OINO's Paranoid Fear of Christians
As though to prove the thesis of my recent article, "An Atheist's Defence of Christianity", the usually brilliant and highly respected (at least by me) Leonard Peikoff shocked me with a piece of unobjective illogic that I can hardly believe.
From the question and answer piece on his website:
"In my judgment, anyone who votes Republican or abstains from voting in this election has no understanding of the practical role of philosophy in man's actual life ..."
Why did he say that? Because he believes the US is on the verge of becoming a Christian theocracy. Really!
"If you hate the Left so much that you feel more comfortable with the Right, you are unwittingly helping to push the U.S. toward disaster, i.e., theocracy, not in 50 years, but, frighteningly, much sooner."
It is possible the US will become a theocracy, if it continues in its present path of collectivist-statism in politics and multicultural-hedonism in society, but it will not be the God of the Jews and Christians, but Allah, as it soon shall be in Europe. It is true we are trailing Europe in its downward spiral, but we are not much behind it. It is amazing that someone as brilliant as Peikoff could believe we are in some danger from evangelical Christians, while saying, "Socialism--a fad of the last few centuries--has had its day; it has been almost universally rejected for decades." Does he think just because it's not named socialism anymore, that government control of virtually every aspect of human life, the worst form egalitarianism every imagined, multiculturalism, and the million schemes by which this government practices wealth redistribution is not socialism? (Technically, since lip-service is still paid the concept of private property, it is fascism—but what's in a name.)
It is unlikely many people will be influence by Mr. Peikoff and even less likely they will be influenced by the likes of the sycophant who said, "I fully support Dr. Peikoff's statement," and neither would be worth mentioning at all if they did not so perfectly exemplify the irrational hysterical hatred of Christians which dominates so many aspects of our society.
She [the sycophant] says, "The Objectivist view of the role of philosophy in shaping individual lives, politics, culture, and history is a massive integration," is true enough, but unfortunately those who call themselves "Objectivists" are Objectivists in name only (OINOs), else they would not have so completely misunderstood the role of religion, particularly Christianity, in that history.
Ignorance and Fear
Now it is true, "In their domestic policies, the Republicans fully support socialism and statism," their foreign policies are a disaster, and Bush's so-called faith-based initiatives are a clear violation of the separation of church and state. I happen to agree with many of the sycophant's criticisms of the obvious socialistic statist policies and actions of the present Republican administration (which contradicts Peikoff's contention that socialism is dead); but this is absurd: "Yes, Democrats are increasingly appealing to religion. However, they're doing so because they've seen the great success of the religious Republicans."
Who are these "religious Republicans?" Are the republicans no longer politicians? If the Democrats appeal to the religious community, its only motivated politically—they aren't truly religious; but when Republicans appeal to the religious community, why we know they are all sincere, devout, dangerous, Christians.
While nearly every single member of Congress, Democrat and Republican, proclaims some religious affiliation, there is only one devout Christian Representative who, as far as I know, also consistently votes and campaigns for individual liberty, against big government, against the IRS and taxes and deficit spending, against the oppressive Patriot Act and threat of a police state, against the UN and Unesco, against foreign aid, and the disastrous American war policies. That "dangerous" Christian is >Ron Paul.
Ignorance can be excused, when it is honest, but when it is couched in the kind of language used by this sycophant, it is pure hatefulness:
"Christianity is an all-embracing worldview: otherwordly, mystical, altruistic, and authoritarian. Its holy scriptures are explicitly and unequivocally opposed to all the values of this world: success, wealth, pleasure, science, justice, love, reason, pride, independence, and even long-range planning. It demands poverty, incompetence, misery, suffering, mercy, humility, submission, miracles, faith, and death."
I expected the final sentence to be, "Christians are even more dangerous than the Jews in Germany before the second world war." No doubt she thinks Janet Reno's method of dealing with David Koresh is the proper way to deal with all these dangerous Christians.
The arrogance of someone who'll tell us what the Bible teaches, who has never read it (but will no doubt be an expert in a few days as she is now "listening" to it being read), leaves one breathless. In her astounding ignorance, she writes, "Christians will continue to support socialism for the simple reason that the New Testament commands it. It demands total collectivization of property and distribution according to need. In passage after passage, it inculcates vicious hostility to wealth ...."
In case you missed it, she said, "the New Testament ... inculcates vicious hostility to wealth."
There is "viciousness" in her writing, but not in the Bible, and certainly not toward wealth, else it would not so often be used as an example of one of God's blessings, meant to be enjoyed. For example: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." (1Tim. 6:17) There is no condemnation of riches.
This would be laughable if it were not so hateful. I suspect those whose religion is the religion of the Bible, especially New Testament Christians, might know a little more about what the Bible "inculcates," than someone who has never read it, and obviously hates those who have.
We might forgive her ignorance of the Bible, but we cannot forgive her ignorance of history. Some of the wealthiest men, ever, have been devout evangelical Christians, and they enjoyed their wealth immensely.
Christians and Wealth
Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky on the Orthodox Christian page (perhaps not as dangerous as evangelical Christains) expresses the Christian view when he quotes, of all things, the Bible: "Always poor is he who works with an indolent hand, but the hand of the diligent brings wealth." (Proverbs 10:4), then writes: "... The early industrialists and tycoons such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Harriman, Forbes and others were examples of the Protestant work ethic at work to make themselves millionaires. They were taught that it was the Christian thing to do."
How many of those earlier industrialists were truly Christians I do not know, but I know three Christian business men, all retailers, who are among the most creative, and certainly wealthiest men in this nation's history.
Retailing, as it is known today, was the creation of John Wanamaker; almost everything taken for granted in department store shopping today was his invention. "In 1874, he printed the first-ever, copyrighted store advertisement. It is almost impossible to imagine what shopping could have been like before "he opened an in-store restaurant in 1876, installed electric lights in 1878, and added elevators in 1889. To keep turnover high and prices low, he created February "Opportunity Sales," July "Midsummer Sales" and in January 1878 the first "White Sale." While committed to keeping costs low, Wanamaker also sought out style and quality, sending ten buyers to Europe each year." Oh yes, he was a devout Christian and one of the wealthiest men of his day.
James Cash Penney opened a one room store 1902, the beginning of one of most successful chains in history, J.C.Penny which, in spite of the fact he was a devout Christian, made Mr. Penney fabulously wealthy. (If you like milk or beef, give Mr. Penney a nod of thanks!)
The last of the three opened his first store in a suburb of Kansas City in 1954. By 1962 he and his brother owned 16 variety stores. He opened his first, based on his own name, in 1962, and by 2004 was the world's largest retailer with a corporation employing over 1.5 million people. His name was Sam Walton. As a devout Christian, he was woefully ignorant of any, "vicious hostility to wealth." Between the years of 1985 to 1988 he was ranked by Forbes the richest man in the United States with a personal net worth of $15.2 Billion dollars.
OINO Ignorance of Objectivism
It is bad enough these, "Objectivists in name only," are ignorant of the religion they criticize and wring their hands over it in abject terror, as well as being ignorant of the history of that religion in this country, but they are even ignorant about the philosophy they claim as their own, and the primary purpose the author had in developing it.
In 1941 Ayn Rand wrote "The Individualist Credo," which was published in the January, 1944 issue of Reader's Digest as "The Only Path to Tomorrow," in which she said:
"From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. ... Every type of good work—from laying bricks to writing a symphony—is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same; the degree of a man's independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.
"While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action."
That is the theme and whole purpose of her philosophy. She wrote to Marjorie Williams on June 18, 1936, "That one word—individualism—is to be the theme song, the goal, the only aim of all my writing. If I have any real mission in life—this is it."
It is men like John Wanamaker, James Cash Penney, and Sam Walton who are the "producers, the creators, the originators, the individualists," the men of, "independent action," on which all progress depends—not because of their particular beliefs, but that spirit of individualism and enthusiasm to live and create and be all and the best they can be. There were other individualists, with other ideologies, other innovators, entrepreneurs, originators who all contributed to the glory that is free America, but without that independent spirit, that insatiable desire and drive to achieve and produce, none of them would have contributed anything.
In another letter to Lilian Koch, August 28, 1943, she wrote concerning the character Dominique in The Fountainhead, "She lost her fear of the world when she understood that it has never been and can never be dominated by the second-handers nor by any collective, that the world lives, grows and is moved by the genius of the creators, of the single, clean, exceptional men."
The source of the irrational fear of Christianity in the likes of Leonard Peikoff and his sycophant is their ignorance of what Rand was saying in these words of Dominique. So long as a society has independent individualists, men of initiative and originality, men who think for themselves and stand for principles and values, clean men of integrity and vision, men like Wanamaker, Penney, and Walton, it is not possible that any ideology can dominate it. It is just such men that Peikoff and company would gladly see eliminated, just because they happen to have some views he (as well as I) regard as mistaken.
Are there not some Christians who practice the irrational "self-sacrificing" asceticism the sycophant described? Of course there are. Are there not some Christians who would like to see their views of personal morality imposed on everyone by law and government force? Of course there are. There are always such people and always such movements, but they are rare in Christianity, (but the whole view of Islam, for example). The danger is not from any of these Christian splinter groups. The danger is from the nature of a society comprised of men "who value nothing, reverence nothing, believe in nothing, produce nothing, and live for nothing" except the pleasures and entertainments of the moment, and a pervasive government that seeks to use any group it perceives has a "majority" to its own ends.
I ought to be angry that the only philosophy I admire, though not perfect, still the best in history, has fallen into the hands of these babblers, and scribblers, who sit in criticism of the kind of men who made this country what it is, whose beliefs contain questionable elements but at least believe something, produce something, and achieve something. What have these babblers and scribblers produced? They are all second-handers, living off the wealth created by others, playing at being, "philosophers," never producing a new idea or creating anything profitable. One of the most obscene words in the English language is "non-profit." ARI, the sanctuary of these babblers and scribblers is a non-profit organization. You can see why.