Jesus Shrugged — why Christianity and Ayn Rand don’t mix

To a sizable number of conservatives, Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is practically scripture. To another sizable number, Christian scripture is a law higher than the Constitution.

If you want to appreciate just how strange that is, consider the passage that gives Atlas Shrugged its title:

“Mr. Rearden,” said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, “if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders – what would you tell him to do?”

“I … don’t know. What … could he do? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”

Both Francisco d’Anconia and Hank Rearden are heroes of the novel. Ultimately, Francisco convinces Hank and many other right-thinking capitalists to vanish and let the success-punishing world economy fend for itself without their genius and productivity. Francisco’s exit is particularly dramatic: He destroys all the assets that he can’t take with him into hiding.

The capitalists are Atlas. They shrug and let the world economy collapse. (Well, Francisco does a bit more than shrug. He didn’t just let those copper mines collapse. But never mind.)

Now imagine entering the novel to ask this question: “Mr. d’Anconia, if you saw Jesus, whipped and with a crown of thorns on his head, his knees buckling, his arms trembling, but still trying to drag his cross down the streets of Jerusalem to Golgotha – what would you tell him to do?”

To shrug?

That impossible image – Jesus shrugging off the cross and returning to Heaven six weeks early – sums up the incompatibility of Randism and Christianity. Rand taught that the powerful bear no obligation to the helpless. Jesus had other ideas.

Rand held private property rights to be absolute. That’s how Francisco can guiltlessly blow up his mines. They’re his. Forget superstitious nonsense like Psalm 24’s “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Property is not something you hold in trust for a higher power. Owning property entails no moral responsibility at all. It’s yours. Do whatever you want with it.

Short of pure Orwellian doublethink, there’s no way to square that with Christianity. Rand herself didn’t even try. She found “the inviolate integrity of man’s soul” and “a code of altruism” to be “a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus”.

This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men’s natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work.

And that brings us to Rep. Paul Ryan’s recent go-round with the Catholic bishops and the Jesuits of Georgetown University.

Ryan is a Randist whose budget plan Francisco d’Anconia would love. As Paul Krugman sums up, “it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy”. It deals with the resulting deficit increase by closing unspecified tax loopholes that lobbyists will undoubtedly manage to keep open once they get specified.

But Ryan also claims to be a good Catholic, so now he’s trying to make that work too. Like Peter denying Jesus, Ryan now calls his Randism “an urban legend“. But that trick is hard to pull off in the Age of Google, when everything you’ve been saying for years is easily retrievable. You know who started that urban legend? Paul Ryan.

Unfortunately for Ryan’s attempt to wash his budget in the blood of the lamb, popes have been handing down bleeding-sacred-heart encyclicals on economic policy since Rerum Novarum in 1891. (You can get the general flavor from this week’s Sift quote or  my article on John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens.) Worse, the Church has actual experts who keep track of these things, so you can’t just cherry-pick the Catholic tradition for out-of-context quotes and expect nobody to call you on it.

Ninety members of the Georgetown faculty called Paul Ryan on it:

we would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few. … In short, your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The particular doctrine Ryan misuses is called “subsidiarity” (first enunciated in Rerum Novarum). As theologian Meghan Clark explains it:

According to the principle of subsidiarity, decisions should be made at the lowest level possible and the highest level necessary.

And BeliefNet editor David Gibson elaborates:

[Subsidiarity] argues that lower levels of society (individuals, families, communities) should be allowed to carry out social functions that they can fulfill and larger society (state and federal governments), meanwhile, should provide help (“subsidium,” is the formal Latin term) to cover things the smaller units cannot. … If Washington has to do it, so be it; if Mayberry can do it, all the better. But if Mayberry can’t, then Washington has an obligation to step in.

Conservative policy genuinely based on subsidiarity would work upward from below: As local churches, charities and neighborhood organizations developed plans and raised resources to care for the poor and helpless, local governments could re-purpose their resources on services that the state now provides. States could similarly replace federal programs, and the federal government would shrink because there was less for it to do.

None of that is actually happening in any significant way. Instead, conservatives at all levels cut programs and taxes, using the excuse that problems would be better handled further down the chain. But down-the-chain conservatives are not reaching up to take the responsibilities that up-the-chain conservatives are dropping.

I could sympathize with, say, Ryan’s desire to cut federal services for the poor in his district if conservative Governor Scott Walker were eager to expand Wisconsin’s state programs to take up the slack (and raise state taxes to pay for them) as subsidiarity demands.

But is he? I don’t think so.

If elected at all levels, conservative officials from the president to the councilman would shrug and let responsibility for the poor drop like a stone. That’s not subsidiarity, and it’s not Catholic or any other kind of Christian.

Francisco d’Anconia, though, could probably give a great speech about it.

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Comments

  • KimV  On April 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Another “blind liberal” that simply does not get it. You intentionally altered the premise in Atlas Shrugged as if the intent is to punish the poor , for whatever reason. You continue to compare capitalist  to Jesus – quite a stretch on that one. As to Sodom & Gomorrah , what was God telling us ? Maybe this should have been your analogy.
     
     You write very well and are entertaining. However , what you say is wrong. STILL waiting to be enlightened. As someone who used to be Atheist & Liberal, I can’t seem to find reason to go back!

  • malacandra95  On May 1, 2012 at 1:35 am

    KimV asks: “As to Sodom & Gomorrah, what was God telling us?”

    Well, let’s look and see…

    “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.”

    Ezekiel 16:46-50

    “The Sodomites, overweeningly proud of their numbers and the extent of their wealth, showed themselves insolent to men and impious to the Divinity, insomuch that they no more remembered the benefits that they had received from him, hated foreigners and declined all intercourse with others. Indignant at this conduct, God accordingly resolved to chastise them for their arrogance… ”

    Josephus, Antiquities I: 194-5

    In other word, Sodom was destroyed for their xenophobia and lack of compassion.

    • KimV  On May 2, 2012 at 10:41 am

      That’s a better example of the point trying to be made, although you left out God’s chief concern…homosexuality. Whether poor, middle-class, or rich, we should all follow Christ’s example, not Sodom & Gomorrah. To say that all wealthy persons or companies are bad & don’t care about the poor is not right. These people provide jobs, which is also discussed in the Bible…people are to work & care for their families, not be idle & depend on govt handouts. The money is not there. 100% of income should be taxed, not 50% & zero loop holes. This is also Biblical. So, let me ask, why should wealth be distributed amongst hard workers & those that are idle? There are so many good people out there helping those truly in need in the community, however, there are also face-to-face relationships & accountability. Govt cannot provide this. when is the last time liberals have stood in the welfare line to listen to those receiving assistance or gone into their homes? You all are sadly mistaken if you think that even 50% of these people “need” the assistance. It’s about jobs, & the “rich”, not the govt, ate the ones who provide them.

      • KimV  On May 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        So, you are saying the 60+ presidents & vice presidents order getting rid of 60+ employees to save on health insurance costs? What about the women of child-bearing years?

        Luxury level? Our health benefits through my work were much better than through the city now. And we pay 100% of my premiums. Tax dollars are for civil servants, like fire, police, military. It should not be for all of the unnecessary vote-pushing programs that are causing our country to buckle.

      • weeklysift  On May 5, 2012 at 7:34 am

        It isn’t that malacandra left out homosexuality. EZEKIEL left out homosexuality. That’s the point. The idea that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality is a stretched interpretation of the story in Genesis, and is directly contradicted in Ezekiel.

      • KimV  On May 5, 2012 at 11:17 am

        Ezekiel 16:49- “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”  

        The verse above has been misused and misappropriated by homosexuals worldwide to say that Sodom was not destroyed for homosexuality.  What’s pretty interesting is that another term for homosexual is sodomite, both are but synonymous to each other and they play the game of using synonyms as antonyms.  So did the verse condone homosexuality as right and just?  Not if you read the WHOLE BIBLE and consider the whole Bible as it is, not just itsy bitsy portions that heretics try to use and justify their heresy!  Jude 1:7 says, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”  It is not only limited to the Old Testament, the moral standards of God reached even to the New Testament.  Verses like Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 are clear that homosexuality is one of the many sins that breaks God’s Law.  All sin is a violation of God’s Law (James 2:10-11).  That’s mostly New Testament!  Also one may fail to look at Exezkeil 16:50 saying, “And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”  Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

      • Kim Cooper  On May 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

        Jesus cancelled Leviticus, and you are leaving out the part that Paul was the Anti-Christ so anything he said is suspect.
        Besides that, this is a secular country, and you are just proclaiming your church has failed by trying to make secular laws jibe with your weird out-dated religion. If your religion wasn’t a failure, you wouldn’t need laws to enforce its edicts, you could just proclaim them and your followers would use their much-vaunted “free will” to follow them. No need to force them. Your need to force what you call moral cancels out any moral “points” you could get because it cancels out free will. This leaves you morally and spiritually bankrupt. You’d best look to your soul and leave ours alone.

      • KimV  On May 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm

        It is not “my religion”. And yes, Jesus died for ALL of us. I do not force anything on anyone. My bestriend & cousin are gay, as well as my uncle who died of AIDS. You would surprised by his statements on homosexuality before death. I see it as no different than alcoholism. We were designed by God, marriage was designed by God. That is my view, but it doesn’t cause me to love anyone less. I sure hope others love me in spite of my sins. Out-dated? Never.

  • Stephanie  On May 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I’m not a Christian and not certain what the phrase “a good Christian” really means but my intuition has always suspected a disconnect between Libertarianism and “Christianity”. This explains it. Hopefully my attempt to share this on Facebook will have worked.

    • KimV  On May 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Stephanie, please do not allow this to shape your view of Christianity. A Christian believes in God, Christ, & the Holy Spirit. He/she believes the Bible is the blueprint for life. I, for one, believe every answer one seeks is in the Bible. Whether a Christian is considered “good” or “bad” is opinion, an adjective. Just as if you were to say a person is a good accountant, but never the less, an accountant. Some people claim to be Christian, but do not follow Biblical standards or say, believe homosexuality is not a sin. Scripture clearly indicates otherwise. Are they “bad” Christians? No, just misinformed & not truly educated in the Word. I believe that God loves us, sent His son to die for us…an example of a perfect life destroyed by the misinformed. I believe God loves us so much, that He gave us His Word & the Holy Spirit to show us how to live in a way that doesn’t destroy us. He wants the best for us. Except Christ as your savior, study the Word, & you will see things very differently. The Spirit will guide you & you will have a peace that passes all understanding. God is good, but he is real!

      • Stephanie  On May 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

        I have no interest in becoming a Christian or a Libertarian. I just see a deep disconnect between “Love thy neighbor” and “Every man for himself”

      • Kim Cooper  On May 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        That’s “accept” not “except”.

      • KimV  On May 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

        There is a lot more scripture than “Love thy neighbor”. What is the definition of “love” as it relates to the poor? Aiding the entitlement mentality or encouraging self sustainability & success? It’s amazing what one can do when they have no choice. It’s a joy to help someone build self-confidence & become a productive member of society. The two must go hand in hand. Neighbors can accomish that. Govt can’t. These programs currently exist for votes. Our culture has taken something that started out as temporary assistance to an entitlement philosophy.
        As a conservative, I wouldn’t describe it as “every man for himself”. I would describe it as every man is responsible for himself & that living off others earnings is not the 1st step, but the last. We are not seeing that today. Spend a day at the welfare office.

      • Stephanie  On May 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm

        I’m 68 and 1/2 years old and I put money into ssn every year from the time I was 21 and some before that. Now conservative politicians want to steal my ssn savings in case I might live too long and take some from the general pool.

        I am not willing to sit on the curb and starve to death quietly.

        I know that I used to think that I’d always be able to take care of myself–but eventually that is just not true for almost anyone. Donald Trump could be a pauper in his old age and it would come as a big surprise to him but it is possible.
        Even you, Kim.

      • Kim Cooper  On May 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        Well then, CEOs live off of the work of others: the real work is done by the lower levels, the people who actually make the parts and assemble them together. The CEO and other executives are parasites on the backs of these hard workers. The executives have an entitlement philosophy. It’s not good for them, it ruins them spiritually. We should stop paying them any more than the lowest paid person in the company.

      • Stephanie  On May 4, 2012 at 11:17 am

        Kim Cooper–well maybe not the same as the lowest paid but the same as other experienced workers on a per hour basis for the actual hours they put in–and no perks that are not needed to do their jobs.

        KimV –Equally important to social or economic change would be to end ageism in America– I planned to work to the age of 72 but at 58 1/2 my employer decided to get rid of all the older employees to prep for unloading the business and there were no interviews to be had (and this was before the recession). Now almost all my friends over the age of 50 are unemployed and not getting interviews. They will need SSN to survive in their old age. In the meantime the respected rich–like Bill Gates–whine that there are not enough skilled Americans and demand more “temporary” guest workers while skilled American seniors try to get by on SSN.

      • KimV  On May 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

        At some point, you have to ask yourself, what’s worse…communism or capitalism? History shows communism is far more destructive to individuals than capitalism. Last night, I worked until 2am. Will any of the hourly employees ever do that? No. If they show that kind of dedication & drive to advance the business, I am certain they will reap the benefits of excess profits. You cannot give everyone in class a B no matter the effort. The result is non-productivity, less profit, & eventually the demise of America. We all make our choices. For example, I could be earning 6 figures, but I have chosen to work part-time so I can be available for my 3 young children. We live within those means. I went to college via school loans & graduated with honors while most of my friends were partying & not studying. I worked long hours the 1st ten years to put my husband through college, who is now a firefighter/paramedic. He graduated high school with his GED & his parents are at the poverty level. He now works at a fire dept & mows lawns on the side so I can be available for my children. We have seen our fair share of trials, but I am so thankful we have the choice to live our own little American dream, no matter how challenging that can be at times. And we do not depend on govt (tax payers) to save us or supplement our income. If we ever needed help, we’d go to church, where prayer & fellowship would be offered.
        As for social security…that is the only area in which our country has a surplus. There is no “general pool”. We are heavily in the red, & will continue to be unless spending is under control & govt shrinks, not expands. It is not the conservative goal to pull from ss. Far from it! The budget must be balanced & surplus available in the general pool so that ss can survive when baby boomers reach retirement age.
        As for the issue regarding senior workers, I could not agree more. This issue should be at the forefront of this year’s election. I see age discrimination all to often. Companies want to hire young people they can mold & shape, not older people “set in their ways”. I also see seniors not hired because of too much experience…employers are afraid they’ll quit as soon as a better opportunity comes up. My heart goes out to you! Find a local church. There are always ministries to help seniors.

      • Stephanie  On May 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        There is a simple reason why seniors (of 55 and older) are not hired. The health insurance companies order business to get rid of them. The cost of for-profit health insurance is based on age of participants in the “pool” (every policy is a pool) and if you buy “private” health insurance you are forced into whatever pool will allow them to charge the most (because the actuarial rates for private policies are also set as “pools”) The only way to make employment available to people who are healthy and want to continue working is a single-payer not-for-profit health insurance–not necessarily a government insurance because Blue Cross Blue Shield is not-for-profit and could design a nationwide single payer plan for basic insurance if given a monopoly. I love monopolies. MaBell was wonderful as a monopoly!

        BTW If your husband works for a fire department, I assume that is where you get your family health insurance. That means that you are on a government funded luxury-level health insurance plan….even if you pay part of the costs!

    • KimV  On May 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      So, you are saying the 60+ presidents & vice presidents order getting rid of 60+ employees to save on health insurance costs? What about the women of child-bearing years?

      Luxury level? Our health benefits through my work were much better than through the city now. And we pay 100% of my premiums. Tax dollars are for civil servants, like fire, police, military. It should not be for all of the unnecessary vote-pushing programs that are causing our country to buckle.

      • Stephanie  On May 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

        I am a CPA and not an actuary so I can’t give you the exact formula that insurance companies use to set rates but average age is a major component. A CEO of 60 with employees in their 50’s or 60’s would pay a way higher premium for all employees than a CEO of 60 with employees in their 20’s and 30’s. Would that cause him to fire his peers? Depends on what kind of person he is.

        If you pay your whole premium for health insurance, then you would pay less if you were in a bigger group or a group with noone over 40 or a group with no chid-bearing coverage etc. Insurance companies do sell policies that don’t cover maternity and that leave women of childbearing age up the creek. If you are under 50 then you would benefit from all the people over 49 being laidoff. But what happens to you when you reach 50?

        One reason I’ve been slow to respond this time is that I suddenly realized that you and I are not focused on the same programs–or at least we are not focused on the same issues. I’m not thinking about Welfare at all. I know that even with no income I didn’t qualify for welfare because I had savings and real estate so I assume that people who get welfare or food stamps must really be poor and in need.

        I have seen Welfare fraud and when I did see it, I stepped in and stopped it. By the way, the fraud was not benefiting the people who got the checks. Their rich employer had figured how to get his payroll covered by the state government. If you are interested, I will explain how this worked but I won’t just write if you aren’t interested.

      • KimV  On May 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        I would love to hear it. Although I seem to have my mind made up, as you can see, I subscribe to/read the thoughts of others because I am still young & open to others. I still have a lot of wisdom yet to earn! I am a CPA too!!
        Here’s my experience regarding welfare: I got pregnant with twins while not married. I don’t recommend it, by the way!! My father has his own company & earns a very good income. Thankfully, at the time, I had finished college, but was waiting tables…not gonna last long with swelling feet! Nor did I have any insurance or money in the bank. I went to my dad for help. His company sells/administers group health plans. He suggested I go on Medicaid…his reasoning? He pays so much in taxes, at least his daughter would be benefiting. Long story short, through the experience, I learned the majority on welfare see it as entitlement, owed to them, not temporary assistance. I have heard conversation after conversation about “how to get more money from the govt”. Most of these people drove better cars than my 10 yr old hoopty. This is just a small example compared to the homes my husband frequents for non medical emergencies. These people need the church, not Medicaid & food stamps!!
        After the birth of my twins, I went to work for my dad & learned all about health insurance. I then went on to work for a company who sent me out on accounting projects. Not one had all single males under age 40! That’s impossible. And, not one fired someone because of their age. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen…I’m sure there are people out there that only care about the bottom line…but, the smart ones know productive employees contribute to that bottom line & budget pay & benefits accordingly.

      • Stephanie  On May 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

        I composed a long response an hour ago and got frozen out. So I’ll make this two short responses.

        You are living proof that not all welfare recipients are how you describe them. You got your life together and I’m betting you aren’t the only one in your state who did.

        Welfare is a complicated subject and it is not the same subject as ssn for disability for people who really are disabled. There are no simple one-size fits all answers in life.

        I do know what you mean about a sense of entitlement. For a long time I did volunteer work for Faith in Action but I wanted to help people with temporary urgent needs for help and the organization wanted to help people who were needing long term help that required more organized efforts than a two-hour a week volunteer could provide.

        The last straw was a blind woman of 90-something who couldn’t walk well. She wanted to stay in her own house without spending her money on caregivers because she didn’t want strangers living in her house. She had acquired 18 volunteers from every church and every synagogue in town. Then she was furious that I wouldn’t let her call me to run errands whenever she wanted. My assignment was to give her two hours week to clean up her lifetime of financial papers. Talk about entitlement! In the meantime her house was sticky and dirty and the bathroom was covered in mold. She needed to be in a group living situation!

      • Stephanie  On May 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

        In my state welfare letters come in very sheer envelopes and the post office sometimes delivers mail to random homes regardless of address…

        In a nearby suburb there lives a wealthy American who owns a number of fancy restaurants. He only hires illegals and he makes it clear that they are his slaves. He requires them (used to anyway) to register their American-born children as the children of a man he paid to be the father — a man who lives in another country. When the welfare check started arriving, he was deducting that amount from the paychecks of his workers.

        A sheer envelope was delivered to my house and I saw through it but I knew who was the father of the new baby and I started asking questions. I knew people who knew people so I found out what he was doing and I called welfare. But when I called I also explained to them how to sort their database to find men abroad who had multiple American babies by multiple women. Because it is unlikely that other restaurant owners or other small business owners are not doing the same trick. Few scams are unique.

        One last point–all the major corporations influence people to reture when they want them to. Older employees are not encouraged to continue working as a general rule.

        The job I was laid off from was a smaller public company that was mostly bought up by a group of investors who had no intention of running a going concern. They wanted to skim off all the cash from a cash rich company and sell the bones to whoever would buy. They made one of their group the CEO and his annual bonus was equal to a fraction of the salaries of the people he laid off each year. It was a company with a lot of “mature” workers and whole departments were laid off. That, by the way, is the Romney way of investing. Five or six men got filthy rich and hundreds of older workers ended up permanently unemployed or underemployed–and therefore needing ssn and needing medicare and needing and needing and needing.

      • KimV  On May 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm

        So, basically what you are telling me is at age 37, I need to be planning for early retirement? I can’t even imagine retiring at 65. I love working, but do plan on staying home full-time when my current project ends next year. I may dabble here & there, but my family needs me at home for the most part. I wouldn’t be looking to get back full-time in the workforce until probably I’m 47-48. I agree that social security & Medicare are BIG issues that need reform. WE pay into these programs for our future safety net. If our government can’t control spending, we need to push for privately investing/saving our own funds. These are funds in which we ARE entitled!
        You had mentioned me being one to Benoit from Medicaid & get my act together. True statement. A little history… I was raised by an alcoholic mother that barely got by. My parents divorced at 3, & multiple times after. I’ve had a 5 brothers & 4 sisters by various marriages. I was atheist until 5 yrs ago. I have 3 children & not an ounce of help from anybody. One of those children was in & out of the hospital the 1st 4 yrs of life. I had an abortion at 15 & another at 24. My husband had an affair after 6 months of marriage. I got tired of the worlds answers & began studying the Bible, eventually attending studies at various churches, & am now 100% a believer in God, His Son, & the Holy Spirit. I can’t go a day without praying, studying His Word, letting Him guide me. Oh, if everyone only knew!! We face trials for a reason. God wants is to rely on Him. We are robbing the majority of the entitlement-minded individuals will never understand this, will never stand on their own two feet. A multitude of mistakes got me to this peaceful place, but it is the Lord, not government who saved me. Can I pray for you, my friend? I have enjoyed your thoughts & hope life gets a bit easier for you. And me!!

      • Stephanie  On May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        Don’t pray for me–my G-d is not a busybody. My creator favors those who help themselves and each other…and there is greater virtue to me to help oneself and others in as organized a fashion as possible–such as government could do.

        You find solace where you find it. Hope it lasts for you. You are welcome to whatever religion or philosophy works for you.

        I had a friend who became an ardent Libertarian when Atlas Shrugged was first published. Her philosophy lasted about 30 years until she became blind due to a regional fungus infection. Then she needed help and suddenly she wasn’t so super strong and capable as she’d thought.

        One has to be arrogant to be a Libertarian. One has to believe that himself not subject to any weakness of human flesh or mind–in other words one has to believe himself godlike. How you match that up to Christianity I don’t understand but I don’t care about it all that much either.

        If we get private ssn accounts, the market will crash. Yes, it will take a while. But you can’t flood the market with oodles of cash without doing anything to increase the economic value that the stocks are supposed to represent without creating a bubble, In fact, retirement fund investing is part of the problem with our economy. The money had to go somewhere and no one was satisfied with a reasonable return or a long term return. Americans almost all believe in (prefer) get-rich- quick schemes and Americans are way too shortsighted. Private ssn accounts will ensure a bubble that destroys the market. Only the politicians like Paul Ryan will know when to pull out of the market in time to stay rich. If it passes, the first thing that I’ll do is withdraw all my retirement investments and turn it all into cash in FDIC insured accounts in banks.

        If you stay home for 5 or ten years, you won’t get interviews for decent jobs. We don’t have that flexible a society. Unless of course you can get hired by a relative or friend???

      • KimV  On May 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        “Don’t pray for me–my G-d is not a busybody. My creator favors those who help themselves and each other”

        Startling & confusing. I hope I didn’t mislead you into thinking I don’t believe we should be helping others. Our family is highly dedicated to that. We want others to benefit from our mistakes & our successes. Government is broken. People are not helping themselves move beyond tax payer assistance.
        Good luck to you! I would say “God bless”, but you have no idea what that means.

      • KimV  On May 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

        Sorry for all of the typos & full blown testimony! I was typing fast. Sadly enough, my favorite outing is the grocery store. They play great music at night!! Hard to type & dance at the same time. Lol. Talk about entitlement…we moms would pitch a fit if they changed the tunes!

Trackbacks

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    […] generally about economic justice and the inequality of wealth. Popes usually do — something conservative Catholics like Paul Ryan tend to ignore. In general, 20th and 21st century popes have been far more socialist than, say, Barack Obama. […]

  • By What to Make of Pope Francis? | The Weekly Sift on December 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

    […] position puts the Church fundamentally at odds with Rand-style (or Ryan-style) libertarianism, in which property rights and economic freedom are moral values, not just useful […]

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