Monday, December 24, 2007

The soft Republican underbelly: caught between Rand and the Rapture

"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns--or dollars. Take your choice--there is no other."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a Stranger and you Welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me.
Jesus Christ - Matthew 25

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

Jesus Christ - Luke 6:43 - 45
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There is a gaping fault line within the Republican Party that few seem to have noticed and fewer to exploit. It is the abyss that runs between those who follow the teachings of Ayn Rand and the woollier followers of Jesus Christ. As the quotes above show, no two doctrines could be more incompatible. Just by reading these snippets it is evident that the gap between the two world views is greater than any other imaginable, certainly greater than any gap that ever existed between Christianity and socialism.

Those brutalized by Reaganism and the pious platitudes of Bush may think that evangelical protestantism is irremediably wedded to Neanderthalite capitalism, but they forget, if they ever knew, that the leftist traditions of our British cousins have their firmest roots in the Nonconformist chapels of England and Wales and in the Presbyterian kirks of Scotland. The history of the British Labour Party is filled with Bible beating Baptists and Methodists and the Lutheran influence on Scandinavian social democracy is clear. Certainly the answer to the question, "am I my brother's keeper" is affirmative in both social democracy and Christianity.

Examples of Randism?
With Wikipedia at our fingertips, I wont take up space and bandwidth expounding on the doctrines of Ayn Rand, suffice to say that she was the greatest single influence on former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, the overflow of whose heart and the fruits of whose tree -- more like the flowering orchard he planted -- we are only now beginning to taste in the fullness of their season.

The closest the GOP have ever come to the synthesis of these extremes is in
the misbegotten, smirking, strut, adorned with homely pieties, of the improbable George W. Bush. It is unlikely that any successor, no matter how blighted his spirit and darkened his understanding, could long maintain such superlative cognitive dissonance or bridge that aching gap again anytime soon.

Over the last few days I have been writing frequently about Mike Huckabee and the reason is that his campaign and the reaction to it by the Republican leadership is illuminating this gap. For me it is the most interesting development, coming at a moment of military defeat and economic crisis, that I can remember.

It is clear that a path to victory is opening for progressive politics to take, but it is anything but clear that progressives are inclined to take it. I would tell them in the words of the the best loved king of France, the Protestant King Henry III of Navarre who, when he was offered the crown of France quickly became the Catholic, Henry IV or "Henry the Great", said, Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a Mass"). DS


Rose said...

Thank you for this post. One of the things that keeps me from identifying myself as a leftist is the hostility towards religion harboured by many people within that movement.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

The Gallup poll shows that 80% of Americans consider themselves Christians... So how are you going to start any "mass" movement in America that ignores Christians?

mnuez said...

Hey, I just read your recent comment on WeissWorld and I liked it so I came over here to tell you that. I'd commented a few comments earlier regarding Weiss being wrong on the Jews but I'm sick of that subject so I won't burden you with it here. Suffice it to say that your understanding of the evils of rampant Capitalism are good. Would that there were more of us writing for American audiences.


And now I'm off to read your blog - including this very post upon which I'm Totally OT commenting. And I bow in apology for doing so :-)

mnuez said...

Ah, now I've read this post and I'll applaud louder. The point that you make about the incompatibility of Christianity (or Judaism for that matter - but, as I've mentioned, Jews [on the whole] don't have this dissonance problem) and Social Darwinism is awesomely true and amazingly muted in all public discussion. The wealthy few have managed to bamboozle half the country into voting for them simply by saying the word "Jesus" on the stump every once in a while.

I attended a Christmas service in a Pentecostal church yesterday and I almost cried in frustration at how these morons can speak of Jesus/God deciding to come into the world as a poor person, in a manger - and how the Democrats are godless so we should all vote for the tax-cutting Republicans.

I've also blogged on the subject a couple of times including here: Ayn Rand Was An Ugly Whore



Anonymous said...

I love the victim-hood mindset of the Christian right. The persecution complex is so telling. Offense is taken so easily. The depths of faith can be pretty shallow.

Being a victim takes no effort at all. You just have to believe that someone else is getting away with something they don't deserve. Then you can get holier than thou. Every fanatic’s calling card. [Just look and the Romney/Huckabee dual].

And when finally, the fanatics take over, no one is holey enough.

Burning at the stake, anyone?

Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions! The Secret Rapture soon, by my hand!
Read My Inaugural Address
At =