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Thursday, May 23, 2013

• • Sam Harris and the New Islamophobes, Deconstructed 
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Mr. Harris is an apologist—one of the best—for the worldview that modern liberals have appropriated from Perle, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Fukuyama in which American military dominance, paired with Silicon Valley solutionism [...] combines with Randian objectivism to usher in a new era of Pax Americana—with the silicon chip as the golden calf at the altar of modernity. [....] [I]n this era of a president defined by the mantra: "I am not and never have been a Muslim," the liberal intelligentsia has taken up the mantle of Islamophobia cloaked in objectivist garb. Harris meets Rand meets Griffith.

Friday, February 01, 2013

• • Stephen King Appeals to Gun Advocates’ Individual Responsibility 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  | “Jesus wept,” King writes in “Gun,” in reference to gun advocates’ unwillingness to yield on reasonable regulation, an echo of the minced curse that appears throughout his novels, and an indictment of the corrupted religious morals that prevent conservatives from acting on the faith to which Hall and his religiously sincere colleagues would call them. He appeals, to any who might have ears to hear, not to an imagined, pious self hidden under so much rightwing vitriol. After all, who knows better than King the contours of the tortured, unrepentant soul. Rather, then, he speaks directly to the fantasy of an unbridled individualism at the center of the conservative creed. The divinely human compassion of “Jesus wept” meets the theology of Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

• • Comparing Apples to Ayn Rand 
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Atheism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | [Paul] Ryan is not an atheist, obviously, but by his own admission he's an admirer of Ayn Rand. He has advocated, based on his apparently deep philosophical convictions, for deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. And that puts him at odds with Catholic social teaching, according to the group of Catholic theologians, academics, and ministers behind "On All of Our Shoulders: A Catholic Call to Protect the Endangered Common Good."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

• • • Paul Ryan: I Reject Ayn Rand, She’s an Atheist! 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | In rejecting Rand, Ryan must have woken up to the reality that piggybacking on an atheist wouldn’t help his Catholic “social justice” defenses of his budget. Don’t be fooled, though, by his giving Rand the boot. There are plenty of other conservative ideologues willing to defend Ryan’s budget as being in line with what the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s George Weigel calls, in a column for the Archdiocese of Denver, “Catholicism’s anti-statist social justice principle, subsidiarity.”

Saturday, December 31, 2011

 Top 2011 Religion Stories That Weren’t 
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Of course, we don’t expect mainstream religion writers to know much about philosophy or history, so I suppose we mustn’t be too harsh. It still strikes me as odd that no one has taken to calling either Wall Street ethics or far-Right economic beliefs by their right name, which is nihilism. There’s been some prattle in the press about Ayn Rand’s influence, but religiously the problem is so much bigger and deeper than the renewed attention paid to this minor figure.

Monday, October 31, 2011

 Herman Cain Sings For the Press 
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Cain’s singing, his effusive happiness that “whites” love him, and his constant so-called joking all remind me of a statue that was placed in Louisiana in 1927 called the “Uncle Jack, the Good Darky.” Designed to honor faithful slaves that kept the plantations while their masters went off to war, the statue has a plaque that says “Erected by the city of Natchitoches in grateful recognition of the arduous and faithful services of the good darkies of Louisiana.” The statue aggravated many blacks, but wasn’t put away into storage until the Civil Rights Movement. The statue, like Cain’s performance and willingness to pander by singing and joking make him seem like a racial throwback with an Ayn Rand core.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

• • Why Liberal Religious Arguments Fail 
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Paul Ryan  | A lot has been made recently of a pair of efforts to turn the Republican Party’s ostentatious religious posture against it. In early June, conservative Republican Rep. Paul Ryan was handed a Bible flagging passages on the poor in response to his heavily-criticized budget proposal, followed closely by the American Values Network’s “must-see” video claiming to debunk the notion that Ayn Rand’s ideas can be reconciled with Christian teaching. The AVN people exulted that they had boxed Ryan into a corner: that, logically, he must repudiate either Rand or Jesus.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

• • “We Believe” Christ Would Call the Jesus v. Ayn Rand Argument Weak 
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if you look carefully at what’s being said, the bone of contention is not which person (Christ or Rand) is superior, but whose faith is better: Christians or Objectivists. That’s why the religious lefties waved Bibles in Ryan’s face the other day: to drive home the point that his attachment to Rand’s ideas doesn’t match up with their understanding of the Christian faith, and presumably not with the understanding of most committed Christians.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

• • • The Problem with Ayn Rand Isn’t Atheism 
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Atheism  | While it is indeed a profile in Republican hyprocrisy that conservatives complain about liberals “persecuting” Christians, and insist that we are a “Christian nation,” and then turn for inspiration to Rand, who denigrated organized religion, Rand’s atheism is not what’s wrong with Ryan’s budget.

Monday, June 06, 2011

• • • Paul Ryan’s Bible, Jim Wallis’, Or None of the Above? 
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Atheism  |Capitalism  |Individualism  | Rand is not a hero to the religious right, if she is even on their radar screen. Indeed, for many on the religious right, support for Ryan’s government-slashing budget is found . . . in their Bibles. The anti-Ryan religious leaders seem to think that focusing on Ryan’s affection for Rand will turn religious people against him. Perhaps his love of an evil atheist would be persuasive enough, although if you’re not a fan of free-market worship, you weren’t likely to be a fan of Ryan, Rand or no Rand. And if they think conservative Christians will be put off by Ryan’s admiration for an atheist, well, evangelical Christians and secular libertarians have co-existed in the conservative movement for decades. The evangelicals tolerate it, because, minus the atheism, they buy it, too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

 Glenn Beck hijacks It’s a Wonderful Life 
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Capitalism  | Somehow, [Glenn] Beck manages to reinterpret [ It’s a Wonderful Life] through an unregulated free-market ideological Ayn Rand prism and message of Christian conservatism.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

 The Tea Party illusion 
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Atheism  | Is [Rand] Paul an anti-authority, secular libertarian who just hates “big government” and taxes? Fifty percent of Kentucky voters told exit pollsters that they are white evangelical Christians (the only other available response, to exit polls in Kentucky and several other states, was “all other people”), and 68% of them voted for him, despite his professed affection for the atheist Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

 Is it fair to question Rand Paul’s religiosity? 
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[Rand] Paul’s college daze notwithstanding, he’s gone out of his way to profess his Christianity, and it’s a distinctly illiberal brand. And just because he admires Ayn Rand doesn’t mean he can’t also claim that Christianity. His father hasn’t had a problem with meshing admiration for Ayn Rand and support for Christian Reconstructionism.

Friday, May 28, 2010

 Rand Paul and the influence of Christian Reconstructionism 
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Rand Paul  | In April 2009, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul spoke to the Campaign for Liberty rally to end the Federal Reserve, in front of the Federal Reserve building in Minnesota. Paul cited libertarian icon Ayn Rand. But he drew on Christian Reconstructionist Gary North. He argued against centralized banking, explicitly not on the grounds that conservatives traditionally have (conspiratorially) but, instead, on the very grounds that North lays out in his book, Honest Money: Biblical Principles for Money and Banking. In that book, North explains his view that the cause of the international debt crisis of the 1980s was the Federal Reserve System. The solution, he maintained, rested in eliminating that institution and moving to a hard money standard. It sounds familiar to Paul-ites, but for North it is all based in the biblical command to have “just weights and measures.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

• • Bad religion leaves big bruises: When Christians threaten health care reform 
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Why then are so many American Christians so devoutly opposed to even very modest steps toward affordable and universal health care coverage? [....] This is a question that has haunted me for a long time. The reluctant conclusion I draw is that these are Ayn Rand Christians, never touched by the spirit of the Christ whose ministry was emphatically defined from the start by his compassion for the sick and for his healing of the multitudes who came to him with all manner of diseases. Jesus did not seem to think that it was taking anything away from the already-healthy to restore the health of the physically and psychologically afflicted.