A new article by Harry Binswanger at The American Thinker begins:
The American Values Network, a left-wing group, with considerable funding by George Soros, has launched a media blitz under the banner “Ayn Rand vs. Jesus Christ.” As an Institute founded by Ayn Rand’s heir and devoted to advancing her philosophy, Objectivism, we would like to respond. Since this is an issue Rand faced repeatedly in her lifetime, our response is basically to let her speak for herself.
The AVN campaign is right in saying that Rand opposes accepting any ideas on faith — i.e., in the absence of rational evidence. Reason, based on sensory observation, is man’s only means of knowledge — the knowledge on which his life depends. Accordingly, she considers not only religious faith but any departure from reason to be destructive both personally and culturally.
But the AVN is wrong in bringing religion into politics at all. The American system treats religion as a private matter, not something to shape government policy. This is a corollary of the separation of church and state. The AVN campaign goes to shocking lengths in violating this principle. A recent video shows a young man pursuing Paul Ryan in a parking garage urging him to follow the Bible not Rand (whom he has praised) in his congressional budget proposal. Bringing religion into politics doesn’t get much cruder than that.
See the full article for much more.
2 thoughts on “The ‘Ayn Rand vs. Jesus Christ’ Campaign”
Harry Binswanger makes many excellent and much needed points.Â
And it’s quite important for someone to respond in a careful, thoughtful, non-insulting way to widely-publicized attacks on Rand’s ideas.Â Those attacks have considerable impact among the uninformed.Â
But he makes a philosophical error when he says: “the AVN is wrong in bringing religion into politics at all. The American system treats religion as a private matter, not something to shape government policy. This is a corollary of the separation of church and state.”
The principle of “separation of church and state” is exclusively an issue of limiting the sphere of government.Â It means the government should take no physical action or advocacy (like taxation or selective tax exemption, state sponsorship of a church, controls on religious speech such as censorship or mandatory prayers) which -supports- or -opposes- a church, a religion in any way.
It is a question of the initiation of force, more than just one of bad epistemology or ethics. [One could advocate Jesus Christ's ethics without advocating that it must be coerced as opposed to private.]Â It does NOT mean that a group should not base its own political ideas on religion. If a group wants to argue that politicians should not be pro-Rand because she opposes altruism (or its religious base) that is very different from saying that government itself should take action to suppress Rand’s ideas. Or to support Christianity.
Church and state should be separate, “religion should be a private matter” in the sense that government intervention on behalf of (or against) religion or a church is wrong.Â That is not the issue when your religious or secular philosophy provide backing in shaping your view of what government should or should not do.
The AVN makes a whole series of very bad arguments.
What they don’t do (at least so far) is violate the separation of church and state.
I thought Jesus was for the separation of church and state. He pretty much wrecked the church when he found it filled with vendors. He called it his father’s home. Jesus didn’t operate out of a church, he traveled and taught people how to live a moral life. I agree with Jesus because I find it sad how many people are destroyed by their vices. Actually I think both Jesus and Ayn Rand were supporters of morality. What is really disturbing is the backlash against morality. Immorality has run rampant where mental disease has set in. This is basically a campaign for the sane people who have got to live with the insane.Â
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