in-your-face, unapologetic defender of capitalism. The only problem is that in her defense of capitalism she completely disregards standard moral, ethical and Christian concepts of private property and thereby undermines them. What Christian conservatives (not to be confused with Conservative Christians) need to do is unapologetically stand in the mainstream of Christian thought that supports private property. However, this mainstream is generally more quiet, thoughtful, and respectful of differing opinions, so its appeal is lost in our modern, faux-crisis, sound-bite-driven world.

    Finally, in my opinion Rand is sort of a talisman for some on the Right like the Constitution or Democracy – invoked, referred too, vaguely venerated, but never actually read or understood.

  • SKPeterson

    Criticisms from the Right against Rand have been long-standing and span at least 40 or 50 years. Any ignorance of her philosophy is probably willful, and i think she appeals to many on the right because she is an in-your-face, unapologetic defender of capitalism. The only problem is that in her defense of capitalism she completely disregards standard moral, ethical and Christian concepts of private property and thereby undermines them. What Christian conservatives (not to be confused with Conservative Christians) need to do is unapologetically stand in the mainstream of Christian thought that supports private property. However, this mainstream is generally more quiet, thoughtful, and respectful of differing opinions, so its appeal is lost in our modern, faux-crisis, sound-bite-driven world.

    Finally, in my opinion Rand is sort of a talisman for some on the Right like the Constitution or Democracy – invoked, referred too, vaguely venerated, but never actually read or understood.

  • Kirk

    @SKPeterson

    aaaaand done in two. Well said, sir!

  • Kirk

    @SKPeterson

    aaaaand done in two. Well said, sir!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Rand may have been an atheist, but in my experience the atheists of the Rand stripe see Christianity as a contributing factor to the social capital of the West. They may not be Christian, yet they acknowledge that the influence of Christianity laid the foundation for our civilization and they don’t think destroying that foundation is going to lead to utopia. Rather, experience has shown that undermining even parts of the Christian culture has swift severe penalties.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Rand may have been an atheist, but in my experience the atheists of the Rand stripe see Christianity as a contributing factor to the social capital of the West. They may not be Christian, yet they acknowledge that the influence of Christianity laid the foundation for our civilization and they don’t think destroying that foundation is going to lead to utopia. Rather, experience has shown that undermining even parts of the Christian culture has swift severe penalties.

  • Jeremy

    Many atheists are far more conservative than Christians, especially when you throw liberal and moderate Christians into the mix. First, consider that pretty much every Black Christian voted for Obama (96%). The majority of Catholics voted for Obama (55%). Many left-wing movements come from Christian leaders (social justice, etc).

  • Jeremy

    Many atheists are far more conservative than Christians, especially when you throw liberal and moderate Christians into the mix. First, consider that pretty much every Black Christian voted for Obama (96%). The majority of Catholics voted for Obama (55%). Many left-wing movements come from Christian leaders (social justice, etc).

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I think what Rand specifically offers that appeals so much to the right is a refutation of the popular progressive assumption that so-called enlightened self-interest necessitates some form of socialist politics. Those conservatives who fall victim to the idea of moral neutrality in government (something that is usually, but not always a progressive error) would naturally rave about Rand. More typical conservatives do not found their politics on enlightened self-interest, but because so many of their opponents do, Rand’s ideas still prove to be useful bludgeons.

    Inasmuch as the conservative big tent is based on a common hatred for progressivism, Rand would understandably have a strong appeal. Both moral and materialist conservatives might use the same bludgeon on a common enemy. Such an alliance, however, could only last so long as the necessity of opposing progressivism outweighs the necessity actually deciding how to govern. Conservative moral neutrality is as incoherent as its liberal cousin.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I think what Rand specifically offers that appeals so much to the right is a refutation of the popular progressive assumption that so-called enlightened self-interest necessitates some form of socialist politics. Those conservatives who fall victim to the idea of moral neutrality in government (something that is usually, but not always a progressive error) would naturally rave about Rand. More typical conservatives do not found their politics on enlightened self-interest, but because so many of their opponents do, Rand’s ideas still prove to be useful bludgeons.

    Inasmuch as the conservative big tent is based on a common hatred for progressivism, Rand would understandably have a strong appeal. Both moral and materialist conservatives might use the same bludgeon on a common enemy. Such an alliance, however, could only last so long as the necessity of opposing progressivism outweighs the necessity actually deciding how to govern. Conservative moral neutrality is as incoherent as its liberal cousin.

  • Louis

    Jeremy @ 5 – while there aren’t many overtly Christian politicians on the left anymore, it bears reminding that the father of Canadian Medicare was the Baptist minister, Tommy Douglas. And the NDP, the left of centre political party here in Canada, had their origin in Social Credit, which grew out of the co-operative, social Christian movements of the early 20th Century – the same movement who gave us Chesterton, Sayers, Dorothy Day etc. As a matter of fact, our previous Premier here in SK, a NDP man, was a Methodist minister himself (Lorne Calvert).

    Not that I always agree with all their policies though, but we cannot make bogeymen of them either. Thus there are Christian philosophies to the left and the right, as well as atheist philosophies of the left and the right.

  • Louis

    Jeremy @ 5 – while there aren’t many overtly Christian politicians on the left anymore, it bears reminding that the father of Canadian Medicare was the Baptist minister, Tommy Douglas. And the NDP, the left of centre political party here in Canada, had their origin in Social Credit, which grew out of the co-operative, social Christian movements of the early 20th Century – the same movement who gave us Chesterton, Sayers, Dorothy Day etc. As a matter of fact, our previous Premier here in SK, a NDP man, was a Methodist minister himself (Lorne Calvert).

    Not that I always agree with all their policies though, but we cannot make bogeymen of them either. Thus there are Christian philosophies to the left and the right, as well as atheist philosophies of the left and the right.

  • Matt Roberts

    This reminds me of an article I recently read: “How Ayn Rand Ruined My Childhood”
    http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/04/04/my_father_the_objectivist .

  • Matt Roberts

    This reminds me of an article I recently read: “How Ayn Rand Ruined My Childhood”
    http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/04/04/my_father_the_objectivist .

  • G

    Rands popularity among conservatives is born out of her ability to effectively refute the utility of socialist economic systems and her Nietzchean appeal to a human sense of “distance,” that is, that there is a chasm that separates the “worthy” and “unworthy.”

    In reality though, she is no conservative at all, but, along with many libertarian schools of thought, the enemy of conservatism, for she espouses that we can create a scientific and rational society. Conservatism is not an economic theory, but an “attitude towards tradition.” The message of conservatism is that what nature has wrought unknowingly through culture is immensely more effective at creating a happy human society than human reason. Conservatism denies the utility of human reason and “science” in forming a new social system; it supports the “prejudice,” as Burke has termed it, of the individual and his host culture over rationality.
    The thinking behind this is that human society is vastly more complex than any group of people can imagine, and therefore their reasoning must by necessity leave out a large number of variables which are essential to their calculus. Hayek summed up this sentiment in his quote “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

  • G

    Rands popularity among conservatives is born out of her ability to effectively refute the utility of socialist economic systems and her Nietzchean appeal to a human sense of “distance,” that is, that there is a chasm that separates the “worthy” and “unworthy.”

    In reality though, she is no conservative at all, but, along with many libertarian schools of thought, the enemy of conservatism, for she espouses that we can create a scientific and rational society. Conservatism is not an economic theory, but an “attitude towards tradition.” The message of conservatism is that what nature has wrought unknowingly through culture is immensely more effective at creating a happy human society than human reason. Conservatism denies the utility of human reason and “science” in forming a new social system; it supports the “prejudice,” as Burke has termed it, of the individual and his host culture over rationality.
    The thinking behind this is that human society is vastly more complex than any group of people can imagine, and therefore their reasoning must by necessity leave out a large number of variables which are essential to their calculus. Hayek summed up this sentiment in his quote “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I defend the fact that Rand opposed collectivism, and that she saw this firsthand in Russia. I do not defend her atheism, or her extreme individualism taken to the detriment of society.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I defend the fact that Rand opposed collectivism, and that she saw this firsthand in Russia. I do not defend her atheism, or her extreme individualism taken to the detriment of society.

  • Porcell

    As to Paul Ryan, he is a practicing Roman Catholic and doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand. As others have pointed out here, one may approve Rand’s economic views and reject her extreme religious and political views.

    The liberal left including Krugman, Dowd, and the New Republic are playing their usual game, in this case smearing Ryan on the Rand issue. They did this also with Reagan.

    The truth is these big spending progressive types are rather fearful of Ryan’s considerable influence and popularity. They ought to be, as they are stuck with an incumbent president who is racking up annual $trillion plus deficits who so far hasn’t seriously addressed the spending issue.

  • Porcell

    As to Paul Ryan, he is a practicing Roman Catholic and doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand. As others have pointed out here, one may approve Rand’s economic views and reject her extreme religious and political views.

    The liberal left including Krugman, Dowd, and the New Republic are playing their usual game, in this case smearing Ryan on the Rand issue. They did this also with Reagan.

    The truth is these big spending progressive types are rather fearful of Ryan’s considerable influence and popularity. They ought to be, as they are stuck with an incumbent president who is racking up annual $trillion plus deficits who so far hasn’t seriously addressed the spending issue.

  • http://www.athanatosministries.org Anthony Horvath

    Rand’s overall philosophy is indefensible… based on her assumptions, the outlook isn’t coherent. The same can be said for the philosophy of liberal secular humanist progressives. Stripping God from all equations will logically- if logic has anything to do with it at that point- reduce us to beasts, where the only logical principle is kill or be killed, eat or be eaten.

    Rand’s position has merit in much the same way that liberal secular humanistic progressive atheist positions have merit: just because a worldview eliminates God from the reasoning process doesn’t mean that God actually goes away. If he exists, he exists. That’s that. And if he exists, and we are all made in God’s image, then there is something inside all of us which prevents us from taking godless presuppositions to their logical conclusions.

    Thus, our secular humanist friends still are very earnest in their sincere desire to help people- including the weak and ostensibly oppressed people of the world. This is a function of the imago dei. Of course, suppressing individual liberty ‘for the common good’, ie, doing the most good for the most people, even if it squishes some people en route, may be necessary.

    But one function of the imago dei is the fact that we are made to care about individuals- their rights to privacy, ownership, etc- and their right to captain their own ship. Rand’s worldview emphasizes this, not because it flows from her atheistic principles coherently, but because she was likewise made in the image of God and felt this particular intrinsic truth more acutely. Thus, she posited the value of the individual human virtually ad hoc. (Good example, “Anthem.”)

    So Rand’s views have ‘good’ things about them, and they derive from an objective source, but it is not the source she thinks. They derive from the fact that she was objectively made in the image of God. The resulting views are then blown out of their right proportion- likewise the atheists that line up on the other side. Again, objectively derived from the imago dei, but blown up out of their right proportion.

    Solution: Christianity ought to passionately advocate for every good ‘virtue’ that flows from the imago dei (certainly the Scriptures will allow explicit warrant for many of them) with the same kind of robustness and courage and lack of embarrassment that Rand and her collectivist opposites do. I am afraid to say that Christians tend to shy away from brave expositions on these other issues (eg, private property), in part because we think we are supposed to focus only on the ‘spiritual’ things.

    We need to be whole people, without reservation.

  • http://www.athanatosministries.org Anthony Horvath

    Rand’s overall philosophy is indefensible… based on her assumptions, the outlook isn’t coherent. The same can be said for the philosophy of liberal secular humanist progressives. Stripping God from all equations will logically- if logic has anything to do with it at that point- reduce us to beasts, where the only logical principle is kill or be killed, eat or be eaten.

    Rand’s position has merit in much the same way that liberal secular humanistic progressive atheist positions have merit: just because a worldview eliminates God from the reasoning process doesn’t mean that God actually goes away. If he exists, he exists. That’s that. And if he exists, and we are all made in God’s image, then there is something inside all of us which prevents us from taking godless presuppositions to their logical conclusions.

    Thus, our secular humanist friends still are very earnest in their sincere desire to help people- including the weak and ostensibly oppressed people of the world. This is a function of the imago dei. Of course, suppressing individual liberty ‘for the common good’, ie, doing the most good for the most people, even if it squishes some people en route, may be necessary.

    But one function of the imago dei is the fact that we are made to care about individuals- their rights to privacy, ownership, etc- and their right to captain their own ship. Rand’s worldview emphasizes this, not because it flows from her atheistic principles coherently, but because she was likewise made in the image of God and felt this particular intrinsic truth more acutely. Thus, she posited the value of the individual human virtually ad hoc. (Good example, “Anthem.”)

    So Rand’s views have ‘good’ things about them, and they derive from an objective source, but it is not the source she thinks. They derive from the fact that she was objectively made in the image of God. The resulting views are then blown out of their right proportion- likewise the atheists that line up on the other side. Again, objectively derived from the imago dei, but blown up out of their right proportion.

    Solution: Christianity ought to passionately advocate for every good ‘virtue’ that flows from the imago dei (certainly the Scriptures will allow explicit warrant for many of them) with the same kind of robustness and courage and lack of embarrassment that Rand and her collectivist opposites do. I am afraid to say that Christians tend to shy away from brave expositions on these other issues (eg, private property), in part because we think we are supposed to focus only on the ‘spiritual’ things.

    We need to be whole people, without reservation.

  • Tom Hering

    Conservatism and Objectivism might be reconciled, but Christianity and Objectivism are absolutely incompatible. One is logic and the other is love.

  • Tom Hering

    Conservatism and Objectivism might be reconciled, but Christianity and Objectivism are absolutely incompatible. One is logic and the other is love.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Would it be rude to point out that Progressivism made common cause with Eugenics and that trying to square the circle of Christian social justice concerns with the abortion policy of the Left is a bit of an uneasy fit as well?

    We shouldn’t mistake political coalitions with shared values. After all, the New Deal coalition included Northern liberals who detested segregation and Jim Crow Southerners. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Would it be rude to point out that Progressivism made common cause with Eugenics and that trying to square the circle of Christian social justice concerns with the abortion policy of the Left is a bit of an uneasy fit as well?

    We shouldn’t mistake political coalitions with shared values. After all, the New Deal coalition included Northern liberals who detested segregation and Jim Crow Southerners. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

  • Tom Hering

    “… Progressivism made common cause with Eugenics …”

    False as a blanket statement. The eugenics movement transcended politics, and there were at least as many Progressives (and Conservatives) opposing it as there were Progressives (and Conservatives) supporting it.

  • Tom Hering

    “… Progressivism made common cause with Eugenics …”

    False as a blanket statement. The eugenics movement transcended politics, and there were at least as many Progressives (and Conservatives) opposing it as there were Progressives (and Conservatives) supporting it.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    One can glean truth from Rand and yet not accept her overall premise, just as one may glean truth in part from Karl Barth and yet not accept his overall premise (neo-orthodoxy).

    And, Tom, you really need to rethink that “love vs logic” point.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    One can glean truth from Rand and yet not accept her overall premise, just as one may glean truth in part from Karl Barth and yet not accept his overall premise (neo-orthodoxy).

    And, Tom, you really need to rethink that “love vs logic” point.

  • helen

    Rand justified greed and selfishness; that is all many Christians, who needed that excuse, know about her.
    How they rationalize calliing themselves Christian,
    while espousing the philosophy of an atheist, adulterous suicide, escapes me.

  • helen

    Rand justified greed and selfishness; that is all many Christians, who needed that excuse, know about her.
    How they rationalize calliing themselves Christian,
    while espousing the philosophy of an atheist, adulterous suicide, escapes me.

  • DonS

    An atheistic libertarian is no threat to me or my freedoms, including my freedom to worship God and to raise my family according to the will of God. Rand would not have been the modern, interventionist ACLU-type atheist, insisting that everyone else subvert their religious expression or freedom, and take down crosses because she was “offended”. She would not have been suing to have “In God We Trust” taken off our money, or to remove “under God” from the pledge of allegiance. This article is typical mainstream media smear. The underlying assumption is that, since social conservatives are God-fearing, they are dumb as bricks, and cannot possibly have the discernment to study Rand for her ideas about government, while rejecting her personal atheism. Therefore, they must not know she was an atheist. So, the purpose of the article is to cleave the conservative movement by pitting religious conservatives against secular libertarian conservatives.

    Well, guess what, New York Times? We’re a little smarter than that. Most Christians I know perfectly well understand and reject Rand’s objectivist philosophy, yet still appreciate her prescient understanding of the failures of big government, and read her for those insights. We’re not quite as dumb as you think we are, in your NYC liberal ivory tower, so your plan will not work.

    Now, in the meantime, NYT, you might want to do a story about the murderous acts of one Che Guevara, that all of those truly naive college students, fancying themselves as radicals, STILL identify with on their T-shirts, some 50 years later.

  • DonS

    An atheistic libertarian is no threat to me or my freedoms, including my freedom to worship God and to raise my family according to the will of God. Rand would not have been the modern, interventionist ACLU-type atheist, insisting that everyone else subvert their religious expression or freedom, and take down crosses because she was “offended”. She would not have been suing to have “In God We Trust” taken off our money, or to remove “under God” from the pledge of allegiance. This article is typical mainstream media smear. The underlying assumption is that, since social conservatives are God-fearing, they are dumb as bricks, and cannot possibly have the discernment to study Rand for her ideas about government, while rejecting her personal atheism. Therefore, they must not know she was an atheist. So, the purpose of the article is to cleave the conservative movement by pitting religious conservatives against secular libertarian conservatives.

    Well, guess what, New York Times? We’re a little smarter than that. Most Christians I know perfectly well understand and reject Rand’s objectivist philosophy, yet still appreciate her prescient understanding of the failures of big government, and read her for those insights. We’re not quite as dumb as you think we are, in your NYC liberal ivory tower, so your plan will not work.

    Now, in the meantime, NYT, you might want to do a story about the murderous acts of one Che Guevara, that all of those truly naive college students, fancying themselves as radicals, STILL identify with on their T-shirts, some 50 years later.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How do college students find out who Che Gueva was?

    I mean there a lot of more important historical figures that are less well known.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How do college students find out who Che Gueva was?

    I mean there a lot of more important historical figures that are less well known.

  • http://www.athanatosministries.org Anthony Horvath

    @helen I object to that. There is a proper, biblical place for wealth and self. If any Christians ever appealed to Rand as a justification for being wealthy or taking into consideration their own self-interest, they did so foolishly, since principles can be derived from the Scriptures themselves. Everything in balance. If anything- even the biblical call to be wary of the allure of money and the flimsy appearance of security it offers, and the biblical call to think of others- is blown out of proportion, it does so at the expense of other values that are also detailed in the Scriptures.

    Everything in balance and proper proportion.

  • http://www.athanatosministries.org Anthony Horvath

    @helen I object to that. There is a proper, biblical place for wealth and self. If any Christians ever appealed to Rand as a justification for being wealthy or taking into consideration their own self-interest, they did so foolishly, since principles can be derived from the Scriptures themselves. Everything in balance. If anything- even the biblical call to be wary of the allure of money and the flimsy appearance of security it offers, and the biblical call to think of others- is blown out of proportion, it does so at the expense of other values that are also detailed in the Scriptures.

    Everything in balance and proper proportion.

  • http://wherepoetrygoestodie.blogspot.com/ W.B. Picklesworth

    As a Christian I am more threatened by moral do-gooders than by libertarians. I think DonS hit the nail on the head.

  • http://wherepoetrygoestodie.blogspot.com/ W.B. Picklesworth

    As a Christian I am more threatened by moral do-gooders than by libertarians. I think DonS hit the nail on the head.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t think this necessarily “heralds a split in conservative ranks” to the degree that it means the coalition is doomed. I do think it points to splits that are already extant.

    I think more troubling than what this bodes for America’s political future is what it reveals about America’s religious present. Evangelicalism has been so steeped in conservative political ideology for at least a generation now, that many Evangelicals don’t appear to be able to distinguish between the two any more. (And yes, this doesn’t apply only to Evangelicals — it’s true among many of the Lutherans I’ve known, as well — but I see it more consistently among the Evangelicals.)

    The problem is that the notion of caring for the poor, the widowed, the orphans, those in prison, the alien in your land, has become so associated with liberalism in both politics and religion that it’s become shunned among Christians that should otherwise claim these as their own virtues.

    I honestly believe that in some corners of America, you’d get a warmer response to a sermon with some warmed-over theistic Randianism (perhaps quoting that beloved passage from 2 Hezekiah, “God helps those who help themselves”) than you would with an sermon that preaches caring for the poor, the widowed, those in prison, the foreigner and so on.

    I think the “emergent church” is already a response to this divide in Evangelicalism. People looked in their Bibles and found that it didn’t exactly read like a modern Republican platform. Not to defend what the “emergents” have done with their reaction, but I think that’s part of it.

    But I suspect further splits will come.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t think this necessarily “heralds a split in conservative ranks” to the degree that it means the coalition is doomed. I do think it points to splits that are already extant.

    I think more troubling than what this bodes for America’s political future is what it reveals about America’s religious present. Evangelicalism has been so steeped in conservative political ideology for at least a generation now, that many Evangelicals don’t appear to be able to distinguish between the two any more. (And yes, this doesn’t apply only to Evangelicals — it’s true among many of the Lutherans I’ve known, as well — but I see it more consistently among the Evangelicals.)

    The problem is that the notion of caring for the poor, the widowed, the orphans, those in prison, the alien in your land, has become so associated with liberalism in both politics and religion that it’s become shunned among Christians that should otherwise claim these as their own virtues.

    I honestly believe that in some corners of America, you’d get a warmer response to a sermon with some warmed-over theistic Randianism (perhaps quoting that beloved passage from 2 Hezekiah, “God helps those who help themselves”) than you would with an sermon that preaches caring for the poor, the widowed, those in prison, the foreigner and so on.

    I think the “emergent church” is already a response to this divide in Evangelicalism. People looked in their Bibles and found that it didn’t exactly read like a modern Republican platform. Not to defend what the “emergents” have done with their reaction, but I think that’s part of it.

    But I suspect further splits will come.

  • Jonathan

    @22
    That’s as good and thoughtful a post as I’ve ever read on this blog.

  • Jonathan

    @22
    That’s as good and thoughtful a post as I’ve ever read on this blog.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    Best I can tell, it’s a he-said/he-said situation right now. I can a number of articles that repeat this factoid as true. But my hasty Googling only turned up one article that refutes it:

    Always skeptical about the offhand, unsourced anecdote from Beam’s piece (which wasn’t even focused on Ryan), I reached out to several former Ryan staffers yesterday to ask them whether the Budget Chairman had required them to read Rand. While everyone knows Ryan is indeed a personal fan of Rand’s work, not a single one of them said Ryan had required them to read the books. Responses include: “I had already read it prior to working for him, but it is by no means a requirement for employment,” and “Saying he ‘requires’ his staff to read it is definitely stretching the truth,” and the flat out denial: “We are not required to read Rand.”

    The careful reader will note that the author here has refuted an “offhand, unsourced anecdote” with offhand, anonymously sourced anecdotes. I’m a tad underwhelmed. The site that published this hard-hitting expose isn’t exactly without conservative bias, either.

    I’m sure Porcell has a better source for his claim than that blog post.

    That said, the fine folks at Patrol, who appear to be finding the same links as I am, note this quote from Ryan from a 2003 Weekly Standard story, which I can’t read because I don’t have an account:

    I give out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.

    Of course, there’s also Ryan’s words given at a celebration honoring Rand in 2005:

    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.

    So is Porcell right that “the liberal left including Krugman, Dowd, and the New Republic are playing their usual game, in this case smearing Ryan on the Rand issue”? Or is he, as it appears to me, in denial about Rand’s influence on Ryan?

    Also, it appears the Paul Ryan, like his apparent muse, collected Social Security benefits. In Ryan’s case, it was because his father died when he was 16, allowing him to collect checks for several years, which he saved for college. I guess sometimes collectivism trumps individualism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    Best I can tell, it’s a he-said/he-said situation right now. I can a number of articles that repeat this factoid as true. But my hasty Googling only turned up one article that refutes it:

    Always skeptical about the offhand, unsourced anecdote from Beam’s piece (which wasn’t even focused on Ryan), I reached out to several former Ryan staffers yesterday to ask them whether the Budget Chairman had required them to read Rand. While everyone knows Ryan is indeed a personal fan of Rand’s work, not a single one of them said Ryan had required them to read the books. Responses include: “I had already read it prior to working for him, but it is by no means a requirement for employment,” and “Saying he ‘requires’ his staff to read it is definitely stretching the truth,” and the flat out denial: “We are not required to read Rand.”

    The careful reader will note that the author here has refuted an “offhand, unsourced anecdote” with offhand, anonymously sourced anecdotes. I’m a tad underwhelmed. The site that published this hard-hitting expose isn’t exactly without conservative bias, either.

    I’m sure Porcell has a better source for his claim than that blog post.

    That said, the fine folks at Patrol, who appear to be finding the same links as I am, note this quote from Ryan from a 2003 Weekly Standard story, which I can’t read because I don’t have an account:

    I give out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.

    Of course, there’s also Ryan’s words given at a celebration honoring Rand in 2005:

    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.

    So is Porcell right that “the liberal left including Krugman, Dowd, and the New Republic are playing their usual game, in this case smearing Ryan on the Rand issue”? Or is he, as it appears to me, in denial about Rand’s influence on Ryan?

    Also, it appears the Paul Ryan, like his apparent muse, collected Social Security benefits. In Ryan’s case, it was because his father died when he was 16, allowing him to collect checks for several years, which he saved for college. I guess sometimes collectivism trumps individualism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan (@23), thanks. Myself, I’d like to laud Anthony’s comment (@12), which I enjoyed.

    As to your comment, DonS (@18), is there a reason you’re laying into the New York Times? Just a reflex at this point?

    But I do find it odd that you’d say that “an atheistic libertarian is no threat to me or my freedoms”. I’m pretty certain they would be in favor of the very things you’ve spent no small amount of time and energy decrying on this blog.

    Wouldn’t an atheistic libertarian fight against the state putting up religious symbols in public schools? (Of course, they’d also likely oppose the public schools in the first place, but if they were incrementalists, they’d certainly oppose spending any state money on installing or defending the installation of such symbols.) Wouldn’t an atheistic libertarian oppose having religious statements on our currency? Or in government-sanctioned pledges? Wouldn’t an atheistic libertarian oppose religious displays on government properties or buildings?

    But you claim otherwise, narrowing your defense to what Ayn Rand supposedly would or would not have done, in your opinion.

    Doesn’t sound like the atheistic libertarians I’ve actually met, frankly. Of course, I tend to agree with such libertarians — not to their atheism, but to their libertarianism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan (@23), thanks. Myself, I’d like to laud Anthony’s comment (@12), which I enjoyed.

    As to your comment, DonS (@18), is there a reason you’re laying into the New York Times? Just a reflex at this point?

    But I do find it odd that you’d say that “an atheistic libertarian is no threat to me or my freedoms”. I’m pretty certain they would be in favor of the very things you’ve spent no small amount of time and energy decrying on this blog.

    Wouldn’t an atheistic libertarian fight against the state putting up religious symbols in public schools? (Of course, they’d also likely oppose the public schools in the first place, but if they were incrementalists, they’d certainly oppose spending any state money on installing or defending the installation of such symbols.) Wouldn’t an atheistic libertarian oppose having religious statements on our currency? Or in government-sanctioned pledges? Wouldn’t an atheistic libertarian oppose religious displays on government properties or buildings?

    But you claim otherwise, narrowing your defense to what Ayn Rand supposedly would or would not have done, in your opinion.

    Doesn’t sound like the atheistic libertarians I’ve actually met, frankly. Of course, I tend to agree with such libertarians — not to their atheism, but to their libertarianism.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Ayn Rand’s thinking seems more a reaction to the notion that government is entitled to tax people just because they have money, even if the government doesn’t use the money for public goods like defense or infrastructure.

    In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year
    Tonight’s stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.” And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Ayn Rand’s thinking seems more a reaction to the notion that government is entitled to tax people just because they have money, even if the government doesn’t use the money for public goods like defense or infrastructure.

    In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year
    Tonight’s stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.” And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Doesn’t sound like the atheistic libertarians I’ve actually met, frankly.”

    It sounds like the ones I know. Atheist liberals and atheist libertarians are very different in my experience. Atheist libertarians tend to be apathetic about other people’s religion including all the public displays of religion. Some also see Christians as a hedge against government and a self financed hedge at that.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Doesn’t sound like the atheistic libertarians I’ve actually met, frankly.”

    It sounds like the ones I know. Atheist liberals and atheist libertarians are very different in my experience. Atheist libertarians tend to be apathetic about other people’s religion including all the public displays of religion. Some also see Christians as a hedge against government and a self financed hedge at that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@27), if they’re truly “apathetic” about government-sponsored public displays of religion, then in what way can they honestly be labeled as “atheistic libertarians”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@27), if they’re truly “apathetic” about government-sponsored public displays of religion, then in what way can they honestly be labeled as “atheistic libertarians”?

  • Tom Hering

    “And, Tom, you really need to rethink that ‘love vs logic’ point.”

    Okay. Think about your relationship to others logically – personal, social, as a citizen – and you’ll always arrive at a conclusion that preserves your own best interests. Consider your relationship to others lovingly, and you can end up sacrificing your own best interests. Logic neither leads to nor flows from the Cross.

    Rand didn’t kid herself that Christianity was her philosophy’s foe, the way some of her followers do.

  • Tom Hering

    “And, Tom, you really need to rethink that ‘love vs logic’ point.”

    Okay. Think about your relationship to others logically – personal, social, as a citizen – and you’ll always arrive at a conclusion that preserves your own best interests. Consider your relationship to others lovingly, and you can end up sacrificing your own best interests. Logic neither leads to nor flows from the Cross.

    Rand didn’t kid herself that Christianity was her philosophy’s foe, the way some of her followers do.

  • Tom Hering

    Or, rather, Rand didn’t kid herself about Christianity being her philosophy’s foe …

  • Tom Hering

    Or, rather, Rand didn’t kid herself about Christianity being her philosophy’s foe …

  • Porcell

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    Coffee Markets blog: Paul Ryan Doesn’t Require Staffers to Read Ayn Rand:

    Always skeptical about the offhand, unsourced anecdote from Beam’s piece (which wasn’t even focused on Ryan), I reached out to several former Ryan staffers yesterday to ask them whether the Budget Chairman had required them to read Rand. While everyone knows Ryan is indeed a personal fan of Rand’s work, not a single one of them said Ryan had required them to read the books. Responses include: “I had already read it prior to working for him, but it is by no means a requirement for employment,” and “Saying he ‘requires’ his staff to read it is definitely stretching the truth,” and the flat out denial: “We are not required to read Rand.”

    One always need to be skeptical of the Left and Todd when it comes to making claims regarding the perfidy of conservatives.

  • Porcell

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    Coffee Markets blog: Paul Ryan Doesn’t Require Staffers to Read Ayn Rand:

    Always skeptical about the offhand, unsourced anecdote from Beam’s piece (which wasn’t even focused on Ryan), I reached out to several former Ryan staffers yesterday to ask them whether the Budget Chairman had required them to read Rand. While everyone knows Ryan is indeed a personal fan of Rand’s work, not a single one of them said Ryan had required them to read the books. Responses include: “I had already read it prior to working for him, but it is by no means a requirement for employment,” and “Saying he ‘requires’ his staff to read it is definitely stretching the truth,” and the flat out denial: “We are not required to read Rand.”

    One always need to be skeptical of the Left and Todd when it comes to making claims regarding the perfidy of conservatives.

  • kerner

    sg@19:

    If I may brag for a moment, my most liberal child (a theater major) was informed enough to know who Che Guevara was, and to ask for this for her birth day (no…none of the women pictured are my daughter):

    http://www.thoseshirts.com/noche.html

    She made me proud that day.

  • kerner

    sg@19:

    If I may brag for a moment, my most liberal child (a theater major) was informed enough to know who Che Guevara was, and to ask for this for her birth day (no…none of the women pictured are my daughter):

    http://www.thoseshirts.com/noche.html

    She made me proud that day.

  • Porcell

    The link to that Coffee Markets blog post is Here.

  • Porcell

    The link to that Coffee Markets blog post is Here.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: I think my post @ 18 is self-explanatory.

    You are right that libertarians would prefer to do away with public schools, and rightly so. We would be far better off with a robust private education system — it would cost far less to support and would provide a much richer and deeper educational environment for students, while avoiding all of the tiresome and stupid mandates that politicians and public educrats impose on teachers, thereby detracting from the educational process.

    However, most libertarians I know, acknowledging that public schools are a present reality, prefer a reduction in regulation on them, and an opportunity for a balanced education with as little censorship as possible. It is notable that Rand studiously avoided any association with Madalyn Murray O’Hare, whom she reportedly detested (of course her “detested” club was quite large).

    Of course, I can’t speak for the atheistic libertarians you know. Maybe they are more interventionist than most.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: I think my post @ 18 is self-explanatory.

    You are right that libertarians would prefer to do away with public schools, and rightly so. We would be far better off with a robust private education system — it would cost far less to support and would provide a much richer and deeper educational environment for students, while avoiding all of the tiresome and stupid mandates that politicians and public educrats impose on teachers, thereby detracting from the educational process.

    However, most libertarians I know, acknowledging that public schools are a present reality, prefer a reduction in regulation on them, and an opportunity for a balanced education with as little censorship as possible. It is notable that Rand studiously avoided any association with Madalyn Murray O’Hare, whom she reportedly detested (of course her “detested” club was quite large).

    Of course, I can’t speak for the atheistic libertarians you know. Maybe they are more interventionist than most.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Porcell (@31), way to prove that you didn’t even read all my comment before you decided to reply!

    I mean, if you’d read my comment all the way through, you might have noticed that I quoted the very same paragraph you did! Just maybe!

    You might, furthermore, have seen my comments on that singular (anonymously-sourced) citation, and subsequent evidence for the Ryan-requires-Rand assertion from the Weekly Standard.

    But you would have had to have read my whole comment to see all that!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Porcell (@31), way to prove that you didn’t even read all my comment before you decided to reply!

    I mean, if you’d read my comment all the way through, you might have noticed that I quoted the very same paragraph you did! Just maybe!

    You might, furthermore, have seen my comments on that singular (anonymously-sourced) citation, and subsequent evidence for the Ryan-requires-Rand assertion from the Weekly Standard.

    But you would have had to have read my whole comment to see all that!

  • DonS

    I guess I don’t see the problem even if Ryan required staffers to read Rand.

    What, so we are only supposed to read the works of authors whom we agree with 100% now?

  • DonS

    I guess I don’t see the problem even if Ryan required staffers to read Rand.

    What, so we are only supposed to read the works of authors whom we agree with 100% now?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@34), you still haven’t answered my question.

    On what basis — either atheistic, libertarian, or some combination thereof — would an “atheistic libertarian” support having religious statements on government-issued coinage? On what basis would they support government-mandated religious symbols (or teacher-led prayer) in public schools? On what basis would they support religious displays on government property?

    The “atheistic libertarians” you have in mind would seem to be non-”interventionist” only to the degree that they would refuse to respond to previous religious interventions taken by our government in this regard. But maintaining the status quo isn’t the same as libertarianism, as you surely know, or else “libertarians” would be in favor of maintaining our entitlement program as it is.

    No, true libertarians would actively be in favor of dismantling government intervention where it has occurred — even if incrementally. This would include unnecessary government action with regards to religion.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of “atheistic conservatives”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@34), you still haven’t answered my question.

    On what basis — either atheistic, libertarian, or some combination thereof — would an “atheistic libertarian” support having religious statements on government-issued coinage? On what basis would they support government-mandated religious symbols (or teacher-led prayer) in public schools? On what basis would they support religious displays on government property?

    The “atheistic libertarians” you have in mind would seem to be non-”interventionist” only to the degree that they would refuse to respond to previous religious interventions taken by our government in this regard. But maintaining the status quo isn’t the same as libertarianism, as you surely know, or else “libertarians” would be in favor of maintaining our entitlement program as it is.

    No, true libertarians would actively be in favor of dismantling government intervention where it has occurred — even if incrementally. This would include unnecessary government action with regards to religion.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of “atheistic conservatives”?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    SG (@27), if they’re truly “apathetic” about government-sponsored public displays of religion, then in what way can they honestly be labeled as “atheistic libertarians”?

    No idea. They claim they are atheists, libertarian and don’t care about other people’s religious displays or other things that don’t affect them at all like “In God We Trust” on the money. So long as they don’t have to pay for it and it is not stopping them from doing their thing, they don’t care. I did have one guy say how much he loves Christmas, the lights, the decorations, the parties, the food, the bowl games, the day off, the presents, the fun. He is not religious at all but could not figure out why anyone in their right mind wouldn’t love Christmas. I guess the impression I get is that they just aren’t threatened by it and feel religion is part of the culture and provides excuses for holidays, get togethers etc. These are nice folks, not mean spirited fanatics.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    SG (@27), if they’re truly “apathetic” about government-sponsored public displays of religion, then in what way can they honestly be labeled as “atheistic libertarians”?

    No idea. They claim they are atheists, libertarian and don’t care about other people’s religious displays or other things that don’t affect them at all like “In God We Trust” on the money. So long as they don’t have to pay for it and it is not stopping them from doing their thing, they don’t care. I did have one guy say how much he loves Christmas, the lights, the decorations, the parties, the food, the bowl games, the day off, the presents, the fun. He is not religious at all but could not figure out why anyone in their right mind wouldn’t love Christmas. I guess the impression I get is that they just aren’t threatened by it and feel religion is part of the culture and provides excuses for holidays, get togethers etc. These are nice folks, not mean spirited fanatics.

  • Porcell

    Todd I hadn’t read your earlier post before that post at thirty-one. I might add that the Weekly Standard article states that Ryan required his interns, not his staff, to read Rand.

    Actually the Coffee Markets blog is quite reputable. Do you have any hard evidence that its interviews with Ryan staffers are bogus? Your bias against Ryan is rather pronounced.

  • Porcell

    Todd I hadn’t read your earlier post before that post at thirty-one. I might add that the Weekly Standard article states that Ryan required his interns, not his staff, to read Rand.

    Actually the Coffee Markets blog is quite reputable. Do you have any hard evidence that its interviews with Ryan staffers are bogus? Your bias against Ryan is rather pronounced.

  • DonS

    Kerner @ 32: Awesome! :-)

    Nothing grinds me more than to see that murderous thug celebrated on our college campuses.

  • DonS

    Kerner @ 32: Awesome! :-)

    Nothing grinds me more than to see that murderous thug celebrated on our college campuses.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@36), I’m limiting my comments merely to the attempt to discern — or deny — the facts.

    It seems to me Porcell is the one with the “problem” you describe.

    That said, I kind of doubt you’d make that same argument if we were talking about former-Senator Obama requiring his staffers to read The Communist Manifesto (purely hypothetical, as far as I know).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@36), I’m limiting my comments merely to the attempt to discern — or deny — the facts.

    It seems to me Porcell is the one with the “problem” you describe.

    That said, I kind of doubt you’d make that same argument if we were talking about former-Senator Obama requiring his staffers to read The Communist Manifesto (purely hypothetical, as far as I know).

  • DonS

    tODD @ 37: I didn’t say they supported anything. They just don’t oppose contextual displays of any sort that have a reasonable nexus to education. In general, libertarians, regardless of their religious convictions or lack thereof, are not interventionist.

    Your original question had nothing to do with “support”. You have moved the goalposts. Your original question was about them “fighting against” something. Yes, libertarians would be interested in “dismantling” public education, if they had the opportunity and political support to do so. But not in imposing additional restrictions and regulations, necessarily enforced by government. That is not their style.

    Now, if you have evidence to the contrary, that would be fine to share.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 37: I didn’t say they supported anything. They just don’t oppose contextual displays of any sort that have a reasonable nexus to education. In general, libertarians, regardless of their religious convictions or lack thereof, are not interventionist.

    Your original question had nothing to do with “support”. You have moved the goalposts. Your original question was about them “fighting against” something. Yes, libertarians would be interested in “dismantling” public education, if they had the opportunity and political support to do so. But not in imposing additional restrictions and regulations, necessarily enforced by government. That is not their style.

    Now, if you have evidence to the contrary, that would be fine to share.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 41: Well actually, Obama is free to require his staffers to read anything he wants to. And his staffers are free not to do so, and to forego the job opportunity. For all intents and purposes, I’m not sure having them read the CM would change the politics in that office very much anyway ;-)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 41: Well actually, Obama is free to require his staffers to read anything he wants to. And his staffers are free not to do so, and to forego the job opportunity. For all intents and purposes, I’m not sure having them read the CM would change the politics in that office very much anyway ;-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@39), “Todd I hadn’t read your earlier post before that post at thirty-one.” Um, try again.

    In your post (@31), you directly quoted from my earlier comment (@24) — the same comment that contained my quote from the New Ledger and subsequent commentary on it.

    You clearly didn’t read the comment of mine that you quoted and were ostensibly responding to!

    I might add that the Weekly Standard article states that Ryan required his interns, not his staff, to read Rand.

    Hoo boy! Now there’s a defense! Because that’s a significant difference!

    Do you have any hard evidence that its interviews with Ryan staffers are bogus?

    No, not as such — how does one refute anonymous sourcing? But by that same logic, do you have any hard evidence that the claim of Time, et al. is bogus? Again, it’s a he-said/he-said situation. But you seem to have accepted the Weekly Standard story, which does refute the claims of the anonymous Ryan staffers — or, at least, refutes that their assertions were true back in 2003.

    Your bias against Ryan is rather pronounced.

    My bias … or the facts. Seems to me your love for Ryan might be keeping you from fully embracing the latter.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@39), “Todd I hadn’t read your earlier post before that post at thirty-one.” Um, try again.

    In your post (@31), you directly quoted from my earlier comment (@24) — the same comment that contained my quote from the New Ledger and subsequent commentary on it.

    You clearly didn’t read the comment of mine that you quoted and were ostensibly responding to!

    I might add that the Weekly Standard article states that Ryan required his interns, not his staff, to read Rand.

    Hoo boy! Now there’s a defense! Because that’s a significant difference!

    Do you have any hard evidence that its interviews with Ryan staffers are bogus?

    No, not as such — how does one refute anonymous sourcing? But by that same logic, do you have any hard evidence that the claim of Time, et al. is bogus? Again, it’s a he-said/he-said situation. But you seem to have accepted the Weekly Standard story, which does refute the claims of the anonymous Ryan staffers — or, at least, refutes that their assertions were true back in 2003.

    Your bias against Ryan is rather pronounced.

    My bias … or the facts. Seems to me your love for Ryan might be keeping you from fully embracing the latter.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@42), you said: “libertarians, regardless of their religious convictions or lack thereof, are not interventionist”. But you also said “libertarians would be interested in ‘dismantling’ public education”. Do you not see the disconnect here? Dismantling public education would be, by your previous usage, remarkably “interventionist”!

    You seem to have no problem conceding that a libertarian would overturn previous government intervention when it comes to public schooling. I think you would also agree that passively defending the status quo when it came to public schooling would be (passively) in favor of government intervention.

    But change the topic to previous government interventions in the religious sphere, and suddenly you define libertarianism as pro-status-quo, not making changes!

    Intentionally refusing to do anything about previous interventions is, de facto, to support those interventions. I know you understand this in some spheres — public education and entitlement programs leap to mind.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@42), you said: “libertarians, regardless of their religious convictions or lack thereof, are not interventionist”. But you also said “libertarians would be interested in ‘dismantling’ public education”. Do you not see the disconnect here? Dismantling public education would be, by your previous usage, remarkably “interventionist”!

    You seem to have no problem conceding that a libertarian would overturn previous government intervention when it comes to public schooling. I think you would also agree that passively defending the status quo when it came to public schooling would be (passively) in favor of government intervention.

    But change the topic to previous government interventions in the religious sphere, and suddenly you define libertarianism as pro-status-quo, not making changes!

    Intentionally refusing to do anything about previous interventions is, de facto, to support those interventions. I know you understand this in some spheres — public education and entitlement programs leap to mind.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, at thirty-two: If I may brag for a moment, my most liberal child (a theater major) was informed enough to know who Che Guevara was, and to ask for this [ A Che T- shirt] for her birth day… She made me proud that day.

    Fortunately, none of my three children are liberals. Personally, should I have a child who wished for a Che Guevara T-shirt, I should be rather disappointed and disinherit him/her. I expect my children to be serious Christians and American patriots, though not the flag-waving kind.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, at thirty-two: If I may brag for a moment, my most liberal child (a theater major) was informed enough to know who Che Guevara was, and to ask for this [ A Che T- shirt] for her birth day… She made me proud that day.

    Fortunately, none of my three children are liberals. Personally, should I have a child who wished for a Che Guevara T-shirt, I should be rather disappointed and disinherit him/her. I expect my children to be serious Christians and American patriots, though not the flag-waving kind.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But change the topic to previous government interventions in the religious sphere, and suddenly you define libertarianism as pro-status-quo, not making changes!”

    What if that aspect of the status quo doesn’t cost them anything? That is the issue. It doesn’t force them to do anything or pay anything, so it doesn’t clash with their philosophy.

    What about drugs? As far as I know libertarians aren’t pushing to abolish the FDA on the grounds that it prevents folks from taking untested unproven drugs. Maybe some real fringers, but most libertarians are okay with government that provides a public good like the FDA. They are generally okay with the idea of prescription drugs so long as it doesn’t get crazy like the war on drugs that costs a ton of money and which they feel doesn’t provide a public good.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But change the topic to previous government interventions in the religious sphere, and suddenly you define libertarianism as pro-status-quo, not making changes!”

    What if that aspect of the status quo doesn’t cost them anything? That is the issue. It doesn’t force them to do anything or pay anything, so it doesn’t clash with their philosophy.

    What about drugs? As far as I know libertarians aren’t pushing to abolish the FDA on the grounds that it prevents folks from taking untested unproven drugs. Maybe some real fringers, but most libertarians are okay with government that provides a public good like the FDA. They are generally okay with the idea of prescription drugs so long as it doesn’t get crazy like the war on drugs that costs a ton of money and which they feel doesn’t provide a public good.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at forty-five, sometimes true conservatives are decidedly interventionist. Lincoln in order to preserve the Union fought a civil war to conserve the union that cost about 600 thousand lives and much treasure.

    Churchill in order to conserve Western freedom intervened and fought WW II with even more loss of life and treasure in order to defeat the Germans who were responsible for about twenty-five million lives.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at forty-five, sometimes true conservatives are decidedly interventionist. Lincoln in order to preserve the Union fought a civil war to conserve the union that cost about 600 thousand lives and much treasure.

    Churchill in order to conserve Western freedom intervened and fought WW II with even more loss of life and treasure in order to defeat the Germans who were responsible for about twenty-five million lives.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@43), my point wasn’t whether Obama was “free to” require his staffers to read this or that. My point was that I seriously doubt you’d be so blase about his doing so if it were a document you found reprehensible.

    Because I really don’t remember you offering up the defense you now offer for Ryan back when Obama’s ideology was under attack. Back then, you seemed to side with the argument that associating with certain people meant something; you didn’t offer up a blase, “What, so we are only supposed to be friends with people with whom we agree with 100% now?”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@43), my point wasn’t whether Obama was “free to” require his staffers to read this or that. My point was that I seriously doubt you’d be so blase about his doing so if it were a document you found reprehensible.

    Because I really don’t remember you offering up the defense you now offer for Ryan back when Obama’s ideology was under attack. Back then, you seemed to side with the argument that associating with certain people meant something; you didn’t offer up a blase, “What, so we are only supposed to be friends with people with whom we agree with 100% now?”

  • DonS

    tODD @ 45: Hmm. You’re confusing two different issues. Libertarians, including atheistic ones, oppose government intervention, to be sure. So, even in a government-run system, like public education, they do not want educrats having any more authority than necessary to interfere with the teachers’ function in teaching the children. They would much prefer the local approach, where parents run the school boards, and thus the schools, and take care of issues that may arise, such as a teacher proselytizing children beyond what is reasonable, or going off-curriculum to the point where education is harmed.

    On the other hand, most libertarians would revel in the dismantling of an unnecessary or harmful government institution, such as public education. That is the people taking their government back, and a worthy intervention, not by the government, but by the people whom their government allegedly serves.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 45: Hmm. You’re confusing two different issues. Libertarians, including atheistic ones, oppose government intervention, to be sure. So, even in a government-run system, like public education, they do not want educrats having any more authority than necessary to interfere with the teachers’ function in teaching the children. They would much prefer the local approach, where parents run the school boards, and thus the schools, and take care of issues that may arise, such as a teacher proselytizing children beyond what is reasonable, or going off-curriculum to the point where education is harmed.

    On the other hand, most libertarians would revel in the dismantling of an unnecessary or harmful government institution, such as public education. That is the people taking their government back, and a worthy intervention, not by the government, but by the people whom their government allegedly serves.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 49: Well, duh. You may have noticed that I have a political perspective. There is a lot more positive to be gleaned, respective to responsible governance, by reading Rand than by reading Marx.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 49: Well, duh. You may have noticed that I have a political perspective. There is a lot more positive to be gleaned, respective to responsible governance, by reading Rand than by reading Marx.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@46), that’s one for the quote file!

    Should I have a child who wished for a Che Guevara T-shirt, I should be rather disappointed and disinherit him/her.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@46), that’s one for the quote file!

    Should I have a child who wished for a Che Guevara T-shirt, I should be rather disappointed and disinherit him/her.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at forty-four- In your post (@31), you directly quoted from my earlier comment (@24)

    Actually, at thirty-one I quoted nothing from you. I found the New Ledger quote before reading yours at twenty-four.

    As usual, you are twisting the truth.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at forty-four- In your post (@31), you directly quoted from my earlier comment (@24)

    Actually, at thirty-one I quoted nothing from you. I found the New Ledger quote before reading yours at twenty-four.

    As usual, you are twisting the truth.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Horvath @12

    You dont need the bible or christianity to know what you propose anthony. Aristitotle and reason are enough for this.

    Only those who have been baptized have the Image of God in anycase. the Image of God has been completely destroyed and lost in fallen man. But the Law of God still is revealed in the minds of men. That is what Lutherans would identify as natural law. Since this natural law is the same law as the Decalog, reason also agrees with the decalog but is blind to anything but an outward keeping of it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Horvath @12

    You dont need the bible or christianity to know what you propose anthony. Aristitotle and reason are enough for this.

    Only those who have been baptized have the Image of God in anycase. the Image of God has been completely destroyed and lost in fallen man. But the Law of God still is revealed in the minds of men. That is what Lutherans would identify as natural law. Since this natural law is the same law as the Decalog, reason also agrees with the decalog but is blind to anything but an outward keeping of it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    horvath @ 12

    by ” outward keeping” I include fully in that the use of reason and love that separates men from beast to control the baser instincts or natural appetites that are driven by emotion. so “outward” here would include mans abilities to reason and to love. these are typically what even non christians would label as “spiritual” virtues. Normally in sexular speak outward means material and spiritual means the virtues that are known by reason and love. love is about the law . it is the full keeping of the law of God.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    horvath @ 12

    by ” outward keeping” I include fully in that the use of reason and love that separates men from beast to control the baser instincts or natural appetites that are driven by emotion. so “outward” here would include mans abilities to reason and to love. these are typically what even non christians would label as “spiritual” virtues. Normally in sexular speak outward means material and spiritual means the virtues that are known by reason and love. love is about the law . it is the full keeping of the law of God.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty-two, do put that in your “quote file.” Though I don’t keep such a foolish thing, it would be rather easy to find your often lily-livered utterances on this blog.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty-two, do put that in your “quote file.” Though I don’t keep such a foolish thing, it would be rather easy to find your often lily-livered utterances on this blog.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@53), really? You can’t be bothered to scroll up and see that you are telling obviously false statements? “Actually, at thirty-one I quoted nothing from you.” Um…

    Okay, force me to cut and paste for you. Here’s your opening paragraph from comment #31:

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    As you can tell, that is a direct copy-and-paste of my opening paragraph from comment #24, which, because I find this amusing, I will also cut and paste for you:

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    So it’s obvious that you had read — or at least cut and pasted my comment (@24) when you started your reply to it (@31). It’s equally obvious that you didn’t bother to read the rest of my comment (@24), because you then went on (@31) to quote the exact same blog — with the exact same beginning and ending points, no less! — as I did (@24).

    I don’t know who you think you’re fooling at this point. It’s all there for us to see.

    Not that it matters. You already appear to have conceded that Ryan actually did require people in his office to read Ayn Rand. The facts having been made clear, at this point only your pride is at stake.

    But, tsk tsk! Accusing me of “twisting the truth” when your own words declare your own falsehoods. My, my! And, of course, did your usual hatchet job on “the liberal left including Krugman, Dowd, and the New Republic”, as well, accusing them of “smearing Ryan on the Rand issue”, even though Ryan himself has admitted to her singular influence (and, again, to giving out copies of Rand’s books and requiring interns to read them).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@53), really? You can’t be bothered to scroll up and see that you are telling obviously false statements? “Actually, at thirty-one I quoted nothing from you.” Um…

    Okay, force me to cut and paste for you. Here’s your opening paragraph from comment #31:

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    As you can tell, that is a direct copy-and-paste of my opening paragraph from comment #24, which, because I find this amusing, I will also cut and paste for you:

    Porcell said (@11) Ryan “doesn’t require his staff to read Ayn Rand”, but his citations for how he came to know this are a bit thin.

    So it’s obvious that you had read — or at least cut and pasted my comment (@24) when you started your reply to it (@31). It’s equally obvious that you didn’t bother to read the rest of my comment (@24), because you then went on (@31) to quote the exact same blog — with the exact same beginning and ending points, no less! — as I did (@24).

    I don’t know who you think you’re fooling at this point. It’s all there for us to see.

    Not that it matters. You already appear to have conceded that Ryan actually did require people in his office to read Ayn Rand. The facts having been made clear, at this point only your pride is at stake.

    But, tsk tsk! Accusing me of “twisting the truth” when your own words declare your own falsehoods. My, my! And, of course, did your usual hatchet job on “the liberal left including Krugman, Dowd, and the New Republic”, as well, accusing them of “smearing Ryan on the Rand issue”, even though Ryan himself has admitted to her singular influence (and, again, to giving out copies of Rand’s books and requiring interns to read them).

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty-seven, I cut and pasted nothing from your post at twenty-four. I, as stated at thirty-one, cut and pasted from the Coffee markets blog that is regarded as a reputable outfit. As you did, I found the Coffee Market on the internet.

    Again, according to the Weekly Standard article, Ryan required his interns, not his staff, to read the Rand works.

    Stop playing your game of twisting the truth.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty-seven, I cut and pasted nothing from your post at twenty-four. I, as stated at thirty-one, cut and pasted from the Coffee markets blog that is regarded as a reputable outfit. As you did, I found the Coffee Market on the internet.

    Again, according to the Weekly Standard article, Ryan required his interns, not his staff, to read the Rand works.

    Stop playing your game of twisting the truth.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, Porcell (@58), there comes a point where you’re either engaged in the most overt form of denial possible … or else it’s time for a CAT scan.

    The first paragraph from your comment (@31) is quite obviously directly cut-and-pasted from my comment (@24).

    Accusing me of “twisting the truth” when the truth is plain for all to see … is sad?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, Porcell (@58), there comes a point where you’re either engaged in the most overt form of denial possible … or else it’s time for a CAT scan.

    The first paragraph from your comment (@31) is quite obviously directly cut-and-pasted from my comment (@24).

    Accusing me of “twisting the truth” when the truth is plain for all to see … is sad?

  • Porcell

    Todd, get this through your simple mind, I found the quote at thirty-one directly from the Coffee-Markets blog before reading your post at twenty-foutr.

  • Porcell

    Todd, get this through your simple mind, I found the quote at thirty-one directly from the Coffee-Markets blog before reading your post at twenty-foutr.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Have it your way, Peter (@60). But do pass this list on to Barbara, will you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Have it your way, Peter (@60). But do pass this list on to Barbara, will you?

  • Porcell

    Todd, one notes that your interest in my personal affairs has, you think, yielded the name of my good wife. I don’t know the name of your wife, nor could I care less about it not having an obsessive Teutonic soul.

  • Porcell

    Todd, one notes that your interest in my personal affairs has, you think, yielded the name of my good wife. I don’t know the name of your wife, nor could I care less about it not having an obsessive Teutonic soul.

  • Stephen

    Ah, Ayn Rand – “philosophy” for people who haven’t actually ever read any, like nerds in junior high or college freshmen or conservatives who want to be the elitists they decry in others. Only now has her work been taken on in the academic world for study. And why? Because it is fasicnating to try and understand why so many people are captivated by such purient junk. She’s the Oprah for “serious” conservatives who need something to read to make them feel like the intellectuals they despise.

    No it’s actually worse. Her work reminds me of the Kevin Spacey serial killer character in the movie “Seven” (Ayn Rand once praised the “heroics” of a man who went on a crime spree you know). Absolutely stripped of conscience. No fellow-feeling at all. This is her triumph – to make the absolutely sinister in each of us into the hero. That is the spell she casts. We don’t really want to be the cops in the movie. Their lives are bothersome. They are alcholic, divorced perhaps, struggling, frustrated people. But they love, they long for truth and for justice. They get tired and are unsure of themselves. They experience all the suffering and pain and loss of death. They need salvation. But those who have become so riven from others that their interests are purely their own satisfaction – the sociopathic that is – they have no need of salvation. What they have become is essentially the anti-Christ. They are no longer humans at all.

    This is why her books suck and are the worst in terms of their art. Her characters are so unbelievable because they are cartoons, flat and two dimmensional, without emotional complexity, ambivilence, or, as Tom says, love at all. She creates a philosophy, if it can be called that, that lacks any robust sense of the human person. This is why she does not belong in the college classroom except as some kind of study in cultural trends or pscyhopathologies or perhaps cults. She had a cult of her own you know, one that satisfied her own lusts. It doesn’t surprise me that Alan Greenspan, a close Rand disciple, relied on market ideaologies that were less than perceptive (by his own admission) helping to create the current economic mess. His koan-like pronouncements that no one was able to understand over the years were just so because he too thought markets were completely rational. They aren’t. People aren’t. They do things for all kinds of reasons. He never understood that. Only after economics students began to challenge this severe rationalism in economics has this bogus captialism begun to shift to an economics based on what people are actually about. Hence, we have a lot of new thinking about brands and marketing, etc (as one example). But I digress.

    I read her stuff in college and thought “wow, this is cool” and then I read Aristotle’s Poetics in my first philosophy class and took a class in literature with a professor who introduced me to Walt Whitman, Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner and realized I’d been hoodwinked. I would NEVER vote for someone enamored with Ayn Rand. That person is either ignorant or depraved. They certainly have no idea about people, and lack compassion, or they’ve at least not matured enough to be president certainly. Ayn Rand believed the “lesser people” in lesser positions of power should essentially worship those with more money. She had no sense that our fortunes are made together. There is no community, no responsibility to others in her ideas. People who do not work for their own interests are not worthy of anything in her view – nothing, not even love. What does that sound like? Stephen Colbert did a bit that cracked me up – “Grandma, I was going to get you cake for your birthday, but I ate it myself!” Hurray for self-interest!

    I’ve gone to some lengths at times to defend Nietzsche. Ayn Rand practically steals from him directly. She claims to be a philosopher but she isn’t. And she’s lame as an artist. The problem with her is she has almost no original thoughts. Some claim that the idea of “self-sacrifice” is original to her, but this is really just egoism to the nth degree – solipsim on steroids. There is not an ounce of nuance, and why she will make for great satire. I think a cartoon satirical version of one of her characters would be someone like our current Newt Gingrich – so disconnected and off in his own egotisical world that he is completely clueless how badly he is floundering when he thinks he’s on top of the world. In defense of Neitzsche as a philosopher, he truly was an original thinker – perceptive about the future and titanic in insight about the human person. His attack on Christianity came from a place of actual knowledge about theology and the entire historical enterprise of religion, a much larger vision than reducing everything to one idea about doing service for others.

    Oh well. Enough on that horrible bee-otch misanthrope. And now for something completely different. I wrote this one night and emailed it to Frank after some heated discussions on this blog a few months back. Here is is dusted off and with a little tweaking. It’s only right that I share it with you all. For your edification my blog fellows without whom I could not “succeed” believe it or not:

    I had a vision of Sarte’s play “No Exit” with Adolph Hitler, Lenin and Ayn Rand in the room, stuck together for eternity. Hitler has a thing for the Jewess Rand, which totally confuses him and makes him filled with rage he cannot vent. Lenin will not shut up about his ideas and thus driving Hitler mad because he has to listen to this communist. Hitler feels completely impotent with Lenin there, but Rand’s presence makes him also amorous for self-gratification. However, Rand will not stop smoking, which also makes Hitler that much more furious. Lenin cannot stand the sound of Rand’s voice, all amphetamines, nicotine and bitchy. He wants to strangle her, but he knows they are already dead so it won’t do any good. He thinks she is foul and extremely ugly and tries to look away but only sees Hitler who looks pathetic. The Lenin and Rand argue incessantly because Lenin thinks if he can win the argument she will finally shut up. Rand craves sex fiercely, and she has the hots for Lenin. He reminds her of a character in one of her books strangely enough – so devoted to an idea. So she keeps talking thinking she can finally get him to like her if he will see the validity in her argument for capitalism. She despises Hitler and thinks he’s pathetic, sniveling and puny. Hitler, meanwhile, mostly sits in the corner privately raging in mumbles and drooling. Lenin keeps hitting the vodka to deal with the horrid visage of Rand so he has a perpetual hangover and a serious headache. Rand smokes and swallows pills making her twitchy and nauseous, evermore self-conscious and aware of how unlovely and unloveable she truly is and always was. Hitler keeps eating pastries making his blood sugar spike and dive manically without rest. There is no exit. There is only the hell of each other for eternity.

    And a joke:

    Ayn Rand walks into a bar and says “I’ll have a Martini”

    The bartender says “Get it yourself!”

  • Stephen

    Ah, Ayn Rand – “philosophy” for people who haven’t actually ever read any, like nerds in junior high or college freshmen or conservatives who want to be the elitists they decry in others. Only now has her work been taken on in the academic world for study. And why? Because it is fasicnating to try and understand why so many people are captivated by such purient junk. She’s the Oprah for “serious” conservatives who need something to read to make them feel like the intellectuals they despise.

    No it’s actually worse. Her work reminds me of the Kevin Spacey serial killer character in the movie “Seven” (Ayn Rand once praised the “heroics” of a man who went on a crime spree you know). Absolutely stripped of conscience. No fellow-feeling at all. This is her triumph – to make the absolutely sinister in each of us into the hero. That is the spell she casts. We don’t really want to be the cops in the movie. Their lives are bothersome. They are alcholic, divorced perhaps, struggling, frustrated people. But they love, they long for truth and for justice. They get tired and are unsure of themselves. They experience all the suffering and pain and loss of death. They need salvation. But those who have become so riven from others that their interests are purely their own satisfaction – the sociopathic that is – they have no need of salvation. What they have become is essentially the anti-Christ. They are no longer humans at all.

    This is why her books suck and are the worst in terms of their art. Her characters are so unbelievable because they are cartoons, flat and two dimmensional, without emotional complexity, ambivilence, or, as Tom says, love at all. She creates a philosophy, if it can be called that, that lacks any robust sense of the human person. This is why she does not belong in the college classroom except as some kind of study in cultural trends or pscyhopathologies or perhaps cults. She had a cult of her own you know, one that satisfied her own lusts. It doesn’t surprise me that Alan Greenspan, a close Rand disciple, relied on market ideaologies that were less than perceptive (by his own admission) helping to create the current economic mess. His koan-like pronouncements that no one was able to understand over the years were just so because he too thought markets were completely rational. They aren’t. People aren’t. They do things for all kinds of reasons. He never understood that. Only after economics students began to challenge this severe rationalism in economics has this bogus captialism begun to shift to an economics based on what people are actually about. Hence, we have a lot of new thinking about brands and marketing, etc (as one example). But I digress.

    I read her stuff in college and thought “wow, this is cool” and then I read Aristotle’s Poetics in my first philosophy class and took a class in literature with a professor who introduced me to Walt Whitman, Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner and realized I’d been hoodwinked. I would NEVER vote for someone enamored with Ayn Rand. That person is either ignorant or depraved. They certainly have no idea about people, and lack compassion, or they’ve at least not matured enough to be president certainly. Ayn Rand believed the “lesser people” in lesser positions of power should essentially worship those with more money. She had no sense that our fortunes are made together. There is no community, no responsibility to others in her ideas. People who do not work for their own interests are not worthy of anything in her view – nothing, not even love. What does that sound like? Stephen Colbert did a bit that cracked me up – “Grandma, I was going to get you cake for your birthday, but I ate it myself!” Hurray for self-interest!

    I’ve gone to some lengths at times to defend Nietzsche. Ayn Rand practically steals from him directly. She claims to be a philosopher but she isn’t. And she’s lame as an artist. The problem with her is she has almost no original thoughts. Some claim that the idea of “self-sacrifice” is original to her, but this is really just egoism to the nth degree – solipsim on steroids. There is not an ounce of nuance, and why she will make for great satire. I think a cartoon satirical version of one of her characters would be someone like our current Newt Gingrich – so disconnected and off in his own egotisical world that he is completely clueless how badly he is floundering when he thinks he’s on top of the world. In defense of Neitzsche as a philosopher, he truly was an original thinker – perceptive about the future and titanic in insight about the human person. His attack on Christianity came from a place of actual knowledge about theology and the entire historical enterprise of religion, a much larger vision than reducing everything to one idea about doing service for others.

    Oh well. Enough on that horrible bee-otch misanthrope. And now for something completely different. I wrote this one night and emailed it to Frank after some heated discussions on this blog a few months back. Here is is dusted off and with a little tweaking. It’s only right that I share it with you all. For your edification my blog fellows without whom I could not “succeed” believe it or not:

    I had a vision of Sarte’s play “No Exit” with Adolph Hitler, Lenin and Ayn Rand in the room, stuck together for eternity. Hitler has a thing for the Jewess Rand, which totally confuses him and makes him filled with rage he cannot vent. Lenin will not shut up about his ideas and thus driving Hitler mad because he has to listen to this communist. Hitler feels completely impotent with Lenin there, but Rand’s presence makes him also amorous for self-gratification. However, Rand will not stop smoking, which also makes Hitler that much more furious. Lenin cannot stand the sound of Rand’s voice, all amphetamines, nicotine and bitchy. He wants to strangle her, but he knows they are already dead so it won’t do any good. He thinks she is foul and extremely ugly and tries to look away but only sees Hitler who looks pathetic. The Lenin and Rand argue incessantly because Lenin thinks if he can win the argument she will finally shut up. Rand craves sex fiercely, and she has the hots for Lenin. He reminds her of a character in one of her books strangely enough – so devoted to an idea. So she keeps talking thinking she can finally get him to like her if he will see the validity in her argument for capitalism. She despises Hitler and thinks he’s pathetic, sniveling and puny. Hitler, meanwhile, mostly sits in the corner privately raging in mumbles and drooling. Lenin keeps hitting the vodka to deal with the horrid visage of Rand so he has a perpetual hangover and a serious headache. Rand smokes and swallows pills making her twitchy and nauseous, evermore self-conscious and aware of how unlovely and unloveable she truly is and always was. Hitler keeps eating pastries making his blood sugar spike and dive manically without rest. There is no exit. There is only the hell of each other for eternity.

    And a joke:

    Ayn Rand walks into a bar and says “I’ll have a Martini”

    The bartender says “Get it yourself!”

  • Porcell

    Stephen, as to Ayn Rand, she was a Jew who grew up in Russia in a moderately prosperous family that had its business and property forfeited by the Communist Revolution. Coming to the U.S., she appreciated its relatively free economy, though she understood that it was seriously threatened by leftist fascism in the twenties and thirties. She countered this by developing a philosophy of individual freedom.

    Rand’s problem was that like Nietzsche she hated Christianity and especially Christian ethics and morality. One may quite agree with her on the subject of a free economy while rejecting her hatred of Christian ethics and morality.

    Also, Ayn Rand doesn’t steal from Nietzsche. She was a product of a late Romantic period in the West that lost faith in both reason and the truth of the Judeo-Christian gospel. Fortunately, we live in a beginning period of a Judeo-Christian renaissance in which both Nietzsche and Rand are viewed as dubious or worse thinkers.

    Your attempt to salvage Nietzsche is both naive and absurd.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, as to Ayn Rand, she was a Jew who grew up in Russia in a moderately prosperous family that had its business and property forfeited by the Communist Revolution. Coming to the U.S., she appreciated its relatively free economy, though she understood that it was seriously threatened by leftist fascism in the twenties and thirties. She countered this by developing a philosophy of individual freedom.

    Rand’s problem was that like Nietzsche she hated Christianity and especially Christian ethics and morality. One may quite agree with her on the subject of a free economy while rejecting her hatred of Christian ethics and morality.

    Also, Ayn Rand doesn’t steal from Nietzsche. She was a product of a late Romantic period in the West that lost faith in both reason and the truth of the Judeo-Christian gospel. Fortunately, we live in a beginning period of a Judeo-Christian renaissance in which both Nietzsche and Rand are viewed as dubious or worse thinkers.

    Your attempt to salvage Nietzsche is both naive and absurd.

  • Stephen

    Porcell,

    Don’t presume to lecture me on Ayn Rand. I know all about her. And I know plenty about Neitzsche as well. Which one of your heady thinkers will you cite for the idea that we are in some kind of a “Judeo-Christian renaissance” that thinks Neitzsche is old news I wonder, hm? Or is that your own idea? If so, it’s a first.

  • Stephen

    Porcell,

    Don’t presume to lecture me on Ayn Rand. I know all about her. And I know plenty about Neitzsche as well. Which one of your heady thinkers will you cite for the idea that we are in some kind of a “Judeo-Christian renaissance” that thinks Neitzsche is old news I wonder, hm? Or is that your own idea? If so, it’s a first.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty-nine, My Swedish-born wife who follows this blog with much amusement just came home from a dinner meeting with some friends. She read your effusion and asked me to let you know that the ordinary American name, Barbara, is rather an insult. She suggests that you do a bit more obsessive Teutonic sleuthing in order to discover her real name.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty-nine, My Swedish-born wife who follows this blog with much amusement just came home from a dinner meeting with some friends. She read your effusion and asked me to let you know that the ordinary American name, Barbara, is rather an insult. She suggests that you do a bit more obsessive Teutonic sleuthing in order to discover her real name.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, As to the “heady” thinkers who posit a contemporary Christian renaissance, I should cite among others CS Lewis, TS Eliot, Avery Cardinal Dulles, and Carl Piepkorn, all of whom thoroughly disdained Nietzsche.

    You know all about Rand. How charming, though perhaps a tad arrogant.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, As to the “heady” thinkers who posit a contemporary Christian renaissance, I should cite among others CS Lewis, TS Eliot, Avery Cardinal Dulles, and Carl Piepkorn, all of whom thoroughly disdained Nietzsche.

    You know all about Rand. How charming, though perhaps a tad arrogant.

  • Stephen

    Porcell,

    Just as I thought, you have no ideas of your own, just ones you’ve culled from others.

    And so since these these admirable minds “disdained” Nietzsche as you claim, I should too? That is not the word I would use. Seems a lot of folks here want to defend and “salvage” Ayn Rands “ideas” as valid, but not her personality or her views on religion. How did you phrase it?

    “As others have pointed out here, one may approve Rand’s economic views and reject her extreme religious and political views.”

    I think, rather, they are all of one piece because frankly, there is no big idea here, though she seems to have only one idea – a single, shrill note she sings in a piercing, nasty, glass-breaking tone. There is no art, no craft, and as such, no nuance and no humanity to either her economics or her politics or her lame attempt at developing what she claimed was philosophy.

    As for Nietzsche, he gets painted with the broad brush all too often. his most outrageous statements are pulled out of context as if they are his only ideas or even the essential ones when they make up only a portion, sometimes even a very meager portion, of his his corpus of works. My attmept to “salvage” him is nothing less that doing exactly what others claim they are doping with Rand – admiring her for her ideas while not agreeing with “parts” of it. I’m saying there are no parts.

    Myself, I see no renaissance afoot. Porcell,

    Just as I thought, you have no ideas of your own, just ones you’ve culled from others.

    And so since these these admirable minds “disdained” Nietzsche as you claim, I should too? That is not the word I would use. Seems a lot of folks here want to defend and “salvage” Ayn Rands “ideas” as valid, but not her personality or her views on religion. How did you phrase it?

    “As others have pointed out here, one may approve Rand’s economic views and reject her extreme religious and political views.”

    I think, rather, they are all of one piece because frankly, there is no big idea here, though she seems to have only one idea – a single, shrill note she sings in a piercing, nasty, glass-breaking tone. There is no art, no craft, and as such, no nuance and no humanity to either her economics or her politics or her lame attempt at developing what she claimed was philosophy.

    As for Nietzsche, he gets painted with the broad brush all too often. his most outrageous statements are pulled out of context as if they are his only ideas or even the essential ones when they make up only a portion, sometimes even a very meager portion, of his his corpus of works. My attmept to “salvage” him is nothing less that doing exactly what others claim they are doping with Rand – admiring her for her ideas while not agreeing with “parts” of it. I’m saying there are no parts.

    Myself, I see no renaissance afoot. Those are admirable sources indeed, but I think it’s a kind of a dumb thing to say actually because I don’t see how we could ever know that one was happening anyway. That, perhaps, is only a judgement that can be made historically if at all in my view.

  • Stephen

    Porcell,

    Just as I thought, you have no ideas of your own, just ones you’ve culled from others.

    And so since these these admirable minds “disdained” Nietzsche as you claim, I should too? That is not the word I would use. Seems a lot of folks here want to defend and “salvage” Ayn Rands “ideas” as valid, but not her personality or her views on religion. How did you phrase it?

    “As others have pointed out here, one may approve Rand’s economic views and reject her extreme religious and political views.”

    I think, rather, they are all of one piece because frankly, there is no big idea here, though she seems to have only one idea – a single, shrill note she sings in a piercing, nasty, glass-breaking tone. There is no art, no craft, and as such, no nuance and no humanity to either her economics or her politics or her lame attempt at developing what she claimed was philosophy.

    As for Nietzsche, he gets painted with the broad brush all too often. his most outrageous statements are pulled out of context as if they are his only ideas or even the essential ones when they make up only a portion, sometimes even a very meager portion, of his his corpus of works. My attmept to “salvage” him is nothing less that doing exactly what others claim they are doping with Rand – admiring her for her ideas while not agreeing with “parts” of it. I’m saying there are no parts.

    Myself, I see no renaissance afoot. Porcell,

    Just as I thought, you have no ideas of your own, just ones you’ve culled from others.

    And so since these these admirable minds “disdained” Nietzsche as you claim, I should too? That is not the word I would use. Seems a lot of folks here want to defend and “salvage” Ayn Rands “ideas” as valid, but not her personality or her views on religion. How did you phrase it?

    “As others have pointed out here, one may approve Rand’s economic views and reject her extreme religious and political views.”

    I think, rather, they are all of one piece because frankly, there is no big idea here, though she seems to have only one idea – a single, shrill note she sings in a piercing, nasty, glass-breaking tone. There is no art, no craft, and as such, no nuance and no humanity to either her economics or her politics or her lame attempt at developing what she claimed was philosophy.

    As for Nietzsche, he gets painted with the broad brush all too often. his most outrageous statements are pulled out of context as if they are his only ideas or even the essential ones when they make up only a portion, sometimes even a very meager portion, of his his corpus of works. My attmept to “salvage” him is nothing less that doing exactly what others claim they are doping with Rand – admiring her for her ideas while not agreeing with “parts” of it. I’m saying there are no parts.

    Myself, I see no renaissance afoot. Those are admirable sources indeed, but I think it’s a kind of a dumb thing to say actually because I don’t see how we could ever know that one was happening anyway. That, perhaps, is only a judgement that can be made historically if at all in my view.

  • Stephen

    Well that was wierd double post. Sorry about that.

  • Stephen

    Well that was wierd double post. Sorry about that.

  • boaz

    Rand is more entertaining and readable than Walt Whitman or Saul bellows. Blech. How do you even make that comparison?

    Rand is lost when it comes to love and beauty, and severely stunts her philosophy. The movie Passion of ayn rand ended on an excellent note, making this point. It showed her responding to her ex lover’s question about the nature of love that love is earned by great people doing great deeds. Then cuts to her gravestone next to her husband, who she did not love, cheated on, and ignored. Yet he loved her, for her, in spite of her philosophy and works, which he apparently had little understanding or appreciation for. Great scene.

  • boaz

    Rand is more entertaining and readable than Walt Whitman or Saul bellows. Blech. How do you even make that comparison?

    Rand is lost when it comes to love and beauty, and severely stunts her philosophy. The movie Passion of ayn rand ended on an excellent note, making this point. It showed her responding to her ex lover’s question about the nature of love that love is earned by great people doing great deeds. Then cuts to her gravestone next to her husband, who she did not love, cheated on, and ignored. Yet he loved her, for her, in spite of her philosophy and works, which he apparently had little understanding or appreciation for. Great scene.

  • boaz

    I do think nietzche does have some merit, but much is just crazy talk.
    Kierkegaard, on the other hand, provides a lifetime of thoughtful reading. Kierkegaard, along with Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, homer, and the Bible. Emily Dickinson, not Whitman, for poetry.

  • boaz

    I do think nietzche does have some merit, but much is just crazy talk.
    Kierkegaard, on the other hand, provides a lifetime of thoughtful reading. Kierkegaard, along with Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, homer, and the Bible. Emily Dickinson, not Whitman, for poetry.

  • Stephen

    Boaz

    Well, you may not like my comparisons with Whitman and Bellow, but they certainly have the love and beauty missing from Rand. They have human beings in their works. I was just naming some off the top of my head that came to mind from that first class in literature I took in college when suddenly the lights came on. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t already been a reader, but that particular teacher showed me what literature was, and so I was thinking back to that moment. Emily Dickinson, absolutely! And I will agree to every other author you cite as well, most certainly. I studied Kierkegaard pretty heavily and he has had a big influence on me. He is my favorite philosopher and I have done some small work on him in the past. Nietzsche was quite enamored with Dostoyevsky toward the end of his life. I think that’s pretty fascinating. And I still watch all the Shakespeare stuff that comes along on PBS or whenever there is a performance in the park. Another great teacher to thank for that. Might as well put him in a category all by himself. I think if we taught our kids to read and love Shakespeare they would learn to love reading Scripture that much more.

    All that to say Rand has absolutely no place among such writers. None. I think she was profoundly disturbed and probably psychotic on some level. In college I read a couple of her novels. Since then I was encouraged to give her another try and could barely stand it. Recently I have read more of her stuff, including her journals because of all the fascination to confirm my own diagnosis and so that I could perhaps persuade certain coworkers to please shut up about how great she was (oy vey!). Her style is as turgid and bad as ever and the galvanizing hatred for, um, reality itself, is apparent everywhere.

    She appeals to the ego. Artists usually go through a period, like I did, where they find her intriguing, because what they do comes from a kind of self-indulgence that is difficult to understand. Rand gives license to do as you please without regard for anyone else. There it is on a page, characters and an author telling me I can do what I want and not worry about any consequence for others. It’s very seductive. But at base, we know that what we do must mean something larger for others, beyond the Self. I think she was filled with self-loathing and despised what the rest of know as human existence itself. Her work is some kind of fundamental rejection. That, or there is within it deep regret that she is unable to feel anything for anyone. And so she becomes a fiend who craves a bizarre utopian fantasy of one. And as she recruits believers, like her husband first of all it seems, the opposite happens and she withdraws into that fiendish dream.

    Maybe she had some form a Asperger’s Syndrome. She was bright, prone to fits of rage, and incapable of empathy so she made that her vision. If that were so, it’s no wonder her characters had no hearts, no empathy or compassion. They are paper dolls.

  • Stephen

    Boaz

    Well, you may not like my comparisons with Whitman and Bellow, but they certainly have the love and beauty missing from Rand. They have human beings in their works. I was just naming some off the top of my head that came to mind from that first class in literature I took in college when suddenly the lights came on. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t already been a reader, but that particular teacher showed me what literature was, and so I was thinking back to that moment. Emily Dickinson, absolutely! And I will agree to every other author you cite as well, most certainly. I studied Kierkegaard pretty heavily and he has had a big influence on me. He is my favorite philosopher and I have done some small work on him in the past. Nietzsche was quite enamored with Dostoyevsky toward the end of his life. I think that’s pretty fascinating. And I still watch all the Shakespeare stuff that comes along on PBS or whenever there is a performance in the park. Another great teacher to thank for that. Might as well put him in a category all by himself. I think if we taught our kids to read and love Shakespeare they would learn to love reading Scripture that much more.

    All that to say Rand has absolutely no place among such writers. None. I think she was profoundly disturbed and probably psychotic on some level. In college I read a couple of her novels. Since then I was encouraged to give her another try and could barely stand it. Recently I have read more of her stuff, including her journals because of all the fascination to confirm my own diagnosis and so that I could perhaps persuade certain coworkers to please shut up about how great she was (oy vey!). Her style is as turgid and bad as ever and the galvanizing hatred for, um, reality itself, is apparent everywhere.

    She appeals to the ego. Artists usually go through a period, like I did, where they find her intriguing, because what they do comes from a kind of self-indulgence that is difficult to understand. Rand gives license to do as you please without regard for anyone else. There it is on a page, characters and an author telling me I can do what I want and not worry about any consequence for others. It’s very seductive. But at base, we know that what we do must mean something larger for others, beyond the Self. I think she was filled with self-loathing and despised what the rest of know as human existence itself. Her work is some kind of fundamental rejection. That, or there is within it deep regret that she is unable to feel anything for anyone. And so she becomes a fiend who craves a bizarre utopian fantasy of one. And as she recruits believers, like her husband first of all it seems, the opposite happens and she withdraws into that fiendish dream.

    Maybe she had some form a Asperger’s Syndrome. She was bright, prone to fits of rage, and incapable of empathy so she made that her vision. If that were so, it’s no wonder her characters had no hearts, no empathy or compassion. They are paper dolls.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Her work is some kind of fundamental rejection. That, or there is within it deep regret that she is unable to feel anything for anyone.”

    She seems to care about the ones she defends. I mean she dedicated her life to promoting her ideas. She really believed the stuff. She just didn’t feel anything for folks that couldn’t or wouldn’t but anyhow didn’t contribute to what my mother would call “the betterment of the species” in her view. Rather she felt the productive were exploited by the unproductive. This is not altogether unlike folks who left Europe because they felt if they didn’t have the upper classes holding them down, they could make it on their own. Rand’s sympathy is for the oppressed worker of the Tesla sort, not the unskilled sort. Tesla seems like her kind of guy. He was born in Europe. He could have taken his talents right next door to the Ottoman Empire, or tried to market them somewhere in Europe, but no, he came to the US where capitalism gave him really opportunity to achieve, and truth is we all benefitted from this, including the Europeans and the Turks. Basically Rand seemed to have a survival of the fittest view of life.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Her work is some kind of fundamental rejection. That, or there is within it deep regret that she is unable to feel anything for anyone.”

    She seems to care about the ones she defends. I mean she dedicated her life to promoting her ideas. She really believed the stuff. She just didn’t feel anything for folks that couldn’t or wouldn’t but anyhow didn’t contribute to what my mother would call “the betterment of the species” in her view. Rather she felt the productive were exploited by the unproductive. This is not altogether unlike folks who left Europe because they felt if they didn’t have the upper classes holding them down, they could make it on their own. Rand’s sympathy is for the oppressed worker of the Tesla sort, not the unskilled sort. Tesla seems like her kind of guy. He was born in Europe. He could have taken his talents right next door to the Ottoman Empire, or tried to market them somewhere in Europe, but no, he came to the US where capitalism gave him really opportunity to achieve, and truth is we all benefitted from this, including the Europeans and the Turks. Basically Rand seemed to have a survival of the fittest view of life.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    I think you are correct as to the type she idolizes and sees as “oppressed” by others, though I think that much of this oppression is some emotional baggage she projected into every single relationship and human interaction. No one is beholding to anyone at all ever. This is simply false. No one, not even the greatest genius, does not depend on the achievements and the handiwork of others. Likewise, the entire concept of “a work” completely detached from work that functions within some larger set of works is ridiculous. This idea of the rational “object” that is completely unfettered and free of the other, without consequence is pschotic. Other people are solely a means to the ends the few and thus willfully great individuals, their great works and their self interest. The ones heroic enough to live this way are to be worshipped. The rest can go to hell. No charity, forgiveness, mercy, no space for error or the slightest inch of disagreement, nuance or tolerance (as one author put it, she poisoned the well of anyone who disagreed with her). There is no freedom. That is a complete lie embedded in her ideas. This is another kind of tyranny. Call it the tyranny of the strong over the weak perhaps, smart over the ignorant, certainly the ones who accumulate material wealth over those who have less. It’s childish, cruel, inhuman, sociopathic and well, evil I think.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    I think you are correct as to the type she idolizes and sees as “oppressed” by others, though I think that much of this oppression is some emotional baggage she projected into every single relationship and human interaction. No one is beholding to anyone at all ever. This is simply false. No one, not even the greatest genius, does not depend on the achievements and the handiwork of others. Likewise, the entire concept of “a work” completely detached from work that functions within some larger set of works is ridiculous. This idea of the rational “object” that is completely unfettered and free of the other, without consequence is pschotic. Other people are solely a means to the ends the few and thus willfully great individuals, their great works and their self interest. The ones heroic enough to live this way are to be worshipped. The rest can go to hell. No charity, forgiveness, mercy, no space for error or the slightest inch of disagreement, nuance or tolerance (as one author put it, she poisoned the well of anyone who disagreed with her). There is no freedom. That is a complete lie embedded in her ideas. This is another kind of tyranny. Call it the tyranny of the strong over the weak perhaps, smart over the ignorant, certainly the ones who accumulate material wealth over those who have less. It’s childish, cruel, inhuman, sociopathic and well, evil I think.

  • kerner

    Porcell @46:

    Check out that link @32 again, compadre. She wanted an antiChe t-shirt my daughter requested…and she received it I might add.

    My youngest son wanted to “celebrate diversity” this way:

    http://www.thoseshirts.com/diversity.html

    And he got his wish too.

  • kerner

    Porcell @46:

    Check out that link @32 again, compadre. She wanted an antiChe t-shirt my daughter requested…and she received it I might add.

    My youngest son wanted to “celebrate diversity” this way:

    http://www.thoseshirts.com/diversity.html

    And he got his wish too.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Stephen @ 74, yeah, I agree.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Stephen @ 74, yeah, I agree.

  • nowafonseca

    yay t-shirts!! why doesn’t this libertarian own any of those? maybe this libertarian’s father should buy one……

  • nowafonseca

    yay t-shirts!! why doesn’t this libertarian own any of those? maybe this libertarian’s father should buy one……

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Have you read what she said about the guy who chopped up a 12 year old girl? You can find the essay on the web with some searching. It’s horrifying. And this is someone who parlays these same ideas into every single thing she writes. Nothing is untouched by it, absolutely nothing. It is idol-building par excellence.

    I have to admit that I have fascination with the fascination, if that makes sense. It is like wondering why people put such ugly art on their walls and think it is extraordinary when there is so much in the world that is stirring and arresting and simply a heck of a lot more lovely. I think Atlas Shrugged is maybe good for pressing flowers. That’s about the only way to get any art out of it. And as philosophy it’s simply childish. As economics it is completely untenable.

    Here’s a good article on her I found that gives some insights into her biography. The author actually suggests she is someone to be pitied. I suppose that is probably true. It occurred when I was writing before that she may have actually suffered some kind of mental illness or trauma from childhood much like old Adolph H. Seems to be the case. That doesn’t excuse the corruption of her ideas or the wickedness she taught and unleashed on those around her. Alan Greenspan parroted back the same junk.

    Oh well. I think she needs to be seen as a curiosity, but not as someone to be taken seriously as she is right now. That, to me, is the problem. And if one of these people really takes her that seriously, I think it is a huge problem. That person should not be president of our country.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2233966

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Have you read what she said about the guy who chopped up a 12 year old girl? You can find the essay on the web with some searching. It’s horrifying. And this is someone who parlays these same ideas into every single thing she writes. Nothing is untouched by it, absolutely nothing. It is idol-building par excellence.

    I have to admit that I have fascination with the fascination, if that makes sense. It is like wondering why people put such ugly art on their walls and think it is extraordinary when there is so much in the world that is stirring and arresting and simply a heck of a lot more lovely. I think Atlas Shrugged is maybe good for pressing flowers. That’s about the only way to get any art out of it. And as philosophy it’s simply childish. As economics it is completely untenable.

    Here’s a good article on her I found that gives some insights into her biography. The author actually suggests she is someone to be pitied. I suppose that is probably true. It occurred when I was writing before that she may have actually suffered some kind of mental illness or trauma from childhood much like old Adolph H. Seems to be the case. That doesn’t excuse the corruption of her ideas or the wickedness she taught and unleashed on those around her. Alan Greenspan parroted back the same junk.

    Oh well. I think she needs to be seen as a curiosity, but not as someone to be taken seriously as she is right now. That, to me, is the problem. And if one of these people really takes her that seriously, I think it is a huge problem. That person should not be president of our country.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2233966

  • Another Kerner

    kerner @ #75

    Buy nowafonseca a T-Shirt, for heaven’s sake.

    She and your mother both have read Rand and we are both Lutherans.
    And the two of us do not believe in the “accidental theory of history”.

    That has to be worth a T-shirt or two for each of us
    ;-)

  • Another Kerner

    kerner @ #75

    Buy nowafonseca a T-Shirt, for heaven’s sake.

    She and your mother both have read Rand and we are both Lutherans.
    And the two of us do not believe in the “accidental theory of history”.

    That has to be worth a T-shirt or two for each of us
    ;-)

  • Stephen

    One last note on Ayn Rand and I’ll be done:

    I read an article last night from an oral history call “100 Voices: an Oral History of Ayn Rand.” One of them was from the social worker who helped her while she was dying of lung cancer. He said that while she resisted at first, he convinced her that she could be potentially wiped out by medical bills if she did not take Medicare and Social Security that was due to her as a taxpayer and citizen. She relented. It seems everyone, even Ayn Rand, becomes weak and needs mercy and care from others when they cannot do for themselves. In the end, it would seem, she was unwilling to die for her convictions, and relied on the “altruism” of society to help her, cut off as she was from any other form of human kindness. She died alone, unloved, with a Medicare-paid nurse by her side.

    And this is the great thinker, the one who crafted characters after the personality of a serial killer, guiding the leading lights of the Republican comeback? I’m highly dubious, if not completely bewildered and little bit freaked out.

  • Stephen

    One last note on Ayn Rand and I’ll be done:

    I read an article last night from an oral history call “100 Voices: an Oral History of Ayn Rand.” One of them was from the social worker who helped her while she was dying of lung cancer. He said that while she resisted at first, he convinced her that she could be potentially wiped out by medical bills if she did not take Medicare and Social Security that was due to her as a taxpayer and citizen. She relented. It seems everyone, even Ayn Rand, becomes weak and needs mercy and care from others when they cannot do for themselves. In the end, it would seem, she was unwilling to die for her convictions, and relied on the “altruism” of society to help her, cut off as she was from any other form of human kindness. She died alone, unloved, with a Medicare-paid nurse by her side.

    And this is the great thinker, the one who crafted characters after the personality of a serial killer, guiding the leading lights of the Republican comeback? I’m highly dubious, if not completely bewildered and little bit freaked out.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In the end, it would seem, she was unwilling to die for her convictions, and relied on the “altruism” of society to help her, cut off as she was from any other form of human kindness. She died alone, unloved, with a Medicare-paid nurse by her side.”

    This is really beside the point.

    If she had been willing to “die for her convictions” then what? Should we all say she was right? That is just silly.

    Ideas must stand on their own.

    Galileo quickly backed off when faced with the prospect of torture. Was he wrong?

    It is important to separate a person from his ideas.

    We don’t have to agree with Isaac Newton’s religious beliefs to be able to see the validity of his scientific discoveries. The man and his work are separate.

    If Charles Manson looks out the window and reports that it is raining, shall we then conclude it is sunny because all of his statements must be false because he is a madman?

    Ayn Rand, or her work, is not an all or nothing situation. She made some points worth considering. Just because she had a few interesting insights doesn’t mean that from there on out anyone who ever agreed with even one of her points must then be a mindless follower. She was, as all humans are, a sinner. No surprise there.

    Mel Gibson made some good movies, shall we all follow the example of his personal failings?

    As soon as we learn of his failings, shall we reevaluate his work? Or are they separate?

    This is why I always harp on saying “it’s not about me,” because it is about the idea. Ideas can be evaluated without considering the person proposing them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In the end, it would seem, she was unwilling to die for her convictions, and relied on the “altruism” of society to help her, cut off as she was from any other form of human kindness. She died alone, unloved, with a Medicare-paid nurse by her side.”

    This is really beside the point.

    If she had been willing to “die for her convictions” then what? Should we all say she was right? That is just silly.

    Ideas must stand on their own.

    Galileo quickly backed off when faced with the prospect of torture. Was he wrong?

    It is important to separate a person from his ideas.

    We don’t have to agree with Isaac Newton’s religious beliefs to be able to see the validity of his scientific discoveries. The man and his work are separate.

    If Charles Manson looks out the window and reports that it is raining, shall we then conclude it is sunny because all of his statements must be false because he is a madman?

    Ayn Rand, or her work, is not an all or nothing situation. She made some points worth considering. Just because she had a few interesting insights doesn’t mean that from there on out anyone who ever agreed with even one of her points must then be a mindless follower. She was, as all humans are, a sinner. No surprise there.

    Mel Gibson made some good movies, shall we all follow the example of his personal failings?

    As soon as we learn of his failings, shall we reevaluate his work? Or are they separate?

    This is why I always harp on saying “it’s not about me,” because it is about the idea. Ideas can be evaluated without considering the person proposing them.

  • Stephen

    SG -

    I get that, and it is an observation worth making based on what she preached – something so severe, unrelenting and without surcease in any measure. So I think the difference from where I sit is that her idea (there is only one) was and is so unflinching, both formally and in content, both in her life AND her work. She allowed for no disagreement whatsoever. It would seem she herself would be willing to live and die by those terms she demanded of others, of the entire world in fact. And yet she didn’t, even though she insisted on those terms for absolutely everyone and everything around her. She was merciless, that is the point, an absolutist, until of course it was her own skin.

    Ideas do have consequences. I think the Manson analogy is a false comparison and a category mistake. What he is stating is empirical fact, not an idea. Mel Gibson, on the other hand, can be judged on the same criteria I have used to judge her work. His work is certainly of a much greater range than hers ever was, so as an artist he can be measured that way. As a person, he’s a mess, and certainly it influences how I feel about his work now to some degree. I’m less likely to be interested in it just like I stopped seeing Woody Allen movies which I used to enjoy. history will judge them as artists, which is exactly what we are doing now with Ayn Rand and her “philosophy,” something which seems to have penetrated deeply into every aspect of her life from all accounts, something she took as a personal credo. Galileo likely felt deep passion for his scientific ideas. He may have even recognized that they had great implications for the church authority and this caused him a moral crisis. But again, those ideas were of a different kind and not a true comparison to what Ayn Rand pedaled and insisted upon in others.

    Like I said, she had one idea, sang one shrill note – a merciless, unrelenting tone. And yet, in the end, she too needed, asked for, and received the mercy she claimed her whole life to despise as evil.

  • Stephen

    SG -

    I get that, and it is an observation worth making based on what she preached – something so severe, unrelenting and without surcease in any measure. So I think the difference from where I sit is that her idea (there is only one) was and is so unflinching, both formally and in content, both in her life AND her work. She allowed for no disagreement whatsoever. It would seem she herself would be willing to live and die by those terms she demanded of others, of the entire world in fact. And yet she didn’t, even though she insisted on those terms for absolutely everyone and everything around her. She was merciless, that is the point, an absolutist, until of course it was her own skin.

    Ideas do have consequences. I think the Manson analogy is a false comparison and a category mistake. What he is stating is empirical fact, not an idea. Mel Gibson, on the other hand, can be judged on the same criteria I have used to judge her work. His work is certainly of a much greater range than hers ever was, so as an artist he can be measured that way. As a person, he’s a mess, and certainly it influences how I feel about his work now to some degree. I’m less likely to be interested in it just like I stopped seeing Woody Allen movies which I used to enjoy. history will judge them as artists, which is exactly what we are doing now with Ayn Rand and her “philosophy,” something which seems to have penetrated deeply into every aspect of her life from all accounts, something she took as a personal credo. Galileo likely felt deep passion for his scientific ideas. He may have even recognized that they had great implications for the church authority and this caused him a moral crisis. But again, those ideas were of a different kind and not a true comparison to what Ayn Rand pedaled and insisted upon in others.

    Like I said, she had one idea, sang one shrill note – a merciless, unrelenting tone. And yet, in the end, she too needed, asked for, and received the mercy she claimed her whole life to despise as evil.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    From my reading of Rand, she is not a materialist. She says she doesn’t believe in fully materialistic views of the mind. She also once commented that evolution was only a theory. How it all fits together for her is not something I can follow, but I would guess from what I have read that she would be like one of the medieval people who thought that the world existed from eternity. I don’t want to defend her views on this. But they are often misidentified. Aristotle would be someone to start with as a model for how to think of what Rand holds on the nature of the world.

    But this statement was sloppy:
    “Stripping God from all equations will logically- if logic has anything to do with it at that point- reduce us to beasts, where the only logical principle is kill or be killed, eat or be eaten.”

    I don’t even think this is a good observation of how beasts act. Many beasts cooperate to some degree. If there is any cooperation, then the ONLY principle is not kill or be killed, eat or be eaten.

    To see what her views do lead to, it is best to read The Virtue of Selfishness. Selfishness undergoes quite a bit of redefinition by the time she’s done with it. It ends up being enlightened selfishness. (I think she would agree with the Aristotelian definition of man as the rational animal.) Given the barest amount of that, I think most people would probably decide not to eat their neighbor.

    Before we decide what logic entails for a given position, we must first accurately identify what the position is. And then it is probably worthwhile seeing what the adherent thinks is logically entailed. If the adherent has to live in that philosophy, he or she has probably had a lot more time to discover what the logical possibilities within the system are. We’ll also be more effective at countering an argument. I have to wonder how far a conversation could go with an Objectivist that began with that “eat or be eaten” argument.

    Nathaniel Branden wrote of an evening where Rand tried to defend the idea that honesty was the best policy. He argued that there could be times where someone would be dishonest and not pay. She challenged him to illustrate. He came up with some money-making scheme that involved some deception. She quickly found out where the man would get caught, or how he would have to falisfy reality for himself to keep the lie going, draining him of energy he would need for other things. Branden saw he had erred. But he still thought the premise was good. He just thought he had been careless in framing his scheme. So he began again. The initial vulnerabilities of the scheme were gone. But Rand found new ones. So he started again. Finally she said something like “Haven’t you had enough? Don’t you see yet that they’ll all go like this?”

    Anyone who has thought of this long enough will easily be able to puncture the “eat or be eaten” dilemma. It doesn’t even fit anything we see. Where people act on that principle, their own lives are generally much shorter than they would have been otherwise.

    Christianity takes us beyond where Objectivism would. But it makes little sense not to see how far reason alone could take us, even apart from belief in a personal God.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    From my reading of Rand, she is not a materialist. She says she doesn’t believe in fully materialistic views of the mind. She also once commented that evolution was only a theory. How it all fits together for her is not something I can follow, but I would guess from what I have read that she would be like one of the medieval people who thought that the world existed from eternity. I don’t want to defend her views on this. But they are often misidentified. Aristotle would be someone to start with as a model for how to think of what Rand holds on the nature of the world.

    But this statement was sloppy:
    “Stripping God from all equations will logically- if logic has anything to do with it at that point- reduce us to beasts, where the only logical principle is kill or be killed, eat or be eaten.”

    I don’t even think this is a good observation of how beasts act. Many beasts cooperate to some degree. If there is any cooperation, then the ONLY principle is not kill or be killed, eat or be eaten.

    To see what her views do lead to, it is best to read The Virtue of Selfishness. Selfishness undergoes quite a bit of redefinition by the time she’s done with it. It ends up being enlightened selfishness. (I think she would agree with the Aristotelian definition of man as the rational animal.) Given the barest amount of that, I think most people would probably decide not to eat their neighbor.

    Before we decide what logic entails for a given position, we must first accurately identify what the position is. And then it is probably worthwhile seeing what the adherent thinks is logically entailed. If the adherent has to live in that philosophy, he or she has probably had a lot more time to discover what the logical possibilities within the system are. We’ll also be more effective at countering an argument. I have to wonder how far a conversation could go with an Objectivist that began with that “eat or be eaten” argument.

    Nathaniel Branden wrote of an evening where Rand tried to defend the idea that honesty was the best policy. He argued that there could be times where someone would be dishonest and not pay. She challenged him to illustrate. He came up with some money-making scheme that involved some deception. She quickly found out where the man would get caught, or how he would have to falisfy reality for himself to keep the lie going, draining him of energy he would need for other things. Branden saw he had erred. But he still thought the premise was good. He just thought he had been careless in framing his scheme. So he began again. The initial vulnerabilities of the scheme were gone. But Rand found new ones. So he started again. Finally she said something like “Haven’t you had enough? Don’t you see yet that they’ll all go like this?”

    Anyone who has thought of this long enough will easily be able to puncture the “eat or be eaten” dilemma. It doesn’t even fit anything we see. Where people act on that principle, their own lives are generally much shorter than they would have been otherwise.

    Christianity takes us beyond where Objectivism would. But it makes little sense not to see how far reason alone could take us, even apart from belief in a personal God.

  • Stephen

    Rick -

    I think your concluding statement brings me back to what Tom said way back at post #13 and clarified in post 29,30 about the end product of pure rationalism/reason and the end product of Christian faith being love. I think even that love apart even apart from faith, something without which we simply cannot be human, has been banished from Rand’s work and by all accounts, her life. It necessarily must be.

    The appeal seems to be right at that point – that by indulging and fulfilling our own needs completely we can at the same time be reconciled to life and everything else through the discipline of pure reason (and all the wonders flowing from it). It seems like some sort of hyper or quasi-Kantian egoism. And it is exactly the old Adam in all of us who wants reason/knowledge to be a stand-in for faith and salvation. It is gnosticism of another sort. What is sacrificed in Rand at the same time is ones very humanity most fully expressed in relationships of love. No wonder sex becomes rape for her – violent taking for the self, no tenderness and giving to the other. This is also why Rand and Lenin are perfect for each other. They are both elitist totalitarians.

  • Stephen

    Rick -

    I think your concluding statement brings me back to what Tom said way back at post #13 and clarified in post 29,30 about the end product of pure rationalism/reason and the end product of Christian faith being love. I think even that love apart even apart from faith, something without which we simply cannot be human, has been banished from Rand’s work and by all accounts, her life. It necessarily must be.

    The appeal seems to be right at that point – that by indulging and fulfilling our own needs completely we can at the same time be reconciled to life and everything else through the discipline of pure reason (and all the wonders flowing from it). It seems like some sort of hyper or quasi-Kantian egoism. And it is exactly the old Adam in all of us who wants reason/knowledge to be a stand-in for faith and salvation. It is gnosticism of another sort. What is sacrificed in Rand at the same time is ones very humanity most fully expressed in relationships of love. No wonder sex becomes rape for her – violent taking for the self, no tenderness and giving to the other. This is also why Rand and Lenin are perfect for each other. They are both elitist totalitarians.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I had a similar discussion with my son, aged 13, after he read some of the accounts in Plutarch’s Lives. I asked him to tell me what he thought of the people he read about. He had trouble giving the devil his due. Those of better character, he preferred to those who only had professional accomplishments but were uh, reprehensible in their private lives. It took quite a bit of discussion to get him to evaluate the people based on criteria that ignored personal failings.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I had a similar discussion with my son, aged 13, after he read some of the accounts in Plutarch’s Lives. I asked him to tell me what he thought of the people he read about. He had trouble giving the devil his due. Those of better character, he preferred to those who only had professional accomplishments but were uh, reprehensible in their private lives. It took quite a bit of discussion to get him to evaluate the people based on criteria that ignored personal failings.

  • Porcell

    In order to understand Rand it helps to know that her father’s business was confiscated by the Communists and that coming to America with her family she was impressed with its relatively free economy.

    Rand’s problem, like that of Nietzsche, is that she developed a hatred of Christianity. Being a Jew in the West is a difficult experience, though some of them including Krauthammer understand that Christians worship a Jew, namely Christ. Nietzsche’s problem was that he mistook German conventional religion with the reality of the Word of Christ; ultimately this confusion became madness.

  • Porcell

    In order to understand Rand it helps to know that her father’s business was confiscated by the Communists and that coming to America with her family she was impressed with its relatively free economy.

    Rand’s problem, like that of Nietzsche, is that she developed a hatred of Christianity. Being a Jew in the West is a difficult experience, though some of them including Krauthammer understand that Christians worship a Jew, namely Christ. Nietzsche’s problem was that he mistook German conventional religion with the reality of the Word of Christ; ultimately this confusion became madness.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Being a Jew in the West is a difficult experience,”

    Seems easier than being a Jew in Israel. Maybe that is why they like the West better. They are all entitled to be citizens in Israel. So, there is nothing stopping them, except the quality of life in West with its openness and opportunity.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Being a Jew in the West is a difficult experience,”

    Seems easier than being a Jew in Israel. Maybe that is why they like the West better. They are all entitled to be citizens in Israel. So, there is nothing stopping them, except the quality of life in West with its openness and opportunity.

  • Porcell

    sg, There is much openness and opportunity in Israel except that it is surrounded by Arabs who wish to extinguish the state.

  • Porcell

    sg, There is much openness and opportunity in Israel except that it is surrounded by Arabs who wish to extinguish the state.

  • Stephen

    Sg -

    I still say at the eleventh hour she completely betrayed her deepest convictions. It is that simple.

    For that matter, Porcell’s asking us to “understand” her because she was a Jew in western society seems an attempt to make some aspect of her biography more relevant to her ideas or deserving of sympathy (or something, can’t quite figure out what his point is) as expecting someone to die for the convictions they preached so stridently.

    The connection is this: that is the end her ideas were unreal and untenable even for herself. The outcomes the prescribe for human beings are merciless and brute, and she was unwilling to succumb to those terms even though she spent her whole life preaching the “virtue of selfishness.” Call it cosmic come-uppance perhaps, or the logical consequences of her philosophy – that the weak will be crushed utterly without help, help she saw them unfit for. They are just parasites. But in the end, human existence itself proved her wrong and she gave in.

    Her philosophy is junk, it is inhuman, it won’t work for real people and the needs we all have as a society, and the people who take it to heart are to be avoided as leaders.

  • Stephen

    Sg -

    I still say at the eleventh hour she completely betrayed her deepest convictions. It is that simple.

    For that matter, Porcell’s asking us to “understand” her because she was a Jew in western society seems an attempt to make some aspect of her biography more relevant to her ideas or deserving of sympathy (or something, can’t quite figure out what his point is) as expecting someone to die for the convictions they preached so stridently.

    The connection is this: that is the end her ideas were unreal and untenable even for herself. The outcomes the prescribe for human beings are merciless and brute, and she was unwilling to succumb to those terms even though she spent her whole life preaching the “virtue of selfishness.” Call it cosmic come-uppance perhaps, or the logical consequences of her philosophy – that the weak will be crushed utterly without help, help she saw them unfit for. They are just parasites. But in the end, human existence itself proved her wrong and she gave in.

    Her philosophy is junk, it is inhuman, it won’t work for real people and the needs we all have as a society, and the people who take it to heart are to be avoided as leaders.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, I checked at thirty-two and coudn’y find the anti part. At any rate good for your theater-major daughter..

  • Porcell

    Kerner, I checked at thirty-two and coudn’y find the anti part. At any rate good for your theater-major daughter..

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “There is much openness and opportunity in Israel except that it is surrounded by Arabs who wish to extinguish the state.”

    Right. But if you have to choose from good and insecure or good and secure, well…. Anyway, my point is that it is not hard to be a Jew in the West. In fact, it is the easiest place to be a Jew.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “There is much openness and opportunity in Israel except that it is surrounded by Arabs who wish to extinguish the state.”

    Right. But if you have to choose from good and insecure or good and secure, well…. Anyway, my point is that it is not hard to be a Jew in the West. In fact, it is the easiest place to be a Jew.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I still say at the eleventh hour she completely betrayed her deepest convictions. It is that simple.”

    Okay, but so what? It means nothing.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I still say at the eleventh hour she completely betrayed her deepest convictions. It is that simple.”

    Okay, but so what? It means nothing.

  • Porcell

    sg, I’m told by Jewish friends that even in the West, it is common for Jews to experience a ration of social and religious antipathy. After all, Germany is a part of the West. Just now much of western Europe is involved in traditional anti-Semitism through the dodge of being pro Palestinian.

  • Porcell

    sg, I’m told by Jewish friends that even in the West, it is common for Jews to experience a ration of social and religious antipathy. After all, Germany is a part of the West. Just now much of western Europe is involved in traditional anti-Semitism through the dodge of being pro Palestinian.

  • Stephen

    sg –

    Did you read the rest of my post? As I attempted to explain, but did poorly perhaps, in her very own life she proved her ideas false.

  • Stephen

    sg –

    Did you read the rest of my post? As I attempted to explain, but did poorly perhaps, in her very own life she proved her ideas false.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As I attempted to explain, but did poorly perhaps, in her very own life she proved her ideas false.”

    I don’t see it.

    Plenty of folks preached and lived justice and mercy and were abused and abandoned at the end of their lives. Does that prove their ideas are unworkable for society?

    The man and his ideas are separate as far as I can see.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As I attempted to explain, but did poorly perhaps, in her very own life she proved her ideas false.”

    I don’t see it.

    Plenty of folks preached and lived justice and mercy and were abused and abandoned at the end of their lives. Does that prove their ideas are unworkable for society?

    The man and his ideas are separate as far as I can see.

  • Stephen

    Not only was she unwilling to die by her convictions, her convictions did not pan out because what they describe is unreal. They are not for real human beings, like her.

  • Stephen

    Not only was she unwilling to die by her convictions, her convictions did not pan out because what they describe is unreal. They are not for real human beings, like her.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Porcell, atheists, and Christians are discriminated against at times and by some here in the US. No group is universally loved and privileged. Jews have higher than average per capita income. So they are doing better than others.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Porcell, atheists, and Christians are discriminated against at times and by some here in the US. No group is universally loved and privileged. Jews have higher than average per capita income. So they are doing better than others.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Stephen, in my experience, everyone is a hypocrite. Christ is my example, and I don’t measure up. That doesn’t reflect on Him. Whatever the limitations of her ideas, they cannot be proven or disproven based on her behavior. Her behavior can prove her hypocrisy, but that is about it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Stephen, in my experience, everyone is a hypocrite. Christ is my example, and I don’t measure up. That doesn’t reflect on Him. Whatever the limitations of her ideas, they cannot be proven or disproven based on her behavior. Her behavior can prove her hypocrisy, but that is about it.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    True. Perhaps it comes down to a cruel irony and nothing more. But for me, more than hypocrisy is at stake. I think she is disproved by her own situation at the end of her life. Like I said, when it comes down to it her “selfishness” does not work for actual people, and she discovered she was one.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    True. Perhaps it comes down to a cruel irony and nothing more. But for me, more than hypocrisy is at stake. I think she is disproved by her own situation at the end of her life. Like I said, when it comes down to it her “selfishness” does not work for actual people, and she discovered she was one.

  • Stephen

    sg

    I didn’t see your post @ 95. I don’t think your example is one of hypocrisy. It would be more exact if these same people turned around and became torturers.

    But I do see that you are preserving the is/ought distinction and I appreciate that. I don’t think Ayn Rand did. I’m not the only one to make this observation. Everything is redefined from the standpoint of selfishness, her ontological thesis (is). So the honesty (ought) she demands in Rick’s example is redefined on those terms. This is very Kantian. Give up your Jewish neighbor to the Gestapo. This is the honest thing to do because it is based on your highest value – the needs of the self. To make any other choice is to risk sacrificing the good of the self, and hence it is “dishonest” to do so.

    So, this being the case, I think it is fair to look at her life and ask if it also mirrored the values she preached, values which were, as I said, totalizing. In the laboratory of her own life they were proven false.

  • Stephen

    sg

    I didn’t see your post @ 95. I don’t think your example is one of hypocrisy. It would be more exact if these same people turned around and became torturers.

    But I do see that you are preserving the is/ought distinction and I appreciate that. I don’t think Ayn Rand did. I’m not the only one to make this observation. Everything is redefined from the standpoint of selfishness, her ontological thesis (is). So the honesty (ought) she demands in Rick’s example is redefined on those terms. This is very Kantian. Give up your Jewish neighbor to the Gestapo. This is the honest thing to do because it is based on your highest value – the needs of the self. To make any other choice is to risk sacrificing the good of the self, and hence it is “dishonest” to do so.

    So, this being the case, I think it is fair to look at her life and ask if it also mirrored the values she preached, values which were, as I said, totalizing. In the laboratory of her own life they were proven false.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t think your example is one of hypocrisy. It would be more exact if these same people turned around and became torturers.”

    I disagree. Rand was selfish to the end. She accepted mercy. She didn’t give it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t think your example is one of hypocrisy. It would be more exact if these same people turned around and became torturers.”

    I disagree. Rand was selfish to the end. She accepted mercy. She didn’t give it.

  • Stephen

    sg –

    Hair-splitting, but alright. She received and needed what was, by her own standard, something evil to the core. Thus it would seem that this proclaimed “evil” is nothing of the sort. It is a necessary good in her very life, and so her idea of the selfish individual flounders. That is different than people receiving what is clearly evil for good. She desired to turn this moral universe on its head, basing everything else on this inversion, including politics and economics which is the disturbing factor for the current craze over her in politics. And by the witness of how she faced her own death, the whole thing collapses when these “evils” become good and selfishness is proven essentially evil.

    She is not just talking about some benign rational self-interest as some have tried to soften her ideas to make them go down easier. She’s developed an entire moral universe, a closed system, with the needs of the self, the superman who ostensibly creates ex nihilo, being paramount in every aspect of existence. Nothing escapes such a thoroughgoing rationality, not even her. But like I said, one pin prick, one breeze, and the house of cards comes down. As others have said, her idea would require militias to protect the super wealthy capitalists, with the wealth concentrated in a precious few like some return to a feudal order. Anyone who defied it and those who are not super rich would be crushed. That last thing is what threatened her.

    Maybe that’s it. Her ideas are ultimately anti-civilizing. Maybe her ideas are such a throwback to something so barbaric that they actually appeal to us somewhere deep down, some place where we remember being that way.

  • Stephen

    sg –

    Hair-splitting, but alright. She received and needed what was, by her own standard, something evil to the core. Thus it would seem that this proclaimed “evil” is nothing of the sort. It is a necessary good in her very life, and so her idea of the selfish individual flounders. That is different than people receiving what is clearly evil for good. She desired to turn this moral universe on its head, basing everything else on this inversion, including politics and economics which is the disturbing factor for the current craze over her in politics. And by the witness of how she faced her own death, the whole thing collapses when these “evils” become good and selfishness is proven essentially evil.

    She is not just talking about some benign rational self-interest as some have tried to soften her ideas to make them go down easier. She’s developed an entire moral universe, a closed system, with the needs of the self, the superman who ostensibly creates ex nihilo, being paramount in every aspect of existence. Nothing escapes such a thoroughgoing rationality, not even her. But like I said, one pin prick, one breeze, and the house of cards comes down. As others have said, her idea would require militias to protect the super wealthy capitalists, with the wealth concentrated in a precious few like some return to a feudal order. Anyone who defied it and those who are not super rich would be crushed. That last thing is what threatened her.

    Maybe that’s it. Her ideas are ultimately anti-civilizing. Maybe her ideas are such a throwback to something so barbaric that they actually appeal to us somewhere deep down, some place where we remember being that way.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Her ideas are ultimately anti-civilizing.”

    Plausible. Radical dog-eat-dog individualism is anti civilizing as are socialism and feminism. Civilization is a synonym for patriarchy. In as much as any social system undermines patriarchy, it is anti civilizing.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Her ideas are ultimately anti-civilizing.”

    Plausible. Radical dog-eat-dog individualism is anti civilizing as are socialism and feminism. Civilization is a synonym for patriarchy. In as much as any social system undermines patriarchy, it is anti civilizing.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Ha! You got me there! I wasn’t expecting that one. I don’t get the socialism one (communism maybe), but the feminism one perhaps makes a connection in that it deconstructs the accepted order. Similarly, Rand inverts the ethics of everything ontologically and makes it non-negotiable. Hmm? You got me thinking. I don’t know that even the most radical feminism is quite like that. Perhaps. I’m not sure I’m there, but I give you major points on that observation.

    I still say that anyone who would hold her in high regard is a bit like saying “I read Mein Kampf (Communist Manifesto, Mao’s Little Red Book, Machiavelli, etc.) and it inspired me to get into politics.” It’s that bad. And that is somewhat of an insult to Machiavelli and Marx who were actually brilliant and insightful if still wrong. Maybe something loopy like Rousseau makes better sense.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Ha! You got me there! I wasn’t expecting that one. I don’t get the socialism one (communism maybe), but the feminism one perhaps makes a connection in that it deconstructs the accepted order. Similarly, Rand inverts the ethics of everything ontologically and makes it non-negotiable. Hmm? You got me thinking. I don’t know that even the most radical feminism is quite like that. Perhaps. I’m not sure I’m there, but I give you major points on that observation.

    I still say that anyone who would hold her in high regard is a bit like saying “I read Mein Kampf (Communist Manifesto, Mao’s Little Red Book, Machiavelli, etc.) and it inspired me to get into politics.” It’s that bad. And that is somewhat of an insult to Machiavelli and Marx who were actually brilliant and insightful if still wrong. Maybe something loopy like Rousseau makes better sense.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I still say that anyone who would hold her in high regard”

    Okay, but when people mention Ayn Rand, what comes to mind? Her personal life? Or maybe capitalism, property rights and free enterprise? It seems the latter, not the former.

    Marx and Machiavelli were right about some things.

    Also, someone pointed out that Marx focused on labor and capital, not non-workers. Socializing benefits to workers is not the same as socializing benefits to workers and non-workers alike. Rand might argue against socializing benefits among workers as an incentive killer and punitive to the more productive. Bringing the non-disabled non-worker under the socialized benefits umbrella was not on the radar.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I still say that anyone who would hold her in high regard”

    Okay, but when people mention Ayn Rand, what comes to mind? Her personal life? Or maybe capitalism, property rights and free enterprise? It seems the latter, not the former.

    Marx and Machiavelli were right about some things.

    Also, someone pointed out that Marx focused on labor and capital, not non-workers. Socializing benefits to workers is not the same as socializing benefits to workers and non-workers alike. Rand might argue against socializing benefits among workers as an incentive killer and punitive to the more productive. Bringing the non-disabled non-worker under the socialized benefits umbrella was not on the radar.

  • Stephen

    What comes to mind when I think of Ayn Rand is her fiendish philosophy of selfishness that guides all her thinking. What comes to mind is a woman is idolized the violence of a sociopath as some kind of ideal. The fact that she ended up a hypocrite and her own behavior betrays a fundamental flaw in her worldview is perhaps beside the point.

    However, if someone says this person’s work inspired them to get into politics I’m specious, not just because of the idea itself in some abstract sense, but because of its outcomes – its inherent inhumanity through an inversion of shared values and denial of any essential human community. There’s much more at stake in her worldview than people getting benefits they are not entitled to receive.

    Besides all that, it shows incredibly bad taste and lack of discretion and perhaps even poor education. Why don’t we hear someone say they were inspired by reading James Madison or Thomas Paine or John Adams or even Teddy Roosevelt? At least RFK quoted the Greeks. Where are those people? Ayn Rand! To quote a fellow blog commenter “Sheesh!”

  • Stephen

    What comes to mind when I think of Ayn Rand is her fiendish philosophy of selfishness that guides all her thinking. What comes to mind is a woman is idolized the violence of a sociopath as some kind of ideal. The fact that she ended up a hypocrite and her own behavior betrays a fundamental flaw in her worldview is perhaps beside the point.

    However, if someone says this person’s work inspired them to get into politics I’m specious, not just because of the idea itself in some abstract sense, but because of its outcomes – its inherent inhumanity through an inversion of shared values and denial of any essential human community. There’s much more at stake in her worldview than people getting benefits they are not entitled to receive.

    Besides all that, it shows incredibly bad taste and lack of discretion and perhaps even poor education. Why don’t we hear someone say they were inspired by reading James Madison or Thomas Paine or John Adams or even Teddy Roosevelt? At least RFK quoted the Greeks. Where are those people? Ayn Rand! To quote a fellow blog commenter “Sheesh!”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “its inherent inhumanity through an inversion of shared values and denial of any essential human community.”

    Shared values? What shared values?

    We have multiculturalism. We have groups of people with completely different goals each group suspicious of the others.

    Human community? or tyranny of the masses?

    We have many factions and some coalitions of factions jockeying for position and spoils. Many have no interest in the common good and fundamentally do not understand nor believe in the idea of public goods.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “its inherent inhumanity through an inversion of shared values and denial of any essential human community.”

    Shared values? What shared values?

    We have multiculturalism. We have groups of people with completely different goals each group suspicious of the others.

    Human community? or tyranny of the masses?

    We have many factions and some coalitions of factions jockeying for position and spoils. Many have no interest in the common good and fundamentally do not understand nor believe in the idea of public goods.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What comes to mind when I think of Ayn Rand is her fiendish philosophy of selfishness that guides all her thinking.”

    I don’t think most people who refer to her work are really thinking of her as a person.

    I like the writer Isaac Asimov.

    What does that mean? It means I enjoyed what he wrote. I haven’t read everything he has written, just to be clear.

    It does not mean I agree with his personal philosophy of life.

    Folks who agree with Rand are likely referring to her in the same way. Maybe I am projecting, but I think it is reasonable to assume at least some would mean it the way I do.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What comes to mind when I think of Ayn Rand is her fiendish philosophy of selfishness that guides all her thinking.”

    I don’t think most people who refer to her work are really thinking of her as a person.

    I like the writer Isaac Asimov.

    What does that mean? It means I enjoyed what he wrote. I haven’t read everything he has written, just to be clear.

    It does not mean I agree with his personal philosophy of life.

    Folks who agree with Rand are likely referring to her in the same way. Maybe I am projecting, but I think it is reasonable to assume at least some would mean it the way I do.

  • Stephen

    In terms of shared human values, I think there is something Orwellian to a writer that asserts, for instance, that mercy is evil. Perhaps it is a naive assumption anymore to still believe we have things in common as human beings. If that is the case, then the future could become what Nietzsche prophesied it would be – a time of the emergence of geniuses and supermen who create new values. Or worse – those who assert dominance purely through power. At least for him he thought those geniuses would herald a new age that would be good for everyone, one that would truly humanize us.

    For Rand, however, the world is only for the geniuses themselves. They get there by undoing everything we generally think of as good, true and right, redefining it wholly in terms of the needs of the isolated self with absolutely no obligation or concern for anyone or anything. The definition of good becomes its opposite when it loses any shared value between people. We may disagree in the particulars and even fail at doing the good, but we do seem to have some idea of what the conscience demands of us toward others. She suggests that the conscience is unnecessary and irrelevant, making her essentially psychotic.

  • Stephen

    In terms of shared human values, I think there is something Orwellian to a writer that asserts, for instance, that mercy is evil. Perhaps it is a naive assumption anymore to still believe we have things in common as human beings. If that is the case, then the future could become what Nietzsche prophesied it would be – a time of the emergence of geniuses and supermen who create new values. Or worse – those who assert dominance purely through power. At least for him he thought those geniuses would herald a new age that would be good for everyone, one that would truly humanize us.

    For Rand, however, the world is only for the geniuses themselves. They get there by undoing everything we generally think of as good, true and right, redefining it wholly in terms of the needs of the isolated self with absolutely no obligation or concern for anyone or anything. The definition of good becomes its opposite when it loses any shared value between people. We may disagree in the particulars and even fail at doing the good, but we do seem to have some idea of what the conscience demands of us toward others. She suggests that the conscience is unnecessary and irrelevant, making her essentially psychotic.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 107

    I would like to jump in here with permission sg and stephen. Shared values.

    our Lutheran Confessions say that God has written (Divine Revelation?) his Divine Law in the Minds of Men.

    In other places the Confessions identify this Divine Revelation as being Reason that results in God’s providencing of love (1st article small catechism “Devine Mercy and Goodness”) among sinful Old Adams.

    The confessions say that Old Adam is very active in faith. Old Adam is then, by his nature, deeply religious. He puts his faith in all things to viciously avoid trusting in Christ alone.

    Now here is what is interesting and should challenge our thinking: the Confessions call this “vicious faith in anything but Christ” what? They apply the terms “concupiscence”. “lust” and “coveteousness” as exact synonyms for that faith-run-amok.

    So when Bror told you that Galatians is the place to go in the Bible to understand what the Bible means by that word “lust”, this is the thread he is tying into.

    It might be helpful here to know SG that the meaning of the greek word that is translated as “lust” in the NT basically really has the meaning of “to covet”. It was not a favor for the NT translators to select an english word that conjures up more the idea of emotion driven human appetites, and especially sexual ones. That is not what we sh0uld be understanding.

    So if the word translated as “lust” really is better understood as “coveting”, then that changes alot. Then the word means to desire what is not ours. More importantly it means to look for our good and happiness in things other than what God would provide to us. So to covet is a matter of the heart. The desire and passion are not wrong. It is the misplacement of that passion and trust and love and faith to creature rather than creator. This says that all sin is about where faith and the heart seeks it’s end. ALL the acts of Old Adam are just symptoms of that heart dis-ease that is Original Sin. And so the greatest “lusting” is to be an impeccably good person outwardly, like the Pharisees, and then place our love and trust and desire in trying to propitiate God and please him with those outward acts.

    So now Rand. She is the radical pharisee. There is no “goodness and mercy” there. There is Reason elevated to the status of god. Reason is maybe the most excellent gift of God. But it must always be means and never an end. Reason is only used rightly when it results in what everyone knows as love. And true, reason also informs us that love and mercy are not self indulgence or indulgence. But it is a “suffering” in the old english meaning. it is forgiving of the weakness of others. It cares about those who are weaker morally, intellectually, physically, and in every sense of the word weak. it is full of compassion and mercy. It covers up wrongs as Noah’s good sons covered up his drunken nakedness, and as you did in the lives of Plutarch for your dear son.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 107

    I would like to jump in here with permission sg and stephen. Shared values.

    our Lutheran Confessions say that God has written (Divine Revelation?) his Divine Law in the Minds of Men.

    In other places the Confessions identify this Divine Revelation as being Reason that results in God’s providencing of love (1st article small catechism “Devine Mercy and Goodness”) among sinful Old Adams.

    The confessions say that Old Adam is very active in faith. Old Adam is then, by his nature, deeply religious. He puts his faith in all things to viciously avoid trusting in Christ alone.

    Now here is what is interesting and should challenge our thinking: the Confessions call this “vicious faith in anything but Christ” what? They apply the terms “concupiscence”. “lust” and “coveteousness” as exact synonyms for that faith-run-amok.

    So when Bror told you that Galatians is the place to go in the Bible to understand what the Bible means by that word “lust”, this is the thread he is tying into.

    It might be helpful here to know SG that the meaning of the greek word that is translated as “lust” in the NT basically really has the meaning of “to covet”. It was not a favor for the NT translators to select an english word that conjures up more the idea of emotion driven human appetites, and especially sexual ones. That is not what we sh0uld be understanding.

    So if the word translated as “lust” really is better understood as “coveting”, then that changes alot. Then the word means to desire what is not ours. More importantly it means to look for our good and happiness in things other than what God would provide to us. So to covet is a matter of the heart. The desire and passion are not wrong. It is the misplacement of that passion and trust and love and faith to creature rather than creator. This says that all sin is about where faith and the heart seeks it’s end. ALL the acts of Old Adam are just symptoms of that heart dis-ease that is Original Sin. And so the greatest “lusting” is to be an impeccably good person outwardly, like the Pharisees, and then place our love and trust and desire in trying to propitiate God and please him with those outward acts.

    So now Rand. She is the radical pharisee. There is no “goodness and mercy” there. There is Reason elevated to the status of god. Reason is maybe the most excellent gift of God. But it must always be means and never an end. Reason is only used rightly when it results in what everyone knows as love. And true, reason also informs us that love and mercy are not self indulgence or indulgence. But it is a “suffering” in the old english meaning. it is forgiving of the weakness of others. It cares about those who are weaker morally, intellectually, physically, and in every sense of the word weak. it is full of compassion and mercy. It covers up wrongs as Noah’s good sons covered up his drunken nakedness, and as you did in the lives of Plutarch for your dear son.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    stephen @109

    ” As others have said, her idea would require militias to protect the super wealthy capitalists, with the wealth concentrated in a precious few like some return to a feudal order. Anyone who defied it and those who are not super rich would be crushed. ”

    That says volumes. Communism too has some great ideas. At the end they can only be turned from an ideal to practice by the use of brute force. so the egalitarianism of rousseau and the purified elitism of Rand are wrong headed for exactly the same practical reasons.

    For christianity, this is sort of inverted. The end result of becoming a christian is to suffer and to die. This is what all christians sign up for in following Christ. We are to pour out ourselves in favor of the lost, the least, the last and the unlovable just as Christ did. We seek to serve those who need a physician. We don’t deny that the unwashed homeless woman is most probably in that place because of a series of appallingly bad and even selfish choices. But we still persist in being the source of delivery of Goodness and Mercy to that person.

    We are to treat that person , or a criminal, or a drug addict, or welfare queen or…. as we would treat Christ our dear Lord.

    Only as a judge or social services employee or someone placed in the position requiring that we administer punishment or discipline are we to act otherwise. In that case it would be a sin to not act otherwise, but even then we look to temper justice with mercy and goodness.

    This is hard stuff. And no sg, you are no hypocrite. You confess that you do not love as you should and fail to love when the opportunity presents itself every sunday in the Divine Service. A hypocrite would deny their shortcomings.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    stephen @109

    ” As others have said, her idea would require militias to protect the super wealthy capitalists, with the wealth concentrated in a precious few like some return to a feudal order. Anyone who defied it and those who are not super rich would be crushed. ”

    That says volumes. Communism too has some great ideas. At the end they can only be turned from an ideal to practice by the use of brute force. so the egalitarianism of rousseau and the purified elitism of Rand are wrong headed for exactly the same practical reasons.

    For christianity, this is sort of inverted. The end result of becoming a christian is to suffer and to die. This is what all christians sign up for in following Christ. We are to pour out ourselves in favor of the lost, the least, the last and the unlovable just as Christ did. We seek to serve those who need a physician. We don’t deny that the unwashed homeless woman is most probably in that place because of a series of appallingly bad and even selfish choices. But we still persist in being the source of delivery of Goodness and Mercy to that person.

    We are to treat that person , or a criminal, or a drug addict, or welfare queen or…. as we would treat Christ our dear Lord.

    Only as a judge or social services employee or someone placed in the position requiring that we administer punishment or discipline are we to act otherwise. In that case it would be a sin to not act otherwise, but even then we look to temper justice with mercy and goodness.

    This is hard stuff. And no sg, you are no hypocrite. You confess that you do not love as you should and fail to love when the opportunity presents itself every sunday in the Divine Service. A hypocrite would deny their shortcomings.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Goodness and mercy means to bless the unworthy, not to reward the worthy.

    small catechism: God gives his Goodness and Mercy without ANY merit or worthiness on our part, even to all the wicked, even without our prayer (read faith in God or piety or faithfulness).

    Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.

    This is a wicked and sinful idea.

    It is militantly opposed to God’s hidden work of Goodness and Mercy among us. And those who are swayed by Rand have reason to fear that God. He WILL have his Goodness and Mercy done. If we refuse to show mercy to the weak and even the undeserving, then he will send plagues, and pestilences and punishments and destroy even our very civilization as he did with the persians and greeks and romans before us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Goodness and mercy means to bless the unworthy, not to reward the worthy.

    small catechism: God gives his Goodness and Mercy without ANY merit or worthiness on our part, even to all the wicked, even without our prayer (read faith in God or piety or faithfulness).

    Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.

    This is a wicked and sinful idea.

    It is militantly opposed to God’s hidden work of Goodness and Mercy among us. And those who are swayed by Rand have reason to fear that God. He WILL have his Goodness and Mercy done. If we refuse to show mercy to the weak and even the undeserving, then he will send plagues, and pestilences and punishments and destroy even our very civilization as he did with the persians and greeks and romans before us.

  • Stephen

    What was that character on that show? Frank just took it to a “whole nutha’ level!”

    “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.”

    This makes them not what they are. The definitions lose their meaning. Orwellian madness from the extreme Right this time. Again, anyone who says they are inspired by this beastly stuff is to be avoided.

  • Stephen

    What was that character on that show? Frank just took it to a “whole nutha’ level!”

    “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.”

    This makes them not what they are. The definitions lose their meaning. Orwellian madness from the extreme Right this time. Again, anyone who says they are inspired by this beastly stuff is to be avoided.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So if the word translated as “lust” really is better understood as “coveting”, then that changes alot. Then the word means to desire what is not ours.”

    Yeah, pretty sure Rand opposed folks taking what wasn’t theirs.

    “And so the greatest “lusting” is to be an impeccably good person outwardly, like the Pharisees, and then place our love and trust and desire in trying to propitiate God and please him with those outward acts.”

    Well, that clears Rand. She wasn’t trying to please God.

    “[love] cares about those who are weaker morally, intellectually, physically, and in every sense of the word weak. it is full of compassion and mercy.”

    Does Rand count as “weaker morally, intellectually, physically, and in every sense of the word weak”? Some have noted her thinking on various topics was weak.

    “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.”

    I am pretty sure that is an interpretation, not something she actually wrote.

    “If we refuse to show mercy to the weak and even the undeserving, then he will send plagues, and pestilences and punishments and destroy even our very civilization as he did with the persians and greeks and romans before us.”

    Okay, but this sidesteps Rand’s (and Marx’s) points about taking what is rightfully earned from those who create the valuable goods and services.

    Plenty of things are framed as merciful, but upon closer inspection actually incentivize destructive behaviors that are far worse and hurt more people.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So if the word translated as “lust” really is better understood as “coveting”, then that changes alot. Then the word means to desire what is not ours.”

    Yeah, pretty sure Rand opposed folks taking what wasn’t theirs.

    “And so the greatest “lusting” is to be an impeccably good person outwardly, like the Pharisees, and then place our love and trust and desire in trying to propitiate God and please him with those outward acts.”

    Well, that clears Rand. She wasn’t trying to please God.

    “[love] cares about those who are weaker morally, intellectually, physically, and in every sense of the word weak. it is full of compassion and mercy.”

    Does Rand count as “weaker morally, intellectually, physically, and in every sense of the word weak”? Some have noted her thinking on various topics was weak.

    “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.”

    I am pretty sure that is an interpretation, not something she actually wrote.

    “If we refuse to show mercy to the weak and even the undeserving, then he will send plagues, and pestilences and punishments and destroy even our very civilization as he did with the persians and greeks and romans before us.”

    Okay, but this sidesteps Rand’s (and Marx’s) points about taking what is rightfully earned from those who create the valuable goods and services.

    Plenty of things are framed as merciful, but upon closer inspection actually incentivize destructive behaviors that are far worse and hurt more people.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @114

    “Plenty of things are framed as merciful, but upon closer inspection actually incentivize destructive behaviors that are far worse and hurt more people’”

    Ok. Give me just one example where an act of mercy is not potentially such an incentive? And if you cannot, then your point here is exactly what then?

    FWS: “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.” SG in response: I am pretty sure that is an interpretation, not something she actually wrote.

    My comment was not a quote. There were no “”. It was a summary, paraphrase , caracterization. You think it is an uncharitable or distorted one? How and why?“

    FWS: So if the word translated as “lust” really is better understood as “coveting”, then that changes alot. Then the word means tdesire what is not ours.”SG in response: Yeah, pretty sure Rand opposed folks taking what wasn’t theirs.

    If that is true, then there can be greed without sin. This IS probably true if we think of God’s Law the way human law works. In human law we keep the law by doing what is right and avoiding doing what is wrong. God’s Law is about the heart. And Rand advocates breaking that Law by making a virtue out of self interest.

    Luther in his corinthians commentary points out that Lust is pretty easy to identify for the most part. He suggest that the far more dangerous sin is greed precisely because it can be so very easily thought to be a virtue: self sufficiency, industriousness, hard work, thriftiness, shrewdness etc.

    Here we are talking about the difference between keeping the Law of God revealed to all men in their minds as Reason, and which agrees with the Decalog because it is the same Law as it pertains to our outward behaviors of reason and love, versus that Law of God that peculiarly deals with movements of the heart SG. Reason is blind to that Law of God since only a heart that has been regenerated can see that the Law demands that our every action be done from the very bottom of our heart joyfully and spontaneously, and not out of the compulsion that is called “duty”.

    here on earth, every good act and thought that you and I can do is literally extorted out of our Old Adam which is pagan through and through. We have that constant internal debate going on between that Law Divinely Revealed in our Reason versus what our Old Adam heart would really rather do as driven by Original Sin that fans and inflames our emotions driven by our natural appetites.

    Our new man has no such internal debate going on . Think of the blessed Incarnation to picture that kind of existence. Jesus simply did what was good. Instinctively. no choice made. Old Adam morality is always about a choice between good and evil. Faith requires no choice to be made. Whatever is not if faith is sin. That is what that passage means.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @114

    “Plenty of things are framed as merciful, but upon closer inspection actually incentivize destructive behaviors that are far worse and hurt more people’”

    Ok. Give me just one example where an act of mercy is not potentially such an incentive? And if you cannot, then your point here is exactly what then?

    FWS: “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.” SG in response: I am pretty sure that is an interpretation, not something she actually wrote.

    My comment was not a quote. There were no “”. It was a summary, paraphrase , caracterization. You think it is an uncharitable or distorted one? How and why?“

    FWS: So if the word translated as “lust” really is better understood as “coveting”, then that changes alot. Then the word means tdesire what is not ours.”SG in response: Yeah, pretty sure Rand opposed folks taking what wasn’t theirs.

    If that is true, then there can be greed without sin. This IS probably true if we think of God’s Law the way human law works. In human law we keep the law by doing what is right and avoiding doing what is wrong. God’s Law is about the heart. And Rand advocates breaking that Law by making a virtue out of self interest.

    Luther in his corinthians commentary points out that Lust is pretty easy to identify for the most part. He suggest that the far more dangerous sin is greed precisely because it can be so very easily thought to be a virtue: self sufficiency, industriousness, hard work, thriftiness, shrewdness etc.

    Here we are talking about the difference between keeping the Law of God revealed to all men in their minds as Reason, and which agrees with the Decalog because it is the same Law as it pertains to our outward behaviors of reason and love, versus that Law of God that peculiarly deals with movements of the heart SG. Reason is blind to that Law of God since only a heart that has been regenerated can see that the Law demands that our every action be done from the very bottom of our heart joyfully and spontaneously, and not out of the compulsion that is called “duty”.

    here on earth, every good act and thought that you and I can do is literally extorted out of our Old Adam which is pagan through and through. We have that constant internal debate going on between that Law Divinely Revealed in our Reason versus what our Old Adam heart would really rather do as driven by Original Sin that fans and inflames our emotions driven by our natural appetites.

    Our new man has no such internal debate going on . Think of the blessed Incarnation to picture that kind of existence. Jesus simply did what was good. Instinctively. no choice made. Old Adam morality is always about a choice between good and evil. Faith requires no choice to be made. Whatever is not if faith is sin. That is what that passage means.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “FWS: “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.” SG in response: I am pretty sure that is an interpretation, not something she actually wrote.

    “My comment was not a quote. There were no “”. It was a summary, paraphrase , caracterization. You think it is an uncharitable or distorted one? How and why?“

    Because it sidesteps Rand’s (and Marx’s) points about taking what is rightfully earned from those who create the valuable goods and services.

    She wasn’t constantly discussing goodness and mercy. She was preoccupied with the taking of private property.

    Rand asserts self interest will serve justice and prosperity. She exaggerates. Marx asserts that socialism among workers and capitalists will serve justice and prosperity. He exaggerates.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “FWS: “Rand says that Goodness and Mercy are to be served only to the meritorious.” SG in response: I am pretty sure that is an interpretation, not something she actually wrote.

    “My comment was not a quote. There were no “”. It was a summary, paraphrase , caracterization. You think it is an uncharitable or distorted one? How and why?“

    Because it sidesteps Rand’s (and Marx’s) points about taking what is rightfully earned from those who create the valuable goods and services.

    She wasn’t constantly discussing goodness and mercy. She was preoccupied with the taking of private property.

    Rand asserts self interest will serve justice and prosperity. She exaggerates. Marx asserts that socialism among workers and capitalists will serve justice and prosperity. He exaggerates.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hey, fws, if you were to put the best construction on Rand’s writings, what would it be?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hey, fws, if you were to put the best construction on Rand’s writings, what would it be?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    best construction:

    Man proposes. God disposes.

    Marx and Rand and the Pharisees all had one thing in common: They all think they can do the Law. They imagine themselves and others to be prime actors who determine the outcome. This is similar to those who crusade in the culture wars. Their creed is “Do something or the world will go awry!” So the course of human history then depends upon the choices of man.

    The truth is that God uses the Divine Law he has revealed in the Reason of all men to work His Goodness and Mercy , in, with and under the works of sinful man. The Lutheran Confessions say that God uses this Law to literally “extort” our Old Adam into doing Goodness and Mercy… for others.

    So how do I put a best interpretation on Marx, Rand, Liberals , Conservatives, Gays, Pro abortionists, ax murderers, Pharisees, Boy Scouts, people who floss, and those who mind their mama?

    I judge them according to their works and the effects of those works here on earth. If the works are not about doing acts of love that objectively improve the lives of others and subjectively at the same time bring contentment and joy and happiness to others, then I can be quite certain that God’s will IS being done.

    I am at a loss to see how self interest as a virtue will serve to provide what ALONE is truly moral on earth, and that is service to our neighbor. Our Lord defines what this service and what a neighbor is in the story of the Good Samaritan exactly for someone “seeking to be justified” by Reasonable morality according to the outward acts.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    best construction:

    Man proposes. God disposes.

    Marx and Rand and the Pharisees all had one thing in common: They all think they can do the Law. They imagine themselves and others to be prime actors who determine the outcome. This is similar to those who crusade in the culture wars. Their creed is “Do something or the world will go awry!” So the course of human history then depends upon the choices of man.

    The truth is that God uses the Divine Law he has revealed in the Reason of all men to work His Goodness and Mercy , in, with and under the works of sinful man. The Lutheran Confessions say that God uses this Law to literally “extort” our Old Adam into doing Goodness and Mercy… for others.

    So how do I put a best interpretation on Marx, Rand, Liberals , Conservatives, Gays, Pro abortionists, ax murderers, Pharisees, Boy Scouts, people who floss, and those who mind their mama?

    I judge them according to their works and the effects of those works here on earth. If the works are not about doing acts of love that objectively improve the lives of others and subjectively at the same time bring contentment and joy and happiness to others, then I can be quite certain that God’s will IS being done.

    I am at a loss to see how self interest as a virtue will serve to provide what ALONE is truly moral on earth, and that is service to our neighbor. Our Lord defines what this service and what a neighbor is in the story of the Good Samaritan exactly for someone “seeking to be justified” by Reasonable morality according to the outward acts.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    We only think we do the law. The Law does us actually.

    Luther proposes that one should teach ones children to joyfully and willingly keep the Law that is totally about love that is serving others for a reason: fear of God.

    If we do not serve the needs of others willingly, then God will come and force us to do so with punishments and plagues and pestilences. Ultimately we do not do the Law you see. The Law does all of us. And it does us to our death. All will die. That is the proof .

    Here is a sermon where Luther describes the Lutheran position on morality and the Law. This sermon is the basis for the formula of concord art VI.

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    so best interpretation of Rand and Marx and whatever isms we are looking at? God will use it all for good. The Law of God will ultimately have the final say . That battle is not for us to win or lose. We can trust God on that and so occupy ourselves with what God has put immediately before us to do with joy and trust.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    We only think we do the law. The Law does us actually.

    Luther proposes that one should teach ones children to joyfully and willingly keep the Law that is totally about love that is serving others for a reason: fear of God.

    If we do not serve the needs of others willingly, then God will come and force us to do so with punishments and plagues and pestilences. Ultimately we do not do the Law you see. The Law does all of us. And it does us to our death. All will die. That is the proof .

    Here is a sermon where Luther describes the Lutheran position on morality and the Law. This sermon is the basis for the formula of concord art VI.

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    so best interpretation of Rand and Marx and whatever isms we are looking at? God will use it all for good. The Law of God will ultimately have the final say . That battle is not for us to win or lose. We can trust God on that and so occupy ourselves with what God has put immediately before us to do with joy and trust.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @117

    Luther also, interestingly, in his preface to the catechisms, suggests that parents should find many examples in the Bible of how God rewards good acts and punishes evil acts. He suggests this should be a core part of teaching the young.

    This advice is in the context of the sermon I linked to in the previous post.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @117

    Luther also, interestingly, in his preface to the catechisms, suggests that parents should find many examples in the Bible of how God rewards good acts and punishes evil acts. He suggests this should be a core part of teaching the young.

    This advice is in the context of the sermon I linked to in the previous post.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    you can help me answer your question. I would need to see how anything rand proposes could result in acts of Goodness and Mercy being done by someone for someone else that would result in a truly better life and truly increased happiness of that other, were one to scrupulously follow the recipe Rands dictates.

    Whatever that would be, would be something to be praised as truly moral by the standards of God’s Word.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    you can help me answer your question. I would need to see how anything rand proposes could result in acts of Goodness and Mercy being done by someone for someone else that would result in a truly better life and truly increased happiness of that other, were one to scrupulously follow the recipe Rands dictates.

    Whatever that would be, would be something to be praised as truly moral by the standards of God’s Word.

  • Stephen

    Before you get off on a “Rand as opposed to Marx” project, just to clarify – she does, in all her work, make the point that any action for another that is given over which is “unearned” is a betrayal of self-interest. She shows complete contempt for the idea of mercy in one scene from The Fountainhead (Justice Clarence Thomas’ favorite novel!). As her main character is passing a church at night he hears a preacher sermonizing about the virtue of mercy. The word and the concept creates a deep loathing within him. It is counter to everything he is about, defying his highest ideal to be true only to himself alone.

    There are many instances of these sorts of sentiments in Rand which are part and parcel of her idea. Essentially, there can be no graciousness or giving to the other in her worldview. This would violate one’s “highest value” of the inviolate self. To do so would then be the complete undoing of her system. So she must make a big deal about it, and she does.

    So when you say that “Rand asserts self interest will serve justice and prosperity” she is not merely exaggerating. She is completely redefining what those things are within the narrow bounds of her solipsism. These terms do not mean the same things any longer. When FWS says that goodness and mercy are only for the meritorious, they have thus ceased to be goodness and mercy any longer. Here is perhaps where some comparison with the extremes of communism comes in. Shall we crush the poor or crush the rich?

  • Stephen

    Before you get off on a “Rand as opposed to Marx” project, just to clarify – she does, in all her work, make the point that any action for another that is given over which is “unearned” is a betrayal of self-interest. She shows complete contempt for the idea of mercy in one scene from The Fountainhead (Justice Clarence Thomas’ favorite novel!). As her main character is passing a church at night he hears a preacher sermonizing about the virtue of mercy. The word and the concept creates a deep loathing within him. It is counter to everything he is about, defying his highest ideal to be true only to himself alone.

    There are many instances of these sorts of sentiments in Rand which are part and parcel of her idea. Essentially, there can be no graciousness or giving to the other in her worldview. This would violate one’s “highest value” of the inviolate self. To do so would then be the complete undoing of her system. So she must make a big deal about it, and she does.

    So when you say that “Rand asserts self interest will serve justice and prosperity” she is not merely exaggerating. She is completely redefining what those things are within the narrow bounds of her solipsism. These terms do not mean the same things any longer. When FWS says that goodness and mercy are only for the meritorious, they have thus ceased to be goodness and mercy any longer. Here is perhaps where some comparison with the extremes of communism comes in. Shall we crush the poor or crush the rich?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    There was an exibit recently near my house dedicated to the founder of the communist party here in brasil.

    He stated something to the effect (in portuguese so I need to translate) that a life that is not productive forfeits it’s very right to exist.

    I found those words chilling. I hear about the same idea in Rand. And I picture humanity reduced to that scene in the film the Matrix where one of the lead protagonists says humanity is reduced to …. (holding a duracell battery).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    There was an exibit recently near my house dedicated to the founder of the communist party here in brasil.

    He stated something to the effect (in portuguese so I need to translate) that a life that is not productive forfeits it’s very right to exist.

    I found those words chilling. I hear about the same idea in Rand. And I picture humanity reduced to that scene in the film the Matrix where one of the lead protagonists says humanity is reduced to …. (holding a duracell battery).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    I see no difference then between Rand and Marx or between focus on the family and liberal churches. They both imagine they can return the world to paradise. Their methods and reasoning is really quite remarkably similar.

    so what is the difference: it is their vision of what a “Just” world would look like. They are all examples of the fact that the Law can only lead to death. It is like struggling in quicksand.

    The only escape is to die. That means that the only escape is baptism and being joined to that One Death that overcomes death.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg @ 117

    I see no difference then between Rand and Marx or between focus on the family and liberal churches. They both imagine they can return the world to paradise. Their methods and reasoning is really quite remarkably similar.

    so what is the difference: it is their vision of what a “Just” world would look like. They are all examples of the fact that the Law can only lead to death. It is like struggling in quicksand.

    The only escape is to die. That means that the only escape is baptism and being joined to that One Death that overcomes death.

  • Stephen

    I guess I should not be so perplexed that reasonable people find her so . . . fascinating, even though she’s so awful. If I were to answer the “best construction” question SG, I would say the woman was psychotic, damaged, perhaps traumatized. If she had been a man she might have done some real, physical harm perhaps. Instead, we have these sinister writings that mesmerize power hungry people.

  • Stephen

    I guess I should not be so perplexed that reasonable people find her so . . . fascinating, even though she’s so awful. If I were to answer the “best construction” question SG, I would say the woman was psychotic, damaged, perhaps traumatized. If she had been a man she might have done some real, physical harm perhaps. Instead, we have these sinister writings that mesmerize power hungry people.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    fws, thanks.

    Stephen @ 125. I don’t find her fascinating at all, as I explained.

    I do think that the knee jerk response to her dislike of charity shows a lack of understanding of some points that are relevant to the discussion of property rights and status, etc. For example, if some poor widow needs money to feed her kids and Rand gives it to her, that poor widow doesn’t need to provide goods or services to someone in exchange. She is deprived of dignity and the community is deprived of her labor even as it provides her needs. It also sends a bad message to her children that work is for others, not for them. Now, both the giving and withholding of charity for the benefit of the poor can be carried to extreme. The poor need to work for what they get. They need to believe that their vocation is necessary and important even if low status. (I would much rather see politicians and investment bankers out on strike than sanitation workers and janitors) I can agree that Rand overstates the case, but the point is valid.

    My point is that there is dignity in work, however mean. I see Rand’s self interest model as incentivizing the poor widow to work and provide service as well as incentivizing someone to hire her. This is an honorable arrangement. Rand takes it too far.

    Likewise, folks too quickly dismiss Marx as his work is also misinterpreted/misrepresented/misapplied.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    fws, thanks.

    Stephen @ 125. I don’t find her fascinating at all, as I explained.

    I do think that the knee jerk response to her dislike of charity shows a lack of understanding of some points that are relevant to the discussion of property rights and status, etc. For example, if some poor widow needs money to feed her kids and Rand gives it to her, that poor widow doesn’t need to provide goods or services to someone in exchange. She is deprived of dignity and the community is deprived of her labor even as it provides her needs. It also sends a bad message to her children that work is for others, not for them. Now, both the giving and withholding of charity for the benefit of the poor can be carried to extreme. The poor need to work for what they get. They need to believe that their vocation is necessary and important even if low status. (I would much rather see politicians and investment bankers out on strike than sanitation workers and janitors) I can agree that Rand overstates the case, but the point is valid.

    My point is that there is dignity in work, however mean. I see Rand’s self interest model as incentivizing the poor widow to work and provide service as well as incentivizing someone to hire her. This is an honorable arrangement. Rand takes it too far.

    Likewise, folks too quickly dismiss Marx as his work is also misinterpreted/misrepresented/misapplied.

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