I think that may well be the case.
I am a huge fan of Mark Levin. He is my absolutely favorite Libertarian. I suspect he is also a student of Ayn Rand who was herself a brilliant Libertarian of enormous influence in the spread of libertarian ideas in contemporary America.
The only problem I have ever had with Rand is her seeming total blindness WRT the works of the classical philosophers, preeminently Plato and Aristotle. And yet she was highly successful in promulgating the "myth" of: Plato = Idealist; Aristotle = Realist. Plato = constructor of the blueprint in The Republic of a tyrannical, "perfect" totalitarian state; Aristotle = the champion of Man and his Liberty (in some unspecified way. Rand does not seem to worry much about relevant details here).
I'll put this bluntly: Plato constructed no such blueprint. The Republic Politeia is an extended meditation on the order of man, particularly focussing on his relations to/with divine Nous. And yet I hear The Great One say, in so many words, the great Plato was hell-bent on writing a treatise on how to construct the "perfect" society, with guardians and philosopher kings and what-not bullying and pillaging the sheep "for their own good"; but not even this great philosopher could succeed in doing this!!! [That sounds more like Islam than Plato's philosophy to me.]
Throughout The Republic, Plato is using the language of the myth, which as Eric Voegelin says "remains the legitimate language of movements of the soul [psyche]."
One gathers that neither Rand nor Levin has much use for "myths." In their lexicon, the word probably stands for some imaginative but ineluctably false "story" that the more dim-witted type of human being tells himself in order to assuage his own existential anxiety; i.e., fear of death, fear of being dominated by others, fear of being deprived of one's worldly goods, etc.
"Fear" is a psychic phenomenon as is, for example, the idea of Justice. Such things are "movements" in souls of which sometimes we are aware, and maybe even can subject to rational analysis in reflective consciousness. But it seems there aren't many moderns post-moderns? interested in doing this sort of thing. Rather, we just call "soul" an "epiphenomenon" of physico/chemical processes and have done with it....
An "epiphenomenon," further, is defined as something that cannot serve as a cause of anything. Plato would laugh at such a notion! For he says that psyche soul is the only "self-moving" entity (for lack of a better word) in the Cosmos.
I gather that Rand, at least, did not have much use for "souls." For the idea of "soul" depends on the idea of God, and Rand was an atheist.
Thus we have "objectivist" reason: Reason construed exclusively from the human side; for there is no longer recognition of divine Logos as the validating source and ground of human reason. Which I gather is how the conception of reason (nous) gets reduced to an "algorithmic operation"....
Not to mention that Plato himself was not an atheist. He seemingly had direct experience of divine Presence in his meditations, though he never personalized this God. This God is so utterly transcendent that human concepts cannot touch him. But Plato averred this God is divine Nous, the creator who orders and sustains the Cosmos and all things in it. And of primary interest to Plato are the relations between this God and the human soul (psyche), as primarily mediated by Reason (nous) which God and man have in common.
Plato says that man is "microcosmos," or the image of the Cosmos: Man recapituates all the orders of cosmic being in himself on his own scale, and exists in the tension of the divine Ground of Being and the God Beyond, in the "In-Between" reality (metaxy) of the human condition/human existence.
That is to say, Man is the Cosmos "writ small." Plato also says that the politeia society in its political dimension is Man "writ large."
A society is only as good as the human capital that forms it. If the citizens are disordered, so will be the society. And there is absolutely no "political fix" for this. No guardians or philosopher kings, no positive law, can do anything to fix the disorder; for the disorder is within men and cannot be touched on from "the outside," let alone "corrected" from "the outside."
Anyhoot, Rand read The Republic and found what I gather she expected to find: A blueprint for a state to effect global tyranny and extinguish the Rights of Man. (She doesn't seem to bother much about where rights "come from.")
And I gather Levin effectively agrees with Rand's reading of The Republic. And he seems to take some satisfaction from the perceived fact that Plato, on critical analysis, failed to construct a viable utopian, totalitarian state. [But nobody can do this!]
But that's blaming Plato for failing at something he was not even remotely trying to do....
Dearest sister, you wrote:
Since I first read Justin Martyr's testimony about his researching the Greek schools of philosophy and how strongly he was drawn to Plato before hearing the Gospel and becoming Christian I knew there had to be some underlying truth in Plato's philosophy that was resonating with him, preparing him to become Christian.Oh, I so agree! St. Justin observes that Christ is the fulfillment, not only of the Patriarchs and the Prophets, but also of classical Greek philosophy.
Likewise, I believe the philosophy was preparing the open souls of the civilized world for the Gospel which was yet to come. And that I believe was no coincidence, but part of God's plan.
I think of Socrates/Plato I don't know how to separate them was a sort of "forerunner" of Christ, in the same manner as St. John Baptist was (great) forerunner of Christ. The basic approach of the former is noetic, a sort of "faith in search of its reason." What is sought is the Logos but this is still a depersonalized Logos, not the Logos of Christ Incarnate. The basic approach of John Baptist was pneumatic, in search of the longed-for Messiah by the Light of the Spirit. Both approaches are finally united and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Also, I so agree with this:
To understand any ancient manuscript, we must first do our best to "put ourselves in their shoes."But then, deconstructionist literary theory holds that we needn't pay any attention to authors at all. The work must "speak for itself." [Which boils down to: The reader can read whatever he wants to into the work....]
Sigh.... What a crazed world we live in!
Thank you ever so much for writing, dearest sister in Christ! I'm so glad the "bug" is no longer of concern! Thank you so much for sharing your insights into these endlessly fascinating matters!
It occurs to me that a lot of people who are impressed with Ayn Rand's knowledge of economics and ability to turn a phrase probably also realize that she was clueless about God. Logically then they should take her commentary about the philosophers with a generous grain of salt.