Monday, August 30, 2010

Has Atlas Shrugged?


"I want to be known as the greatest champion of reason and the greatest enemy of religion." - Ayn Rand
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It seems to me Ayn Rand's vision has fast become our reality.
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I'm no political scientist or economist to be sure, but the following article from ChristianityToday seems to pinpoint where we are at as a nation in these days of the Great Recession.  Some excerpts:

  • "Ayn Rand, like Karl Marx, was one more self-proclaimed prophet who denied the existence of a loving God."

  • A senior editor said he had never understood his family until reading this. It made him realize that they had mixed Rand's strongly anti-government, unquestioningly pro-business, and individualistic worldview with biblical Christianity. Theologians call this "syncretism"—which George Barna calls America's favorite religion. It's a religion too many Christians have bent the knee to.

  • Rand still has influential financial disciples like junk-bond king Michael Milken, Chris Cox, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission for the Bush administration leading up to the crash, as well as cultural influencers like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, media mogul Ted Turner, and pundits John Stossel, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, who recently advised Christians to leave any church that speaks of social justice.

  • Though dead for nearly three decades, Rand's philosophy is still deeply embedded in large sectors of the American economy, as well as among some Christian financial advisers and religious leaders. So we are wise to discern what tune Rand is singing for future generations.

  • The Economist's Good Guru Guide says, "Ayn Rand—the heroine of America's libertarian right—described her philosophy as 'the concept of man as a noble being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.'" - Ayn Rand: Goddess of the Great Recession
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A couple of popular Randian buzz words currently in use stood out for me in the article:
  • self-actualizing
  • syncretism 
Reminds me of Oprah.
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Link:  Wikipedia synopsis of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's philosophy.
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H/T SpiritDaily

10 comments:

  1. Fountain Head was the philosophical bible when I was in architecture school. Oh, the foolish young students who imitated Roark's ego, pride, worlview! Praise God He brought me finally back to Him.

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  2. I look forward to your blog daily, and today you have allowed me to be [once again] an English teacher. 'Though dead for three decades, Rand's philosophy...' I know you see it right away, don't you? Better: 'Though Rand has been dead for three decades, her philosopy...' Thank you for the melange of good art, music, thought & spirituality.

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  3. This poor woman was a moral moron, as "brilliant" she might have been;
    a very sad waste of a life.
    God have mercy on her and all those who follow her; I pray she didn't find a "brimestone vacation".

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  4. Maria7:13 PM

    Ha! I can remember when I was 19. My parents and I were on our way to Princeton to visit my brother. I argued most of the way w/ my Father about what a genius Rand was. Lord have mercy. I knew just how to aggravate my dear, departed and faithful parents. My poor Father. I don't know how he ever tolerated me...

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  5. It is clear the author of the article is not too well versed of the subject he is attempting to write about. It was a silly article with lots of quotes that were either not sourced or taken out of context and straw man arguments. Judging from the comments I'm not the only one who thinks so...

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  6. I don't know - things made sense to me this morning - but like I said - I don't know.

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  7. I don't know anything about Ayn Rand...thanks for sparking the interest for me to learn more.

    Sara

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  8. FYI:
    http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/2000/January/hillsdale.html

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  9. Ayn Rand - Considered by many, including me, as 1 of the architects of the culture of death. That says it all.

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  10. Austringer10:23 AM

    I've read a great deal of Ayn Rand's works -- Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, etc. I read them first when I was about 18 or 19, and they helped my path to atheism (though there were many other factors leading there). Then I sort of grew up...

    I suspect most Randians follow a similar path: they latch on to her in their teens, especially if they happen to be smart, nerdy kids who aren't popular -- it's a "Revenge of the Nerds" fantasy. Then they (hopefully) grow up, and realize that slefishness really isn't a virtue after all.

    I re-read her about 5 years ago because a friend's daughter had gone that route and I hoped to have some discussion about it -- wow, the assumptions, the unsupported premises, the nastiness!! I hadn't see any of it when I was younger.

    She did accurately describe the faults of the welfare state (our associate pastor, who is the smartest guy walking around the St. Paul/Mpls diocese, agrees). I think that's why some conservatives glom on to her, unaware of her extreme views on individualism, capitalism, and religion. (This reminds me of the Chesterton quote: "The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.") She's poison. She's included in the book "Architects of the Culture of Death", and for good reason.

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