Jump to content






Photo

Democrats Take a Stand on Ayn Rand


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:44 PM

Take A Stand on Ayn Rand

I thought the heated debate over Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal had inspired the controversy about the influence of Ayn Rand’s ideas on Republicans, but it appears this “American Values Network” page has been up for several months.

It looks like some Democrats are finally doing what the Republican conservatives have been afraid to do: Challenge the ethical basis of capitalism. Needless to say, they take the wrong side on the issue, but at least they seem to grasp the incompatibility of the two sides (Ayn Rand vs. Jesus Christ).

The anti-Rand youtube video featured here has also apparently been up for about ten months. It includes this remarkable quote from Paul Ryan:

“Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism..”

I knew Ryan had described himself as a fan of Rand and required that his staff read Atlas Shrugged, but I did not realize he had openly praised the Objectivist ethics in such clear terms. You have to wonder: Did Ryan, a self-professed Catholic, have any idea about what he was saying? This becomes even more significant when you consider that Ryan’s name has been put forth as a potential vice-presidential running mate for Romney.

Here’s an interesting quote from one of the numerous Rand-related articles referenced here, citing Glenn Beck’s apparent about-face on his previously expressed admiration for Rand.

Glenn Beck Changes Mind On Ayn Rand

As many of us on Current know, Glenn Beck usually does not change his mind, but two days ago he did! In June of last year he extolled Ayn Rand on his radio show saying, “You gotta love her – she’s great!” But then he watched and played American Values Network's ad, which has been at the center of the recent discussion, and highlights the Rand vs Jesus problem for the GOP. And Beck did an about-face, calling Rand a "bigot" and someone who wrongly used freedom for selfish ends. Check out the video and the link to the article above. If even Beck – Glenn Beck! – can’t ally himself with Rand’s morality, how could some of our political leaders –who claim to be “Bible-believing” – still find it possible to praise her morality and say our federal budget should be modeled on her teachings?


Beck called Rand a “bigot”? How did I miss that?

I think this is fantastic. It’s like: “America—The Final Conflict.” I’m almost tempted to make a donation to the outfit promoting this controversy. I would love to see this ideological confrontation between Ayn Rand and Jesus Christ become the centerpiece of the 2012 presidential campaign.

It reminds me of the following prescient quote from Rand:

From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society. Today, the conflict has reached its ultimate climax; the choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces.



#2 Michael Stuart Kelly

Michael Stuart Kelly

    $$$$$$

  • Root Admin
  • 20,066 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:34 PM

Dennis,

Those knuckleheads at Current and Huffington Post said that Glen Beck changed his mind on Ayn Rand, then provided a Media Matters video that refutes it.

Dayaamm!

They didn't even cut the video to make it look like their spin. They allowed the full context to be presented.

Granted, they linked to the video rather than embedded it, knowing that most people don't go to the links, but many will play a video if it's right in front of them. If you go from the Current link you posted, ya' gotta jump through some hoops to get to the video, too.

Anyway, listen to it and see if Glenn "changed his mind."

Heh.



Glenn did say that Rand developed bigotry against religion over time, but I think he has always thought that. What else do you call someone who says all religion is evil and you are religious?

Don't atheists say religious folks are bigoted against atheists?

This is a far different kettle of fish than saying "bigotry" as if it were the KKK against blacks or Nazi antisemitism. Technically, there is an overlap between these murderous groups and this broader worldview context, but in terms of outright hatred and killing, "bigotry" is simply overblown rhetoric when talking about "religious bigotry."

Note that one of Glenn's assistants, I think it was Pat, said that The Virtue of Selfishness is more important in his view than Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand's influence is growing on the right and she is being embraced, as the video clearly shows. As for the rest, I'll just let the video speak for itself.

Michael

Know thyself...


#3 Selene

Selene

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 15,428 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Chess, birding, football, baseball, minimalist backpacking, argumentation and debate, politics and philosophy, strategic board gaming, history, Rand, poetry, writing.

Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

Beat me to it Michael...lol

They rip these ads to shreds with their excellent Posted Image approach.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#4 Michael Stuart Kelly

Michael Stuart Kelly

    $$$$$$

  • Root Admin
  • 20,066 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:26 PM

Note that one of Glenn's assistants, I think it was Pat...

On second thought, I think it was Stu.

I keep getting the names of those two mixed up for some reason beknownst only to the dark recesses of my tortured past on the corresponding byways in the labyrinths of my memory.

Pat just looks like a Stu to me and vice-versa. It feels right that way.

Nothing I do gets the image to change.

That's dissonance, I guess, but I don't know how cognitive...

:)

Michael

Know thyself...


#5 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:45 PM

Michael,

Thanks for posting that audio by Beck. You're right. Beck's comments make clear that he continues to admire Rand as a "prophet" despite her alleged bigotry against religion.

I'm sure this is the approach Republicans will take on the 'Rand vs. Jesus' controversy, i.e., downplaying Rand's rabid atheism as misguided and emphasizing the ways in which capitalism helps the "less fortunate"--i.e., has altruistic consequences despite promoting a benign form of "selfishness."

I have my doubts about whether this strategy will work. Any serious study of The Virtue of Selfishness reveals the numerous ways in which Rand's absolute focus on the self is totally incompatible with the purely negative edicts of the Ten Commandments (which Beck no doubt believes in). To the extent that this "epic confrontation" (Jesus vs Rand) continues to get attention in the media, that stark contrast will be highlighted by those who study the subject seriously. Beck glosses over this by portraying Rand's morality prosaically as merely a focus on "pursuing happiness."

Rand's Christian-Democratic critics are going to make clear that the differences are much more fundamental than that. The parable of 'Jesus and the money changers' along with a few other choice quotes from Christ ("Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his fellow man" and something about camels passing through the eye of a needle, et. al.) come to mind.

Obama's recent statement describing Ryan's budget as 'social Darwinism' could be an omen of things to come. If the Dems choose to press the issue, we may see a fascinating drama unfolding before our eyes in the months ahead.

#6 Michael Stuart Kelly

Michael Stuart Kelly

    $$$$$$

  • Root Admin
  • 20,066 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:46 PM

Dennis,

I'm not so bothered on the religious versus atheist thing--not even on fundamentals. People who truly adopt capitalism as a banner don't seem to care about this politically from what I have observed.

My fear is always the people who preach freedom and capitalism, then when you take the covers off, you find crony capitalism (and war) at the core.

The left does this. The right does this. Religious left and religious right do this. Atheist left and atheist right do this.

I haven't seen where the religion versus atheism dispute has made a difference one way or another on the size and abuses of government.

On the contrary, on the times I have I seen pro-liberty efforts progress, I can't help but notice that the entire discussion has been thrown out of the political arena or at least ignored. (How much was it discussed in Clinton's welfare reform, for instance?)

I only see that debate flare up when someone is trying to obtain or expand power.

Frankly, I'm glad to see Rand's ideas penetrating into religious small government people. She did a hell of a good job and it's gratifying to see others who hold to a different worldview acknowledge it. And I'm glad she has become so important that the left needs to bash her during an election.

On another note, Herman Cain said something on Hannity the other day that I found to have a deep understanding of the political process (the elective part). He said that there are two kinds of people in the world, those who know what's going on and those who don't have a clue.

Notice that spin and outright lies are never aimed at those who know what's going on. They are aimed at the clueless. This is because one clueless vote carries just as much weight as the vote of the wisest person in America (whoever that may be) and spin doctors go for the easy pickings.

The 50% of the people in America who are exempt from paying taxes all vote. I would wager that most of them fall in the clueless category.

With this in mind, for the religious people, I expect to see the Rand was an atheist argument to be aimed at the clueless and the agree with Rand on everything but atheism argument adopted by the side of the more informed folks. I seriously doubt altruism will figure as an important element in this situation, although I imagine it will be a talking point that comes up sporadically to add mass to the discussions.

On religion and politics per se, I have a very interesting quote I just came across that gave me great pause. I'm reading a book on gurus by an extremely insightful psychologist, Anthony Storr. It is called Feet of Clay - Saints, Sinners and Madmen: A Study of Gurus. One of the gurus he examined was Carl Jung (yes, he called Jung a "guru" :smile: ). Here is the quote from the chapter on Jung (p. 105):

Because of his own experience, he drew attention to a phenomenon which has not received the investigation it deserves: the need which those who have lost their faith feel for something to replace it, and the dangers which threaten us all when whole populations worship dictators like Stalin and Mao rather than a god beyond the skies.

Wow.

That is an angle I never thought of, although when I read it, I got the oddest feeling of déjà vu.

One of the reasons religion doesn't bother me politically like it used to is that I believe I gradually came to the conclusion behind Storr's warning without having the words for it. At least I think I did. I do know that his words hit me with a feeling of obviousness that was a little too familiar.

Between a bloody monster telling folks the meaning of life and an intangible Supreme Being people gather to pray to, I'll take The Invisible One. Both claim they rule mankind (albeit the ethereal spirit tells ya' through proxies), but only the dictator butchers the people he rules.

Michael

Know thyself...


#7 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:02 AM

Dennis,

I'm not so bothered on the religious versus atheist thing--not even on fundamentals. People who truly adopt capitalism as a banner don't seem to care about this politically from what I have observed.

I haven't seen where religion versus atheism dispute has made a difference one way or another on the size and abuses of government.

On the contrary, on the times I have I seen pro-liberty efforts progress, I can't help but notice that the entire discussion has been thrown out of the political arena or at least ignored. (How much was it discussed in Clinton's welfare reform, for instance?)

With this in mind, for the religious people, I expect to see the Rand was an atheist argument to be aimed at the clueless and the agree with Rand on everything but atheism argument adopted by the side of the more informed folks. I seriously doubt altruism will figure as an important element in this situation, although I imagine it will be a talking point that comes up sporadically to add mass to the discussions.


Michael,

The religion vs atheism conflict is not fundamental here. It is merely a superficial smokescreen for the real drama--one that underlies so much of the political debate today. The real battle is between selfishness vs. altruism.

That is the unspoken, underlying thread that ties together a vast number of issues dominating today's headlines.

It is the real issue involved in the debate on Obamacare. And the federal budget battle. And raising taxes on the rich. And the price of oil. And governmental regulation of private industry. And revamping Medicare and social security. And cutting back federal and state entitlements. And the power of labor unions. And out-of-control federal spending. And the sacrificial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And so many other issues too numerous to list here.

The fantastic thing about the prospect of bringing Ayn Rand into the forefront of the national debate is that this underlying, unspoken moral conflict will be brought out into the open, and, for the first time, voters will have a chance to see clearly the nature of the choice facing them--and choose the future they truly want for America.

In a discussion with David Kelley a few months ago, he said that the reason most people react negatively to the idea of atheism is that, to them, atheism represents the negation of all values. I think he was right about that--and that most people will care much less about Ayn Rand's atheism when they discover the values she fought for so passionately--most especially, individualism and the greatness of human achievement.

If the upcoming national debate can be framed in terms of self-sacrifice vs. self-responsibility (which is the true meaning of selfishness)--and if even a small number of people can be helped to see that--it could make all the difference for America's future. Most likely the debate will not be framed in those terms, because the Republicans will prefer to battle the Democrats for the banner of "holier-than-thou." Even so, we can hope that this debate will lead many observers to discover the Randian alternative on their own.

On religion and politics per se, I have a very interesting quote I just came across that gave me great pause. I'm reading a book on gurus by an extremely insightful psychologist, Anthony Storr. It is called Feet of Clay - Saints, Sinners and Madmen: A Study of Gurus. One of the gurus he examined was Carl Jung (yes, he called Jung a "guru" :smile: ). Here is the quote from the chapter on Jung (p. 105):

Because of his own experience, he drew attention to a phenomenon which has not received the investigation it deserves: the need which those who have lost their faith feel for something to replace it, and the dangers which threaten us all when whole populations worship dictators like Stalin and Mao rather than a god beyond the skies.

Wow.

That is an angle I never thought of, although when I read it, I got the oddest feeling of déjà vu.

One of the reasons religion doesn't bother me politically like it used to is that I believe I gradually came to the conclusion behind Storr's warning without having the words for it. At least I think I did. I do know that his words hit me with a feeling of obviousness that was a little too familiar.

Michael


The quote from Anthony Storr reminds me of another famous quote from G.K.Chesterton:

“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.”

For Chesterton, "anything" translates to the false gods of socialism, feminism, environmentalism, communism, Nazism, et. al.

In the case of Ayn Rand, however, anything becomes something better--an alternative secular value-system around which the individual can build his life. I happen to think many people will embrace that new value-system, when and if they fully grasp it.

My hope is that the Democrats are about to lend us a helping hand in promoting that very worthy cause.

#8 Steve Gagne

Steve Gagne

    $$$

  • Members
  • 249 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vero Beach, Florida

Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

To everyone except the Old-Calendrists, Happy Easter!

#9 Selene

Selene

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 15,428 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Chess, birding, football, baseball, minimalist backpacking, argumentation and debate, politics and philosophy, strategic board gaming, history, Rand, poetry, writing.

Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:06 AM

Gentlemen:

I have argued for decades that you do not lead with your most divisive argument which unfortunately Objectivists have decided not to even consider.

As Dennis noted above:

"In the case of Ayn Rand, however, anything becomes something better--an alternative secular value-system around which

the individual can build his life. I happen to think many people will embrace that new value-system, when and if they fully grasp it."


This is the way to approach the electorate, stressing the positive points that people can understand.

When atheism is raised we simply bring the discussion to the now and reiterate the positives of her philosophy.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#10 studiodekadent

studiodekadent

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,192 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brisbane, Australia
  • Interests:Austrian and Evolutionary Economics, Objectivism, Electro-Industrial Music (Listening/Composing/ Producing), Synthesizers, Goth/Industrial/ Cyberpunk/Formal Fashion, Makeup (more than my mother), Drinking, Blackjack, Debauchery of Assorted Varieties.

Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:10 AM

I'm sure this is the approach Republicans will take on the 'Rand vs. Jesus' controversy, i.e., downplaying Rand's rabid atheism as misguided and emphasizing the ways in which capitalism helps the "less fortunate"--i.e., has altruistic consequences despite promoting a benign form of "selfishness."


Just want to clarify: helping the less fortunate is not an altruistic consequence. It is a benevolent consequence.

"Altruism" refers to the doctrine that an action is good if the ultimate (intended) end of that action is the good of others. The action does not in fact have to actually help others for it to be altruistic.

The "markets create the best results for the poor" argument is more Utilitarian than Altruist. And Utilitarianism is not a subspecies of Altruism.

Beck glosses over this by portraying Rand's morality prosaically as merely a focus on "pursuing happiness."


"Pursuing happiness" IS egoism. I don't see how this is a misrepresentation of Rand's ethics. Objectivism holds that an individual's moral purpose is their own happiness. Sure, it isn't a particularly precise or comprehensive summary but it isn't a misrepresentation.
www.myspace.com/studiodekadent

#11 Jerry Biggers

Jerry Biggers

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maryland
  • Interests:Interested in Objectivism and libertarianism since the mid-1960's.; Other philosophy, science, history, Siamese (and other) cats. .

Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:48 AM

Dennis,

"If the upcoming national debate can be framed in terms of self-sacrifice vs. self-responsibility (which is the true meaning of selfishness)--and if even a small number of people can be helped to see that--it could make all the difference for America's future. Most likely the debate will not be framed in those terms, because the Republicans will prefer to battle the Democrats for the banner of "holier-than-thou." Even so, we can hope that this debate will lead many observers to discover the Randian alternative on their own"


Your comments here are right on target: it is indeed altruim versus self-responsibility. ( and,, if Rand had named her book, The Virtues of Self-Responsiblity, instead of selfishness, we [those paying attention] would be farther along in the debate. Instead, we have to explain how Rand's definition of selfishness is quite different from the commonly accepted understanding of that word (e.g., trodding over the rights of others to achieve one's goals).

But, too late to change the title now (Not that this has stopped Peter Schwartz from egregiously renaming another of Rand's books!).

Expect to hear choruses of defenders (including many who, in their own life, act as if they never heard of "Sermon on the mount") of Christian ethics to try to make the debate, "Rand versus Jesus." They think that they can win by framing it in those terms. And as Rand's influence grows, the attacks will become more strident than they have already been (which is difficult to concieve, but new lows will be found).

I don't see any way to avoid this. There have been a few attempts to reconcile Rand with christian ethics (e.g., E. Merrill Root in National Review, ca 1957-58; and Howard Kershner [of the Pew family endowed - and now defunct - Christian Freedom Foundation], who tried to claim that both Rand and Jesus were saying the same thing. Not very successful).

And Michael, re the A.K. Chesterton quote, did he go on to say that those who continue to believe in God, can also believe everything?

#12 whYNOT

whYNOT

    tony garland

  • Members
  • 3,245 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Republic of South Africa

Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:49 PM

Whatever Rand said about "I use that word simply because you hate to hear it"
(or something), I'm wondering if it's not time to find alternatives to 'selfishness'
and 'altruism'. Even after the most laborious explanations, people - either in innocence,
or in deliberate evasion - cannot, or will not, grasp the meanings O'ists are so familiar with.
It's simply not working.

"Self-ness", and "otherness" - clumsy, but what else is there?

For Christians imbued with the notion of charitable altruism, the concept of volitional
benevolence (which I think we all agree would release an even greater outpouring of aid and goodwill) would be easier to grasp. The total concept of "otherness"- meaning living for, by, and through others (permanently) would make further sense to them (as would "self-ness") - particularly those who already embrace capitalism: although they do not relate it to an ethical system.
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#13 Michael Stuart Kelly

Michael Stuart Kelly

    $$$$$$

  • Root Admin
  • 20,066 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

And Michael, re the A.K. Chesterton quote, did he go on to say that those who continue to believe in God, can also believe everything?

Jerry,

I don't know.

I didn't quote Chesterton.

I quoted Anthony Storr and his observation that some serious investigation needs to be made into what people feel when they lose their faith so they don't fall into the trap of replacing their worship of an intangible presence with worshiping a bloody dictator. Like they have done in history to great destruction.

(And that part of the value of Carl Jung's work was opening this investigation.)

Michael

Know thyself...


#14 Jerry Biggers

Jerry Biggers

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maryland
  • Interests:Interested in Objectivism and libertarianism since the mid-1960's.; Other philosophy, science, history, Siamese (and other) cats. .

Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

And Michael, re the A.K. Chesterton quote, did he go on to say that those who continue to believe in God, can also believe everything?

Jerry,

I don't know.

I didn't quote Chesterton.

I quoted Anthony Storr and his observation that some serious investigation needs to be made into what people feel when they lose their faith so they don't fall into the trap of replacing their worship of an intangible presence with worshiping a bloody dictator. Like they have done in history to great destruction.

(And that part of the value of Carl Jung's work was opening this investigation.)

Michael

Michael,
sorry about that. :blush: It was G.K. Chesterton, and it was from Dennis.

Anthony Storr had written a lot of interesting observations in his numerous works (e.g., Music and the Mind; Solitude; etc.). However, in this case, Eric Hoffer's The True Believer gives a better description of what drives some people to drop a religion or ideology, and then embrace something equally worse.

But I don't think that religious systems should be given a pass by saying, for example, that Czarist Eastern Orthodox Russia's Okhrana was less repressive than the Soviet Union's GRU/NKVD/KGB. Or reversing it, by comparing the Shah's Iran to the current Mullah-dominated regime. A all-encompassing religious regime can be as bad as the secular versions of totalitarianism.

For an example of an "Attilaist" mystic of muscle embracing and using the "Witch Doctor," mystics of mind, consider Tamurlane, persuading the leaders of a city he had under seige to surrender to his forces and lay down their arms. At which time, he had his forces systematically slaughter the entire population and pile the thousands of carcasses outside the city walls, as an example to others to not resist his forces (and Islamization)..

On this issue,Rand was correct, the advocates of religion and the advocates of coercive force, contrary to the modern perception that these are countervailing forces, are actually benefiting each other. This is explained in the title essay of For The New Intellectual, (but is more throroughly elaborated upon by Chris Sciabarra, in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, Chapter 13, "History and Resolution.").

This interpretation is the key concept in the Objectivist theory of history. I cannot think of another philosopher or social theorist that has stated this view before (and if anyone here has information to the contrary, please post).

#15 Dglgmut

Dglgmut

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,100 posts

Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:32 PM

It's simply not working.


Maybe exercise techniques are inadequate because most Americans are overweight.

It's a good point :P

#16 Selene

Selene

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 15,428 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Chess, birding, football, baseball, minimalist backpacking, argumentation and debate, politics and philosophy, strategic board gaming, history, Rand, poetry, writing.

Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:44 AM

Lumen Christi explores Ayn Rand and Catholic ideals Professor says Rand’s works run counter to basic Catholic tenets


By Daniel P. Smith
CONTRIBUTOR

Author and philosopher Ayn Rand boasts a following few can match.

Rand’s signature work, the novel “Atlas Shrugged,” has sold more than 7 million copies and spurred a deep collection of loyal followers in the U.S. and abroad subscribing to her philosophy of objectivism, thinking rooted in the dogged pursuit of one’s own happiness.

While the continuing popularity of Rand’s works, even among Catholics, reveals her standing as a pop culture heroine, the influence of her thought on the role of individual, community, state and religious principles in modern society continues to spark debate.

The compatibility — and even clash — of Rand’s work with Christian beliefs was the topic at a luncheon attended by more than 50 people at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., on March 23.

Seeking a closer look at Rand’s philosophical, moral, economic and political thoughts, Donald DeMarco, professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, and currently adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., offered his take with a program titled “A Critical Look at Ayn Rand.”

The Lumen Christi Institute, a University of Chicago-based organization that seeks to advance Catholic thought and dialogue, hosted DeMarco’s hour-long presentation.
Rand’s influence

While DeMarco acknowledges the phenomenon of Rand, who passed away in 1982, he said there is a gaping disparity between her popularity and the actual quality of her contribution.

“You can’t avoid [Rand]. She’s out there, but she weaves fables and enchants with a magic flute,” said DeMarco, the author of 22 books, including “Architects of the Culture of Death” and “The Heart of Virtue.”

Rand’s works and philosophy, DeMarco said, run counter to basic Catholic tenets.

Rand, an atheist who discarded religion, compassion and the Golden Rule in favor of a devout focus on the self, once called faith “a negation of human reason.” She even questioned if individuals needed morality at all.

As a pro-choice advocate, Rand failed to concern herself with the consequences of such choice, DeMarco said. Rand opined that most people aren’t worth being loved and shunned any connection between economic, civil and moral forces. She also rejected altruism and volunteerism, both of which squelched individualism.

“Rand would say, ‘We’re all individuals and need to be individual,’” DeMarco said.
Ignoring realities

DeMarco said the world of Ayn Rand deals in simplicity and cartoons, ignoring the realities. While, yes, people are individuals, they are also individuals worthy of being loved and members of a collective as well.

“As one matures … and realizes that life is one of the cross, then they put Ayn Rand away,” said DeMarco, who is a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life as well as a founding member of the American Bioethics Advisory Commission. “At some point, we all have to reach for something more substantial.”

Unlike the philosophy of Pope John Paul II, Rand’s outlook, De- Marco stressed, is unconnected to reality. She ignores justice and love and distanced herself from the human qualities of empathy and generosity. Her single truth was self-fulfillment.

“She was correct that we all have value and the ability and right to follow our own destinies, but those are incomplete ideas,” DeMarco said. “Real truth requires balancing and shaking and questioning of the complex, which all takes time.”
Lumen Christi hosts

As an academic and scholarly center, the Lumen Christi Institute explores Catholic spiritual, intellectual and cultural traditions as a means to produce leaders better educated and formed in Catholic faith and thought.

Lumen Christi programs have included discussions of law and culture, Catholic social thought and the economy, religion and secular culture, school choice, Catholic education, and, now, the works of Ayn Rand.

Lumen Christi co-founder and executive director Thomas Levergood said a critical investigation of Rand’s work, one inspired by the suggestions of various luncheon attendees, helps Catholics examine the American version of freedom and its many dimensions.

“The real question we need to critically consider is the American ideology of the individual and personal liberty, whether it’s coming from the political right or left, and how that interacts with Catholic life,” Levergood said.

For a schedule of upcoming talks, visit www.lumenchristi.org. On April 24 at 7 p.m. at the University of Chicago Ian Ker of Oxford will speak about “G.K. Chesterton on Humor.”

http://www.catholicn...012/0408/7.aspx
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#17 daunce lynam

daunce lynam

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 8,015 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:Hockey, what else is there?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:12 PM



Glenn Beck Changes Mind On Ayn Rand
 

 

 

"As many of us on Current know, Glenn Beck usually does not change his mind, but two days ago he did! In June of last year he extolled Ayn Rand on his radio show saying, “You gotta love her – she’s great!” But then he watched and played American Values Network's ad, which has been at the center of the recent discussion, and highlights the Rand vs Jesus problem for the GOP. And Beck did an about-face, calling Rand a "bigot" .....".

 

 

 

Beck was wrong there, of course. Her refutation of religion and her understanding of it were deeply thought and felt. Yet she did display bigotry, against three other groups I can think of, and of these groups she knew little(except for the first)  and studied nothing, but reacted to them as a collective in a bigoted way: Homosexuals, Native Americans, and Arabs.



#18 Michael E. Marotta

Michael E. Marotta

    Rational Empiricist

  • Members
  • 2,502 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, Texas
  • Interests:Numismatics, Physical Security and Computer Security, Aviation

Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:19 AM

Oh, I don't know...  You would have to find an instance where she judged an individual on the basis of a ascribed collective in which she placed them.  Did she refuse to buy or sell to one of these people because they were elements of some set? 

 

That is not the same thing as evaluating a culture or a society.  She generally liked the cutlure of ancient Athens and generally disliked the European Middle Ages, while specifically disliking Plato and specifically liking Thomas Aquinas. 

 

We can run in circles saying that we have friends "who happen to be..." in order to avoid having to prove our innocence.  The fact is that condemning the horrors of white aggression would not have saved the Native Americans.  Their cultures were doomed.  We have been around on the Arab/Muslim thing more than once.  Even if you could defend Islam per se - granting the Islamic Golden Age, from the astrolabe to Scheherazade - it is only another Mormonism.  Even if you could separate the treatment of women, the continuation of slavery, and the hatred of modernism and Jews, from the religious tenets, you still have the problem of cultures.  Pakistan had elected a woman as prime minister.  Saudi Arabia does not even have elections.

 

As for being repelled by gays ... one time, we were standing around in a social event and this girl got exuberant and went to kiss my gay friend who protected himself by putting up his arms across his chest. He was repelled by the advances of a girl.  "Do you like girls?" is a deep question.  When Laurel and I are out and about here in Austin, she often ribs me when a woman (not a man) finds me (not her) attractive enough to smile at first.  Are they bigoted?  Or do they just have preferences? 


Mike M.
-----------------------------------------------

Michael E. Marotta, BS, MA.
Criminology & Social Science


Blogging at Necessary Facts
Website: CSI: Flint (2011)
------------------------------------------------


#19 whYNOT

whYNOT

    tony garland

  • Members
  • 3,245 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Republic of South Africa

Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:03 AM

One of *those* days, MEM?
:0
When you're hot, you're hot.
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#20 daunce lynam

daunce lynam

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 8,015 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:Hockey, what else is there?

Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

Nice nuances, Mike. But AR did not allow of nuance in her division of cultures between the civilized and the primitive.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users