Monday, August 13, 2012

A Little More On Rand And Ryan

Let's play unpack the paragraph shall we. Today's selection comes from this P&R Miscellany post.
Frankly, I wouldn't care if Ryan were an atheist.  Such irreligion would still be preferred to Obama's religious infatuation with government and the fiscal bankruptcy to which it is driving us.  None of the candidates for president and vice president share my religious beliefs.  There are two Catholics (both vice-presidential candidates), one Mormon, and one Black Liberation/Christo-Marxist (Obama).  Religiously, I think they're all wrong.
First, The problem is not atheism; the problem in Rand.  This Reason article is far more friendly to Rand than I am, but still concludes:
For example, under Rand's schema would a person who abandons some passion in order to look after an elderly parent have a higher or lower moral standing than someone who doesn't (assuming that the parents are equally worthy)? Will the former be happier? More at peace? Rand gives us no real reason to believe so. In fact, the distinct impression one gets from her work is that an individual's first duty is to cultivating his own passions rather than nurturing his interest in the flourishing of those around him (with the possible  exception of one's romantic partner). No surprise then that the virtue of generosity or benevolence, though it has pride of place in the work of Aristotle—the only philosopher to whom Rand acknowledges any intellectual debt—occupies a second-class status in her own work.
The fact is that Rand gets harder to take as one grows older and concerns about those around us become more important than our own personal project of self development. The relentless, single-minded dedication to one's passions that Rand seems to favor requires a coldness of the soul, a narrowing of one's humanity—the natural interest in the fortune of others that Smith alludes to—that most people find is not exactly conducive to their happiness,
This has profound and unfortunate political consequences. On the practical level, it makes it difficult to build a strong and growing anti-government movement based solely on Rand's philosophy, because the older cohort of her followers is falling off on a regular basis. On the theoretical level, Rand's ideas offer no real possibility of developing robust civil society responses to address the needs of those down on their luck. It is difficult to imagine a Randian qua Randian, say, volunteering in a soup kitchen to feed the hungry, or even founding the Fraternal Order of Fellow Randians to provide free health coverage and housing to jobless and homeless Randians. Since misfortune and distress are a normal part of the human condition, a philosophy that offers no positive, private solutions to deal with them will just have a harder time making the case against government intervention stick. [emphasis mine]
Granted Ryan has attempted to distance himself from Rand, but I maintain now as I did in May:
I'm happier than most when someone sees the light and rejects Rand's pernecious, over-rated ideology, but somehow this conversion strikes me as being closer to that experienced Ananias and Sapphira not the one experienced by the Apostle Paul.
Second, I concur that worship of government, the flag, or the politician constitutes idolatry. I should have been more critical of some of messianic rhetoric that some Obama supporters used in 2008. That being said, this paragraph seems forget that the Bible teaches that God establishes government:
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. [Romans 13:1-3 New International Version]
15 By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just;16 by me princes govern,and nobles—all who rule on earth. [Proverbs 8:15-16]
Further, describing Obama as "Black Liberation/Christo-Marxist" ignores a basic that Get Religion concisely enunciates:
In what can only be called a stunning defeat for those who still considered him a Muslim, President Barack Obama yesterday confirmed that he is, in fact, a perfectly ordinary liberal Protestant Christian.
Finally, this series of tweets seems right to me. Burkean conservatives should look for third party alternatives.

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