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Saturday, March 30, 2013

• • NoLa Priest On Ryan’s Budget 
Paul Ryan  | Father Michael Jacques calls the recently passed GOP House budget “shameful” in this essay at a New Orleans alternative paper, the Lens. I had expressed the hope that Congressman Paul Ryan’s stated desire to enflesh more Aquinas than Rand would begin to show up in his numbers but as Fr. Jacques points out, we are still getting an essentially Randian view of government’s obligations to the poor which is to view them with contempt.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

• • Wieseltier on Ryan & Self-Reliance 
Paul Ryan  | I have no idea how I missed this essay on Paul Ryan and his cult of "self-reliance" when it first came out. Leon Wieseltier is one of the finest writers and finest thinkers in the liberal tradition. Obviously, I disagree with Wieseltier about the transformative power of suffering, but then I worship a crucified God and Wieseltier does not. But, his critique of the Randian worldview is breathtakingly spot-on.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

• • • On All of Our Shoulders 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | A diverse groups of theologians and academics have penned a statement in advance of tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate that squarely, coherently, and, I think, decisively makes the case that Congressman Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand, libertarian sensibilities, and the policies that flow from them, are incompatible with Catholic social teaching. You can find the full statement “On All of Our Shoulders” by clicking here. The title of the statement “On All of Our Shoulders” is an obvious reference to Ms. Rand’s famous book “Atlas Shrugged.” Atlas, you will recall, carried the world on his shoulders and the Catholic theologians who drafted this statement wish to suggest that all of us, as a group, are responsible for carrying the world on our shoulders.

Friday, October 19, 2012

 Anti-Muslim Bigotry Coming to Billboards Near You 
Mark Silk has the story on Pamela Geller's posting anti-Muslim bigotry on billboards and advertisements in subway stations. I had never grasped the connection to Ayn Rand in this story, which makes it more interesting, albeit no less repugnant.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

• • Oldie & Goodie on Ayn Rand 
I had almost forgotten about this masterful essay by Jonathon Chait, from 2009, on Ayn Rand. Fortunately, the TNR website featured it this morning on their website. The title “Wealthcare” seems to me to perfectly encapsulate the Romney vision of America.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

• • • Paul Ryan: Champion of Dissent 
Altruism  |Anthem  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | Despite Ryan’s reputation as a serious intellectual, it is difficult to see how deep his intellect actually runs if he can so uncritically praise such a hateful human philosophy as Rand’s.

Monday, November 21, 2011

 Super Committee: Deal Or No Deal 
[Rick] Garnett is a smart and thoughtful conservative, but I worry that he, too, has bought into the GOP meme that government spending is the principal threat to long-term fiscal sanity of a kind that he rightly notes would imperil future generations. That meme reflects a different set of values, drawn from Hayek and von Mises and, yes, Ayn Rand, about the how the government and the economy interact from the values at the heart of Catholic social teaching.

Monday, November 14, 2011

 NH Republican makes his mark 
[Ovide] Lamontagne’s invocation of “individual freedom of choice” echoes the current libertarian currents within the tea party. But the phrase also echoes the arguments of pro-choice advocates. Indeed, it is a curiosity in today’s political landscape that the extremists on both the left and the right are those who exhibit the most profound libertarian tendencies within each party. Libertarian Republicans invoke Ayn Rand and libertarian Democrats invoke Betty Friedan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

 Mystic Chords of Memory 
Individualism  | All week, events have conspired to pluck the mystic chords of memory, and each pluck reminds me of how unreal is the cultural and political sensibility that values only human autonomy, celebrates “self-made men,” and enjoys re-reading Ayn Rand. I use Cardinal Newman’s favorite derogatory expression, “unreal,” because it seems so apt: This hyper-individualism of our day does not bear any resemblance to the actual lives we live.

Friday, September 23, 2011

 Class Warfare? Bring It 
Cong. [Paul] Ryan is an expert on class warfare. He and his Ayn Rand-inspired colleagues have been practicing it for some time now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

 Bishop Blaire’s Powerful Labor Day Statement 
Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, the head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development [....] sets forth a vision for the nation’s economic and political life that could scarcely be more at odds with the Ayn Rand-inspired Tea Party social Darwinism that has come to dominate so much of public discourse.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

 The USCCB Report on the Budget Deal 
Capitalism  | The [Christians for a Sustainable Economy] approach evidences a different orthodoxy, an economic orthodoxy rooted in the specifically anti-Christian teachings of the Austrian school of economics and its American cheerleaders like Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

• • The Nightmare in Norway: A Familiar Face 
Parts of Breivik’s diary has a distinctly Randian feel to it, in his denunciations of a weak government and the need for a heroic stance by individuals to combat the threat of “cultural Marxism” and “multiculturalism.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

 Religious leaders meet with Obama 
The Fountainhead  |Paul Ryan  | [John] Carr also said the USCCB met previously with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. I had to bite my lip from asking Carr if he had read "The Fountainhead" in preparation for that meeting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

 Subsidiarity in Drag 
Paul Ryan  | The founders were not animated by the personalism that informs Catholic understanding of social relations, relations that the Randian worldview of Cong. Ryan would not acknowledge.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

• • Marvin Olasky Takes on Ayn Rand 
Marvin Olasky is not exactly a screaming leftie. But, he has a post up today in which he calls on conservatives to disassociate themselves from one of their heroes, Ayn Rand. Interestingly, Olasky says that there is still room for libertarians in the conservative ranks, something I think is not tenable in the long term, but he says there is no room for anti-Christians like Rand.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

• • Review: Angus Sibley’s “The ‘Poisoned Spring’ of Economic Libertarianism 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Angus Sibley’s new book “The ‘Poisoned Spring’ of Economic Libertarianism,” recently published by Pax Romana, deals with some of the theoretical issues that have emerged in current debates about America’s long-term fiscal health. [....] Recently, as regular readers know, I have been attacking what I believe are the profoundly un-Christian views of Ayn Rand and her libertarian heirs. Some have objected that this attack is unfair, arguing that part of Rand’s philosophy can be saved, and pointed to Hayek and Mises as better defenders of the libertarian creed. Sibley’s book is the answer to that objection. He does not go so far as the National Review did when it reviewed Rand’s work: “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To the gas chambers — go!’” But, he has devastated the Austrians showing that, for all their efforts to condemn the “statism” they hated, they share too many materialist, anti-Christian, monistic characteristics with Marxism to give their attacks on Marxism much credence.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

• • Conservatives Take On Rand 
Like the manna that came from heaven in answer to the prayers of the Jews, conservatives are stepping up to the plate to take on Ayn Rand and point out that this fight has been going on for some time. Mark Silk, at Spiritual Politics, has a post with some very helpful links to National Review which is carrying on its own best traditions in taking up this fight for the soul of the conservative movement.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

• • Bill Donohue responds 
Atlas Shrugged  | Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League, has posted a response to my item below. He claims that Father Sirico never suggested John Galt, the hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” was a Christ-like figure. Maybe he should re-read Sirico’s article, the whole point of which was to suggest that Rand had some subliminal need to paint Galt in Christ-like terms.

• • Where is Bill Donohue When You Need Him 
Atlas Shrugged  | Earlier this morning, I posted about Father Robert Sirico’s essay in which he represents the possibility that John Galt, the hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” was really a Christ-figure. He considers him as a “God-Man.” He compares Galt’s suffering and death to that of the Savior. He notes that Galt traces a “Sign of the Dollar” over creation. So, how is this different from “Piss Christ,” the infamous work of art by Andres Serrano in which the artist took one of Catholicism’s most sacred symbols, the crucifix, and submerged it in a bottle of urine?