The Conservative/Objectivist Schism

Splitby N. A. Halkides   12/5/13
In Libertarianism Minus Conservatism = Zero, I detailed some of the philosophical shortcomings of Libertarianism and concluded with a lengthy plea to sensible Libertarians to join forces with the Conservative movement. I would like to make a similar plea to any Objectivists whom this article might reach as well as to fellow Conservatives to welcome whatever Objectivist aid we can get, and to do so I must first discuss the reasons for the current schism that exists between our side and theirs.  I will then explain what I feel they have to offer us and what we have to offer them.

Though my plea here will be similar, Objectivism is very different from Libertarianism.  For one thing, it is a complete philosophical system with a moral/ethical code from which its politics may be derived, thus avoiding Libertarianism’s negation of values and desire to conduct politics in a vacuum.  For another, there was no Objectivist Party until 2008 (and it appears to exist outside of the “mainstream” of Objectivism, if there is such a thing), raising the important question of how exactly Objectivists ever intended to put their political ideas into action.  For yet another, Objectivists are probably fewer in number even then Libertarians, meaning that simply getting them to vote Republican probably won’t change any election results – and indeed, I hope to reconcile them with Conservatives for a different reason.

It is not my purpose to launch into a survey of Objectivism, but for the benefit of Conservatives who may not be at all familiar with it, a brief summary is in order.  Objectivism’s founder Ayn Rand began with the idea of the primacy of existence (metaphysics), moved on to validating man’s knowledge (epistemology), then held the individual human life as the primary value (ethics), and finally reached the conclusion that freedom, or capitalism, was the only moral political system since only freedom allows the individual to act in the furtherance of his own life.  From even this summary three things are immediately obvious:

  1. Objectivism is nothing like Libertarianism because it presents a moral basis for its political conclusions.
  2. Objectivism will never be a mass movement (try to imagine a political party discussing metaphysics, for example).
  3. Objectivism’s political element is entirely consonant with classical liberalism, for instance the Declaration of Independence (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”) and therefore with the nucleus of political Conservatism, namely, limited government.

And yet from the beginning Rand was at war with early Conservatives, despite apparently having a sort of grudging respect for the raw intellect of William F. Buckley Jr.  Whittaker Chambers published a scathing review of Rand’s seminal work Atlas Shrugged in Buckley’s magazine National Review, which Rand in turn referred to as “the worst and most dangerous magazine in the country”.  Trying to evaluate this rift more than half a century later leads this writer to the conclusion that sex and religion were the main sources of the disagreement.  Rand wanted Objectivist morality to replace traditional morality and was a strident proponent of abortion; Buckley was of course a strict Catholic who abhorred abortion.

That Objectivism recognized how political values must be informed by moral values is one of its many advantages over Libertarianism, but that brings us now to the question of how Rand and her followers expected to win any victories in the political realm.  That Rand wanted Objectivist ethics to replace the largely Judeo-Christian moral code of Western Civilization seems incontrovertible, but did she really believe it was poised to do so?  It seems impossible that she could have held such an unrealistic view, yet without this taking place there is no conceivable way that Objectivist politics could replace the soft tyrannies (Rand called them “mixed economies”) of Western Europe (and now America).  Fifty years later, if we take a snapshot of Western ethics we see that in Western Europe the fight is over – religion has been abandoned and replaced it with exactly nothing, while in America Conservatives are still fighting to preserve traditional morality against the combined onslaught of the New Left, their unwitting Libertarian allies, and yes, today’s Objectivists.  On neither continent do Objectivist ethics, which we might call a rational but non-religious code of morality, seem to be making any headway.

Then there is the question of the deadline by which the course of Western civilization must be reversed from statism to freedom if it is to be saved; that is, what in the last few years we Conservatives have begun calling “The Tipping Point”, by which we mean that the clients of the welfare state (direct beneficiaries and administrators, i.e. public-sector workers) have become so numerous that when combined with ideological/cultural Leftists they form a permanent voting majority.  Once this point is reached in a democracy, increasing tyranny becomes inevitable as the majority (or more precisely, the government it puts in power) seizes the minority’s property and stifles its ability to produce wealth with ever-increasing economic controls.  Barring a complete intellectual reversal (unlikely as by that time the schools and media would be largely state-controlled), secession, or revolution, complete dictatorship must logically follow.

Now Rand knew this as well as anyone – indeed, it is one of the subsidiary themes in Atlas Shrugged – so she should have been aware that Objectivists were fighting against time.  Yet Objectivists until very recently often chose to vote Democratic, even though the Democrats have for many years been the party of the New Left.  Leonard Peikoff, Rand’s intellectual heir, counseled his followers to vote Democratic to help destroy the Republican Party until the recent advent of Barack Obama finally awoke him to the terrible and imminent danger the country was in from the New Left and he reversed himself, supporting the Republicans against Obama.  (See Peikoff on 10/19/2006 in Capitalism magazine:  “What does determine the survival of this country is not political concretes, but fundamental philosophy. And in this area the only real threat to the country now, the only political evil comparable to or even greater than the threat once posed by Soviet Communism, is religion and the Party which is its home and sponsor.” And only six years later on 9/24/2012 Peikoff’s reversal: “Obama is in essence a destroyer for the sake of destruction, a nihilist, the first such to become President. The object to be destroyed is America.”)

One obvious mistake made by Peikoff and other Objectivists was to think that Conservatives were somehow in control of the Republican Party, a point to which I will return later.  Another made at least by Peikoff was to underestimate the immediate danger presented by the Democratic Left, perhaps confusing its bankrupt ideology with political impotence.  The depth of Rand’s and Peikoff’s antipathy toward religion is hard to overstate and equally hard to understand, but we must now make the attempt.

Rand believed that religion, being based on faith, did not provide a solid ethical foundation for political freedom but that Objectivism could.  In fact she thought it was the non-Objectivist philosophy of the Founders that had deprived America, when a young nation, of the means with which to defend herself against the gradual encroachment of statism.  Moreover, she and other Objectivists thought that religious beliefs led logically to theocracy, which will seem strange to Conservatives who have never advocated theocracy or anything close to it.  (Note the similarity of this idea to the Libertarian complaints we are often regaled with – looks like the Libertarians have been cribbing from Objectivism again).

I cannot recall exactly what Rand’s line of reasoning was, but I believe it ran something like this:  Conservatives accept the will of God as the chief good, therefore they will inflict any amount of suffering on people in order to force them to conform to the will of God (as the Conservative sees it), and it mattered not that Conservatives explicitly denied they believed in any such thing because theocracy was the logical end-point of a premise they denied accepting in the first place!  In other words, Objectivists believe that Conservatives operate from the same fundamental premises as the Spanish Inquisitors or modern-day Islamists.  So we have Peikoff’s belief that “the only political evil comparable to or even greater than the threat once posed by Soviet Communism, is religion” (emphasis added).  This sounds absurd on its face, yet I have endeavored not to purposely exaggerate the Objectivist view, and I think we should take it seriously enough to expend the necessary time and effort in an attempt to refute it.

Now I am not an expert on Christian theology, but if we confine ourselves for a moment to the Ten Commandments, there would seem to be little there to which to object for the Objectivist.  The first four Commandments refer to strictly religious duties which don’t seem unduly burdensome at that (no graven images, remember the Sabbath day, etc.).  Of course, no one has the right to force anyone else to obey these four Commandments, but then I don’t recall any Conservative attempting to do so.  There’s nothing controversial in the Fifth Commandment (“Honor thy mother and thy father”), while the last five Commandments forbid murder, adultery, theft, perjury, and coveting that which belongs to your neighbor, respectively.  With the possible exception of adultery, one would think Objectivists could get behind this program wholeheartedly.

There were and are sound moral reasons for incorporating these Commandments into a system of public laws even if one rejects their divine origin, for they could be derived from an implicit realization that men had certain rights which other men should respect.  Thus it would be a mistake to regard a civil law forbidding homicide as being an instance of theocracy merely because a Commandment states “Thou shalt not kill.”  Moreover, the notion that Conservatism must somehow lead to theocracy would seem to be refuted by the fact that a highly moral and religious people, namely early Americans, in embracing the same ideas that modern Conservatives do, did not drift toward theocracy but instead established the freest republic that has ever existed upon this earth.  Therefore it is not reasonable to conclude that Conservatism will lead to theocracy, a point which Rand seems to have missed.  To put it another way, if Conservatives are trying to conserve the traditional religiously-informed morality that guided the Founders, than Conservatives cannot be disdained as Biblical literalists or would-be theocrats any more than the Founders could.

Perhaps, then, the sticking point was that while these moral precepts might be derived that way, as presented by the Bible and other authorities they were not:  religious morality was based on faith, that is, on revealed wisdom.  The story of the Commandments being etched in stone (literally) and given by God to Man may be taken as representative of this idea, whereas Rand thought she could derive Objectivist morality without recourse to any “faith” or its equivalent.  Before examining this claim, we must digress for a moment and reiterate that America was not founded by Biblical literalists, even though the Founders and the thinkers they relied upon were most assuredly religious men.  Religion certainly informed the morality of these men as surely as the early American churches informed American life and political thought, for example through the idea of the church (and similarly the government) as a voluntary compact between individuals.  At the same time, it would be incorrect to believe that religion subsumed morality; Deism, for example, held that religious assertions should be held up to the scrutiny of reason.  We might point out also that many distinguished philosophers and scientists such as Blaise Pascal and Isaac Newton expended much energy on religious questions.  To delve more deeply into the question of religious faith versus reason would take us too far afield; we have wandered some distance as it is to establish that religion informed morality without completely dominating it.  We might summarize the situation by saying that in early America, religion and morality were mutually reinforcing, and conclude that the moral views of the Founders (and by implication those of the modern Conservative mainstream) were supported by more than religious revelation.

We return next to the question of whether Objectivist ethics can be derived without depending on “faith,” that is, on assumptions.  In any system of knowledge or body of ideas, at some point we are forced to rely on one or more axioms which we take as self-evidently true.  Rand chose to begin in metaphysics with the Law of Identity, “A is A”.  It can be readily admitted that this is a more primitive level than Jefferson’s “[all men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” yet we must observe (1) The Law of Identity is still an axiom; (2) while Jefferson and the Founders may have begun their science of politics with a statement of Man’s unalienable rights, this idea is not axiomatic when we enlarge our view to encompass the thinking that led up to this point; (3) Libertarianism’s non-initiation of force principle is axiomatic within such ideology as the movement possesses and furthermore is somewhere “downstream” of both Jefferson and Rand – and this is its great weakness.  I bring this up not to get in a final kick at Libertarianism, but to emphasize how much stronger the position of the Founders was, even if we take Man’s unalienable rights as completely axiomatic: if asked why those who govern should not use force to compel obedience to their arbitrary dictates, the Libertarian could only answer “Because I assume they shouldn’t” whereas the Conservative and the Objectivist can both reply confidently “Because this would violate the individual’s rights”.

Returning to Conservatism versus Objectivism, without a thoroughgoing analysis and comparison of classic liberalism’s precursor ideas on the one hand to Objectivist theory on the other – and I don’t believe anyone has ever attempted such an analysis – there is no reason to believe that Objectivism is in a stronger position than classical liberalism to maintain the supremacy of individual rights in the political realm.  I will suggest now another approach to this crucial question:  by examining the erosion of human freedom that actually took place from America’s founding to the present day, we can see whether “Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” and “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men” were indefensible principles or merely undefended ones.  If the former, then Rand was right and freedom cannot be maintained without recourse to Objectivist ethics; if the latter, than Conservatives are right and freedom can be restored by simply returning to the moral and political principles of the Founders.

What Happened to Freedom in America?

Once again, lack of time forces us to make a brief and barely-adequate summary of a complex history that unfolded over the course of more than two centuries.  Individual rights are absolute in the sense that they draw a line beyond which government may not go; over time this line was pushed back so that the area of individual autonomy into which government may not trespass was gradually reduced.  The mechanism employed, to phrase it in the most general possible way, was to presume that matters previously believed entirely private (e.g. business arrangements between two or more private parties) became somehow public, that is, the general public (purportedly represented by government officials) had an interest, or a right in the legal sense of the term, to interfere with private liberty and commerce.

A major avenue of attack on property rights was provided by the income tax, a necessary predicate to the seizure and redistribution of private property in the name of (government-sponsored) charity, for without a progressive income tax there could be no redistribution of incomes.  It is no accident that the bloated welfare state began only after the income tax was levied beginning in 1916.  Thus government, which was supposed serve as the guardian of private property, once again became a far more serious violator of property rights than any gang of robbers could have been.

Another line was the abuse of the police power (the power to pass laws for public health and safety), which was also the rationale for imposing economic controls, to encroach upon non-economic freedoms as well, for example, to limit the application of the First and Second Amendments.  The current Illinois State Constitution, adopted in 1970, is an excellent example of how not to write a proper State constitution, that is, one that guards individual rights from encroachment by State authorities.  Here are its alleged protections of speech and gun rights (emphasis added):


All persons may speak, write and publish freely, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense.


Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

In other words, you can speak freely, provided you do not “abuse” that freedom.  And if, for example, criticizing public officials shall be deemed (by those same public officials, of course) to be an “abuse” – you have no protection at all.  Even the fact that you can prove the truth of your words will not save you if some authority decides that your motives weren’t “good” enough or your purpose “justifiable” enough.  Similarly, you have the right to bear arms – until the legislature decides that, in the name of public safety, you don’t have it any longer.

What all these encroachments on freedom have in common is that they implicitly or explicitly negate the concept of “right” even (in the case of the Illinois Constitution) while pretending to assert it:  the individual cannot be said to have a right to free speech if the government can arbitrarily curtail it; he cannot have a right to bear arms if politicians can erase that right by a quick legislative finding that the public safety requires gun control; he has no right to the products of his own labor if the state may seize and redistribute them (to the supporters of the party in power, of course).  Logically then, the way to fight these encroachments would have been to proceed in the manner of the Founders and assert that men did indeed possess unalienable rights.  No stronger or more comprehensive defense is conceivable since this one meets the statist attack head-on at the level of basic political premises.  And yet this was not done:  the Republican Party (infested by Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt) made no attempt to meet the statists’ arguments, and freedom lost by default.

Indeed, even with the advent of modern American Conservatism beginning in the 1950’s, Establishment elements within the GOP remained firmly in control and continued (except for the brief years of the Reagan Presidency) to lose all the important political arguments by default to the increasingly Leftist Democratic Party, a pattern which has been repeated up to the present day.  Note the absence of Establishment Republican objections to Obamacare on the grounds that it abrogates the rights of patients, doctors, and businessmen – the most they will say is that it “doesn’t work” or that it “costs too much”.  Yes, Republicans are publicly committed to repeal, but only those who are also Conservatives recognize the great evil of Obamacare and of socialized medicine generally – the Establishment merely acknowledges the political necessity of supporting repeal given the overwhelming opposition to Obamacare among the Republican base (Conservatives).

My conclusion, then, is that Conservatives have been correct in their assumption that a return to first principles would also return this country to the state of freedom Americans used to enjoy, and that there is no need to resort to Objectivist ethics.  If that is so, do Conservatives need Objectivist support to prevail in the ongoing battle against the Left and its allies?

It Doesn’t Take a Village to Raise a Child, but it Does Take a Party to Win in Politics 

This question brings us into the realm of practical politics.  You cannot fight effectively against a political party without a political party of your own.  To fight against the Left, Conservatives must have a party, and the single greatest political obstacle they face at the moment is the unwillingness of the Establishment GOP to fight and fight hard against the Democratic Left.  The Establishment is bad at tactics as well, meaning they both lack the will to fight the Left and the know-how to achieve victory.  But Conservatives, while ready to fight the Left, often come up short as to practical battle plans.  This is probably so because Conservatives, having been shut out of Party control by the Establishment, have not had much opportunity to hone their skills in this vital area.  And here Rand, who would have made an unsuccessful politician but a good political strategist, has a great deal to offer.

Rand wrongly blamed Conservatives for the failures of the Republican Party, apparently not recognizing the Establishment/RINO factor, but correctly identifying the failure of Republicans to defend free-market capitalism.  The most important of her insights was that the Left must be fought on principle – it is not sufficient to disagree with this or that element of its political program.  A stance must be taken in favor of individual freedom and against collectivism – and clearly the GOP Establishment isn’t up to the task.  Simply arguing that the Democrats want to spend too much won’t give Republicans victory over them; it must be explained to voters why Democrats want to spend so much (to buy votes, not because they care about people) and why income redistribution is wrong.  Republicans need to say that government-controlled health care is wrong, not just that it doesn’t work.  They need to defend the right of the individual to keep the products of his own labor, or at least most of them.  Even some Conservatives are rather timid about clearly enunciating such principles – but if they don’t, the Left will win by default, just as it has been doing for decades.

By focusing attention on fundamental principles rather than unimportant distractions (e.g. the fundamental evil of socialized medicine instead of the latest glitch in Obamacare’s website), Objectivists can help Conservative leaders keep their eye on the ball and unseat the Establishment GOPers who are preventing them from attacking the Left head-on.

A Plea to Objectivists

So Objectivists have something to offer Conservatives.  Is the reverse also true?  Earlier, I stated that “You cannot fight effectively against a political party without a political party of your own” and prior to that wondered how Objectivists thought their ideas might ultimately triumph in the political realm.  Perhaps Rand thought that Objectivist ethics would come to predominate, causing one party or another to adopt their logical consequence – capitalism – as the basis of its platform.  I don’t think that was ever a realistic hope, but whether it was or not with the additional experience of the past half-century we can state that if Objectivist ethics are ever going to become generally accepted, it certainly won’t happen in time to prevent the Left from completely taking over and establishing dictatorships in America and all across Europe.

The modern-day Objectivist should be asking himself what he can do to stop the Left today.  He should realize that the only way freedom can be preserved is that either (1) a democratic majority insists on maintaining it, or (2) a sizable minority, through force of arms or at least the threat of armed resistance, compels the majority to accept limitations on government power and the recognition of minority rights.  (This is a debatable assertion, but again, to go into this matter further would be beyond the scope of this article, so it will be assumed arguendo).  Option (2) in the context of the U.S. today means State nullification of Federal law, State secession, or outright revolution, and should be recognized as a last-ditch attempt to preserve liberty when all else has failed.  Option (1) means working within the democratic process and requires a vital political party consisting of loosely-related factions to succeed.  Objectivists do not have a viable political party of their own, reject Libertarianism, and revile (or should revile) the Democratic Party, now wholly committed to rule by force.  That leaves the GOP and its coalition of small-government conservatives, social conservatives, practical-minded Libertarians, mushy middle-of-the-roaders, and perhaps some other minor categories.

Because their numbers are few, Objectivists should recognize the need to be part of the Republican Party coalition (or a Conservative Party coalition, should Conservatives finally annihilate the GOP).  On their own, Objectivists cannot hope to prevail, and I hope I have answered their objections to joining up with Conservatives, many of whom are and will remain in the future deeply religious.  Yet there is another bone of contention, one I brought up in the beginning but brushed aside to get into the thorny matter of religion and morality – abortion.

It will be distasteful to many to get too deeply into personalities, character assassination being the province of the Left, but there is no way to discuss the Objectivist view of sex and abortion without bringing up Rand’s personal life, about which I will say as little as possible.  The fact is that Rand was a great believer in sexual pleasure and had a taste for good-looking men – nothing really terrible about that in and of itself, as Conservatives, who are not the puritanical prudes they’re often held to be, would mainly agree.  But this belief in the goodness of sex led Rand to fall into the trap of espousing in this one area a kind of ethical hedonism, a trap she should have been more aware of since she understood the failings of this system of thought.

More intellectually adept then Hugh Hefner was with his “Playboy Philosophy,” she concocted an elaborate rationale for why sex was such a good thing that it practically eclipsed all other values.  And this meant that nothing could be allowed to stand in the way of unrestricted sexual pleasure, not even such an obvious consequence as pregnancy.  Not content to advocate family planning through contraception, Rand explicitly denied the humanity of the unborn infant, dismissing it as “a blob of protoplasm,” and insisting that individual rights necessarily included abortion.  So extreme was Rand on this issue that because of it she preferred Gerald Ford over Ronald Reagan(!) in the 1976 Republican Presidential nomination campaign.

None of Rand’s followers have departed from her pro-abortion position as far as I know (Peikoff has explicitly reiterated it).  It is unlikely that Objectivists will be persuaded by Conservative arguments against abortion, and it is equally unlikely that despite pressure from Objectivists, Libertarians and the pro-abortion faction within the Republican Party, Conservatives will simply abandon their defense of the unborn and adopt a pro-abortion stance.  What then to do?  I would remind Objectivists that their real enemy is the Democratic Left, an enemy grown strong with the increase in the size of the entitlement class and its control of most of society’s major institutions.  This enemy is on the move (Obamacare, amnesty for illegal immigrants, assaults on the remaining institutions such as the church and the family that it does not yet control) and is not far wrong in sensing victory within its grasp.  It can still be defeated, but the hour is late:  It has a death-grip on the largest state in the union, California, which cannot be broken by any means conceivable to this writer before that State’s complete and utter collapse, and is planning to replicate this situation in every other State it does not already rule.

If the Left is not stopped soon by democratic means, we will have two basic choices – submit or actively resist, obstruct, and oppose the government, perhaps through armed force.  In such a dire situation, I would urge Objectivists to put the abortion issue aside for now and join with Conservatives to stop the Left.  When freedom has been restored and measures put into place to keep it reasonably secure (I have in mind here Constitutional Amendments), then the argument over abortion can be taken up, and the alliance very likely split up.  But for now, all those who value any kind of personal liberty should unite against their common enemy, the Democratic Left. • (12778 views)

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31 Responses to The Conservative/Objectivist Schism

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Another variation on the theme of “Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll”. One more materialist who would rule the world with “reason”. Sounds a lot like the scientific governance so loved by the Left.

    Of course, one can add a particular hate of religion which has also been a hallmark of the Left for a couple of centuries as well. It is interesting how these people have been so blinded by their hate of religion that they had no foresight and supported the Left for years. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance in such action.

    This is one of the problems with people for whom words are overly important. Too often they think something “is” simply because the argument for it sounds good. Experience simply doesn’t matter, if they want something to be so.

    I think Rand was motivated by rather baser instincts and did her best to concoct a “philosophy” to give these instincts some type of intellectual cover.

    And, according to Peikoff, Objectivism is a closed system, so it doesn’t seem there is much room to compromise.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Commenting on the 1964 election, Rand denied that Goldwater was a capitalist, but did think Reagan might be one. Of course, this was before he turned against abortion and thus forfeited her support. (It bemuses me that a philosophy based on “the right to life” could be so militantly pro-abortion.)

    I largely gave up on Reason Magazine because they considered the Democrats a viable option for libertarians, blinding themselves to the liberal commitment to unlimited government and their hostility to dissent. I encountered this also from a libertarian contributor to FOSFAX, who seemed to base his politics on opposition to religious sexual morality (and the heck with free speech and social democracy aka fascism).

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    That was a terrific read, Nik. Well done.

    First off, I had no idea that Ayn Rand was a boy toy. Let’s just say, you could have fooled me.

    Nik, you make a great point about conservatives and Republicans needing to fight from principle. As you astutely said, it’s beside the point to argue against Obamacare because it is expensive or not working. Would the Republicans back socialized medicine if it wasn’t expensive and did work well? And don’t they understand that such a thing is a logical impossibility?

    It will be difficult for me to talk about the topics of Objectivism or Libertarianism without being insulting. Some say it is just a gift that I have.

    But it is human nature to:

    1) Want to be right, no matter what
    2) Make things too simple
    3) Rationalize one’s impulses into “rights”
    4) Mistake “reason” for egotism

    All these aspects tend to cloud thinking and to turn supposed enlightened “philosophy” into rank dogma.

    Let me say that I am second to none in my admiration for Ayn Rand’s critiques of collectivism. She is spot-on. I don’t even have a quibble, and that is rare for me.

    But she makes the mistake as all Utopian mindsets do of over-simplifying and over-estimating her own sense of omniscience. And it is a very very heady thing to suppose oneself to be all-knowing.

    This is one reason I enjoy writing. Good writing is not just expression, it’s confession. And I’ll admit that I’m no Don Juan with the ladies. Perhaps if I had left a string of bastards across the county, I would feel differently about abortion. Point #3 above is about the human proclivity to simply rationalize (calling it “reason”) what are merely one’s innate desires.

    But Objectivism is ripped out of the roots of legitimacy by saying that one is for unalienable rights while still backing abortion. As some great thinkers have said, there is no more fundamental right than the right to life. All other rights stem from this. It is our greatest property. And if the right to life goes, so goes every other right.

    Leftism is many things. But one thing that makes it so destructive is rationalizing good practices away for disingenuous reasons. We don’t have Obamacare in order to help the poor, for example. We have it because there is a class of politicians who are full of the sense of their own better-than-thou omniscience and benevolence and/or simply are greedy for rank power and control over other people’s lives.

    So being pro-abortion (to the extend of favoring Ford over Reagan) shows how effed-up a philosophy Objectivism is at the root if its first principles are simply rationalizations. And that describes Objectivism (and Libertarianism, for that matter).

    And Rand’s utopian mindset came through in her views of religion as well. Any philosophy based on the idea that a good and free society can be made only by adherence to “reason” and that religion must be transcended has, again, effed-up its philosophy at the ground floor. One might make a case for what type of religion man should hold. But the ontological nature of existence itself means religion is inherent to our being. It asks the great questions that are obvious and in need of asking, even if the answers are indefinite and obscure.

    Certainly our religion should be reasonable. But those who center their lives around “reason” (and thus see faith as inherently at odds with it) have set themselves up for failure from the get-go.

    But not only that. It is the height of stupidity to look at early America (which was very religious and very Christian) and suppose that this is merely an accident; that America would have been America if, say, Muslims or a group of atheists had founder her. To not acknowledge that Christianity has shaped men’s characters in a certain way as to prepare the way for sane and humane self-government is to, again, eff-up your philosophy starting on the ground floor.

    There’s another aspect of this that, while a little more esoteric, I think needs to be stated. For man to create good things, he must, to some extent, grow up. He can’t stay a juvenile forever. He must work on his character. This idea is anathema to libertarians, for instance, who just assume that a good society will self-organize if there is no coercion. But government must coerce. The question is simply regarding what and how much, not if. And to not acknowledge this aspect is to delve into yet another simplistic Utopian ideology or just not to have grown the hell up and faced facts.

    I acknowledge there are useful aspects to libertarianism, Objectivism, and even Communism (being fine if it is a private arrangement). But we too easily fool ourselves if we over-estimate our ability to “reason” our way to Utopia or even a good society. I don’t expect the conservative philosophy to get us where we need to go. As Russell Kirk noted, no one philosophy can be the guiding principle for everything. And if you try to make it do so, you do great harm. Any such all-encompassing philosophy is the very notion of totalitarianism.

    This is a truth that I think Objectivists and Libertarians have not grasped, taken in as they are either by their affinity for “the triumph of the will,” their utopian impulses, or just not having grown the hell up and faced basic facts about life and human nature.

    There is no ultimate answer to any of this. What we believe (or should believe) in America is that government’s job is to protect our most basic unalienable rights so that we can discover the answers for ourselves. Government is, ideally, an impartial referee and a provider of basic infrastructure. It exists to facilitate justice (in regards to our unalienable rights), facilitate commerce, and provide for the common defense. It is there to impose just enough order so that anarchy doesn’t break out, but not too much lest the individual be smothered by government. Reagan referred to this state of affairs as “ordered liberty.” Whatever that is, it is not anarchy (as is the Libertarian bent) or a totalitarian state (as the the Leftist bent). Nor it it a utopia of “reason” as is the Objectivist bent.

    What we know for sure is that we must live for more than the state. We must organize with the principle of protecting basic rights, not providing utopia. We must understand that morality is not some clever offshoot of religion intent at imposing a theocracy but is absolutely basic for any good and just society to establish itself and to function. Too many simplistic philosophies blow right by these realities and thus unroot themselves from what I think is the American ideal and common-sense experience. And some, it must be stated, are so intent on justifying their own proclivities (especially regarding sex and drugs) that inevitably their philosophy is little more than a conglomeration of back-filled rationalizations pretending at liberty but turning it into a fetish — abusing the very notion in order to justify rank or childish behavior.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Rand’s abortion-love is made even more peculiar (as I noted above) by the fact that she agreed with the fundamental importance of the right to life. As for the “boy toy” aspect, she basically seduced Nathaniel Branden on the basis that if he agreed with her philosophy, then she ought to be his object of devotion because of her perfect intellect (Rand certainly suffered no lack of self-esteem), even though both were already married.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        As for the “boy toy” aspect, she basically seduced Nathaniel Branden on the basis that if he agreed with her philosophy, then she ought to be his object of devotion because of her perfect intellect (Rand certainly suffered no lack of self-esteem), even though both were already married.

        I knew of her association with Branden — and his later split with her — but it wasn’t aware that it had this cultish aspect to it. And, if so, that brings to mind the cultish aspect that I so often find in libertarianism or Objectivism, and is its bane.

  4. TeaParty1776 says:

    >The first four Commandments refer to strictly religious duties which don’t seem unduly burdensome at that (no graven images, remember the Sabbath day, etc.).

    “I am the LORD thy God” is the first, an absolutely burdensome commandment ,which which power-lusting conservatives evade as the base of absolutist govt enforcement of the religious morality of sacrifice. There are no individual rights for moral slaves. Your essential mysticism, your rationaliztion of the evasion of reason, is morally depraved.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Could you translate that into English, please. I know that “essential mysticism” is usually the calling card of Objectivists. Are you an Objectivist?

      We can debate “essential mysticisms.” One of the “essential mysticisms” of Objectivists is that they think the entire universe is subject to be parsed by “reason.” Life and society are far richer and more complex than we can squash into a one-dimensional formula.

      • TeaParty1776 says:

        The essence of mysticism is supernaturalism and non-perceptual, non-rational knowledge of reality, ie, faith. My view is Objectivism.
        Since Objectivist epistemology is perception-based, reality-directed reason, its not mysticism. Reality, as a whole and in parts, is knowable by reason. Since mysticism is objectively false, by its own view, there is no objective justification for considering its claims. There is nothing about reality, ie, nature, which requires a non-rational epistemology. Reason is potent, thus mysticism is not. Man can and must focus his mind upon reality to live. Even mystical cultures have a sufficient minimum rationality to produce food, shelter, clothing, some minimum of self-esteem and some minimal alternative to anarchy. A consistent mystic is either a mental patient or dead.

        Back to Aristotle and forward w/Rand.

      • TeaParty1776 says:

        Religion, ie, the expression and institutionalization of mysticism, is basically opposed to man’s independent mind. Thus religious politics, logically and historically, enforces the dependent mind. The US was founded as the politics of the independent mind, horrifying our first opponents, religious conservatives ,who complained of ridicule.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Religion, ie, the expression and institutionalization of mysticism, is basically opposed to man’s independent mind.

          That view is a kind of creepy mysticism unto itself. One of the most dreaded plagues of mankind is atheism. And not because anyone can prove that a specific conception of god is real. It’s because those who are so cock-sure that there is nothing larger than their own egos and sense of omniscience tend to be a menace to themselves and the world.

          Look at how you have already dismissed the millions of great minds throughout history who believed in God. Many of these minds have uplifted civilization in ways that an Objectivist can only sneer at. So all you have left to do is sneer and to keep believing in your weird cult of The Golden Child.

          I’ll take Jesus any day over that kind of egotism. Sometimes a little mysticism is just what the doctor ordered. The universe is an amazing and mystical place by nature. And being open to things larger than ourselves keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously…so that we hopefully never look down upon all of history and declare that those who have believed in God were “opposed to man’s independent mind.”

          Speaking of being opposed to independent mind, you ought to try to thinking outside of your own Objectivist box. It’s sort of a “physician, heal thyself” situation.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Jerry Newcombe, in an article on TownHall today, argued that his faith in Jesus Christ follows from the evidence. His argument is simple: the immediate disciples knew, one way or another, whether Jesus was a charlatan or the real thing — and in particular, whether he really did rise from the dead. And these people went to their very excruciating deaths rather than abjure their faith. Would they have done so if the resurrection was a fraud?

          I’ve pointed this out myself for years; it’s the best argument for Christianity that I know of. Whether the evidence (at least outside the Bible) actually supports the argument, I don’t know. But at most the argument is unproven — and if there really is outside evidence that Peter et al suffered an extreme martyrdom rather than deny Christ (as Peter, at least according to the Bible, did at the time of Christ’s trial — but never again later), then we have an excellent rational argument for Christianity.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            You make some good points, Timothy, as usual.

            The issue here regarding this Objectivist isn’t the existence of God. There are arguments for and against such a Being, with the argument for a Creator of some type being logically the stronger argument by far, if only because of existence itself and the attributes of existence (some of which we share and experience).

            And anyone who wants to discuss the pros and cons of God or no God, or this God instead of that God, is welcome to do so.

            But when butt-heads come in here and declare to one and all the tired old deconstructionist cliché that “anyone who believes in God has a damaged mind or is enslaving himself” is not welcome. This site is meant to move beyond the kind of vapid arguments that junior high-schoolers typically have over a keg of beer or a joint.

            And anyone who says they are for “reason” is a poor example of that if they don’t see how the Left – the most collectivist, mindless movement going – has made a living out of smearing religion. Why mindlessly repeat these old canards that are simply meant to bring forth a collectivist culture dependent upon authoritarian government?

            Not only are Christians our natural allies in the fight against the collectivist state, there is no reason to believe that believing something – even if one is in error – means that one is damaged good. All throughout time people have believed in things that turned out to be not so. Is Newton to be called an idiot because he believed in a Creator and his physical theories proved to be wrong or incomplete (that is, they did not contain quantum physics)?

            There is no room at this site for people who fly in here and think they are some part of a master race. And I’m not even talking about having respect for other people’s views. We can all handle some give and take in that regard. I’m talking about frothing kool-aid. We don’t do that here. I’d be glad to help anyone set up their own site if they’d like to start one called “Religious People are all Inferior to Me.” And then they can mentally masturbate on the subject to their heart’s content.

            But we don’t do that here.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              These reason fetishists have given the world such wonderful events as “The Terror” in the French Revolution, The Bolshevik Revolution, the Third Reich and Mao’s little cocktail party in China, in which it is estimated around 70 million unreasonable people were murdered.

              So let’s lift high our glasses to toast those useful idiots, as our Bolshevik friends used to call them, like TeaParty 1776, without whom the world just couldn’t think, because ????? why of course because they say so.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I gather Newton wrote a lot more about religion than about science. There’s a reason we don’t see the former anymore; it wasn’t comparable to the latter in quality. And that great anti-Catholic hero Galileo was actually a faithful Catholic. Copernicus was even a canon. And to the more militant Randites (i.e., those who use her as The Prophet, as others use Darwin), that makes them all idiots.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I would say that the many people who haven’t the barest clue about what conservatism is also haven’t a clue that they’ve suckled at the teat of leftwing ideology. To have developed a knee-jerk bashing orientation toward religion — making no distinctions whatsoever — is to become a useful idiot for the collectivists, whether one knows it or not.

                I’m all for the “age of reason” up to a point. I like “enlightenment” as well as the next man. It’s just that I’ve never got so drunk on these fumes that I didn’t think my own excrement stunk.

                Any truly reasonable and enlightened discussion of Christianity will note the tremendous good it has done. And any reasonable discussion of atheism will note that it has been the basis for the most oppressive and murderous regimes ever created by man. We can also note some of the great thoughts of various philosophers who were both religious and not religious and make an assessment. We can acknowledge where there have been abuses of religion and where there have just been stupid and bigoted anti-religious ideas that are rooted no deeper than a mere knee-jerk distaste.

                But this isn’t about reason. This is a pissing contest wherein one sets up one’s little action figure dolls (“reason,” “enlightenment”) and jerks them in one’s had while saying “bang, bang” and making shooting motions toward the action figure dolls (villains, in this case) that one has set up on the other side of the sandbox. These action figure villains are “mysticism” and even “conservatism.”

                And then you declare to the world that your ideology is based upon “reason.” Such an orientation cannot be a force against tyranny because it is so interminably befuddled to begin with.

  5. TeaParty1776 says:

    >early America (which was very religious and very Christian)

    In 3000 yrs of the West, the 18th century Enlightenment, esp. in America, the peak of four centuries (400 yrs) of Renaissance-caused, increasing reason and decreasing faith, had less religion than any other era. America’s heros then were Newton, Locke and Jefferson, not Jesus, Augustine and Luther. Your evasion of the Renaissance is bizarre.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Anyone who doesn’t understand the role that Christianity has played in forming Western Civilization has a screw loose. All one has to do is compare what blossomed out of Christendom compared to what is still backward in Islamic regions of the world.

      We owe something to Newton, Locke, Jefferson, et al. But only a mindless person would reduce the rich and complex history of Western Civilization to a mere pissing contest where your throw around these names as if you were in a sandbox playing with action figures.

  6. TeaParty1776 says:

    >For man to create good things, he must, to some extent, grow up. He can’t stay a juvenile forever. He must work on his character.

    Rand’s rationally selfish absolutism:
    Moral values: reason, purpose ,self-esteem
    Moral virtues: rationality, independence, integrity, productiveness, justice, honesty, pride

    Growing up is essentially accepting rational action as an absolute.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    So let’s lift high our glasses to toast those useful idiots, as our Bolshevik friends used to call them, like TeaParty 1776, without whom the world just couldn’t think, because ????? why of course because they say so.

    Mr. Kung, I re-read Nik’s article this morning. And a couple things occurred to me:

    1) Objectivists (much like libertarians) haven’t the barest idea about what conservatism is. They’ve (conveniently, for their purposes) conflated the GOP RINOs and statists with conservatism.

    2) Theirs is yet another utopian cult…this one based upon hedonism.

    Nik made this remark:

    …while the last five Commandments forbid murder, adultery, theft, perjury, and coveting that which belongs to your neighbor, respectively.  With the possible exception of adultery, one would think Objectivists could get behind this program wholeheartedly.

    Nik also noted that Objectivists are rabidly pro-abortion and have often voted for the Democrats, Rand herself preferring Ford over Reagan, merely because of Reagan’s stance on abortion.

    One may believe that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer or one may not. But notice how nary a word is said by Objectivists in support of the vital individual-rights components set in stone of “Thou shall not steal” or “Thou shall not covet.” Such notions are entirely anti-collectivist. But one of the main influences running through Objectivism isn’t “reason” but a knee-jerk anti-religious bigotry, as we see from this recent example…a couple of posts of which were so full of the typical Leftwing rants against religion that I deleted them.

    Nik is right to point out that it’s the commandment against adultery that is the real sticking point for Objectivists.

    And he pointed out how Ayn Rand was, for lack of a better word, a sort of boy-toy slut. She was a sexual hedonist. And this is the new strain running through society right now that is effecting a large percentage of males (and I realize there may be a few female Objectivists, but in my experience they are mostly male).

    And I’ll, for now, make no moral arguments one way or another for this sexual liberalism. I will just point out that this is the situation now. And our society, in large part thanks to feminism, is composed of females more than ready to put out, which has helped to create entire legions of unattached, single, sexually promiscuous males (an aspect males need very little encouragement with to begin with) who never quite grow up and, instead, adopt a philosophy that gives their liberal lifestyle legitimacy…or tries to.

    Again, I’ll leave it for now whether this sexual liberalism is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is the thing all throughout the West. So, by applying something called “reason” that Objectivists and libertarians only give lip service to, I will tell you what I think is really going on: This is a cult of sexual liberalism, and little more. It is the cult of the individual unbound roving male who may shout “reason” but whose life is driven much more by a liberal or Leftist meme.

    And that meme (completely consistent with Leftism) is that religion must go. And why? What is religion’s greatest sin? Its greatest sin is that it puts ethical considerations upon sexual behavior. It espouses restraint. It espouses the old idea that freedom itself is found within the proper and reasonable restraints of good law. And with the hedonistic aspects of both Objectivism and libertarianism, where freedom is defined as freedom from any reasonable restraints, religion becomes the enemy to be cast off as mere “mysticism.”

    And while doing so it is the Objectivists in particular who engage in superstition, believing irrationally that anyone who is religious is somehow crippled by their beliefs. Blaise Pascal, Newton, and millions of other productive and intelligent members of society (the very ones who built this civilization) would be amazed by this notion.

    Religion also declares that there is something larger than man’s ego, that there is more to man’s existence than fulfilling his every impulse. Objectivists, and radically so, are diametrically opposed to any “squishy” idea that mankind is part of something larger than himself. They are all about achievement (somewhat like Scientologists, and with the same kooky effect) and self-esteem (or “narcissism,” in practice) as the things that must never be impinged upon, for man has no higher purpose in life. And (conveniently for their anti-collectivist meme), if you say there is a higher purpose, you have committed the sin of supposedly denying the sanctity of the individual and thereby helping to usher in collectivism, theocracies, statism, etc.

    Again, we see hedonism at the root of Objectivism. We might even see their objections to collectivism in a whole new light. Collectivism isn’t wrong because it brings on Communism, for if that was true, why do so many of them apparently vote for Democrats? Collectivism is wrong because it is conflated with the religious impulse — quite despite the fact that most collectivist systems are as atheistic as the Objectivists themselves. One is still waiting for their vaunted “reason” to kick in to make sense of this and perhaps discover something fundamental about their own ideology.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      In the very first Father Brown story (“The Blue Cross”), Father Brown explains at the end why Flambeau didn’t fool him disguised as a priest: “You attacked reason. That’s bad theology.” That thought could make a Randite’s head explode.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Excellent post, unlike TeaParty1776’s which read like he took out his high school notebook and copied some lines from Cliff Notes.

    • TeaParty1776 says:

      There are three interrelated arguments used by today’s “conservatives”
      to justify capitalism, which can best be designated as: the argument from faith
      —the argument from tradition—the argument from depravity…Intellectually, to
      rest one’s case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one’s
      enemies—that one has no rational arguments to offer. The “conservatives’” claim
      that their case rests on faith, means that there are no rational arguments to
      support the American system, no rational justification for freedom, justice,
      property, individual rights, that these rest on a mystic revelation and can be
      accepted only on faith—that in reason and logic the enemy is right, but men must
      hold faith as superior to reason. AYN RAND

      >utopian cult…hedonism.

      Within religion, reason is not a method for knowing an allegedly chaotic universe
      and man is innately destructive, thus the claim of utopian cult. Rand explicitly, fundamentally, systematically and in principle and detail, rejects hedonism for
      an observation-based, rational, long-range, absolute morality for man’s life as a

      Christians believe God is man’s moral slavemaster for whom man must suffer, thus God owns the merely potential, non-rights possessing human called a fetus. Potentials are not actuals.

      Reagan’s religious politics an important cause of our current return to the Christian Dark Ages.

      > individual-rights components set in stone of “Thou shall not steal” or “Thou
      shall not covet.”

      The Ten Commandments are based in faith in the obligation to obey voices in one’s unused mind, thus destructive. Some are merely coincidental to applications of reason.
      The destructiveness of faith contradicts those, like accepting a painting at the price
      of one’s eyes.

      > knee-jerk anti-religious bigotry

      After systematically proving her observation-based philosophy, Rand identifies the lack
      lack of a rational defense of religion.

      > the commandment against adultery that is the real sticking point for

      Only within the religious condemnation of pleasure, romantic love and man’s life
      is adultery a “real sticking point.” Having explicitly and fundamentally evaded
      reason, religionists are realistically worried about becoming lost inside short-range
      situations. The world is, indeed, too much with religionists, always tempted with
      “Devil, get thee behind me!” as the psychological effect of evading reason. Its your
      own choice to evade, not an impossible Original Sin, that bedevils you. But, as
      Rand noted, Original Sin is a powerful rationalization for evasion.

      > Ayn Rand was, for lack of a better word, a sort of boy-toy slut. She was a sexual

      Hating life so profoundly, religionists validly, within their profound hatred of
      man’s life, reduce romantic love to hedonism. There are no rational values for
      religionists, merely mindless pleasures, the lifelong cost of rejecting their minds
      and lives. Attacks on Rand’s life are evasions of the need to judge her ideas.

      > And this is the new strain running through society

      Agreed because, having rejected reason and religion, Americans had, for
      moral guidance, only what religion condemned, mindless, short-range
      pleasure. But dont worry, mindless subjectivism is giving way to mindless
      religion, so you can return to the historical religious hatred of man’s body.
      You can imitate Moslems w/religious street patrols, ever alert to a hair
      peeking out of a head-to-ground burkha or, God forbid, a well-turned

      > cult of sexual liberalism

      Lacking any rational values, religionists reduce man to mindless pleasure and its

      >(completely consistent with Leftism) is that religion must go.

      The Leftist worship of Society as a supernatural entity, which transcends the
      illusion of real individuals, is essentially identical to God worship.

      > religion’s greatest sin… restraints of good law.

      Good from beyond the grave, not good for man’s life.

      > Objectivists in particular who engage in superstition, believing irrationally that
      anyone who is religious is somehow crippled by their beliefs.

      “Somehow” the evasion of reason and the worship of death (“afterlife”) destroys
      man. Somehow…

      Good from beyond the grave, not good for man’s life.

      > Blaise Pascal, Newton, and millions of other productive and intelligent members of society (the very ones who built this civilization) would be amazed by this notion.

      Pascal was an explicit irrationalist. Newton and many others had contradictory
      values, religion and reason. Their rational values built the West. Their religious
      values destroy their rational values.

      >there is something larger than man’s ego

      Your hatred of man’s life and happiness is noted.

      > achievement (somewhat like Scientologists, and with the same kooky effect) and self-esteem (or “narcissism,” in practice)

      Scientology accepts the religious soul/body split for materialism. Objectivism
      recognizes man is a soul/body unity.

      > self-esteem (or “narcissism)….man has no higher purpose in life.

      “To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life:
      Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge—Purpose,
      as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve—
      Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his
      person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living.” RAND

      >Collectivism isn’t wrong because it brings on Communism, for if that was true,
      why do so many of them apparently vote for Democrats?

      In a vote between conservative religionists and Leftists, sometimes Leftists are
      an immediate threat to individual rights, thus strategic voting. When Leftism
      loses political dominance, a current trend, conservative religionists will be the
      immediate threat.

      > most collectivist systems are as atheistic as the Objectivists themselves.

      God is only one type of supernaturalism. Other types are collectivism and
      the cosmic process of some Oriental religions.


      • Timothy Lane says:

        If you think we’re in a Christian Dark Age, then you either are out of touch with reality or ignorant of the nature of the Dark Ages (a time of societal collapse due to the loss of working infrastructure). Given the relative powerlessness of Christianity in both Europe and the Anglophone world (including the US, as can be seen by the frequent destruction of moral traditionalists), the former seems most likely.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          There are three interrelated arguments used by today’s “conservatives” to justify capitalism, which can best be designated as: the argument from faith—the argument from tradition—the argument from depravity

          The only case I’ve heard conservatives make regarding the free market is that it is better for people to make their own choices, within reason, than have some bureaucrat or government nanny try to make them for him. The Soviet Union, among other examples, shows that a centrally-controlled economy doesn’t work very well, let alone the serious impingements upon freedom that such a system commits.

          I’m going to stop there because it’s clear that you’re hurling finely-etched clichés and boogiemen rather than actual facts that are in the world. I can declare that Mars is soft, gooey, and made of milk chocolate, but merely saying so does not make it so. For any discussion to be fruitful, there has to be a basic adherence to the world as it is, not as we imagine it in our own minds.

          Clearly someone taught you a lot of garbage about conservatives. It’s easy to construct boogieman. The problem is, you are then committed forever to various twists of pretzel logic to make your own prejudices work out.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            “pretzel logic”

            Ah yes, a Steely Dan classic.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            In the book Science Made Stupid by Tom Weller (which won a Hugo Award at the 1986 World Science Fiction Convention), the symbol for the planet Mars is the Mars Bar logo. (The symbol for Pluto is a certain cartoon dog; I will let you guess what the symbol for Uranus is.)

  8. TeaParty1776 says:

    >Christians our natural allies in the fight against the collectivist state

    Christians believe that they are mere fragments of God who are morally obligated to return to unity (collectivism). Consistent, theocratic Christians want govt to enforce the obligation to unity.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      One of the tasks of Objectivists and libertarians is to go beyond the caricatures that they have been taught and that they apparently relish believing inside their own minds (reality be danged).

      There are indeed some Christians who are useful idiots for socialism/statism. The “social gospel” movement (the equivalent of the “social justice” movement) somewhat sees that state as the stand-in for God. As Dennis Prager rightly notes, many of these Christians actually practice Leftism as their religion, not Christianity. They’ve substituted Leftism beliefs for the authentic Christian ones.

      And I’ll further admit that many Christians today — analogous to Objectivists and libertarians — are quite uneducated regarding the founding principles of our country and even the founding principles of their own religion. This is a problem. I understand partially why Objectivists, libertarians, and others misunderstand Christianity and/or conservatism. There are some very bad advertisements for those causes out in the culture. But have you actually even bothered to try to understand these things yourself? No, and that’s because, for various reasons, you want to dismiss them. This is not being intellectually honest, despite Objectivist feints to “reason.”

      There are no doubt theocratic Christians who want the sort of “unity” that you propose. But they are a minuscule minority, barely a blip on the radar. And yet Objectivists, much like Leftists, make a habit out of getting their panties in a bunch and getting the vapors over how a Christian theocracy is supposedly this close. Sir, if you believe that, you are not only a useful idiot for the Left (which has done much to generate this slander) but you don’t know the actual history of your country.

      I have no idea why your name is “TeaParty” when your drink of choice seems to be kool-aid.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        HotAir has a link to an article in The Week on the problem atheism has explaining extreme self-sacrifice.

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