Your donations enable us to create and share theologically progressive resources that nurture our faith journeys and are used in church communities around the world. If everyone reading this right now gives just $10 we would be able to continue offering these for free.

Ayn Rand

 
David Anderson’s Blog #74
 
Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed
 
The late Ayn Rand was a powerful figure in the rise of American neo-liberalism. She was instrumental in the formation of the Reagan approach to the capitalist system, so defined as a system that gives full reign to markets without government interference. Today, her memory remains a controlling force in the minds of many Republican members of the US Congress. It controls the thought process of many members of the Donald Trump Cabinet. One could even say that Donald Trump is the reincarnation of Ayn Rand.

Who was Ayn Rand? How did she become what she became? She began her youth in St. Petersburg, Russia as an economically disenfranchised teenage product of the Bolshevik Revolution. Her parents (father owned a pharmacy) had lost almost all they had. Her family was Jewish, but that had no negative meaning in that revolutionary time. Then in her 20’s after Russian university studies she escaped to America where she fell in with a group of anti-Bolshevik American right-wing anti-New Deal anti-Socialism defenders of unregulated capitalism.

All of this raises the question: Why were so many Americans so quick to succumb to her societal/economic spell? (even the young Alan Greenspan was a member of her inner circle) Why do so many Americans today remain under her spell, even Donald Trump?

And then an even more perplexing question: Why do so many Christian Evangelicals like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence as well as so many other Christian Evangelicals in and out of government embrace her philosophy? (she was an outspoken atheist)

There may be a terrible irony playing out here. Could it be that Ayn Rand will end up having been the Christian Evangelical Antichrist ushering in the Apocalypse these Evangelicals have been so eagerly waiting for?

Mike Pompeo has talked about the rapture. He said in 2015 at a “God and Country Rally” “We will continue to fight these battles” because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.” Vice President Mike Pence has spoken in the same terms.

Donald Trump is by all indications far too self-serving and self-absorbed to adhere to this Evangelical Christian eschatological viewpoint. Yet it all works well for him so he uses it to his advantage.

Beginning in the late 60’s Ayn Rand described the ecological perspective as being at the core of despicable anti-industrial socialist thought. (Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring had been published) For Ayn Rand the planet was near meaningless. It could be used and abused at the will of man, and that even included the waste on it from the factories and from the mines and on the streets; as well as the waste of downtrodden human life. Today in many parts of the world her perspective reigns among “free market” neo-liberal advocates.

So here is the question being raised by this Blog: Did the late Ayn Rand usher in an economic mindset that will in fact bring on an Apocalypse?

Scientists today are now telling us that temperatures on the planet may reach the point where human life can no longer exist. (see 1972 World Bank Report quoted below) Warning signs are now flashing before our eyes. These signs point to the question of whether seven, nine, ten or even twelve billion human beings will be able to live in a symbiotic relationship with a Nature that allows both our species and organic and inorganic matter to recycle and renew.

It gets worse: There is ample evidence that both Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence would welcome an Apocalypse. They both believe that this will bring on the Rapture, an event allowing the Messiah to return.

To end this Blog let me give you a quote from John Adams:
“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.”

Ayn Rand destroyed the benefit of the power of rational thinking, speaking and writing for many Americans. She remains a destructive force.

Review & Commentary