Objectivism Versus Christianity

 Posted by on 18 October 2007 at 6:54 am  Objectivism, Religion
Oct 182007

The already-lengthy comment thread on this article on the rejection of Christian values by Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism might be worth a post or two. The article itself accurately states the principles of the Objectivist ethics, then leaps off the cliff with the following:

Rand’s inversion of biblical norms had predictable results: Scott Ryan, who wrote a book on Rand’s philosophy, called objectivism a “psychologically totalitarian personality cult that allowed Rand . . . to exercise personal power over [her] unwitting victims.” He cites, for example, the way she manipulated “her own unemployed and dependent husband” to get him to agree for her to have “an adulterous sexual affair.”

We’re not talking here about personal flaws or merely human weaknesses. As Ryan puts it, these abuses are “demonstrably connected to Rand’s own ‘philosophical’ premises”–that is, her worldview.

Rand and her followers, you see, lived in a way consistent with her worldview. But you can hardly regard a philosophy that exalts selfishness and condemns altruism as the basis for a good society.

Obviously, that characterization of Ayn Rand’s actions is completely wrong. (Thank you, Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, yet again!) Yet the critical point is that the author merely quotes Ryan’s assertion of a strong connection between her philosophy and that supposed behavior — without even hinting at the nature of that actual connection. One can only suppose that the author regards respecting other people as a form of self-sacrifice.

I’m happy to see articles like this one published. It doesn’t misrepresent Objectivism, except by implication. It rightly claims that the ideas of Objectivism are wholly opposed to those of Christianity. Those two points might well inspire some curious people to pick up Atlas Shrugged. Heck, it might even lead some ordinary conservatives to question whether they can admire both Jesus and John Galt, as many claim to do.

You can find the comments — over 210 so far — here.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha