Religion,  The Right

Ayn Rand versus religion

A liberal religious group called American Values Network has produced a video making a point that anyone familiar with Ayn Rand would find unexceptional– that Rand, who is deeply admired by many leading figures on the American Right for her advocacy of unfettered, self-interest-driven capitalism, hated all forms of religion with a passion. In effect she told would-be disciples to choose between her philosophy and God; that they couldn’t believe in both: “I am the creator of a new code of morality– a morality not based on faith.”

And if you read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, when it comes to anything vaguely Randian, it seems the feeling is mutual.

Who hated religion more, Karl Marx or Ayn Rand?

Here is what Marx wrote:

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Can you imagine Rand having such a sympathetic view of religious believers? Yet Christian conservatives routinely demonize Marx for his atheism while letting Rand off the hook.

Although I suppose I’m as much of an atheist as Rand, I can’t imagine buying into a political philosophy that excluded people because of their religious beliefs. And even as a Jew, I feel a much closer identification with the Christian socialism of Ignazio Silone than I do with either Marxism or Rand’s Objectivism.

In some ways, Silone’s novel “Bread and Wine” was as foundational for me as “Atlas Shrugged” was for Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

Michael Ezra adds

I can’t resist mentioning how William F. Buckley, Jr. recounted in an accent mimicking fashion what Ayn Rand said to him when they first met: “Mr. Buckley, you arrrr  too intelligent to believe in Gott!”

(The source for this anecdote is Anne C. Heller, Ayn Rand and the World She Made [Doubleday,2009],p.246.)

Update: In the same vein: