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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

• • The end of ‘compassionate conservatism’? 
,
Syndicated  | The Tea Party movement has embraced what political writer Jill Lawrence calls “Darwinian conservatism.” You could also call it “Ayn Rand conservatism,” after the libertarian philosopher whose work many congressional Republicans praise. In 2010, Republican Senate candidates attacked programs such as Social Security, student loans and unemployment benefits, saying they made Americans lazy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 Is Anders Breivik a ‘Christian’ terrorist? 
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Atheism  |Paul Ryan  | Many argue today that President Obama, for example, can’t be a true Christian despite his profession of faith because of the liberal policies he proposes. Or that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a Tea Party favorite, can’t be a real Catholic because he embraces the atheistic libertarianism of Ayn Rand in opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Yet as far back as the fourth century, Saint Ambrose spoke of the church as a “casta meretrix” -- the “chaste harlot” who welcomes all comers while remaining pure herself in order to sanctify her members.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 Living in a material world 
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In the go-go 1980s, the chanteuse who'd named herself Madonna infamously confessed in song that she was "a material girl," and that we are all "living is a material world" (repeat chorus and fade). Less famously, and long before she became Madonna, she was a talented little girl from Michigan named Louise Ciccone who, though not a church member, sang and danced in the Christmas-pageant-on-steroids that was mounted annually at my former congregation. How tragic, you sigh, that the pretty girl in the church Christmas pageant ended up singing to the glories of materialism like a pop Ayn Rand with a bleach job.

Monday, June 14, 2010

 The old new right 
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Altruism  |Egoism  | Book Review: Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal, by Kim Phillips-Fein.
Phillips-Fein tells the full story of the right, with all its weird turns, quite well. Her discussion of the group Spiritual Mobilization, “which took as its mission a theological justification for capitalism,” is captivating. It was just one of many similar crusading groups in the 1950s and the years following. Christianity, its spokespeople warned, had too long been associated with “pink” seminarians, leftist theologians, and intrusive progressives of all stripes. According to the members of Spiritual Mobilization, Christ promoted self-interest and never advocated “disinterested altruism.” It was the sort of faith that might have suited even Ayn Rand.