Two contradicting philosophies that couldn't be further apart have somehow come together
A couple weeks ago, John Oliver had a great bit on Last Week Tonight entitled “Ayn Rand: How is she still a thing?” The segment posed the same question I’ve been asking myself for years.
The dumbed down version of Ayn Rand’s personal philosophy of objectivism dictates that the moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own pleasure (rational self-interest). The only social system consistent with this type of morality is one that exhibits full respect for individual rights found in laissez-faire capitalism.
In a nutshell, Rand believed it was morally right for a person or corporation to be selfish and anything that infringed on that selfishness (government in particular) was immoral. It’s a philosophy that borders on anarchy.
What has kept this philosophy alive over the years are a small group of libertarians and more recently the Tea Party branch of the Republican Party. What leaves me befuddled is how religious conservatives can embrace Ayn Rand so openly.
Rand’s objectivist philosophy clashes with Christianity like nothing else. The teachings of Jesus could not be more different than Rand, they are essentially the complete opposite of each other. But still, if you held up a copy of the Bible and Atlas Shrugged in front of Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, they would have a hard time deciding what to read.
Ayn Rand was an atheist, she believed in the right to an abortion, she wrote a book called “The Virtue of Selfishness,” she went on public assistance later in life and she didn’t think too highly of Ronald Reagan either. So why do these Christian conservatives continue to cling to her self-centered philosophy?
How can any rational human being worship a man who devoted his life to charity and helping others while at the same time praise an author who preached the virtues of selfishness? You have to wonder whether these Ayn Rand loving Christian Republicans are closeted atheists.
It’s curious to me how they managed to nitpick the one thing from Rand that hurts society the most. Laissez-faire capitalism. One would think Jesus (not unlike Pope Francis) would have strong words in criticizing a system that favors the rich and punishes the poor. I suppose in the end; it’s the money Lebowski! Enjoy John Oliver’s segment at the bottom.
“It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” – Jesus proverb.
“A genuinely selfish man chooses his goals by the guidance of reason – and because the interests of rational men do not clash – other men may often benefit from his actions.” – Ayn Rand, the virtues of selfishness.