You cannot serve God and Mammon

  • ivan_the_mad

    To borrow a turn of phrase from this blog, Whittaker Chambers did the autopsy on this stuff.

    • CJ

      Never fear, Mark: Paul Ryan is the modern day Aquinas! He will parse out the good stuff from Rand and discard all the junk. You can tell he’s on the right track by the way he keeps that “makers vs. takers” distinction.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        It’s an easy distinction: the takers are on Capitol Hill. The makers are everywhere else.

        • Mark S. (not for Shea)

          Don’t forget Wall Street.
          Honestly, I don’t have a huge problem with Ryan’s “makers vs. takers” distinction. It’s sadly accurate. I just think he has their identities backwards. Corporate CEOS and shareholders don’t make anything. They just take all the profits from the labor of others.

          • chezami

            No. It’s not accurate. And exhibit A is the fact that Ryan, a man who who does nothing but suck off the public tit all his life considers himself a Maker.

            • Mark S. (not for Shea)

              Yep. That’s what I meant. Ryan is right in that society has devolved into makes and takers. He just has them mixed up. The ones (like himself) he sees as makers are really the takers, and vice versa.
              Sorry if I failed to convey that the first time round.

              • Obpoet

                I do not think he has it mixed up. We are spending too much money, money we do not have. He has it just right.

          • Marthe Lépine

            Some people can happen to say something correct by mistake… such as Ryan.

  • Guest

    But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the
    child, i.e., to allow it to die. The law, therefore, may not properly compel
    the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive. (Again, whether or not a parent
    has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child
    alive is a completely separate question.) This rule allows us to solve such
    vexing questions as: should a parent have the right to allow a deformed baby to
    die (e.g. by not feeding it)? The answer is of course yes, following a fortiori
    from the larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die.
    (Though, as we shall see below, in a libertarian society the existence of a
    free baby market will bring such ‘neglect’ down to a minimum.)”- Murray Rothbard- hero of Neo-Reactionaries and Paulbots everywhere.

  • Irksome1

    There you go again, Mark, picking on poor Ayn Rand. Don’t you know better than to jeer at intellectual dwarfs? Really!

    Why don’t you make a post about Obama that we can all agree on?

    • Marthe Lépine

      She may be an intellectual dwarf, but she seems to have attracted a lot of positive attention from people who are intelligent enough to know better!

  • Andy

    It is so much easier to serve mammon – in serving mammon one has only to worry about we (me and my immediate important others) and not they(anyone else). They are so unlike we – you know – pack of cognitive aptitude, not valuing what we value, always looking for someone else for a handout. In worshiping mammon life becomes easy.

    Following the teachings of Jesus make it hard – there is no they there is only we. There is no reason not to help with a smile and expect nothing in return. THe scriptures were pretty clear about the excesses of riches and the problems they cause, and they were clear that we are to plan for the future – in Heaven.

    However, the need for immediate gratification and gratitude from other that is seems inherent in the US psyche – I think demonstrated by American exceptiaonlism and the attendant behaviors makes following our Lord all to difficult. It is much easier to take today and have what I want then look to the future. It is much easier to expect gratitude for every piece of “charity” then to give unstintingly.

    My fear that the worship of Mammon as presented not just by Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, but also less overtly by all of the political class will lead us to destruction.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Not “us”, just “them”! But we particularly need to pray for the rich and powerful, instead of always criticizing their (real) weaknesses. I really do not want anyone, no matter how sinful they may have been on this earth, to find him/herself in the situation of the rich man begging for a drop a water from Lazarus. Don’t you?

      • Andy

        I agree and I do – my intent was to call to the attention of many that the worship of mammon as presented as the American way is a problem. Thank you of your reminder of prayer.

  • BTP

    When Shea gets canonized, he will immediately become the patron saint of scarecrow makers. Poor ones, anyway.

    • Bill

      Screw Ayn Rand

      • BTP

        Well, there you have it. Now, on to the next scapegoat!

        • Andy

          Although screw Ayn Rand is not a useful response – Ayn Rand and her adherents are the takers – they rely on others to support their needs through purchasing their goods. They rely on others to fill the voids in their lives. They are not scapegoats, but they are far from innocent and holy in the massive inequality that the worship of mammon has led to.

          • Andy

            I would also add that they do all they can to avoid paying taxes on their income, yet they demand that the government subsidize their work.

          • Bill

            it’s a plenty useful response. The whole ideology needs to be ignored.

            • Andy

              If yo had said the movement I would agree – I find saying that about anyone to not be useful – personal taste.

          • BTP

            I think the number of Rand adherents is vastly over-estimated. It is one of the reasons why this entire post of Shea’s is, as I said above, a strawman. Indeed, just because Rand’s thinking has lots of problems — some quite severe — does not mean that everyone who thinks certain points of hers are valid is a Randian.

            Even less does it mean that he is therefore set at odds with Christ. This is true whether Shea — and a distressing number of those who comment here — likes his strawmen or not.

            • Andy

              You may be right indeed about the number of Rand adherents – they may be a small number, however, they seem to have an outsized impact on how the economy is managed, how we view the primacy of making money – lots of money as a measure of worth. They also have an outsized impact on the business world sand those at the top of the business world. In today’s society they seem to live in a different world –

              This of group of adherents seem to have influenced our view of those who do not make money, and/or who live in poverty. The makers vs. takers argument could and does find its roots in the definitions of selfishness that spring from Rand’s philosophy. This when coupled with her distinct yet not real definition of altruism seems to be the second prong of the makers vs. takers argument.

              Putting Rand’s picture next to that of Christ is indeed putting the model for one belief system next to another and akin people to make a choice. I don’t see this as a strawman argument – it is perhaps over the top, but the distinction according to CST is that one has to make a choice – serving mammon or serving Christ.

        • Bill

          Exactly, there I do have it.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Some of the bolder takers aren’t even hiding their contempt and lust for power anymore.


    How long before they insist on hereditary titles and lands?

  • Elmwood

    the philosophy of makers and takers is alive and well in alaska. our elected legislators can work for the same company they regulate: two republican state lawmakers were crucial in pushing through a highly contested oil tax reform bill which basically gave away billions in oil wealth back to the big oil companies, repealing the good work the Sarah Palin accomplished during her short stint as governor. this money will never trickle down to most of alaska. instead it will likely be reinvested elsewhere or cashed out in golden parachutes for the execs.

    the PFD, which is given to all citizens of alaska yearly, effectively redistributing wealth, is despised by many “conservatives” because those people didn’t earn that money, the oil companies did. And the liberals want the state to spend those funds because middle class and poor people are too stupid to know how best to spend it. at the ends of the political spectrum, there is overlap.