Could somebody please explain to me…

Confession: I’ve never read anything by Ayn Rand.

Here’s why: Everytime I see someone quote or refer to her books, I immediately think to myself, “Well that’s obviously bullshit.”

Except apparently it isn’t, because lots of people I know are all about Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism.

If you’re one of those people, here’s your chance to explain it to me. Someone please tell my why pursuing absolute autonomy or hyper-individualism would make the world a better place.

 

I’ve been to four funerals in the past year, and all everyone said about the deceased was how much they cared for other people, how selfless they were, how much they gave of themselves. Not a single person, in reverent awe and remembrance, stated that the deceased was a paragon of autonomy, that they never let anyone make a claim on their person, or anything remotely like that. I think I know why – because if the deceased person was actually like that, no one would have been at their funeral, because they wouldn’t have had anyone in their life who was thankful for them, or who cared about them. Because people who are really like that (not just talk about it) are assholes.

 

I’m sure I’ve mischaracterized Ayn Rand’s thinking. Again, it’s because the initial response I have in my gut is revulsion, and I never get past that to actually reading her stuff. I’m also confident that the ethic espoused by Rand is the opposite of the way of Jesus (this is not about theism/atheism, but rather actual lived practice). Rand fans, make your case. I won’t respond or defend another view, I think anyone who reads this is smart enough to make a decision on their own if the philosophy has merit.

 

Bonus question: Any Big Tent Christians out there familiar with Rand? Any ideas if or how her thinking could be part of the tent?

 

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~ by Joe Paparone on February 18, 2011.

2 Responses to “Could somebody please explain to me…”

  1. I’m not intimately familiar with Ayn, but based on what I do know, I’m not convinced she’d accept an invitation to Big Tent. You’re correct about her way being the opposite of Jesus, in fact, she had no use for Christianity or religion in general.

    You can see her buzzwords in libertarian leaning blogs… a prime example being ‘forced charity’ or ‘producers’ and ‘collectivism’. She viewed self-sacrifice as a vice, those that needed assistance as “moochers” and “looters”.

    IMO, she would view Big Tent, and it participants, as weak willed since we’re all about this ‘community’ thing. 🙂

  2. There was a great article in Christianity Today a few years ago that discussed how Ayn Rand affects modern Christianity: http://bit.ly/IUOY6v.

    Peace

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