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Stoker writes: "Earlier this week, CNN reported that American Atheists, an advocacy group for atheists and atheism, would have a booth at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference."

Ayn Rand (photo: AP)
Ayn Rand (photo: AP)

The Right's Ayn Rand Hypocrisy

By Elizabeth Stoker, Salon

02 March 14


Conservatives booted atheists from CPAC, but love a raging anti-Christian. The reason has to do with economic greed.

arlier this week, CNN reported that American Atheists, an advocacy group for atheists and atheism, would have a booth at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. The idea behind the booth was to build bridges between historically faith-motivated conservatives and their politically aligned but religiously different atheist counterparts. David Silverman, the president of American Atheists, called the booth “one of many steps” his organization would take in its “outreach effort” targeted at political conservatives.

But the Atheists’ attempt to extend an olive branch was evidently ill-received by the organizers of the CPAC, who have now disallowed the group from sponsoring its planned informational booth. Apparently most conservatives weren’t amused by Silverman’s comments to CNN concerning the Christian right: ““I am not worried about making the Christian right angry. The Christian right should be angry that we are going in to enlighten conservatives. The Christian right should be threatened by us.”

So much for American Atheists’ short-lived liberation effort, which seems to have been aimed as much at bringing to light already-existing atheist sentiments on the right as in inculcating them into current believers. But if the American Atheists’ goal is to make public quiet inklings of atheism in seemingly faith-saturated conservative circles, an incendiary conversion attempt based out of a booth at CPAC is likely the worst tack to take. After all, a much more successful war against religion on the right has been waged by none other than perpetual philosophical train wreck and failed film critic Ayn Rand.

Rand is perhaps the only virulently anti-Christian writer that Republicans nonetheless routinely feel comfortable heaping praise upon. In a charming 1964 interview with Playboy, Rand described the crucifixion of Jesus in terms of “mythology,” and submitted that she would feel “indignant” over such a “sacrifice of virtue to vice.” That Christians are called to care for the most vulnerable of God’s people was, to Rand, manifest proof that the religion has nothing constructive to add to human life: After all, in her philosophy, “superiors” have no moral obligations to those weaker or more vulnerable than they. According to Rand, the Christian moral imperative to serve the needy is a “monstrous idea.”

In a surprising jolt of coherence, Rand held precisely the position such a disdain for Christian humility would suggest: that the strong are the rightful lords over the weak, and that those with the capabilities to secure wealth and resources should be more or less unimpeded from doing so, the rest of humankind be damned. It’s likely this philosophical tenet that wins her so many fans on the right, among them Paul Ryan, Clarence Thomas, Gary Johnson and Rand Paul.

Speaking of Rand in 2005, Paul Ryan noted “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are … It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.” Ryan went on to claim that Rand was the very reason he went into politics in the first place, and that it’s important for the future of America to return to Rand’s vision. Though he’s since repudiated – to some confusing degree – his former commitment to Rand, Ryan’s policies have undergone no significant changes between the before and after.

Paul’s love of Rand seems to be only one drop in a current of adoration for the woman’s writing; Clarence Thomas reportedly holds yearly screenings of the film version of her book “The Fountainhead” for all new law clerks, while Gary Johnson evidently gave a copy of her book “Atlas Shrugged” to his fiancée with the romantic addendum “If you want to understand me, read this.” Praise for Rand in minor mentions and allusions is even more widespread, so much so that very few murmurs of distress are raised when conservative politicians wax sentimental about her work.

This dearth of criticism is rather startling, especially for a set so manifestly averse to atheism – at least, when called by such a name. (“Objectivism,” the title of Rand’s philosophy, perhaps smuggles into decent discourse what American Atheists were at least honest enough to make explicit.) In March 2008, President Obama’s then-pastor Jeremiah Wright was raked over the coals in conservative media for willing that God should damn America, but at least that sentiment acknowledges that there is a God whose authority exists over and above that of the state. If statements that agree with the Christian right’s fundamental beliefs about existence receive that kind of criticism, what accounts for the tacit conservative acceptance of Rand’s extreme anti-Christian tendencies?

One explanation comes from David Silverman himself, who submits that “Just as there are many closeted atheists in the church pews, I am extremely confident that there are many closeted atheists in the ranks of conservatives.” It could well be the case that Rand’s extraordinary anti-Christian philosophy slips by mostly unremarked upon because there really is no significant objection to it.

But it’s more likely the case that conservatives, in wanting to maintain a political system that routinely disadvantages the vulnerable, simply ignore in Rand what rhetoric they don’t like while championing that which they do. The trouble with this is that Rand’s entire notion of morality is predicated upon the idea that a sacrifice such as Christ’s would be morally wrong, which means all ethics that flow out of her work will contain in them that seed of conflict with the central message of Christianity. Whether conservatives like it or not, to advance a Randian political ethic is to further an ethic that fundamentally denies the goodness of the sacrifice of Christ, and thereby can never be brought to union with any serious Christian ethics.

In 1971, Rand wrote, “I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.” That the supremacy of reason directly necessitates egoism for Rand suggests she had one thing right: that, as Jesus said, “no one can serve two masters.”

If Randian reasoning is regarded as supreme, then the only authority worthy of service is oneself. But Christian ethics fundamentally and entirely reject such a notion, and much of scripture warns against the temptation to fall into the service of masters other than God. For the many elite conservatives who love Rand, the mission of Silverman and American Atheists may not, therefore, be necessary after all: that there’s any agreement whatsoever with Rand’s ethics suggests any relationship with Christianity is purely one of convenience, not commitment. your social media marketing partner


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+98 # anntares 2014-03-02 10:49
I heard Ayn Rand speak before she died. It was a college guest seminar. She was so arrogant that she would not discuss any question from students and faculty if the question did not accept her assumptions. Therefore it was impossible to discuss or question her assumptions. Dictatorial.
+33 # Billy Bob 2014-03-02 21:43
Obviously she couldn't defend her ideas. She's accepted as an intellectual by conservatives (just like any famous conservative who manages to write a book). The problem is that, unless one of these "intellectuals" has the ability to actually defend conservative ideals against someone asking serious questions, it becomes obvious that all conservative ideology is based on a first assumption, which is that you should never challenge authority.

Conservatives are authoritarian, by definition.
+79 # hd70642 2014-03-02 11:07
Arrogance neither signifies courage intelligence ambition except being a legend in her own mind . She died a hypocrite collecting Social security and medicare under her maiden name .She was a version of L Ron Hubbard a dime store novelist who concocted a cult a druggie who never had an original thought in their head
+32 # bingers 2014-03-02 13:33
Quoting hd70642:
Arrogance neither signifies courage intelligence ambition except being a legend in her own mind . She died a hypocrite collecting Social security and medicare under her maiden name .She was a version of L Ron Hubbard a dime store novelist who concocted a cult a druggie who never had an original thought in their head

He invented Scientology as a bet with, if memory serves, Fredrick Pohl, that he could invent a false religion that people would fall for and promote. Back in the late 50s I remember the drive from Ft MacArthur into LA had a huge sign stretching for about 100 yards promoting Scientology.

FWIW, L Ron Hubbard was probably the crappiest SciFi writer in history, but Scientology was definitely his magnum opus.
+21 # NAVYVET 2014-03-02 18:52
L. Ron Hubbard started his religious scam with something called Dianetics, about 1950, a combination of Freud and New Age that made me snicker even at age 14. In sci-fi Hubbard never got beyond the First World War in technology or in his military posturing, but I give him some credit. He was a pretty good fantasy writer (or perhaps surrealist, shoveling on Freudian jargon). Can't remember the title of a Hubbard story or novelette I read as a teenager, but although it was bogged down in Freudianism it had a memorable line I never forgot: "Rats will eat you, James Lowry." Anyone remember the title?

Even as poorly written and old-hat as his sci-fi was, at least Hubbard's writing wasn't as turgid and irrational as Rand's in her dreadful sci-fi novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED. I tried twice and couldn't get beyond page 100 in that tome. Yet I usually love long, convoluted novels, even those where we must remember hundreds of characters with unfamiliar names. My lifetime favorite novel is Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE. The difference was that Tolstoy could empathize--and therefore was a genuine writer, not a hack.
+12 # bmiluski 2014-03-03 10:54
Which is probably why paul ryan can identify with her. After all, he paid for a large part of his college tuition by using SS Survivor Benefits for the death of his father.
+7 # zornorff 2014-03-03 21:09
Ryan masquerades as a thinker and intelligent man. He is a perfect example of the hypocrite that gets his but doesn't give a red rat's ass if no one else gets any. He was a perfect running mate for Romney. But, he does have a great workout routine!
+2 # Billy Bob 2014-03-05 01:00
Don't drag L. Ron down to her level. In truth, I'd bet L. Ron never actually believed in his "Scientology", himself. There seems to be plenty of evidence that the whole thing was a joke to him.

On the other hand, Rand Paul's fairy godmother, actually believed the bullshit she was selling. She just didn't adhere to it, because, like all self-styled "libertarians", her only true "philosophy" was the inviolate pursuit of all encompassing self-interest.
+71 # anarchteacher 2014-03-02 11:18
At the 1974 Libertarian Party National Convention in Dallas I was interviewed by a Newsweek reporter. "What kind of person is attracted to libertarianism? " he asked. "Right-wing atheists, skeptical of both political and religious authority," I replied.

In those early days of the libertarian movement Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Murray N. Rothbard, and H. L. Mencken, were dominant influences - all atheists and all individualists disdainful of big government leading to tyranny and oppression. None of them ever considered themselves as conservatives, and were in fact highly opposed to the theocratic authoritarianis m represented by the Republican Party, National Review magazine and its acolytes, and the Conservative movement in general.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge, as they say. Conservatism is still beset by inner contradictions and seriously flawed logic.

Since the days of Burke, Coleridge, de Maistre, Metternich, Fitzhugh, Pius IX, Bismarck, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Buckley, and Ronald Reagan, to today's insular enthusiasts of Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, or Rush Limbaugh, conservatism has stood for the status quo and an apologia for tyranny.

Conservatism today has been reduced to a 30 second sound bite rant or ad hominem screed against the demon of the day, totally devoid of humane substance or logical consistency.
+26 # anarchteacher 2014-03-02 11:59
"In the light of hindsight, we should now ask whether or not a major objective of National Review from its inception was to transform the right wing from an isolationist to global warmongering anti-Communist movement; and, particularly, whether or not the entire effort was in essence a CIA operation. We now know that Bill Buckley, for the two years prior to establishing National Review, was admittedly a CIA agent in Mexico City, and that the sinister E. Howard Hunt was his control. His sister Priscilla, who became managing editor of National Review, was also in the CIA; and other editors James Burnham and Willmoore Kendall had at least been recipients of CIA largesse in the anti-Communist Congress for Cultural Freedom. In addition, Burnham has been identified by two reliable sources as a consultant for the CIA in the years after World War II. Moreover, Garry Wills relates in his memoirs of the conservative movement that Frank Meyer, to whom he was close at the time, was convinced that the magazine was a CIA operation. With his Leninist-traine d nose for intrigue, Meyer must be considered an important witness."

-- Murray N. Rothbard, The Betrayal of the American Right

Conservatism: The CIA's Phony Movement

Neoconservatism: A CIA Front?
+9 # anarchteacher 2014-03-02 13:29

The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult, by Murray N. Rothbard

Shocking News! NR Has Gone Establishment!

Discover the reality behind the CIA, Bill Buckley's National Review magazine, and the phony Conservative movement created to project American imperial power and hegemony throughout the world, while maintaining theocratic regimentation at home, in these Murray N. Rothbard articles below:

The Real Aggressor

One of best in pointing these facts out was Rothbard writing in Ramparts, the flagship publication of the 1960s New Left:

"A new, younger generation of rightists, of 'conservatives, ' began to emerge, who thought that the real problem of the modern world was nothing so ideological as the state vs. individual liberty or government intervention vs. the free market; the real problem, they declared, was the preservation of tradition, order, Christianity and good manners against the modern sins of reason, license, atheism and boorishness."

Buckley Revealed

The Transformation of the American Right

What's Wrong With Conservatism?
+12 # NAVYVET 2014-03-02 19:09
That's why the self-styled "conservatives" --who, to be consistent, should also be CONSERVATionist s--are so obviously phony. In many ways--defense of hard-won social values and personal liberties, suspicion of foreign interventions and commercial & military technology--I (a Socialist) am a true conservative, a student of Montaigne and Hobbes as much as of the Sicilian Briton, John Stuart Mill and Kropotkin. I consider Republican NeoCons from Buckley onward to be trashy NeoConfederate apologists for the oil baron rich, plus political radicals of the Fascist variety, many of them proponents of callous terrorism. Since WWII liberals have proved how dull-brained they are by allowing these NeoConfederates to get as far as they have.
-10 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 12:33
The Leninists, Trotskyites, Stalinists, Maoists, etc. murdered millions, justifying it as doing it for a higher good. Western liberals are still carrying water for these criminals even after the fall of the USSR.

Go figure!

Have you all forgotten the Ukrainian Holodomor or is the Holocaust only worth remembering?
+2 # anarchteacher 2014-03-04 13:28

The Soviet Story

I, for one have not forgotten, and neither have my World History students who viewed this powerful film last week.

They viewed it along with award-winning documentaries on the Nazi's Aktion T4 euthanasia program, the Einsatzgruppen, Memory of the Camps, One Survivor Remembers, and others in their examination of WWII.
+23 # bingers 2014-03-02 13:35
I think Teddy Roosevelt would be horrified to be listed with any of those cranks.
+8 # anarchteacher 2014-03-02 14:11
Theodore Roosevelt was not the progressive saint you imagine but a racist bully boy who believed in militarism, eugenics and imperialism; a proto-fascist; and a life-long tool of the Wall Street House of Morgan.

Court intellectuals continue to spread the hoary myths about TR on such popular venues as the History Channel docudrama program, The Men Who Built America, which is re-airing today:

Here are some in-depth scholarly studies of Theodore Roosevelt and his regime:

The American Presidency - an Amazon book list

Check out selections #1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 17, 18, and 19 which deal with TR

The Racist Roots of Progressivism
+8 # NAVYVET 2014-03-02 19:19
Thank you, and my late father (1899-1978), a LaFollette Progressive, agreed with you.
+19 # bigkahuna671 2014-03-02 22:11
What in the world happened to Wisconsin? Amazing that the state that gave us some great Progressives also has given us Scott Walker and a slew of nincompoops whose combined IQ equals a donkey walking away from us. The real shame of Paul Ryan is he calls himself a righteous Catholic yet loves Ayn Rand, the prototypical Atheist. He loves quoting her, brags about how she's influenced his thinking, then turns around and pretends to be a practicing Catholic...I think he should keep practicing. You can't support one who attacks religion on the one hand then go to Mass and receive communion as if supporting Ayn Rand and her dogma is meaningless. The man is a fraud and a lousy politician and that seems to be what Wisconsin is producing today.
+6 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 12:39
Ryan pretends to be a Catholic but is in fact not. He obviously never read the Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarum. If he had he would distance himself from Rand instead of blathering on about her philosophy.
0 # bingers 2014-03-03 14:50
But don't forget Wisconsin also gave us the Republican Party.

And anarchteacher, Teddy Roosevelt certainly had his faults, but he also had a list of what every American family deserved and it would fulfill any progressives wildest dreams.
+3 # anarchteacher 2014-03-04 13:46
Congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr., Senators Robert Lafollette and Richard Pettigrew were true Progressives and not the faux variety promoted by court historians such as TR and Woodrow Wilson. They fought against war, both overseas in Europe and the class war at home.

Read Pettigrew's searing memoir, Triumphant Plutocracy, to discover the unpalatable truth about these plutocratic phonies Roosevelt and Wilson.
+12 # economagic 2014-03-02 21:36
Quoting anarchteacher:
Conservatism is still beset by inner contradictions and seriously flawed logic.

That could be because most of what is called "conservatism" by the media is nothing of the sort, but an increasingly degraded version of Strom Thurmond's vision from 1948.
+17 # ChickenBoo 2014-03-02 11:42
One of the greatest Atheists was Christopher Hitchens. You can find his debates on You Tube, and boy oh boy, he debates them all. Very educational. We have atheist booths at our bigger Farmers Markets now and they invite people to come and talk to them. Not necessarily to degrade someone elses belief system, but rather to educate them on the atheist view point. If the Rebublicans have invited Atheists to attend their conference, they they think they will make a buck, or get some votes. That's all. Once it's over, Atheists will be shunned again.
-7 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 12:45
Most leading Communists were atheists. What did that lead to? 100 million liquidated according to The Black Book of Communism by Stephane Courtois et al. Courtois a French Communist was hardly writing anti communist propaganda.

And please don't tell me these communist swine were doing for a higher good
0 # shraeve 2014-03-05 19:51
Communism is a religion. It is a variety of Christianity. Even though Karl Marx was an ethnic Jew, he was educated and lived in a Christian society.

Persecution by Communists or by their first cousins, the Nazis, is actually religious persecution.
+39 # ericlipps 2014-03-02 11:48
What can you expect from today's self-styled "movement" conservatives but hypocrisy? These are the kind of folks who slammed the Catholic Church as the whore of Babylon until its political support became useful in the wake of Roe v. Wade, and who privately express virulent anti-Semitism while publicly sucking up to Israel.
+29 # chomper2 2014-03-02 12:11
Anything for a vote, and where easier to gather votes than among the least educated, to wit, the southeast and the rural middle of the U.S., and among the most devoutly religious. Stoker's very last phrase says it all: "...that there’s any agreement whatsoever with Rand’s ethics suggests any relationship with Christianity is purely one of convenience, not commitment."
+21 # MidwestDick 2014-03-02 12:54
Jerry Falwell. an important voice from the region you mention, once said "I am an old testament Christian". The old testament isn't actually the Christian part of the bible since it's contents predate Christ so the statement is a bit dissonant, but he could hardly have said he was an old testament Jew.
What he meant, I think, is that he believed in a tough unforgiving God -- one that existed in the God eat God world of the pre-christian mid-east where the Jews carved out their home.
In this interpretation there is perhaps not so much room between Ayn and Jerry. Jerry thundered about the demands of the one true God, a sky spook who spoke to him directly, where Ayn serves the demands of her own ego.
From here, what's the diff?
+1 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 12:50
Jerry Fartwell was bought and paid for in the pocket of the Zionists. They even bought him a private jet for services rendered. Corrupt to the bone. Nothing but a common prostitute.
+14 # Cassandra2012 2014-03-02 17:54
They are not really 'conservatives' at all — they are 'conserving' nothing. Just self-serving right wing RADICAL extremists... .
+71 # vicnada 2014-03-02 11:59
My 14 year-old daughter recently emailed me a quote from John Kenneth Galbraith that is germaine to this conversation: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." They will find no greater champion than Ayn Rand.
+3 # Sisko24 2014-03-03 15:14
Thank you for remembering John Kenneth Galbraith. He is an unjustly forgotten and discounted American icon and a great and insightful economist. One could spend no better time reading economics than by reading his tomes.
+12 # tgemberl 2014-03-02 13:34
I think one thing that is enlightening is to recognize the role of Roe vs. Wade in the Republican Party. Rand and other libertarian minded people didn't like Reagan's anti-abortion position, and she was honest enough to refuse to vote for Reagan on that basis. But I do believe that Roe vs. Wade was essential to the building of Reagan's coalition. His anti-abortion position won over religious people, and the existence of Roe vs. Wade meant that libertarians could support him, too. They knew he wouldn't be able to overturn the right to choose. Some libertarians said "I'll vote for Reagan so my vote won't be wasted."

So I don't think it's necessary to attribute a high level of hypocrisy to Republicans. This odd coalition has worked for them for over 30 years. If Roe vs. Wade fell, it would actually be a big blow to the Republican Party. I think a strong Libertarian Party would develop which would drain off a lot of their votes.

It's been said that whenever a vacancy on the Supreme Court opens up, Republicans "hope a conservative is nominated, but they pray he won't overturn Roe vs. Wade." To that extent, there is hypocrisy: some "country club" Republicans care more about winning elections than principles.
+6 # Billy Bob 2014-03-03 08:25
There are only country club Republicans, and those who want to be.
+10 # Social/Environmental Justice Advocate 2014-03-02 14:26
As a 20-year old in 1960, I talked to Ayn Rand when she lectured at Purdue University in my hometown, Lafayette, Indiana. I thought her then (and still do) a cold and person, with a strong appeal to right-wing rich people.
+10 # Social/Environmental Justice Advocate 2014-03-02 14:27
As a 20-year old in 1960, I talked to Ayn Rand when she lectured at Purdue University in my hometown, Lafayette, Indiana. I thought her then (and still do) a cold and cruel person, with a strong appeal to right-wing rich people.
+2 # Social/Environmental Justice Advocate 2014-03-02 14:30
Please delete my earlier post (which lacked "cruel"
+6 # tgemberl 2014-03-02 15:29
Did you realize you can revise your post to add cruel? This isn't like email where you can't change something once you send it. Sometimes it takes a little while, but you can revise it.

Sometimes I have found I had to refresh the page before I could edit my posting.

Whenever you see the little tablet and pencil logo below your posting, you can edit it.

Editing on this site is a little bit clunky. You usually can't see the cursor. But if you move your mouse to where you want to edit, the cursor will usually show up.
+6 # HerbR 2014-03-02 14:33
Is it true, as I have sometimes heard, that Rand's actual name had been Rosenbaum, like my own ?
+4 # tgemberl 2014-03-02 15:35
Yes, I think her original name was Alina Rosenbaum. One speculation about where "Ayn Rand" came from is that it looks like a Cyrillic alphabet abbreviation for Alina Rosenbaum. Since I don't read Russian, her native language, I can't verify that.

I heard a recording of her in the early 60's, almost 40 years after she immigrated to the US, and she still had a Russian accent!
-1 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 12:55
And she was a strong supporter of the injustices the Zionists were perpetrating on the Palestinian people.
0 # shraeve 2014-03-05 19:44
One of her two inconsistencies . The other was her endorsement of the complete disenfranchisem ent of Native Americans. I read that she said that Native Americans should "step aside". Step aside where, Ayn? There was no "aside". Every bit of land was claimed by some other tribe.
+1 # Salus Populi 2014-03-05 13:46
One speculation about where "Ayn Rand" came from is that it looks like a Cyrillic alphabet abbreviation for Alina Rosenbaum.
I kind of doubt it. If the Cyrillic rendering of her name were abbreviated, it would come out something like "An Poce." [The Russian "l" looks something like a small "n" in English, while the "R" is rendered as a "p", the "s" as a "c," and the "o" and "e" are the same shape in both languages.]
0 # shraeve 2014-03-05 19:45
Her first name was not Alina, it was Alicia.
+23 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-03-02 14:35
"You can fool some of the people some of the time. And, that's enough to make a good living". --- W.C. Fields
+18 # bpuharic 2014-03-02 15:33
There's a much more straightforward way conservative christians are molding and re-shaping Rand. They simply assume American capitalism is perfect. Those who win do so because they have lived moral lives. The only measure of godliness and value is wealth. Therefore, by definition, our economic system can not be questioned or changed. Its results are divine.

The fact she's an atheist is irrelevant. Christian right leaders hide that from their acolytes many of whom are unaware of her beliefs. (First Things has been running articles on her so many Catholics know she was an atheist.)

Andrew Schlafly, son of Phyllis, is having the NT translated to make it more capitalist friendly. If the right can change the bible to eliminate the poor, there's no limit to what they can do politically.
+1 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 12:59
Some Christian Sects preach that acquiring wealth is a blessing from God. So the more wealth one acquires by hook or by crook the closer one is to God.
+1 # bingers 2014-03-03 14:56
"They simply assume American capitalism is perfect. Those who win do so because they have lived moral lives."

That's pretty humorous. The more moral you are, the less likely you are to be a successful businessman in the corporate world. But that isn't as likely as it is for the local hardware store owner where morality is probably a good thing.
+3 # Sangze 2014-03-02 18:04
Fools, the lot of them.
+8 # dbrize 2014-03-02 18:05
Ayn Rand is the least of the problems besetting the current GOP. Nor is she anything more than a casual second or third cousin to "libertarianism ".

She is an anachronistic sideshow in the current culture wars that the GOP cannot seem to divorce from.

Can't say that they don't deserve a beating over the head with her though.

It's trivial but fun nonetheless.
-15 # Johnny Genlock 2014-03-02 18:32
Y'know, born and raised an atheist. But upon attaining the age of reason I abandoned that collectivist religion. For it is a religion. So I get snagged in by Ayn Rand in the title, begin reading, thinking, . . . only to find leftist shadow boxing, taking swing after swing at their straw man sock puppet they label the right wing. Have to admit Ayn Rand does make a good target. One might wonder why conservatives are drawn to Rand, the atheist. But then the bigger question to pose would be why leftists froth at the mouth at the merest mention of enlightened self-interest, desiring to keep one's own money, have a thing called disposable income. The comments, the confederacy of thieves glad-handing each other, promoting that TRUTH, once again, can be fabricated out of consensus; a consensus without a mirror to see its own Medusa mascot, dodging questions on Benghazi. Any measure of slack, made to order for those, the Voice of collective--pai nting with broad strokes. Then the microscope whips out in a manhunt for defects of those right wingers. God bless Camille Paglia, the fem that sketched your collective portrait, revealed the very definition of hypocrite(s).
+8 # tgemberl 2014-03-02 19:30
I'm not against enlightened self-interest. And I believe in capitalism, but do you honestly believe that capitalism distributes wealth fairly? I think people on the right often have a very simplistic image of society: it's divided between the people who work and the people who don't. Of course if it were that simple, we'd have to side with those who work. But Bill Gates has at least a million times more wealth than I have. He's not a million times harder working or talented. Don't get me wrong: I believe he probably deserves to have more than I have. We have to have some inequality to motivate people. But he's not a million times harder working and more talented.

When I made this comment to another conservative last year, his response was: "The people who buy Gates' products apparently disagree with you." But no, I'm sure they'd agree. When you buy a product from someone, you're not making any judgment about his personal merits.
-1 # Johnny Genlock 2014-03-02 20:59
tgemberl, some of my more responsible liberal friends insist purchasing from someone IS both a judgment of the producer's +/- merits and a moral/immoral act. Mea maxima culpa. I buy Apple products. They run Chinese slave plants with suicide nets. I fund that by my purchase. If I considered there was a viable option I would seriously consider it. Capitalism is a term with waay too much baggage to have an intelligent discussion about. Do you honestly believe socialism CAN distribute wealth fairly? The 1% have the resources to operate through tax shelters. I spent mucho dinero setting up a Trust that I could operate through working for tax-free foundations and charities. A bank manager closed out my trust account with indignation because I was not a member of the elite class financially. Haven't had the funds to get an attorney to set up another one. IF socialism really DID distribute the wealth fairly, because of my line of work, I would have no one to work for, no one who could pay for my services. The most lofty idealism simply serves to plunder the little guy, the very entity who expected to get help. You want equity? Abolish property taxes on individuals. All you accomplish with social good intentions is creating an authoritarian structure. The administrators get the cream. It's just another form of serfdom for the have-nots.
+2 # tgemberl 2014-03-03 17:12
I'm not proposing socialism. Actually, there may be no social system that can distribute wealth perfectly. The point, though, is that people who work full time should be able to feed their children. They shouldn't have to worry about going bankrupt if they get sick. Non-socialist countries like Canada and Germany have solved those problems, and they're not in danger of sinking into the Third World as a result.

The fact that you buy Apple products even though you may not approve of their ethics shows that buying things doesn't imply a judgment on the merits of the company. It's only about the merits of the product itself. It's true you can decide to boycott companies you disapprove of. I am boycotting Wal Mart right now because I disapprove of their ethics. But if I were poorer, I might have to buy from them. I know someone who is real poor who gets his prescriptions from Wal Mart because they're too expensive at other places. As the saying goes, "he doesn't have the luxury" of making a judgment on Wal Mart. But I want to patronize people who take care of their workers and suppliers better.
+5 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 13:05
Now if only Capitalists would refrain from insisting socializing their losses taxpayers having their noses to the grind stone that can't export their wages and income overseas wouldn't have an ax to grind.
+12 # jimallyn 2014-03-02 18:37
Conservatives follow the Ayn Tea Christ.
-3 # Johnny Genlock 2014-03-02 21:15
jimallyn, conservatives don't do a whole lot of following anyone. They are the most onery consarndit stick-in-the-mu d folks you can't get together on the same page about much of anything. I actually had a conservative tell me I needed to read Noam Chomsky! The ascribe to ideas. Things like the Bill of Rights and an individual's ability to set his own course in life free of fetters. Problem with atheists, if there is no higher authority than man, then man can make up any laws he wants and there's no consequences. Good luck with that! Morality is just an arbitrary thing and we can mould man into any shape or form we want. Oops! Who is "we"? The atheist migrates into the position of being a god. The result is a tyrant most all of the time. You remove God from the equation; nature abhors a vacuum. Man becomes "god." But, y'know, I grew up in that brave new nightmare. And then I realized everything else in nature is governed by laws. I don't see atheists violating the law of gravity. But then they presume there are no laws governing the affairs of man. Your average collectivist is a "subjectivist"; i.e., consensus creates truth. Your average conservative apprehends an objectivity outside of him or herself, something which is not altered by our perception or misperception of it; the "laws of nature and nature's God."
+1 # Malcolm 2014-03-03 08:47
Judgmental, much?
+2 # bmiluski 2014-03-03 11:06
johnny genlock, it's good to see that you've taken to the neo-religios right's propaganda against anyone who disagrees with them. It's quite obvious that you have never sat down and really discussed religion with anyone other then people that believe what you believe. But then that is impossible for you people. Because then it would mean opening up your world-view which might get you to start questioning.
+3 # bingers 2014-03-03 15:03
Oh, remember Will Rogers' comment, "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat." Getting conservatives in line is a simple task, they always follow the ideology to the letter. The comment about herding cats was originally used to describe Democrats.

So, you're so far off the mark you should hang your head in shame, but I learned back in my bad old days as a Republican precinct captain that the only way to cause a conservative shame is to out them as gay.
+2 # tgemberl 2014-03-03 17:24
Conservatives and liberals are both very heterogeneous groups. In fact, I think some conservatives would be liberal if the political circumstances were different. If women weren't allowed to have abortions, a lot of conservatives would favor spending public money to support them. They're not opposed to government, just to government doing something they consider wrong.

But I think the real hallmark of liberalism is compassion. Do you want to care for the less fortunate? If you do not, you are not liberal and you are not religious, either. Ayn Rand understood this. She knew that religion was a form of the hated "altruism."
+1 # Malcolm 2014-03-03 10:33
That's funny! But it's not true for all conservatives, wouldn't you agree?
+2 # Mannstein 2014-03-03 13:15
Christ taught the parable of the Good Samaritan after a Jewish lawyer put the question to Him "Who is my neighbor."

How you can equate Christ's philosophy with the likes of Rand or the Tea Baggers is beyond me.
+1 # hd70642 2014-03-04 07:04
Ayn Rand had a distorted fun house mirror view of life and was one of the founding anti philosophers who inspired Aton Levy when laid the foundations of Satanism . A philosopher was supposed a lover of wisdom but all Ayn Rand was an purveyor of ignorance
-5 # Johnny Genlock 2014-03-02 18:47
So, . . . you can continue congratulating yourselves on your consensus. Or you could google: Mark Passio
Take a walk on the wild side. Dial in his multi-hour Natural Law presentation. You don't need to put any stock in my witness. You can get the second witness from a former satanist. Get his point of view.
+5 # Malcolm 2014-03-03 08:44
As a 99% atheist, I'm disgusted by Rand. I've long known that libertarians loathed government assistance programs, but they've always told me that, "charities should be the ones to provide assistance" to the needy.

This Rand bitch, apparently just wanted to let them suffer and die!

Sick, really.
+8 # bmiluski 2014-03-03 11:06
It's amazing how many libertatians have no problem accepting government aid.
0 # shraeve 2014-03-05 19:37
I am not one of them.
-1 # shraeve 2014-03-05 19:36
"...the strong are the rightful lords over the weak, and that those with the capabilities to secure wealth and resources should be more or less unimpeded from doing so, the rest of humankind be damned."

With this the author reveals her ignorance about Ayn Rand's work. Rand never said the strong are the rightful lords over the weak, or anything like that. Rand believed in freedom for everyone, whatever their strengths or talents. Ayn Rand did not believe in lords.

Her heroes did not SECURE wealth; they created it. That is a crucial difference. A pirate or a robber secures wealth. An artisan, a trader, an inventor, or a farmer creates wealth. When they are permitted to do so with minimal government interference, the rest of humankind is not damned, but rather is helped.
+2 # hd70642 2014-03-06 10:13
Referring to the unfortunate as parasites really overflows with compassion and empathy does it NOT !!.Arrogant hateful and once rooted for a child murderer to evade police . Being an idealist about anyone or anything is when anyone can sink to their lowest depths !Her sadistic elitism was compounded by unsympathetic idealism . Idealism and elitism lead not only to callous sadism but flamboyant hypocrisy like collecting social security and Medicaid whom she exhaustively demonized until it applied to her

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