Skip to comments.Ayn Rand's Objectivism is the Antithesis of Christianity, American Self-Government, and Liberty
Posted on 04/18/2011 1:59:33 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
With the release this past weekend of Hollywood's version of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," the country is abuzz with paeans to the the philosophy Rand espoused, even from some people who call themselves "conservative" and "Christian." The book has once again gone to the top of the best-sellers' lists.
So, this would be a good time to examine just what Ayn Rand believed.
An old friend was online today urging conservatives to go see the movie, because, and I quote:
...the folks behind it are not contributing to the corruption of our culture...
"Well, besides spreading the godless, materialist, selfish Objectivist ideology...
The Randian idea that we can have just government, or maintain liberty, without God, without a moral basis for our laws, is one of the leading corruptions in our culture, old friend."
That's right. To put it bluntly, her Objectivism is godless, self-centered, materialistic, anti-Christian, and anti-American.
"I am against God for the reason that I don't want to destroy reason."
"My morality is based on man's life as the standard of value...that his highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own habits...that each man must live as an end in himself."
An anti-Christian doctrine if there ever was one, premised in the original lie of the serpent in the Garden: "Ye shall be as gods."
To the Christian, God Himself is the standard of value, and man's value is derived from the value God Himself placed on us when He made us in His own image, and then came to earth Himself to redeem us by His supreme sacrificial act. We are not an end in ourselves, but were created to serve God and our fellow man, just as He modeled perfectly for us.
1Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Rand's philosophy, like Marx's, is anathema to the Christian faith, and hostile to the vital foundations of Western Civilization.
Anyone who knows anything about Christianity will recognize this in the bolded sections of a summary from of one of her works:
The Ayn Rand Institute
The Virtue of Selfishness
Throughout history, man has been offered the following alternative: be “moral” through a life of sacrifice to others—or be “selfish” through a life of sacrificing others to oneself. In The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand blasts this as a false alternative, holding that a selfish, non-sacrificial way of life is both possible and necessary for man.
The Virtue of Selfishness is a collection of essays presenting Ayn Rand’s radical moral code of rational selfishness and its opposition to the prevailing morality of altruism—i.e., to the duty to sacrifice for the sake of others.
In “The Objectivist Ethics,” Rand gives an outline of her code of rational selfishness, and of her argument establishing it as the only objective, fact-based moral code in human history. In the course of the essay, she raises and answers a fundamental and fascinating question: Why does one even need a morality?
In essays including “The Ethics of Emergencies,” “The ‘Conflicts’ of Men’s Interests,” and “Doesn’t Life Require Compromise?” she raises common ethical questions, shows how altruism has crippled people’s ability to approach them rationally, and explains how her moral code provides a solution to them. In “Man’s Rights” and “The Nature of Government” she applies her ethics to formulate the basic principles of her political philosophy, while rejecting the altruistic doctrines of “rights” to health care, employment, etc.
The Virtue of Selfishness is indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand the crucial ethical issues at the root at so many of our cultural debates today—who wants to understand the revolutionary ideas that guide the lives of Ayn Rand’s fictional heroes—who wants to lead an existence that is both moral and practical—who wants to discover why, in the words of one of the heroes of Atlas Shrugged, “the purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”
According to the philosophy of Ayn Rand, the firefighters who went up the stairs of the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001 were fools. The men who rushed the cockpit on Flight 93 to stop the plane from being crashed into the Capitol or the White House were idiots. The soldier who gives his life for his buddies or for his country is to be scorned for his ignorance of Ayn Rand's immoral "morality."
And, of course, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross to selflessly, vicariously, pay the price for the sins of humanity is the scandal of all scandals.
Ayn Rand was a virulent promoter of abortion.
“An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).”
“Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?”
(SOURCE: “Of Living Death,” The Voice of Reason, Ayn Rand pp. 58–59)
Ayn Rand on Pro-Lifers:
“I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves “pro-life.”
“By what right does anyone claim the power to dispose of the lives of others and to dictate their personal choices?”
(SOURCE: “The Age of Mediocrity,” The Objectivist Forum, Ayn Rand, June 1981, 3.)
“Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a ‘right to life.’ A piece of protoplasm has no rights -— and no life in the human sense of the term.”
“An Embryo is not alive.”
Earlier I was wandering around one of the sites devoted to her, the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. Unsurprisingly, her wicked views towards killing certain individuals, innocent babies, continue to bear evil fruit today.
Here's one of the items I found there:
Abortion: An Absolute Right"If Roe v. Wade is reconsidered, the Supreme Court should affirm abortion as a right that cannot be invaded or compromised."
Ayn Rand rejected the One the founders of our country called "Nature's God." She did away with what they called self-evident Truth. She repudiated the Natural Law He instituted. She arrogantly scoffed at our nation's first premise, that all of us are equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, starting with the right to live. She, and those who continue to follow her, remind me of those that the Apostle Paul described in Romans Chapter One:
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
With the growing popularity of her views, why would we wonder that our country is being destroyed? Erode the foundations, and the house will eventually fall down.
Today another Ayn Rand follower said to me:
Rand may not have believed in God, but she darn sure believed in freedom.
But this is not possible. There is no true freedom without God, or any means to defend it.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men..."Without the acknowledgment of God, there is no equality. There is no protection for innocent human life. There is no liberty. There is no private property. There are no rights. There is no self-government. There is no America.
-- The Declaration of Independence
For only "where the Spirit of the LORD is, THERE is Liberty."
All you're left with are the arbitrary whims of men, and "might makes right."
There are three great internal existential threats to America, our form of government, our liberty, and our posterity:
If you love God, if you love your country, if you love self-government in liberty, if you care about your posterity, fight them all, with all your might.
John Adams:Don't fall into the destructive trap of mistaking Ayn Rand's licentious views for true liberty. It's a lie.
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."
"Without a moral basis, [a free] society would not long endure."
Yet Rand is hardly the bitterest foe of traditional Christian principles to be found among atheists.
She was wrong, of course, that God destroys reason. God gives reason a place to begin. God furnishes the objective foundation for which she hankers, but without the need for relativistic arguments to support it.
I am a born again Christian. I am a pro Constitution conservative politically.
I saw Atlas Shrugged Saturday - and I was fully able to take the message of a totalitarian government and what it does to the incentive to create products and services that make the world a better place and separate that from Rand’s beliefs on eternity - which she surely regrets now herself.
The main message of Atlas Shrugged is a brilliant and important one. I don’t care what Rand’s other beliefs were. I’m an adult. I can filter them out. If the Apostle Paul was able to debate nonbelievers on their terms, then believers can take Rand on hers.
You can't debate Rand now. She's gone to meet her Maker.
But there's certainly no shortage of her acolytes to debate, sadly.
Objectivism and its spawn are a moral cancer on the American body politic.
And it's uncertain whether the patient will survive.
Poison is poison, my friend. No matter what bottle it comes in.
Of all the influences that modern foes of religion in the public square claim, I’ve scarcely ever heard Rand explicitly cited. Much more often it traces to pop psychology (Freud) or an evolutionist point of view (Darwin). Some “epidemiology” is in order if we are to claim Rand is a “cancer on the body politic.” She seems scarcely a wart.
‘I dont care what Rands other beliefs were. Im an adult. I can filter them out’
YOU ARE RIGHT MR WRIGHT....DISCERNING ADULTS CAN SELECT OUT THE THRUST OF ANN’S BRILLIANT WORKS...REJECTING SOME LIVING BY THE REST....
PSST....don’t get your undies in a bunch LITTLE TOMMY...we’re not liberals here we can handle things.....now quit preachin and go stick yer head in the mud? ty and have a nice day..
“Objectivism and its spawn are a moral cancer on the American body politic.”
Christians who want to redistribute wealth and acquire government power to advance their religious beliefs at the expense of others are a moral cancer on the American body politic too.
They are not conservatives...and their motives are every bit as selfish as those they throw stones at. Whether it is a Marxist “for the children/village” or a Christian “for Jesus,” using the government to rob Peter to give to Paul is still looting by second-handers.
Don’t recall “Render unto Caesar” ending with “so Christians can redistribute tax dollars while claiming to do God’s will.” Perhaps that’s in Mike Hucksterbee’s version of the Bible.
Poison is poison, no matter the bottle — I agree with that. There was simply no poison (to speak of) in the film version of Atlas Shrugged Part 1.
So Rand has some poisonous beliefs. Fine. Paying 10 bucks to watch the movie is not an endorsement of every single belief she had. 98% of the message of Atlas Shrugged is a great lesson on totalitarian government and how it evolves.
Why any Christian would strongly object to this movie is just beyond me.
LOL! Yes that mighty force in American politics is bringing this country low!
That made way too much sense.
Thank you. I would argue that they are a much bigger scourge on the body politic than the Objectivist boogieman.
Look closely at those who swoon most deep and sincere at the feet of a tyrant, they wear Christ like a poor shirt.
Another message brought to us by the master of donation requests for Alan Keyes.
They are not conservatives...
They also got Christianity wrong as well: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
In many respects, allowing for people to achieve their own selfish ends is what enables them to help the less fortunate. I would imagine that many people in this country refuse to be charitable since they know that their tax money is already siphoned off to fill the pockets of those who obtain government assistance.
Exactly why I'll never vote for Huckabee.
There are a number of crypto-marxists out there who Nietzsche described as "underhanded Christians" that use the Bible for their own selfish purposes...
There is a gaping 50mm hole in Ayn Rand's philosophy though...
Morality and any associated ideal is rooted entirely in a presupposition some higher power defines what is correct for human behavior.
They are not Christians if they have the views you ascribe to them, above. They may call themselves Christians; they are not following the tenets that Christ taught.
Evolutionary theory actually supports Genesis...
Mammalian evolution is only possible with heterosexual relationships.
The so-called "atheists" out there will run away from this logic... Creationists have a puzzling disconnect to the obvious evidence of it in nature...
Neither side will admit nature has it's own laws, and like the Declaration of Independence, it is a manifestation of the Law given to Moses...
“The main message of Atlas Shrugged is a brilliant and important one. I dont care what Rands other beliefs were. Im an adult. I can filter them out.” I too can filter them out. Sometimes the poison is chemo, If a little poison can kill the cancer; then the host will survive. There is plenty of cancer in our present administration. I say give it enough poison to kill the cancer so that the Republic survives. I’m an eleven year cancer survivor. Amen.
Great, you’re going to spend all your energy attacking Ayn Rand and Objectivism, when they control nothing, and you are going to ignore the socialists destroying the country.
Why are you making the perfect the enemy of the good?
I’m a conservative and a Christian. I don’t believe everything Ayn Rand said or wrote, but her books are powerful arguments against the tyranny of collectivism and strong promotions of capitalism and liberty.
In a pitched fight with Islam, would you kick any Jews willing to fight with you?
Would you prefer to fight a distinct denomination of Christians or Mormons or Hindus or Buddhists or Shintoists if they were willing to fight and bleed with you against fascism, communism, or islamism?
You are a fool.
We have nothing to fight over. We own nothing, we control nothing. We are loosing everything, and you want to fight good allies because of your own intolerance; your insistence that anybody sharing your foxhole must agree with you 100%.
When they said we need to hang together or we will surely hang separately, you were the guy who said, “I want to be hanged separately because his shirt offends my sense of color.”
God save us; because these perfectionists are our worst enemies.
Should we assume that the polar opposite views of Marx, Lenin, and Mao are god-centered, selfless, non-materialistic, pro-Christian, and pro-American?
You have just described the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox and every major Christian denomination.
If you accept God has granted mankind free will, you must also accept the potential dangers of using it. In retrospect, a defining moment in the growth of my standards for civic responsibility was watching an interview with Ayn Rand on “60 Minutes” when I was in my teens. Her opposition to altruism made a lot of sense to me.
Owe what you will to your deity but I don’t owe my life to the government. It already takes what it will from me by threat of imprisonment. That isn’t freedom, it’s the illusion of freedom.
PING PING PING PING PING!!!!
True Liberty is not license. Those who think as you, sir, pervert liberty, and destroy the fundamental principles that allow a culture to thrive economically. This is the error of libertarian philosophy.
What libertarianism proposes is moral relativism under the pretense of non-interference. However, in the final measure, the result is that guaranteed outcome of any morally ambiguous system, which denies human nature and the transcendent truths that govern all cause and effect relationships. In practice the imagined utopia of the libertarian is identical in its altruistic deception to that of atheistic communism; and the outcome is predictable: the destruction of the individual and the corporate body of humanity we call society.
Libertarians think they may advance the cause of social liberalism simultaneously with fiscal conservatism; but this duality of purpose is folly, and works diametrically and insidiously against itself. The social plagues induced by such novel philosophies invariably drain the public treasury, render the distinctions of absolute right and wrong to ambiguity, destroy public confidence in justice, and dissolve private wealth.
Human society does not and cannot exist in a moral vacuum. A society that having no absolute standards of conduct defers all decisions to the individual, exercising little or no restraint on behavior, abdicates the single most legitimate purpose of the state: to increase the common good and uphold the moral order. To quote Edmond Burke:
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
- Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791)
A corrupt society, filled with men of licentious inclinations, cannot maintain its economic stability; or do you suppose the folly of the Roman Republic is worth revisiting in our times? Give us bread and circuses!
Economics does not transcend moral absolutes. Economics does not trump the Natural Law. History proves conclusively that no immoral or amoral culture can long prosper, nor survive its growing litany of perversions against the Natural Law; for such a corrupt body becomes its own undoing. Unfettered liberty generates unfettered vice.
Vice is not virtue; even if for a time libertarianism may advance a nations economic standing, it remains a foundation of sand because it denies the absolute transcendent truth indelibly stamped on the consciousness of every man by He who created all things. God is not mocked.
To espouse, and expound, and proselytize such vileness; to have the sheer audacity and lack of concern for your fellow man to spew such vileness where others might hear or be moved by it is madness. It is beyond madness. It is like spraying a schoolroom full of children with a .50 caliber machine gun, laughing.
May Rand burn forever in Hell, and may all know it.
That's the key point. If one were crazy and conspiratorial, one might think of this article as your typical wedge used covertly to divide natural allies.
Her view was the Christian view, that one must give willingly, and not be forced (2Cor.9) or else it is not a virtue.
She had the highest admiration of those who risked their lives for others, as long as it was done willingly.
She made a great speech at West Point honoring the military's willingness to serve the cause of freedom.
Many of the Founding Father's were not Christians.
These "Christians" you refer to are the same ones as the "Christians" who strap bombs to themselves and their children, and then go into populated public areas like schools and shopping malls, and blow themselves and everyone else up.
They do not exist, except in your feverd imagination. No Christian alive would ever even consider doing such a thing. You speak like an atheist who read all the wrong labels growing up. A dull one at that.
LOL, hyperbole much?
Swallow much pus?
You should keep your sexual preference out of this debate.
Wow! Who would have thought Obama read Ayn Rand?
Really, is your daddy going to come beat me up, tough guy?
The Groton influence of Endicott Peabody showed in a speech Roosevelt gave at the People's Forum in Troy, NY in 1912. There he declared that western Europeans and Americans had achieved victory in the struggle for "the liberty of the individual," and that the new agenda should be a "struggle for the liberty of the community." The wrong ethos for a new age was, "every man does as he sees fit, even with a due regard to law and order." The new order should be, "march on with civilization in a way satisfactory to the well-being of the great majority of us."
In that speech Roosevelt outlined the philosophical base of what would eventually become the New Deal. He also forecast the rhetorical mode by which "community" could loom over individual liberty. "If we call the method regulation, people hold up their hands in horror and say un-American,' or dangerous,'" Roosevelt pointed out. "But if we call the same identical process co-operation, these same old fogeys will cry out well done'.... cooperation is as good a word for the new theory as any other."
I was able to read the book without losing or compromising my faith. I am able to function in today’s society among people who have no faith without having to question my relationship with God.
“Atlas Shrugged” was not a book about faith, it was a book about runaway, unresponsive, corrupt, government and crony capitalism. I don’t really care a whit what Ms. Rand’s standing was with her maker, what ever she believed had no influence on me whatsoever. I tend to think that it was what she intended, she had what she considered to be much more important areas in which she wanted to influence her readers. I don’t recall a single passage in that book that I thought was challenging my faith in God.
Perhaps some of us don’t really have as much strength in their convictions as they might hope. I’m pretty sure that Plato was not a Christian. Does that mean we should fear to pursue his work?
How to elevate the discussion, genius. Nice.
IMO, Rand described quite vividly and quite accurately what evil does. Unfortunately, she was unable or unwilling to see the true source of that same evil...
Why use the f word to make your point? You seem to have a pretty good vocabulary.
“They do not exist, except in your feverd imagination. No Christian alive would ever even consider doing such a thing.”
Hmmm. Mike Hucksterbe jumps to the forefront on this one. Many of the so-called religious conservatives rabidly support him.
Any of the Christians who demand special tax breaks for church property, school vouchers for parochial school, national holidays observing religious events, imposition of “sin taxes,” etc. are culpable. They want to redistribute money and power with the force of government but to their pet causes.
Still second-hand looting. Just a matter of which undeserving bunch benefits from the theft.
“You speak like an atheist who read all the wrong labels growing up.”
Actually, I believe in God. Just not in faux Christian conservatives and their ilk who want me to pay more in taxes to fund their pet causes.
“A dull one at that.”
Tsk. Tsk. Personal attack. Please read FR posting guidelines.
Are you really the same person that said to me a few days ago?
The two most potentially disasterous topics as meat tossed before the wolves are politics and religion. Like gas and flame, they are not a combination conducive to civil discourse or rational behavior.
Thanks for the reasoned defense of your position.