Two contradicting philosophies that couldn't be further apart have somehow come together

Ayn RandA 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.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, these two are quite amusing to say the least. Dead wrong, but amusing none the less.

    I believe you are going about the question the wrong way. The compatibility comes from the necessity of human beings to be self satisfied at least to a degree. The primary thing people like about Ayn Rand is that she realized that government dictating morality is wrong. While there are some who don’t see this and still like Ayn, the majority understand and espouse this. While there are certainly dis-likeable aspects to Ayn the base philosophy of Atlas shrugged is good. When a government tries to force people to be Moral, it in fact achieves the opposite. And any good that comes out of governmentally enforced morality is inherently worthless. When people are refused a choice, then the act is not good.

    Jesus espoused choosing the right thing, not forcing people to do it. Something you liberals seem to keen to forget, or are simply ignorant.

    And sorry to burst your bubble guys, but Christian Conservatives are in fact the most charitable demographic in terms of money and time donated. You liberals like to talk a big game about helping people, but you just want the government to do it for you because you are too lazy.

    • “When a government tries to force people to be Moral, it in fact achieves the opposite. And any good that comes out of governmentally enforced morality is inherently worthless. When people are refused a choice, then the act is not good.”
      Oh I get it now, it’s the Liberals who are trying to control among other things; women’s health care choices, consenting adults sex lives, marital partners, religious freedom, etc.

      • no just, how much food you can have, what insurance you should buy, what kind of car you should drive, whether you can have guns, how much money you should be allowed to have, how much “stuff” you should be allowed to have, how people should spend their money, i can keep going if you want?

        But regardless, marriage should not be the domain of the government in the first place, don’t think you can control peoples sex lives really, companies should not have to pay for health care they are morally objected to, and pray tell how anyone other than liberals are restricting peoples religious freedoms?

        • No one is restricted on the amount of food they can have, but companies are being restricted from selling unsafe foods along with unsafe cars,useless insurance,etc. despite the best efforts of Conservatives. Claiming to be morally objected to health care
          is just another way to try and impose a specific set of religious beliefs on someone else. It is the Right that wants to have a State Religion, not the Left.

          • right, they want the state religion to be no religion. and if you practice religion in any way they don’t like (even more so if you are christian) well you are in big trouble.

            And who exactly gets to decide what is safe and unsafe? it is not the governments job to decide that, it is the consumers. Thinking like yours is why we need warning labels on everything, no one does simple thinking any more and expects everything to be spelled out for them. Nor is it the governments job to decide what kind of insurance is good or not, if someone is happy with it then it is good enough. How is not wanting to have to comply with someone else moral set imposing your religious beliefs on someone else? no one is forced to buy a car or a certain brand of food and they were not forced to buy healthcare, but they certainly are not forced to work at a company that objects to paying for abortion and birth control. Your arguments are pretty illogical.

              • Yes, because liberal ideologues have convinced the public that they aren’t smart enough to figure this stuff out for themselves. So somehow that means they can sue if companies don’t comply. Apparently Judges are stupid enough to buy into it as well, and certainly lawyers aren’t going to object since it is money in their pockets.

                oh and in response to an earlier comment, tell your “No one is restricted on the amount of food they can have” BS to kids in public school (thanks to Mrs Obama) and people in New York City who can’t buy a large soda since they apparently aren’t smart enough to eat healthy without Mr Bloomberg telling them.

                • They only have warning labels because they were forced to have them, the same reason that we now have content labels. Without government intervention there would be none.
                  As far as the size of a soft drink, you can always purchase more then one, the same way you can buy more then one school lunch. What really changed in school lunches is the types of food being served.

            • “right, they want the state religion to be no religion. and if you practice religion in any way they don’t like (even more so if you are Christian) well you are in big trouble.”

              People who understand the US Constitution, understand that we cannot have a State Religion. Unfortunately, most on the Right have been brainwashed to believe that we are a “Christian Nation” . They can’t accept that any religious interference in Government goes against everything this country was founded on.
              Reproductive planning and procedures are part of female healthcare. There is nothing moral or immoral about to decide about.

              • the morality or immorality of it is not for you to decide. If a company is forced to provide health insurance they are well within their rights to dictate what they will and won’t pay for.

                And False, we can not have a national religion, however if states were to adopt a state religion there is no provision in the united states constitution barring them from doing so. But i think you are brainwashed in point of fact. Many use the argument that the founders were deists, but thinking that fact retracts from their stance as Cristian shows a deep misunderstanding of what Deism actually is. But that is besides the point.

                The government interfering and forcing companies to have warning labels and content labels is not a good thing. If you were trying to persuade me of that you did not do a good job.

                False again, children in public schools are not allowed to buy any more food at lunch as per Mrs Obama’s retarded regulations. So a person has to spend an extra dollar (at lets say McDonald’s) to buy another drink because Bloomberg is a dick? yea that makes a lot of sense.

      • Oh is that like opposed to liberals going “someone help him!!! Ill be damned if i will help but gosh darn it we need some gubment money right here to fix it!!!”

        This hypothetical case is amusing but dumb. Let me put it this way, i would help them if i could, but i would certainly not expect someone from new york to pay into a system to help me if i got sick because i failed to save enough money in case of an emergency.

        We have gotten too used to insurance as a fall back instead of actually saving money in case of a bad situation. That is a weakness, and that weakness in turn is why hospital prices are so high to begin with.

  2. There is no real need to press the point further. There is, quite simply, no way to find compatibility between a biblical—Old Testament, New Testament, or both—ethic (defined as “righteousness” and not “morality”) and an ethic based on Randian philosophy. Even the tortuous theological gymnastics done by fundamentalists and others along the conservative spectrum of biblical scholarship cannot bring the two together in any intelligible way.

    The phrase “mutually exclusive” comes to mind.

    • Quite correct. I am currently teaching a class on “The Rise of Christianity” at Stanford University where we are comparing the Pagan and Christian communities (broadly speaking) and how their respective philosophies and ethical systems led to the latter eventually displacing the former.

      What I find amusing, especially in light of this article, is that the Right-wing Christians are closer ethically to the pagans of late antiquity than they are to the early Christians.

  3. Mike, these so called Christians are anything but. Thus why the seemingly disparate joining of Rand’s philosophy and the teachings of Christ.
    Once you scrutinize today’s American Christian Conservative, you quickly find out they have far more in common with Ayn Rand, than with Jesus Christ. They do not follow any of Jesus’ teachings, unless it is to criticize others, or defend their selfish “beliefs”. Christianity in America today, especially as utilized by the Republican Party, is nothing more than window dressing for obtaining votes of the poor white Christian base. And nothing else.

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