Skip to comments.Atlas Shrugged and Christians
Posted on 03/27/2010 11:06:47 PM PDT by razorbacks198
My granddaughter sent me this of a young conservative lady defending libertarianism and John Galt, and this person was saying that Jesus can't go along with Atlas Shrugged. I want to know what a true conservative view is on the two things.
I suspect that there are conservative atheists, as well as religious liberals. Certainly there were Catholics who supported communists as “Liberation Theology” became fashionable.
My personal idea is that conservatives are guided by experience. Young people don’t have much experience and tend to be more liberal, unless they are educated enough to be able to access the experience of others. Experience can be in any of many areas. Religious education permits accessing prior experience of other’s religion.
Progressives/liberals tend to reject lessons of experience. An airy “Oh, but things are different now” and off they go having hundreds of sexual partners, loaning money to people who can’t pay it back...
The central tenet of Objectivism is the virtue of selfishness [properly understood]. As Ayn Rand said: "In order for civilization to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men need to reject."
It is possible for some kinds of Christians to be Conservative, and for some kinds of Conservatives to be Christians. It is possible for a type of Conservative to be an Objectivist, and vice versa. It is not possible under andy circmstances for an Objectivist to be a Christian, nor for a Christian to be an Objectivist.
John Galt makes this clear in his semi-climactic discursis toward the end of Atlas Shrugged and Rand made this clear in all of her writings.
Conversely, jesus makes it pretty clear that his morality is entirely a morality of altruism.
While the author was an atheist and opposed religion as authoritarian I believe that many of the sentiments she expressed only work with Judeo-Christian values. If you have read the book you will find the one thing missing is the soul. She had no concept of Christian love and of spiritual faith, even her denunciations of it are shallow because she knew little of what she attacked.
It is really the only huge glaring flaw of her work.
The Freeper Book Club had a HUGE long series of threads over every chapter of Atlas Shrugged.
I think a person can be very sympathetic to libertarianism and smaller government, while recognizing that Atlas Shrugged is spiritual poison and severely at odds with Christianity.
“Men are gods” is not consistent with a religion that highly values humility and condemns pride as a sin
I think Atlas Shrugged is an important book to read and understand, and there are definitely parallels. But Ms. Rand was just a person - who at the end of the day believes that money=power, and that power is the goal.
She was an atheist, and reportedly very demanding and woe to the person that disagreed with her.
(From what I can tell of people who believe in the gospel of Rand there is no charity of any kind, and really they are the most self centered, non charitable people I have ever come into contact with.)
The only thing conservative about the objectionists are they believe in free market capitalism. Everything else I see is left leaning libertarian.
The religion of Rand is really quite interesting to observe, and it really truly is a religion of sorts.
Are you asking if you can be a believer and an objectionist? If so perhaps if it’s by misunderstanding what Jesus taught or what Ms. Rand taught, but they seem to be mutually exclusive.
Without a foundation there can be no morality
Rand’s reply to your “foundation” is that it is imaginary, and therefore no foundation at all. More charitably, I would argue that your foundation is a matter of faith, so it is no firmer than Rand’s (who believed in herself.)
My view is that Big Government wants to kill me and take my money. Christians don’t. Conservatives don’t. Objectivists don’t. There aren’t any other issues that matter.
“I believe that many of the sentiments she expressed only work with Judeo-Christian values.”
It has been awhile since I read Atlas Shrugged, and it is the only book of hers I have read. But, it did leave a big impression on me. As a Christian, I had to filter some of the stuff in the book through that. (Just like I do with songs, movies, etc.)
I do know that in my business, I treat my clients fairly, do a good job, and even cut my prices back when needed to help them out. I suppose it is rooted in a Christian upbringing, but it has big payoffs as well. As a kid, I never understood why my old man would cut prices (home builder) on certain things, or even taking a loss on some add-on items. Or pay his two carpenters even when they weren’t building and times were slow (the Jimmy Carter years). Although he always did seem to find odd jobs for them somewhere. As a kid I thought “heck of a way to run a business”.
He died a very happy, well respected, and a fairly wealthy man.
Since she believed all forms of collectivism are evil, and all demands placed on individuals simply arising in the needs of the demander are immoral, I really don't see how you can make this statement. There is nothing whatever leftist in any writing of Rand's. If you equate: not social conservative = left leaning libertarian, I might take your point. But that has nothing to do with "Right" or "Left."
Without morality the foundation flounders.
Ayn Rand came from a non-observant Jewish family. As far as I know, she was an atheist her whole life, never rejecting faith, any faith, because she never had a faith.
It seems to me that while her ideas about free markets are consistent with conservatism, most of what she believed is incompatible with modern American conservatism and America’s Judeo-Christian values.
The quintessential essence of Atlas Shrugged goes beyond libertarianism. The essence is this: the gov’t does not have the power or the right to make me give my all to others. What Jesus taught goes along with this.
The disciples and early followers of The Way - in the book of Acts - sold all that they had, distributed the money to all, and they had all things in common.
That is Commonism. Commonism is “What is mine is thine.”
Communism is “What is thine is mine.”
In Atlas Shrugged, people labored under a totalitarian system that is at least eerily similar to Communism. Since Jesus never taught “What is thine is mine,” Jesus would not be against Atlas Shrugged - at least within those narrow confines that I elaborated.
very well spoken and absolutely true.
I said what I see in objectionists, perhaps I could have said “in general”.
I stand by my statement from what I have personally observed. Left leaning libertarian, outside of fiscal issues.
Kant's drowning man argument is instructive. Two men are drowning. One is your brother, the other a stranger. You can only save one. In Kant's view, it is immoral to save your brother, because it is not truly selfless. Here is another example: a murderer and a millionarie are drowning under the same circumstances. It is less moral (in Kant's inane worldview) to save the millionaire, because there is the possibility of a reward.
It is this making a fetish of altruism that is so destructive to our civilization.
Is is possible to be a Christian Objectivist? Why yes, as long as your objectivism is bounded by a Christian moral framework, and not the other way around. I cannot think of a more basic objectivist statement as what Paul stated in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
The great debates at the American Founding were between Libertarians and Conservatives. Those were the good old days, when we had the luxury of true geniuses with honest disagreements crafting a masterwork of governance and tradition.
Now we are in the fight of our lives: it's toxic to go looking for enemies among people with common cause.
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