The gulf between Ayn Rand and Jesus yawns just as wide today as it did back when Ronald Reagan brought Wall Street’s libertarians together with the Christian right, the Gipper having got the latter to believe that he was one of them. Somehow he could bring those antithetical constituencies together; but the contradiction at the heart of that alliance never was addressed.
Now that the lunatics have taken over the asylum—er, party—it’s time to put it to the Tea-baggers: Whose side are you on?
Column: You can’t reconcile Ayn Rand and Jesus
By Stephen Prothero
The new darling of the Republican Party is pro-choice and anti-religion. She once wrote that, since “an embryo has no rights,” abortion “should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved.” And when asked by Playboy magazine whether religion “ever offered anything of constructive value to human life” she answered “no,” adding that “faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life.”
Her name is Ayn Rand, and though she died in 1982 this novelist, philosopher and anti-communist crusader is the hot new thing in the GOP. The American public may have met the April opening Atlas Shrugged, a film based on her novel of the same name, with a collective shrug, but Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh tout her books, and her genius. And the opening line of “Atlas Shrugged” (“Who is John Galt?”) pops up regularly on handmade signs at Tea Party rallies.
Among Rand’s adoring acolytes on Capitol Hill is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who at a Library of Congresssymposium held in 2005 on the centenary of the Rand’s birth called her “the reason I got involved in public service.” Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who announced his third presidential run last recently, has invoked Rand in the House on matters as disparate as NASA and the post office. His son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, used her novel Anthem in Senate hearings in April to argue against government regulations to phase out the incandescent light bulb.