Ayn Rand versus Jesus June 3, 2011Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Politics, Religion & Theology.
It really mystifies me how anyone can consider himself both a Christian and a devotee of Ayn Rand, who despised Christianity and called it “monstrous.” I’m told that Paul Ryan, of Medikill fame, is so devoted an acolyte of Rand’s gospel of greedy, selfish cruelty that he has made Ayn Rand-reading a requirement of employment by him.
Here is an easy table in which you can compare the teachings of Jesus and other monotheists with the teachings of Ayn Rand, the patron saint of hard-right “frak the needy” conservativism and the Tea Puppets:
|There is no other God but God. ~Monotheism||“And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom [people] have sought since [humanity] came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: I.” ~Anthem|
|Worship no other god but Me. ~Monotheism||Laissez-faire capitalism is the only good economic system. ~aynrand.org|
|Love your neighbor the way you love yourself.||Love only those whom you deem deserving of your love. (Not those moochers and parasites.)|
|Give to anyone who asks of you.||“I am challenging the moral code of altruism.”|
|Feed my sheep. ~Jesus||“Men [are] perishing by their attempt to be their brothers’ keeper.”|
|“And what does the Deity require of you? Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” ~Micah 6:8
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” ~Dalai Lama
|The pursuit of one’s own rational self-interest and of one’s own happiness is the highest moral purpose of human life. ~aynrand.org|
|“After all, no one can truly know a person’s thoughts except the thinker. Just so, no one can truly know God’s thoughts except the Thinker.” ~1 Corinthians 2:11||Reason (the faculty the identifies and integrates the material provided by human senses) is a human being’s only means of perceiving reality, our only source of knowledge, our only guide to action, and our basic means of survival. ~aynrand.org|
|“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” ~Proverbs 29:7
“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” ~Amos 5:21-24
|“There is no escape from justice, nothing can be unearned and unpaid for in the universe, neither in matter nor in spirit — and if the guilty do not pay, then the innocent have to pay it.” ~Atlas Shrugged|
|Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. ~Deut. 6:5 . . . Love God’s creation as much as you love yourself. ~Matthew 5:43-48, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27 . . . “Love one another.” ~John 13:34||“If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that [humanity’s] only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a ‘moral commandment’ is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.”|
|“Sisters and brothers, I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies [and selves] as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” ~Paul of Tarsus, in Romans 12:1||“America’s abundance was not created by public sacrifices to ‘the common good’, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes.” In other words, NOT by George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but rather by robber barons, Tammany Hall, and hedge fund managers|
|“Jesus answered, ‘The truth is, if you have faith and don’t doubt, not only can you [kill a fig tree by speaking a few words], but you can even say to this mountain, “Get up and throw yourself into the sea!”, and it will happen.’ ” ~Matthew 21:21||“Faith is the worst curse of [humankind], as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.”|
|“You show me the path of life, God; your presence fills me with joy, and by your side I find enduring pleasure.” ~Psalm 16:11||Joy comes through the admiration of one’s own abilities. ~Atlas Shrugged|
One cannot follow both me and Christ.
“I am against God. I don’t approve of religion. It is a sign of psychological weakness. I regard it as evil.” ~Ayn Rand
This is the saint who is worshiped by Republicans like Paul Ryan.
In her novels, Ayn Rand propounded her idea of Utopia: the “supermen” who were her cardboard heroes and heroines deliberately set out to destroy American society. They would withdraw from the world for a year or two into their gated community of privilege. Then, when the Dark Ages had been proven to have begun, this adorable elite would saunter back into the wreckage to pick up the pieces — and put the pieces into their own pockets.
To hell with those moochers and parasites, the tornado victims, the flood victims, the drought victims, the jobless, the sick, the dying, the ignorant. The school teachers, the trash collectors, the librarians, the park rangers, the clerks, the sales associates. The upper-middle, middle, working classes and the poor, the jobless, the elderly, children. . . . Frak ’em. Frak ’em all.
You think I’m exaggerating? Here are the last few sentences of Atlas Shrugged:
They could not see the world beyond the mountains; there was only a void of darkness and rock, but the darkness was hiding the ruins of a continent: the roofless homes, the rusting tractors, the lightless streets, the abandoned rail. But far in the distance, on the edge of the earth, a small flame was waving in the wind, the defiantly stubborn flame of Wyatt’s Torch, twisting, being torn and regaining its hold, not to be uprooted or extinguished. It seemed to be calling and waiting for the words John Galt was now to pronounce.
“The road is cleared,” said Galt. “We are going back to the world.”
He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.
This is the saint worshiped by Replutocrats like Paul Ryan. The goal of life is to destroy democracy and civilization, so that homes became roofless, technology rusts from disuse, and all amenities of modern life, like streetlights, are “abandoned.” A year or two after everything crashes and a second Dark Ages begins, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, the hedge fund managers, and the rest of the oliGOParchy can saunter out of their strongholds and trace the sign of the dollar over the desolate earth, and take up exactly where they left off before they destroyed civilization. With incredible naïveté, Rand assumes that her supermen and superwomen have no need at all of such “infrastructure” as roofs, streetlights, rails, highways, grocery stores, pharmacies, emergency rooms, etc., or such human “infrastructure” as police, EMTs, limo drivers, waiters, waitresses, doormen, concierges, etc.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~Paul Krugman