Objectivism and Christian Right

I’m having a hard time figuring this out so I’m asking the blog-o-sphere to help me out.

I saw that there is a movie version of the popular Ayn Rand novel: Atlas Shrugged.  Ayn Rand’s work has become popular among conservatives and tea party folk.  And why not?  Her works and her philosophy are strongly laissez-faire in terms of economy, strongly anti-socialist and pro-individualism, and strongly promotes self-interest.  I don’t think I’ve said anything here that you can’t look up on your own.

Ayn Rand saw that the natural consequence of objectivism is anti-altruism.  This is the connection I can’t wrap my head around.  How can these social conservatives deal with this?  Senator Paul Ryan has stated is admiration of his book and is a Roman Catholic, a religion that puts a premium on altruism.  Justice Clarence Thomas, another Catholic, says its one of his favorite books.  Mormon commentator Glenn Beck apparently loves it.  How can this be?  How can social conservatism with its strong Christian ideology also strongly support the objectivism views as well?  Blog-o-sphere, help me out.

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2 Responses to Objectivism and Christian Right

  1. lxy says:

    My original thinking was that a good chunk of the social conservatives are new evangelical Christians.
    One of their defining characteristics is a strong emphasis on the personal acceptance of Jesus
    and less emphasis on good deeds relative to other Christian denominations.

    However when I saw that Sen. Paul Ryan and Justice Clarence Thomas were Roman Catholic, that kind of threw
    that explanation out the window. Of course just because you like her work doesn’t mean you agree with
    all her opinions. However, her anti-altruism views were based on her deduction
    from Objectivism principles. She would say it was just logic. If you believe in objectivism then you must
    think altruism is wrong. Thus I’m stuck.

  2. Breardog says:

    A Christian might see Ayn Rand’s objectivist teachings as alligning with the idea that we are the choosen children of God and valued and loved by him, and created with unique gifts/talents/potential which we should use for his glory and to help bring his kingdom here on earth (which would include loving and serving those around us). Some have suggested the idea of “enlightened self-interest,” which I would define as self-interest which shows restraint or serves the needs of others because it knows that doing so will bring the person the greatest joy and happiness in this life (a very self interested idea). I would even have to wonder whether Christ exhibited this when he was contemplating dying for the sins of others. He talks about how he did it, even though it was very painful and hard, and much of Him would have wanted to stay alive, because it was for the glory and joy of God (aka Jesus). So, by dying to bring sinners back into a loving relationship with God, maybe Jesus (God) was actually working very much for his own interest (which also was in the best interest of everyone).

    How’s that for an explanation? That’s the way I view it currently, though I am still contemplating and open to other thoughts…

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