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1.11.2005

Objectivism: Cold-blooded morality?

... Ayn Rand's cold-blooded new morality.

This quote is from a post on Le Sabot Post-Moderne in which the author takes on Michael Savage's views on the recent tsunami relief efforts. First off, let me say this: I am no fan of Michael Savage. I do agree with some of his views, but as has been said even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. I believe the relief effort is noble, and the right thing to do. If you have not already, please contribute to the effort yourself.

That being said, I want to discuss Objectivsim, and whether or not the above quote is accurate.

Many people take Ms. Rand's view on morality, wealth, and society in the wrong way, not fully comprehending the meaning. In fact the author of the above post implies that Objectivsim is not compatible with Christianity. Now, I imagine I will take some heat for this, but I disagree.

True, Ms. Rand made no bones about it, she was an atheist and believed that religion was a tool used by men to oppress other men, which strangley paralells her idealogical opponent Karl Marx's description of religion as an "opiate for the masses". However I believe that no one philosphy, or world-view gets everything completely right. I see this as a truth, both biblically and philosphically, which should guide our study of philosophy and human thought. In this line of thought I can reconcile my belief that Objectivism is mostly right with my Christian faith.

Objectivsim teaches that rational self-interest should be the guiding principle for man's actions. By serving the needs of yourself, you are able to positively influence society. Here is an example (loosely paraphrased from Atlas Shrugged): when an industrialist pursues what is best for him; advancements in his field, selling more product, building more factories, and employing more workers, he brings good to the community in which he lives. More jobs, stability, and prosperity, these are all good things for the community, but it also helps him out enourmously. Therefore his actions are morally right, according to Rand, because he is acting in hos own self-interest. But he is also positively affecting the world around him by investing in his fellow man, and providing them with means to succed themselves. This philosophy encourages societal good through actions good for the individual.

It is possible to see this philosphy as selfish, but I believe that it only appears that way to the common observer. Here is how I specifically reconcile Objectvism with my Christianity. It is in my best interest to follow the commandments of Christ; the Golden Rule, the Great Commission, caring for the poor and the weak. How? If you don't see it how this is good for you, just brush up on your basic Christian theology. By following these directives and guidance I am caring for myself and making the world around me better. But here is the catch, Christ did not command us to support government programs, Social Security, welfare, etc., he just said to care. I give to my church, private charities, programs that invest in people not just hand out money; that is how I share Christ's love with others. Too me this is anything but cold-blooded.

I believe that by casting different schools of thought and philosophies in such black and white and harsh terms does nothing but close our minds off to possiblities. Look for synergies in thought. No one is ever right all the time.

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