Why is Ayn Rand popular among Christian Conservatives?

Despite her anti-Christian and liberal views on social issues, and her advocation of Laissez Faire style capitalism which goes against Catholic social teaching, it seems the late Ayn Rand is having a popularity resurgence among Christian conservatives, particularly among Tea Party Christians.

As a Catholic, who is both pro-life and pro-labor, I don’t see the appeal.

Can someone explain this to me?

Some people place politics above their faith.

Because she’s convenient. You have what you have because you deserve to have it, and other people are lacking it because they are morally deficient. As one crude representation of Objectivism put it (and I like this very much)-“I’m one of the better people, and the better people deserve to have more. Now gimme that soda.”

This isn’t that unusual, though-she’s a writer who assuages people’s guilt over the wrongs in which they’ve participated, and that makes her popular. Like many authors for many different sins.

I think you are mixing conservatives with libertarians, many of whom vote for the conservative party as the lessor of two evils in their minds.

Well, you hit the nail on the head, Catholic Social teaching differs from that taught by protestant christians. The concept of Laissez Faire economics is not against their teachings. ( also it is a bit of a misnomer to claim that Rand was a Laisse Faire economicist anyway, she did advocate for regulations that promoted free trade, respect for property rights, etc).

I know of no practicing Catholics who are unqualified Rand supporters.

Because (according to them) the platform of the Republican Party, not the teachings of nine popes and numerous bishops, is true Catholicism, and Catholic social doctrine is irrelevant, optional, and a joke.

This may sound harsh, but I know several people who seem to think like this.

A lot of Protestantism has a streak of Calvinism, where people who are more highly favored by God have more stuff, so it kind of goes along with their theology.

Also, I think that Ayn Rand appeals to people’s pride, people relate more to the “Makers” in her books, who are exciting, vibrant, powerful people, rather than to the “Takers,” who are portrayed as sniveling worms.

Of course, reality is much different… esp for Catholics :slight_smile:

Yes, I agree that the vast majority of Protestants hold to their political parties teaching more so that than the teaching of Catholic bishops. And that this would be true on either side of the political aisle.

Did you have any other point?

Agree. Conservative != Objectivist. Conservative != Libertarian.

Nor do I.

Congressman Paul Ryan.

I heard he makes his entire staff read Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), is there any truth to that?

Likely false, according to Brian Bolduc’s article, defending Ryan in the National Review: “Aides past and present have denied Beam’s claim.”

More from Bolduc’s article:

In a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Ryan explained how the Catholic teaching on subsidiarity informed his approach to public policy:

“To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society [on] the principle of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good.”

Left-wing Catholics may dispute Ryan’s interpretation of the Church’s teaching or emphasize other aspects of it, but there’s no biblical commandment for Ryan to agree with them. Theirs is an honest disagreement.

From what I’ve gleaned, Ryan is just of the belief that the government should only provide a very limited safety net, and that the bulk of charity should come through private, not state-driven means.

For reference, the full text of Bolduc’s article on Ryan can be found here.

That certainly stems some of my worries I had about Mr. Ryan. While I’m sure I disagree with him on what the safety net should look like, at least he seems to share in my concern about society’s duty to take care of the poor and needy.

Exactly. I think it comes down to conclusions that are largely logistical and sociological, rather than moral. Although I am aware of moral arguments based on Scripture and Tradition that attempt to justify either position.

That being said, if the general society continues to fail at taking care of the downtrodden, I do believe our public officials and servants have a duty to step in.

Well, there’s a myriad of issues that contribute to the general welfare of the poor, not just the amount of money that is donated or spent. Education (generally), sex education, the state of vocational training, cultural influences (on work, marriage, etc.), under-diagnosis of mental illnesses, failed policies on combating drug production, distribution, and abuse, etc.

You don’t have to accept all of the Reds’ narratives on them or all of the Blues’. I personally lean to the right on most of them, but I’m not opposed to trying out a good idea that comes from either side.

I yield my position to the Catechism

‘The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with “communism” or “socialism.” She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.207 Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for “there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.”’

And so does everyone else that isn’t in a fringe political party.

Reds and Blues aren’t that far apart when it comes to actual policies on market regulation, they just like to act like they are because it makes for exciting (and dirty) campaigning and posturing.

Probably just the pendelum swinging away from those who claim Jesus was the first socialist.

I have abandoned all party affiliations. Ayn Rand definitely strays from a true social justice to a limited view of human life that is selfish.

Peace,
Ed

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