The Common Good

Broomfield Enterprise Letter To The Editor: Ayn Rand And The Shutdown

Date: October 13, 2013

I recently finished reading Ayn Rand's influential novel "Atlas Shrugged." With over 1,000 pages it took me about a month to finish. Though Rand certainly had skill as a novelist, "Shrugged" is terribly long winded, creates a "straw man" of epic proportions and is a caricature to end all caricatures. So what does Ayn Rand have to do with the government shutdown? Well, basically everything.

One must first understand that Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" as so illustrated in "Atlas Shrugged" has become the intellectual foundation of the Republican economic policy — especially of the Tea Party wing. Where this gets especially problematic is that fact that the Tea Party is also a de-facto evangelical Christian movement. This unholy matrimony of conservative Christians and Rand's Objectivism began after her death, as her ideology became separate from the controversial character she herself was. So, basically what we have here is conservative Christians proudly proclaiming the ideology of an avowed atheist. If you find this peculiar you are not alone.

Folks who claim Christianity as their religion care more about following the teaching of an atheist Russian immigrant than the teachings of a man who they themselves claim to be the son of God. As Jim Wallis has said, what's happening is that people's politics is driving their theology rather than their theology driving their politics.