Speaking of Crazy Marxists and Randians

So here’s the thing: Rush Limbaugh is a big fan of Ayn Rand. That would be the Ayn Rand who says:

There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism — the inviolate sanctity of man’s soul, and the salvation of one’s soul as one’s first concern and highest goal; this means — one’s ego and the integrity of one’s ego. But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one’s soul — (this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one’s soul?) — Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one’s soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one’s soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one’s soul to the souls of others.

This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men’s natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work. That is why the history of Christianity has been a continuous civil war — both literally (between sects and nations), and spiritually (within each man’s soul).

It’s that Ayn Rand who saw abortion as an absolute right more fanatically than Obama does.

It’s that Ayn Rand who said, “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

Now, because Limbaugh is a fan and Approved Conservative Media Organs like FOX are promoting a “Get Out the Vote” campaign for the awful film of Rand’s awful novel, it is not surprising to note that a growing number of people in the Thing that Used to be Conservatism, including Christians, are attempting to square the circle by invoking this deeply anti-Christian lunatic as somehow compatible with the Christian faith. In this, they are something like the Liberation Theologians who wish to pretend that Marxism can be baptized and reconciled with the Faith. They are deeply and desperately wrong of course. Oh, to be sure, Rand (like all ideological nutcases) has a couple of good points (rather like Hitler had a good point when he said Germany got a raw deal at Versailles). But I would recommend neither Hitler nor Rand as a major formator of a healthy Christian worldview.

However, tribalism being what it is, Limbaugh and the growing cadre of people who give Rand a pass despite her icy pride, hatred of the Faith, contempt for the weak, zeal for abortion, and antichrist worship of Self, are not nearly so charitable to the people they have been taught to vilify as outside the Tribe of the Righteous. With Randians, we are urged to “eat the meat and spit out the bones.” Fair enough. That’s a Catholic attitude. Affirm was can be affirmed.

But when Obama gives an ordinary garden variety remark which reflects ordinary garden variety Christian piety–”I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason–because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection–something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.”–Limbaugh thinks nothing at all of ridiculing that statement

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, President Barack Obama, peace be upon him, praise be his name, commenting on Easter at the Easter prayer breakfast at the White House yesterday. There’s just something about the Resurrection that puts everything else in perspective, like, what, tax cuts are no big deal, tax increases are no big deal? When you start thinking about the Resurrection, you know, socialism, not that important to me. What does he mean? What is it about the Resurrection that puts everything else? He said something about it. What about it?”

I’ve just never heard [the Resurrection] discussed this way. When he discusses the call to prayer in the Muslim world as being one of the sweetest sounds in the world, I mean that’s an eloquent way to describe the Muslim call to prayer. Here we’re talking the Resurrection. There’s something about that….

You know, after hearing him describe it that way, I’m actually surprised that Obama doesn’t think of Easter as the day a big rabbit comes out of his hole and, depending on whether he sees his shadow or not, tells us if we’re in for a long winter.

Yes. Clearly, when Obama says that Jesus Christ has conquered death, he can *only* mean that everybody should ignore US tax policy. It’s all bone and no meat, because Obama, the quintessence of evil in the universe, is saying it. He can’t mean, oh, what all the rest of believing Christians mean: that the conquest of death is of much greater moment than the stuff that consumes our media chatter–including the media chatter of Rush Limbaugh.

It will be interesting to see if Christians will choose to go along with Limbaugh and ridicule belief in the Resurrection just because Obama said he believes it. It will be interesting to see if a single caller to his show is permitted to say, as Ann Althouse said to her great credit, “Good Lord, let it go!”

Me: if Obama calls Jesus “Lord and Savior” and professes to believe the Resurrection, I think the sensible thing to do is take him at his word.

That does, of course, entail abandoning the cherished (and spreading) wingnut conspiracy theory that he is secretly a Muslim (cuz, y’know, Muslims ain’t really keen on calling Jesus “Lord”). And it might even mean giving up the notion (just illustrated by Limbaugh’s petty response) that he is the pure distillation of all evil in the universe such that any proposition affirmed by him is, ipso facto, false and contemptible. Indeed, it might even involve reflecting on whether it’s a great idea to always take one’s spiritual signals from a movement that is increasingly coming to hail Rand as a genius.

No, that doesn’t mean giving Obama a pass on his immense failings just because he calls himself a Christian. It merely means *not* reflexively giving a pass to Randian Christians (and Limbaugh is a Christian) merely because they hate Obama and take anything, including a confession of Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, as an occasion for contempt for the guy. Even lousy presidents are right when they hail Jesus as Lord and proclaim his resurrection.

Conservative Christians have been wigging out about the influence of Saul Alinsky on Obama for years. Fair enough. I agree we should be cautious about accepting guidance from a consequentialist like Alinsky. So when will these same Christians likewise question the influence of Ayn Rand on Limbaugh and the various people giving marching orders to the viewers of FOX. Marx isn’t the only Antichrist. Sometimes she wears a skirt.

That’s not to say I don’t think Limbaugh a Christian. I do. I think him a deeply muddled one, like Obama.

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