Ayn Rand and Chrisitianity

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.

Steve Chase
380 Water Street
Keene

5 thoughts on “Ayn Rand and Chrisitianity

  1. Thank you for speaking out, Steve! I’ve never figured out why Ayn Rand became the Tea Party’s mascot, or why her proponents weren’t denounced by the Christian far right as soon as more information about her writings and philosophy came out. It’s a mystery!

    1. Hi Robert. Actually, several conservative Republican Christians have spoken up about Rand’s growing cult of selfishness within the Tea Party and Republican Rand acolytes like Paul Ryan. This Christian Republican push back is why Paul Ryan started regularly lying during the campaign and saying he had not been strongly influenced by Rand or ever promoted her books to his interns and staff members. This, of course, is a patently false claim that two minutes of research on the Internet can disprove conclusively. Ryan has actually said over and over, and on videotape, that Rand is his favorite philosopher and that she has shaped his political worldview more than anyone else–and that he gives her books as Christmas presents and makes all of his staff and interns read her books.

      1. Steve,
        Thank you for rebutting the idea that Ayn Rand was a follower of Jesus’ teachings and pointing out that the basis of her philosophy is selfishness. Isn’t it amazing and disturbing that such revisionist history could be promulgated regarding such a recent public figure?

  2. What do you need to do to get your picture on a US postage stamp?

    On this side of the Atlantic we have an “established church” – The Church of England. In fact some of the bishops even have seats in the upper House of Parliament! However, no-one takes it very seriously and very few politicians would base policy on their Christian faith. In fact leading Jews and muslims are also represented in the upper house.

    Now I know this is a stereotype but there is an image of some American evangelical Christians who are creationist, pro-gun (in particular concealed hand-guns and assault rifles), pro-death penalty and ant-abortion. most worrying is that people with this stereotype seem to have real political influence.

    Like I say, I accept that this is a stereotype. I would also accept that there are plenty of things about my country that could be improved but we care about you and these things make us worry for you

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