Let’s hear it for capitalism

I applaud Western Carolina University for their wisdom in accepting the very generous donation from BB&T, a successful financial institution that practices what it preaches [“Capitalism on Campus”]. And I applaud BB&T for [requesting] as a condition of their generosity that WCU include Ayn Rand’s remarkable novel Atlas Shrugged in their required reading list and teach the substance of her political philosophy of capitalism in their business school. Capitalism is superior among all systems of social organization.

Capitalism says that you have the right to live your life freely, to contract with others without interference, to form associations of your own choosing, to engage in commerce and trade with others for mutual profit and to travel wherever your heart desires—so long as you do not injure anyone else’s right to do the same.

Capitalism says that you have a right to own property and to use and dispose of that property—in both private and business spheres—as you see fit, so long as you do not injure anyone else’s right to do the same.

Capitalism says that you are the captain of your own destiny and that you are permitted by right to seek and sustain life-supporting values, so long as you do not injure anyone else’s right to do the same.

Capitalism says that governments are established to protect your inalienable rights through a secular constitution, adherence to a rule of law, enforcements through police and courts, and a vigorous national defense. And furthermore, there should be a strict wall of separation between economy and state.

Unregulated laissez-faire free-market capitalism is the political-economic-social system of freedom and is the only system that recognizes, respects and actively seeks to protect our rights and minds from predation, force and fraud from whatever source—whether it be our neighbor, hostile nations, or our own government. This country needs and deserves capitalism now more than ever, and I am hopeful that this can be achieved in our own lifetimes—and for the first time.

There is, and has long been, a preponderance of instruction in colleges and universities across our country teaching, and even promoting, the pernicious principles and practices of socialism, Marxism and other various statist hybrids—including our own political-economic system of interventionism.

It is well past time for grant-making foundations to offer, and for our educational institutions to expose our young adults to some measure of intellectual diversity (however slight) in an academic setting (as indeed this is) as a gesture of respect for their capacity for independent thought and rational judgment, which supposedly have been inculcated in them throughout the course of their formal education.

— Tim Peck
Asheville

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34 thoughts on “Let’s hear it for capitalism

  1. See, Tim, it is the sort of attitude that we were talking about last night. There are good things about capitalism. There are also bad things. You consider the subject closed. We consider the subject permanently up for criticism until the bad things have been eliminated from capitalism and from whatever economic system comes out of its critical evaluation and through trial and error. To limit my ability to try and fail at achieving a better system is not fair to me.

  2. Thad, i don’t think any free thinker disagrees with you. if you invent or discover a better political-economic system than the Free Market, then great!

    but in the meantime, there is no other better system than the Free Market. it is one of the fundamental pillars of freedom. no one has the right to tell you how to manage your personal livelihood, who to buy/sell/trade with — that is for the individual to decide.

    anyone who thinks forced Socialism or Communism is better than the Free Market is seriously fooling themselves.

    socialists/leftists seem to go on and on about the “evils of capitalism”, yet they apparently do not even know what “Capitalism / Free Market” really is — Amerika certainly doesn’t allow the Free Market to thrive.

    the Federal & State governments strive to get their tentacles into every aspect of our lives, thereby decreasing our individual and unalienable freedoms.

    i realize some folks attending Firestorm Cafe for the Ayn Rand documentary, “A Sense of Life”, over the last couple of nights do not believe in unalienable individual rights, nor any kind of truth or reality whatsoever — these folks are fooling themselves as well.

    if you have no unalienable individual rights, then you are proclaiming to be a slave for the taking — which is EXACTLY what those who lust for power and control want!

    free thinkers, libertarians, objectivists, etc., are all up for individuals freely forming collectives, but none will ever agree that such systems should be forced upon others.

    therefore, wherever we can all work together against the oppression of centralized tyrannical government, in order to reduce the power and coercion of the State and maximize individual liberties, the better off all of us would be, regardless of exact political persuasion.

    BTW, neither the US political “right” nor “left” promote Free Markets (laissez-faire Capitalism) and individualism, but authoritarianism and collectivism.

    regarding this hatred among some Anarchists & Socialists towards BB&T;’s donation and conditions, it seems most of the animosity comes from the initial condition for Rand’s work to be taught in a positive light.

    i agree that was asking too much, and apparently so did BB&T;in the end, but those upset about this ought to realize that this was due to the overwhelming promotion of socialist agenda within the US Publik School System (an authoritarian and collectivist system) who stamps out cookie cutter humanoids every year.

    as pointed out at the end of our discussion last night, there are ALWAYS people attempting to push their agendas by giving conditional grants. so long as its not being FORCED upon anyone, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making such offers.

  3. entopticon

    I might be going out on a limb here, but after reading Tim’s letter I have a strong suspicion that he likes capitalism.

  4. The problem with Mr. Peck’s argument is his assumption that unregulated laissez-faire free-market capitalism is totally compatible with and leads directly to the idea of “so long as you do not injure anyone else’s right to do the same.”

    It isn’t. It never has been and never will be. It is not much of an objectivist mind set to ignore that reality. People use capitalism on a regular basis to injure others right to do the same and cause injury in numerous other ways. You can’t extract the reality of human behavior from the system of capitalism.

    Yes absolutely, free market capitalism is the best system we have so far. It is not perfect. It should be regulated. Deal with it.

  5. Mark Jamison

    If men were angels no government would be necessary.

    James Madison

  6. we ARE all dealing with over-regulation by our authoritarian, tyrannical and anti-libertarian State, and we ALL will be dealing with it more and more.

    it’s just that some folks seem to be more tolerable to tyranny, and funding an illegal government than others.

    i’m trying to be a good little slave, but it’s conflicting with my unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

    but really, if you claim the free market should be regulated, then it’s no longer a free market. you cannot have it both ways.

  7. i tend to agree with the quote by James Madison. i understand the necessity of government.

    anarchy will never work because there is always an individual or group who wants to exercise power and control over others.

    therefore, we find that even in a communal and tribal social groups there is always some form of government.

    for a free society to exist, the goal should always be to maximize individual freedom while minimizing the scope and power of the State.

    it is for this reason that when speaking of political-economic constructs, libertarian minded people entirely reject choosing the collective over the individual.

  8. libertarian

    Ayn Rand’s philosophy in a nutshell:

    The following is a short description of Objectivism given by Ayn Rand in 1962.
    by Ayn Rand

    At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did as follows:

    1. Metaphysics Objective Reality
    2. Epistemology Reason
    3. Ethics Self-interest
    4. Politics Capitalism

    If you want this translated into simple language, it would read:
    1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.”
    2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.”
    3. “Man is an end in himself.”
    4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

    If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.

    My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

    1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
    2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
    3. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
    4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_intro

  9. Mr. Peck no one is an enemy of economic freedom. Many people are just opposed to unchecked, excessive and often harmful economic greed.

    If you are unwilling to address the reality of the problems of laissez-faire free-market capitalism, the better parts of your rigid ideology will not be taken seriously.

  10. 3. Ethics Self-interest
    3. Man is an end in himself.
    3. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

    This I believe is the heart of the problem with the philosophy of Objectivism. The observable reality is that man evolved from and continues to be a social animal. We operate in packs, families, groups, cultures and nations. We have evolved to such extreme specialization of tasks performed that no man is easily capable of surviving unaided. No individual exists in a vacuum where their actions do not effect others on numerous levels, economic to psychological. The reality is you must take man’s biologically engrained social nature into account.

    Like I said before, you can not extract human behavior from the system of capitalism. Money gained or lost is not the only result of capitalism in a human social construct. An individual who has plenty of money from capitalism and lacks a harmonious social network isn’t going to be truly happy. Money can’t buy that.

    This opinion comes to you from someone with an incredibly strong hermit gene, that I must make efforts to resist.

  11. libertarian

    Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead both show the relationship between actions of the individual in relation to both society in general and the narrower network of the individual. Roark can’t practice architecture the way he wants without a customer. Hank and Dagny can’t run their companies without any available, competent employees. I think that’s an important, oft-overlooked aspect by many who only see Rand as “selfish” or whatever. And no, money cannot buy happiness. I’m not claiming full-blown Objectivism is the ultimate way to go, but I do admire Rand for the unpopular stand and position she took. Her impact will never approach that of the Bible but in a world increasingly hostile to it she brings forth a lot of wisdom that could help many of different faiths and backgrounds should they fully understand and heed it.

    I also have hermit tendencies myself. :D

  12. entopticon

    Libertarian, are we talking about the same Ayn Rand? You know, the same Ayn Rand who absolutely despised religion? The same Ayn Rand who was offended by the very notion of religion? The same Ayn Rand who thought religion was false in all of its manifestations? The same Ayn Rand who thought that the concept of God was disgracefully degrading to mankind? The same Ayn Rand who thought religion was all about “the damnation of life and the worship of death.”

    It seems like you are talking about a different Ayn Rand. Or actually, more likely you turned her into someone with completely opposite views to her real views in your imagination.

    For example, you said: “Her impact will never approach that of the Bible but in a world increasingly hostile to it she brings forth a lot of wisdom that could help many of different faiths and backgrounds should they fully understand and heed it.”

    Rand despised all religions, particularly Christianity, so it is hard to imagine how your statement could possibly be any more misguided. It’s probably not all your fault because you have clearly been given some very bad information.

    Unfortunately, your delusion is quite common. Since her ideas generally aren’t taken seriously by intellectuals, they tend to attract less rigorous people such as the infamous Eastern Montana militia groups who are so fond of her even though they also tend to be religious extremists. While they appreciate her rationalizations for extreme selfishness (the polar opposite of Christ’s teachings) they conveniently overlook the fact that she actually loathed religion and its practitioners.

    Christ was against the very concept of ownership itself, loathed money, and commanded that you give to anyone who begs from you, whether you feel they deserve it or not. Christ even thought the meek, the poor, and the dropouts were the most virtuous people among us. You can argue that Christ was wrong, but there is no rational argument for a Christian following the teachings of Christ’s polar opposite, Ayn Rand.

  13. libertarian

    entopicon,

    Maybe you just don’t get me? Just because someone has ideas you admire doesn’t make you a full-fledged blind follower of them. I haven’t been given bad information. I have read the stuff myself and made my own decisions and interpretations.

    I don’t blame Rand for despising religion. In fact, Christ despised “religion” too (i.e. Pharisees)! “Religion” is what made him angry when he turned over the tables of the money-changers.

    I think Rand was more anti-totalitarian than “selfish”, and regardless of what you believe about that, I don’t see how anyone can actually read Rand and come away with the life viewpoint that “it’s just all about me”. To me, Rand shows the fallacy of following other PEOPLE at the expense of your personal self. This includes people like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, as well as some militia groups, and other cult-like groups masquerading as followers of Christ. Rand’s characterization of the government machine where people don’t think for themselves and just have interest in power could also describe more than a few churches!

    If you are living to your fullest “selfish” potential you will inevitably help others live to their fullest “selfish” potential, as no one can live their life fully and happily in a vacuum.

    Followers of Christ believe God gives men their gifts (talents) and knew them even before they were born. They seek to use those gifts and don’t follow their every whim. Does this make them unhappy? Not necessarily. Most perpetually unhappy “christians” probably never actually read the Bible and seek to follow Christ. They just had an emotional “salvation experience” and then filled up a pew down at the local “organ bar” and stopped development right there.

    Have you ever read and studied both Rand and the Bible?

    Proverbs 31 presents an ideal woman doing all kinds of industrious, productive things. It says of her husband: “23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” Poor, destitute people will not take a place in government (the city gate) nor be successful in business. I think Christ’s point was where is your heart – is money more important than Christ? If you love money more than God you are lost.

    Is the present-day stereotype of Jewish people overall being more successful in business than other groups wrong? Christ came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. If God wanted His people to be successful in the Old Testament, why would he change that now? I don’t think He did.

    Being circumspect and developing your understanding of the world requires you learn more, not stick your head in the sand or just read the “cliff notes” version of other ideologies.

  14. entopticon

    libertarian, my point was a lot more straightforward than you seem to have realized. I was pointing out that your statement ” “Her impact will never approach that of the Bible but in a world increasingly hostile to it she brings forth a lot of wisdom that could help many of different faiths and backgrounds should they fully understand and heed it.”

    Rand despised Christianity and thought Christians were clueless and immoral, and even despised the very notion of God, so your statement is more than a bit absurd. There is simply no rational way to argue otherwise.

    To answer your question, I am certainly no Ayn Rand Scholar, but yes, I have studied the bible. If you think Rand’s ideas are even vaguely compatible with Christianity, you seriously need to reread Matthew. Since Rand herself believed that Christianity is a plague that should be exterminated, it is hard to even imagine that the two conflicting philosophies are even vaguely compatible.

    Yes, there are countless examples in the old testament of capitalism in Christianity, on everything from how to properly sell your daughter into slavery to rationalizations for beating your slaves to death since they are your property, to loan advice. Jesus openly rejected many of the tenets of the old testament. Most famously, when he acknowledged that the old testament commanded an eye for an eye etc, and then completely rejected that premise as bunk.

  15. entopicon,

    you seem to have one particular opinion of what Christ taught, since you seem to feel it is odd that a Christian could agree with many of Rand’s teachings.

    i’m a Christian and i agree with just about everything i’ve heard presented thus far by Rand, except atheism.

    for one, i’ve never read anywhere that Christ said property or money is evil in and of itself. what matters is what one does with his property.

    on the heels of this, the meek and poor can certainly be virtuous people, but Christ also taught that one should do the best they can with what they have and not squander it, nor invest it foolishly.

    the parable of the talents in Matt 25:14-30 is an excellent example of Christ’s teachings on this subject.

    another interesting comparison between Rand & Christ is that Christ taught about the INDIVIDUAL relationship with God the Father, not a COLLECTIVE one.

    it was the COLLECTIVE which He criticized, because the priests of the day were controlling others by their own sets of traditions, which they elevated to be as equal with God’s commandments.

    accepted by many as being the Word of God, the Bible has always taught to be productive, for oneself and one’s family first, and then also to help one’s neighbors, but to not be lazy or prodigal sloths.

    this fundamental parallels the free market system.

    “unchecked”? i used to use that word as well. the free market has built in checks… it’s called the free market! people will choose to do business with those who create good products, worthy of purchase, and who practice good ethics. if a business sucks, people will not purchase from them.

    the only time a government should get involved is when someone is blatantly taken advantage of in fraudulent practices. whomever is wronged can bring a tort case against he who has wronged him.

    in my personal experience, these “checks” you speak of are moot, because the system is so corrupt that it is often VERY difficult for someone who is wronged to get restitution for the crime. people usually give up or don’t even bother.

    bottom line: if you have a “checked” free market system, you have NO free market system.

  16. i forgot to mention…

    Christ never taught that we are to force one another to help one another. He taught we are to do good works because we WANT to do them.

    loving your neighbor is a voluntary action, not to be forced upon someone by another individual or group.

    this is why Socialism is at odds with liberty. no one should be forced to help others, but merely encouraged to do so by example.

    again, most libertarians, objectivist, and even Christians have no problem with Socialism & Communism so long as it’s not forced upon others.

  17. entopticon

    InfinityBBC, Rand wasn’t just an atheist, she thought that religion was a plague that should be eradicated.

    Apparently you missed the part where Jesus flipped over the money changers tables. And aparently you missed the part about not serving two masters. And apparently you missed the part where he said that rich people have the same chance of getting into heaven as a camel has of passing through the eye of a needle, which was an expression of the day akin to “when pigs fly,” meaning none whatsoever. And apparently you missed the part about how Jesus and his entourage were a bunch of skilled laborers and panhandlers who dropped out of the workforce to talk philosophy all day while relying on the kindness of others to get by. And on and on.

    I’m sorry, but if you are seriously trying to argue that Ayn Rand and Christianity are compatible, there is just no possible way I can take you seriously. This is actually a rare case where Rand herself would have undoubtedly been on my side because she made her absolute disdain for religion and the followers of religion perfectly clear in no uncertain terms.

    For you to claim that her philosophies are compatible with Christianity even though she vehemently claimed they are not, is beyond ludicrous, it is a clear form of blatant intellectual dishonesty. She wasn’t just a live and let live atheist or some kind of agnostic. She believed that religion was one of if not the greatest threat to mankind and she believed the followers of religion are morally bankrupt, nimble-minded idiots.

  18. “the only time a government should get involved is when someone is blatantly taken advantage of in fraudulent practices.”

    Well gee, it’s not like people take advantage of the freedoms in the free market to do that to much do they?

    That is precisely why there are laws and regulations to control the free market.

    Anybody need a used tow truck? It’s a great business.

  19. Deathstar

    Nice article, Tim, it was good to hear a contrarian point of view in the Express. I too, agree with a good deal of the tenants of Objectivism, minus the metaphysics perspective. I think that calling the ethical perspective “Self interest” should be redefined. I think that in the majority of instances, to help others is a form of self interest-“Capitalism is providing for your own needs by serving others.”-paraphrase Mises.

  20. rationalinfidel

    “Well gee, it’s not like people take advantage of the freedoms in the free market to do that to much do they?

    That is precisely why there are laws and regulations to control the free market.”

    Not exactly. The laws should not “control the free market.” They should protect individuals from coercion and fraud. There is a difference.

    As an example, the Federal Reserve Board controlled the free market, at least in one respect, by manipulating interest rates below market value. This, along with a number of other government interferences, led to the financial crisis we are all living with today.

    There should be penalties for theft and fraud. Not for profit and innovation.

  21. entopticon

    Infinity BBC said: “loving your neighbor is a voluntary action, not to be forced upon someone by another individual or group.”

    Voluntary? According to Christianity, the punishment for not doing so is eternal damnation in a lake of fire. If the threat of a punch in the nose constitutes involuntary coercion, it’s pretty safe to say that the threat of writhing in pain for all eternity most certainly qualifies as involuntary coercion.

    Somehow the logic of “I’m not forcing you, but if you don’t do what I say you will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity” doesn’t quite cut it.

  22. Deathstar

    Nice article, Tim, it was good to hear a contrarian point of view in the Express. I too, agree with a good deal of the tenants of Objectivism, minus the metaphysics perspective. I think that calling the ethical perspective “Self interest” should be redefined. I think that in the majority of instances, to help others is a form of self interest-“Capitalism is providing for your own needs by serving others.”-paraphrase Mises.

  23. Christ never rejected anything in the OT. perhaps YOU missed the part about Him not changing any part – not one jot or tittle — of the law. but don’t feel bad, so has most of “Christianity” as well.

    i can see that YOU are so very wise and have everything all figured out.

    i am but a fool — an intellectually dishonest absurd nimble-minded idiot, and i will trouble you no more with my stupid comments.

    enjoy your philosophies…

  24. rationalinfidel

    Deathstar: “I think that in the majority of instances, to help others is a form of self interest – …”

    It is in my life, Deathstar. And though Objectivism rejects sacrifice, that does not mean that charity, kindness and generosity are not consistent with egoism.

    I highly recommend Tara Smith’s book, Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics, for a thorough presentation of these ideas.

  25. rationalinfidel

    infinityBBC wrote: “i am but a fool—an intellectually dishonest absurd nimble-minded idiot, and i will trouble you no more with my stupid comments.”

    I would ask you to remain here for a time, infinityBBC. I, for one, would like to hear more from you.

    You see, entopticon has a crude style and prefers the emotional appeal. It can make it difficult for me to note agreement, even when the essence of entopticon’s post is true.

    Rand was certainly an atheist and did not consider faith as a valid method for gaining knowledge. She rejected mysticism of any variety and was very critical of religion, particularly organized religion. But I am not aware of where she stated that “followers of religion are morally bankrupt, nimble-minded idiots.”

    That sounded more like entopticon’s claim.

    During an interview, Rand was asked whether religion has ever offered anything of value. She replied:

    “Qua religion, no—in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man’s life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy.”

    “And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very—how should I say it?—dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith.”

    She also wrote the following:

    “Philosophy is the goal toward which religion was only a helplessly blind groping. The grandeur, the reverence, the exalted purity, the austere dedication to the pursuit of truth, which are commonly associated with religion, should properly belong to the field of philosophy.”

    If you believe in Christianity, infinityBBC, I don’t believe Rand would have considered you to be a “nimble-minded idiot.” But I believe she would say you have accepted many contradictions in your thinking and I would agree.

    It is worth the time to discover them.

  26. entopticon

    InfinityBBC, despite what Rand would have said about your religious beliefs, you are not a fool. You are however, entirely wrong about Christ not rejecting the old testament.

    As I mentioned, the most famous, and incontrovertible example is in Matthew 5.38, where Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you (how very un-libertarian-like of him), and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you (Ayn Rand’s worst nightmare).

    Jesus was specifically referring to God’s edicts to Moses in Exodus 21.23-24: “If any harm follows, than you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

    There is no way around it. Jesus specifically said to reject that part of the old testament. Of course, that verse from Exodus was actually borrowed from the code of Hammurabi. And it was smack dab in the middle of a bunch of twisted rationalizations for the best way to beat your slaves, which Jesus undoubtedly wouldn’t have approved of either.

    In the very next stanza, he rejects Leviticus 19.18 just as forcefully. Like it or not, Jesus most certainly did reject many of the morals of the old testament.

  27. entopticon

    irrationalinfidel said: “You see, entopticon has a crude style and prefers the emotional appeal.”

    That’s true. Here in blogland I can be a bit abrupt and even a bit acerbic. I find Rand’s philosophies to be astonishingly offensive, misguided, and dangerous, so that brings out the worst in me. Even though I think you are seriously misguided, you probably mean well.

    Rand’s loathing of Christianity, to the point where she even said it was a destroyer of minds and the single biggest threat to humanity was not exactly a secret. She most certainly did think that religion should be eradicated and I think it is more than fair to say that she believed that “followers of religion are morally bankrupt, nimble-minded idiots.” She was pretty acerbic herself after all, and her animosity towards religion, particularly the Catholic church, was certainly well known.

  28. travelah

    InfinityBBC, please do not allow entopticon to shade your view of the forum. He is in so many words full of himself and very much a pretender.

    As for Ayn Rand and a conservative Christian view, John Piper, a well known and read theologian and pastor, offered an article on his website dealing with the Rand issue. It is an excellent overview of a rational Christian approach to rand’s philosophies.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/1979/1486_The_Ethics_of_Ayn_Rand/

  29. entopticon

    Travelah, my deepest gratitude to you for trying to talk Christians into buying into the philosophies of a woman who openly claimed that Christianity is a plague on humanity that needs to be eradicated. It would be very hard for a rational person to even try to do that, but I am glad to see that it was easy for you. Please, please, please, talk all of your right-wing extremist evangelical friends into following the ways of a cult figure who openly wanted to seem them eliminated. I’ll help.

    From the John Piper article that travelah cited:

    “Cogent Christian responses to Ayn Rand are few. Positive Christian assessments are almost non-existent. I aim for this treatment to be both Christian and primarily positive, even though Ayn Rand was an atheist and outspokenly anti-Christian. I trust I will be forgiven the presumption of stepping outside my own specialty: My field is neither literary criticism nor philosophy but biblical, theological and pastoral.”

    ’nuff said.

  30. entopticon

    Travelah, I thought you might enjoy another Christian perspective on Ayn Rand, so here is the article Jesus vs Ayn Rand:
    http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/adrianbiblestudents/jesusvsrand.html

    Here are some highlights: “The purpose of this article is to inform those claiming to be Christian’s that this ideology is not compatible with the teachings of Jesus. You can either be a follower of Ayn Rand or you can follow Jesus Christ.”

    “While one can debate the merits of Ayn Rand’s ideology all that they want, clearly her self-centered ideas are contrary to everything Jesus Chirst and his followers have stood for over the centuries.”

    “Ayn Rand was a devout atheist who held the very idea of god in contempt. She saw all forms of god as something that people invented as a way to grasp things that they didn’t understand. She strongly disagreed with various teachings of Jesus Christ and other early Christians. For the life of her, Rand could not understand why “The love of money is the root of all evil?” She called Christ’s instruction Judge not lest you be judged, “an abdication of moral responsibility.” She went on to say that the proper moral position should be “judge, and be prepared to be judged.””

    And you could take a look at what the Trinity Foundation had to say:
    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=57

    For example:
    “It is indeed indicative of the bankruptcy of modern American philosophy that Rand’s Objectivism could go so long unchallenged and be so fervently accepted by so many.”

    Of course, there’s plenty more where that came from, but I hope you keep doing the good work of selling right wing Christians on the philosophies of someone who wanted to see Christianity exterminated.

  31. William Tynsdale

    How can anyone who makes even the slightest profession of Christian faith consider Libertarian philosophy let alone Rand remotely consistent with their faith?
    As Jesus told the young man; There are but two rules, love God with all your heart and soul and mind and love thy neighbor.
    Libertarianism is about self; Christianity is about submission to God. They are mutually exclusive.
    The problem with the BB&T;gift is that WCU was willing to accept it without any recognition of its role as an independent public institution committed to academic integrity. It would be just as problematic if the university had been willing to accept a gift from some Liberal institution for the study of their preferred agenda with no strings attached.
    The greater problem is that the “gift” came with a requirement for an additional pledge of $500K of public money. During Chancellor Bardo’s tenure at WCU the school has drifted far afield from its mission of serving the mountain population. Bardo has become a prostitute in search of the next grant and the result is a Potemkin Village of promises with very little academic substance.
    WCU now recruits almost exclusively not from western and mountain communities but from the Greensboro and Charlotte areas.
    For those of you who are so concerned with the free market then perhaps Bardo’s plans to use public money to fund and develop private businesses and franchises on the campus ought to be of some concern.

  32. travelah

    William Tynsdale, My point was not to show some affinity for Rand from a Christian view but to instead show how conservative Christians such as Piper interact with the beliefs and atheism of such philosophers. I am not a particular fan of Rand’s work (nor Piper’s for that matter as we are theologically opposed).

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