Here is a letter to the editor that I just submitted to the Keene Sentinel. It counters a claim made by another letter writer that Ayn Rand is a strong defender of “traditional Christian values.” Given that Ayn Rand has become a major intellectual influence within the US Tea Party movement and the favorite philosopher of a recent US vice-presidential candidate, I thought it was particularly important to challenge the inaccurate notion that Rand’s philosophy is consistent with the ministry of Jesus and the values of those who are faithful to his gospel of peacemaking, compassion, and justice.
Ayn Rand and Christianity
To the Sentinel:
Whatever else one can say about Roger Brooks’s letter to the editor on Sunday, January 6, 2013, he is certainly wrong in his claim that Ayn Rand is a defender of “traditional Christian values.” She was, in fact, a militant atheist who said belief in the faith and practice of Jesus was evidence of “a psychological weakness.” Elsewhere she called his altruistic teachings “monstrous.”
Mike Wallace once interviewed Ms. Rand about her view that selfishness is the most important virtue. Their exchange is revealing. Wallace said, “You are out to destroy almost every edifice of the contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government regulated capitalism, our rule by majority will. Other reviews have said you scorn churches and the concept of God. Are these accurate criticisms?” Rand simply replied, “Yes.”
Later Wallace said, “You say you don’t like the kind of altruism by which we live.” Rand replied, “‘Don’t like’ is too weak a word, I consider it evil.”
In her private journals, Rand also praised William Hickman, a convicted murderer who raped and dismembered a 12-year old girl. Why? Because of his exemplary selfishness and his ability to have “no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred.” Rand’s philosophy is the philosophy of an oppressor and a sociopath.
I am sad for Roger Brooks that he views Ayn Rand as a moral philosopher that Americans should take to heart, especially those of us who are trying to be faithful friends and followers of Jesus. Unlike Rand, and perhaps Mr. Brooks, I don’t think Jesus’ prophetic call for us to embody an ethic of compassion, sharing, simple living, and social justice is evil or monstrous. I think it is the way of personal and national salvation.
380 Water Street