It is confession time at The Pink Flamingo. I must admit that I had never heard of the book, Atlas Shrugged, until a few years ago, and I consider myself a very well educated person. Then again, Ayn Rand’s writings aren’t really about education but brainwashing.
I knew she existed, but that was about it. In my very solid Republican home, such things were never discussed. The term “conservative” was never used. We were/are Republican. We believe in lower taxes, fewer regulations, less government, and a strong national defense. My family supported Nixon, Goldwater, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, etc.
There was never a discussion about libertarian values.
We never discussed conservatives. There were plenty of comments, none of them charitable, about liberals but nothing said about conservatives or conservative values. They were Republican (i.e. American) values. Enough said.
I came from a home where politics were a spectator sport, discussed 24/7. My grandparents kept a coffee table full of the usual publications from the RNC. My grandmother Froehlich’s coffee table books were about Reagan. When Richard Viguerie, the Old Bat, Howard Phillips, Paul Weyrich, and a few others decided Ronald Reagan was not conservative enough for them. The grandparents were furious.
That was the first time I’d actually heard that there was a “difference” between Republicans and conservatives. I rather liken it to Clark’s Childhood’s End. I did not know what a libertarian was until the mid-1990s. Then I thought it was a party for worn-out hippies and druggies.
No one I ever knew discussed Rand. None of her books were ever on my reading lists in college. She was never discussed, anywhere. It was a non-subject. I never even noticed that she was being discussed until a few years ago.
This new allegiance to her is something that has popped up in the past few years. It was always there, but it was closeted. Normal people never bothered. Perhaps that is the problem. Thanks to the internet, the crazies have been released from the zoo. If the recent ratings are anything resembling reality, then those promoting Rand and her ilk are nothing but a drop in a gallon bucket. Those of us who are exposed, day after day, as we read the news online, are getting a false sense of what is really going on in the world.
Two words: We’re screwed.
I hear pundits say when you are in high school and college you ether read the Lord of the Rings or Rand. A few of my friends read Lord of the Rings, but I never once saw a copy of Atlas Shrugged. Maybe the problems was that South Carolina was just a backwater state and Clemson University was not Berkley. Then again, maybe the problem is that in the giant scheme of things Rand is completely unimportant, and the average person doesn’t give a damn about Atlas Shrugged. I suspect it is the latter.
Maybe that makes me look like an intellectual midget, but I’m being honest. The honest truth is, in my entire scope of friends and acquaintances I know of only two people who admit to reading Atlas Shrugged. Perhaps I simply don’t have the right friends, and have never moved in the right intellectual circles.
Maybe Rand and her theology just aren’t all that important in the way of the world. If so, then the far right, the tea parties, people like Rush Limbaugh and Paul Ryan have done very serious damage to the GOP by pushing something that is so outlandish and so morally bankrupt that it is beyond the pale of normal life here in America.
By concentrating on a book written by a woman who has no redeeming moral value in this world, they have lowered themselves to her pathetic world view. It is a world view that is completely at odds with what we once believed as a nation. It dismisses the “seven virtues”
“…In Catholic catechism, the seven virtues refer to one of two lists of virtues, most commonly referring to the 4 cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, restraint or temperance, and courage or fortitude, and the 3 theological virtues of faith, hope, and love or charity; these were adopted by the Church Fathers. An alternative list, the seven heavenly virtues, is opposed to the seven deadly sins, and consists of chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility….”
Instead, almost as a way to defy the church and society, Rand embraced what were known as the seven deadly sins.
“...The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the list is usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony…”
Rand embraced the antithesis of the great virtues that made this country what it is. The bitter irony is there are good and honorable men and women who have become entrapped and taken in by her false teachings, her Godless philosophy of life. When people fully embrace Rand’s libertarian ideas, they lose something great inside them. It is as though a little spark of goodness is literally extinguished. We are seeing it, repeatedly.
It is terrifying. We are literally watching the destruction of Paul Ryan. Because of his embrace of Rand, he will never go beyond where he is today. We are watching Rush Limbaugh fall apart before our very ears. We see person after person who embraces Rand become nothing but a caricature of what they once were.
When you embrace a philosophy that rejects Christ, this is what happens.
The Pink Flamingo has been on record, repeatedly, that I think a person who is a Christian cannot be a follower of Rand. The more I think about it, the more adamant I am that it is impossible for a Christian to be a devote of Rand.
It is one thing to accept a person a write and admit their work has merit. We do it every day. I think Benjamin Franklin was remarkable in his thinking, but was a vile and disgusting excuse of a human being. The more I get to know Thomas Jefferson, the less I admire him. The more I know about George Washington, the more I admire and respect him. In this vein, I give a person a pass for their interest in Ayn Rand’s writing and what allegedly passed for her philosophy. That’s about as far as I go with it.
The Great Man (GWB) was derided and treated like an idiot for saying that Christ is the philosopher he admires the most. When a person makes a really big deal about their Christian life, and their beliefs and says that Rand’s philosophy and writing had the most effect on them, then I do not think they can be a Christian.
You cannot follow man and Christ. To paraphrase, you cannot follow Rand and Christ. It is an impossibility. Anyone who says they can is being terribly dishonest about either their Christian faith or their devotion to Rand.
What The Pink Flamingo has noticed is when people who claim to be Christians become assimilated into Rand’s world, they stop thinking like First Century Christians, and start thinking with their bank account. It’s much the same as conservatives trying to state that Christ was a conservative.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Like our Founding Fathers, Jesus of Nazareth was a radical liberal. He challenged the basic fabric of the known universe, turning the world upside down and inside out. He told his followers to give everything they have away, to the poor, then follow Him. Please, tell me how that is conservative. He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven.
Please, explain how this is not liberal?
When Christians began adopting Rand’s selfish ideas, that everyone should take care of themselves, etc. they lose something. It is as though they lose a part of their very soul. Their libertarian “principles” make a mockery out of the teachings of Christ.
They make a mockery of themselves, leaving themselves open to scorn and condemnation from both the left and the right. When Christians of both the left and the right speak out against the anti-Christian Rand, they are derided as not being conservative and pure. When the left speaks out against someone following Rand, they too are ridiculed.
You can follow either Ayn Rand or you can follow Christ. It is impossible to follow both. Rand’s philosophy of objectivism became one of the inspirations for the Book of Satan.
The Pink Flamingo has noticed that conservatives who claim to be Christians, and claim to be devotes of the writings of Rand are not looking too good. They are making a mockery of what they believe. They appear as foolish hypocrites. They undermine themselves and the conservative cause.
The right is currently in denial when it comes to Paul Ryan when it comes to his budget. The budget’s fine, but The Pink Flamingo thinks it is not draconian enough. It’s a crock. What bothers me, though, is Ryan’s devotion to Rand. As a person who professes to be a Christian, he is opening himself up to much deserved ridicule from the left. Conservatives who claim to be Christians are also showing either their ignorance about Rand or their devotion to libertarian principles over their devotion to Christ. The Loony Left is making Ryan look bad, and the loony far right who goes after the Loony Left is making themselves look very very shallow and hypocritical.
They are starting to look like fools. GWB based his entire Administration on the teachings of Christ. He did more to advance humanitarian issues, and promote the teachings of Christ than any leader I have known in my lifetime. Then again, libertarians detest him.
I suspect they may find Christ a bit foolish, also.
A few weeks ago a Conservative friend asked The Pink Flamingo just what I believed, politically. I answered that I am a Christian first and a Neocon second. If I can only be identified by one belief, and can only swear allegiance to one – well, I’ll take Christ over being a conservative every day of the week.
It’s a Christian thing.
Chuck Colson wrote:
“…For Rand the idea of God, as understood by Christianity, was “degrading to man.” According to her, the only god who can bring men peace and joy was not the great “i am” but “I.” Yet even some prominent Christians are being sucked in.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that her worldview, called Objectivism, which rejects love of God, has even less regard for love of neighbor. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote the definitive biography of Rand, says that “whereas traditional conservatism emphasized duties, responsibilities, and social interconnectedness, at the core” of Rand’s ideology “was a rejection of moral obligations to others.”
Thus, Rand could say that the world was “perishing from an orgy of self-sacrifice.” Not because it was true but because, for Rand, any regard for your neighbor was an offense against the only god who mattered: the self. How such a toxic idea can inspire “public service” is beyond me.
All of which makes the new respect for Rand, well, strange. There are better justifications for reducing the size and scope of government, ones that don’t sound like a scene from Lord of the Flies.
And, as I’ve said so many times, our culture’s love affair with self-interest led to the greatest economic collapse since the Depression. That’s why I’ve spent the last two years preparing our DVD teaching series, Doing the Right Thing. It’s getting fabulous reviews, and is now available at ColsonCenter.org. It’s perfect for individuals or small group study.
And while you’re at ColsonCenter.org, be sure to see my Two Minute Warning video commentary, where I have more to say about Atlas Shrugged and Rand’s toxic worldview.
We must re-build a culture of ethical behavior in America. And rejecting Rand and her odious philosophy is a very good place to start….”
“…Buckley and his editors used his magazine to define the boundaries of conservatism—and to exclude people or ideas or groups they considered unworthy of the conservative title. Therefore he attacked Ayn Rand, the John Birch Society, George Wallace and anti-Semites, while being ambiguous about white supremacy.
When he first met philosopher Ayn Rand, according to Buckley, she greeted him with the following: “You are much too intelligent to believe in God.” In turn, Buckley felt that “Rand’s style, as well as her message, clashed with the conservative ethos,” and he decided that Rand’s hostility to religion made her philosophy unacceptable to his understanding of conservatism. In 1957, Buckley attempted to read her out of the conservative movement by publishing Whittaker Chambers’s highly negative review of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. In 1964, he wrote of “her desiccated philosophy’s conclusive incompatibility with the conservative’s emphasis on transcendence, intellectual and moral,” as well as “the incongruity of tone, that hard, schematic, implacable, unyielding, dogmatism that is in itself intrinsically objectionable, whether it comes from the mouth of Ehrenburg, Savonarola–or Ayn Rand.”..”
Because of Ayn Rand, and the embrace of her sick and pathetic way of looking at the world, the GOP is in great danger. This nation rewards goodness and virtue. We have an innate sense of the world, this way. We are always the first to donate when disaster strikes. We give more to charity. That is who we are. When someone like Eric Cantor betrays this goodness by saying (rightfully, but in such a wrong way) that American citizens who have been shattered by disaster must wait for the money to be off-set, everyone cries foul.
That is now who we are.
It may be who Ayn Rand and her vile little associates were, but it is a complete betrayal of what makes America great. If the GOP does not reject Rand and her principles, and those who follow her, the GOP is in danger of being destroyed. When this happens, the liberals win, and we truly lose what is great about this nature.
The Pink Flamingo is on record as stating that Ayn Rand was evil. There is no other way to describe her. When you claim to be a Christian and adopt the political philosophy of a person who did her best to denigrate the followers of Christ, then you are embracing evil.
There is no other way to describe it. As a Christian, I cannot allow myself to associate with any philosophy or political ideology that rejects Christ. To do so is a rejection of all that I hold dear.