Journey to Capitalism


Ayn Rand 1967 Lecture on Capitalism

 

John R. Houk

© October 7, 2018

 

In my twenties (early 1980s) I became enlightened that the Democratic Party had moved to a political place that placed its moral make-up and stealth support of Socialist principles were antithetic to the Founding Fathers’ vision of a Constitutional Republic

 

And so, I abandoned supporting the political party my family insured was the way of thinking that saved America from the poverty of the Great Depression (circa 1929 through the 1930s decade). My Grandparents and mother lived through that devastating economic period in America. (I have since learned that Franklin Roosevelt’s policies may not have been as saving as my Grandparents and Parents were led to believe. But that is another story.)

 

As a former Dem I didn’t exactly embrace Ronald Reagan in the 1980 voting cycle. I fell for the line that Reagan was such a Hawk, he would push the nuke buttons ushering in WWIII. And I was so disenchanted with President Carter, there was no way I would vote for him. In 1980 I went Third Party. I voted for Ed Clark of the Libertarian Party.

 

In those days Ayn Rand writings were very influential among Libertarians thus that was my introduction into Randian Philosophy. I was addicted to all things Ayn Rand.

 

By 1980 I had been a Christian for two years. In case you didn’t know it, Christian Morality and Randian ethics influencing moral thinking do not line up well. You can guess the longer I have been a Christian, the more I gravitated away from an extreme affinity to Randian Objectivism Philosophy. And yet I still like Rand’s economic principles.

 

As such you should be aware Rand was a staunch Capitalist and very combative against Socialism and Communism. Ayn Rand was born into Czarist Russia in 1905. She endured the travesty of the Bolshevik (Communist) Revolution. She managed to complete her education and find a way to get out of the USSR in 1925 one year of graduating from a college in St. Petersburg (then Petrograd – later Leningrad then back to St. Petersburg). Rand passed away in America 3/6/1982. (Ayn Rand Lexicon bio)

 

I stumbled onto a lecture provided by Ayn Rand herself on Capitalism:

 

VIDEO: Ayn Rand – What Is Capitalism? (full course)

 

Posted by Ayn Rand Institute

Published on Sep 28, 2018

 

This 1967 lecture is Ayn Rand’s flagship talk on capitalism. In it she explains in depth what capitalism is, why it is often misunderstood and why it is the only social system consonant with man’s nature. She discusses the philosophical and ethical roots of capitalism, and contrasts them with the moral-philosophic doctrines that lead to rule by force. She then discusses progress under capitalism and how it is fundamentally different from the so-called progress of a statist society. Along the way, Rand takes up such questions as:

 

  • What is the essence of man’s nature?

 

  • What is the fundamental basis for the concept of individual rights?

 

  • How is capitalism consonant with man’s nature? Why are other social systems not consonant with it?

 

  • Why is serving “the common good” not a sound principle for governing a free society?

 

  • What are the different perspectives on “the good,” and how do they inform people’s views on what constitutes a proper social system?

 

  • What has been the ethical basis of all tyrannies in history?

 

  • Who prospers on a free market?

 

  • How does a free market unleash man’s creative abilities?

 

  • What is so often misunderstood about progress under capitalism?

 

This talk is excerpted from Rand’s substantially longer and more comprehensive essay of the same name. Students interested in mastering Rand’s views on capitalism are encouraged to study the full essay, available here, in addition to enjoying this course.

 

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JRH 10/7/18

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Ayn Rand, Altruism, and Jihad


Intro to ‘Ayn Rand, Altruism, and Jihad

John R. Houk, Editor

Posted 5/15/17

 

Eine Schrecklich Terroristische Familie = A Terrible Terrorist Family 

Merkel’s translation: “Our kind called DAESH

 

The key to understand Eileen Toplansky’s article below is to understand the essence of what Ayn Rand stands for. Just as an alert, I am certainly no expert on Ayn Rand. And yet, Rand was a very large influence from my transition of being a dedicated Dem toward Christian Conservative.

 

If anyone knows even a smidgen about Ayn Rand, they would have realize being a Christian does not really connect with Randian Objectivist Philosophywhich is atheistic.

 

This article’s understanding about Rand’s Objectivist atheism hits the nail on the head of my experience. The article is an Acton Institute source. Acton is noted for Free Market economics, hence is very Capitalism friendly. The Acton Institute promotes Christianity (See Also Lord Acton’sThe History of Freedom in Christianity”) in its Conservative economics known as Austrian Economics. Austrian Economics embraces much of Objectivism minus the atheism:

 

There once was a time when I was enamored by the philosophy of Ayn Rand. An émigré from the Soviet Union, the influential novelist and founder of Objectivism had an enthusiasm for market capitalism and a hatred of communism that I found entrancing. I discovered her two major philosophical novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, in my early years in college as I was beginning to wake from my enchantment with liberalism. I was instantly hooked.

 

Rand’s ideas were intriguing, yet she harbored sentiments that made it difficult for a young Christian to accept. She was an atheist who despised altruism and preached the “virtue of selfishness.” She believed that rational self-interest was the greatest good and sang the praises of egoism.

 

In retrospect, it appears obvious that any attempt to reconcile these ideas with my orthodox evangelicalism was destined to fail. Still, I thought there might be something to the philosophy and was particularly intrigued by her defense of capitalism. My understanding of our economic system was a rather immature, though, and I failed to recognize that Rand had an almost complete misunderstanding of capitalism. She confused self-interest with selfishness.

 

 

On this point Rand is quite mistaken. Reason, applied consistently, doesn’t lead us down a straight path to egoism, much less to capitalism. Examined closely, we would find that her entire Objectivist philosophy is founded on this simple question begging premise. Rand, of course, would claim that it was a self-evident truth. But this requires us to believe that no one who ever came to a different conclusion was following reason where it leads. She might have no problem accepting such a conclusion—Rand was never one to tolerate dissent—but we don’t have sufficient justification for doing so.

 

This veneration of egoism also lead her to consider altruism to be a form of evil. As she explains in The Virtue of Selfishness:

 

Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value–and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.

 

Those who fail to notice the way that Rand defines altruism often mistake her critique as an argument against Christian morality. This isn’t surprising when we consider that Rand herself seems to make the same error. But the Christian view of altruism is not predicated on an obligation to love others more than we love ourselves. While there may be instances where such self-sacrificial love is appropriate, it is not an absolute duty. What we are commanded to do is love others just as we love ourselves. We are to love other humans in the same way, taking into account their interests and needs. We are not to treat them, as Comte would have us, in a disinterested manner.

 

Fully considered, it becomes obvious that Rand’s views congeal into a fatally flawed philosophy. Even when stripped of its atheistic elements, Objectivism’s focus on radical individualism cuts it off from reality and causes it to wither under scrutiny. And as much as we might admire Rand’s deep-rooted hatred of collectivism, her philosophy is READ THE REST (Ayn Rand Didn’t Understand Capitalism. Or Altruism. Or Christianity. Or Reality. By JOE CARTER; Acton Institute; 11/15/13)

 

I am still enamored with Rand’s Objectivism, but the monkey wrench of atheism crops up I thank God for the promoters of Austrian Economics.

 

The author Toplansky uses Rand’s concept of criticizing altruism as being a Leftist disease infecting self-interest profitability by associating it with Europe’s current Multiculturalist culture-destroying disease allowing Islam to supplant a Western heritage.

 

JRH 5/15/17 (Hat Tip: Ted Belman of Israpundit)

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Ayn Rand, Altruism, and Jihad

 

By Eileen F. Toplansky

May 14, 2017

American Thinker

 

In fathoming the failure of Europeans to protect their own interests against the onslaught of Islamic jihadism, one is reminded of Ayn Rand’s quotation that “[r]eason is not automatic.  Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.  Do not count on them[.]”

 

Bruce Bawer, an astute observer of the European scene, wonders how “Marine Le Pen lost in a landslide” given all the jihadist assaults against the French people and the very culture of France.  Bawer offers three possibilities that include:

 

  • European guilt about past imperial histories and a “need to atone.”

 

  • the postmodern belief that “no culture is better than any other – and it’s racist to say otherwise.”

 

  • the influence of the mainstream media, which routinely “soft pedals the Islamic roots of terror”

 

  • the fact that “some people don’t want to learn the truth”

 

In the Autumn 2004 issue of the Wilson Quarterly, Christopher Clausen writes that “for many Europeans in the past 20 years, now-distant memories of both world wars have hardened into a self-righteous conviction that peace outweighs any value that might conflict with it, almost regardless of the threat or provocation.”

 

Consequently, there is an exquisite disregard in deliberately ignoring the “grim possibility that their children and grandchildren might end up by living under shariah law, if, in fact, they are allowed to live at all.”  Consider that London presently has 100 sharia courts that are “based on the rejection of the inviolability of human rights: the values of freedom and equality that are the basis of English Common Law.”  Moreover, “a third of UK Muslims do not feel ‘part of British culture.'”

 

As further evidence of the ultimate intent of Islamists, Saudi religious scholars include the following in the nine-volume English translation of the Quran.

 

[D]iscard (all) the obligations (covenants, etc.) … to fight against all the Mushrikun as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (a tax levied on the non-Muslims who do not embrace Islam and are under the protection of an Islamic government) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.

 

As Nonie Darwish has pointed out, 64% of the Quran is devoted to denigrating commentary about kafirs, or non-Muslims.

 

And yet, while the above quoted words of the Quran should “forever silence any fantasies regarding Islam’s peaceful disposition toward the non-Muslim,” the West continues to avoid the obvious.  But as Ayn Rand has noted, “[y]ou can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

 

Hence, France continues to decompose in front of our eyes.  Yves Mamou writes that “everything that represents state institutions … is now subjected to violence based on essentially sectarian and sometimes ethnic excesses, fueled by an incredible hatred of our country[.]” Ultimately, France “and all of European society must assimilate Islamic social norms, not the other way around.”

 

Newly elected President Macron symbolizes the multicultural manifesto when he maintains that “French culture doesn’t exist in and of itself; there is no such thing as a single French culture.  There is culture in France and it is diverse and multiple.”  Is it then inevitable that “France is going to have to live with terrorism,” as former prime minister Manuel Valls proclaimed?

 

Coupled with the ongoing Islamic push is the leftist destructive bent.  Thus, “Belgium is unique” in that it is the “first nation blending appeasement to Islam and a suicidal form of nihilism[.]” It is not coincidental that in Belgium, “euthanasia is out of control.”  With a record number of people killed by lethal injection, it is equally disturbing that “Belgium is the country with the highest per capita number of volunteers for the Caliphate.”

 

Judith Friedman Rosen reminds us that against the backdrop of Normandy, where tourists “pay tribute to those who died pursuing liberty,” there is a pervasive fear as the “French open door policy to Muslim immigrants, who reject Western values and liberty” has given way to “terror, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian murders.”  The “clash of culture and civilization” continues, and “unlike the Asian and Indian immigrants … many of the Muslims are not willing to integrate into the society – and are trying to force their values such as Halal, [and] the prohibition of pork … onto the French populace.”  What will be the future of France when “30% of French Muslims want Sharia law and less than 25% identify as French citizens”?

 

The Jihad Files by N.M. Guariglia document the results of jihad throughout the world so that Paris is now “one of the most dangerous capitals on Earth.” A “Toronto imam has sworn that all Muslims will eventually kill all Jews.” And in the name of religion, Pakistani three-year-olds are being married off while Nigerian three-year-olds are having heavy stones dropped on their heads. Not to be outdone, “[i]n Iraq, ISIS continues to commit unimaginable crimes.  Approximately 200 Iraqis have been kidnapped to be used as human shields against U.S. air strikes. Homosexuals continue to get murdered in large quantities and for public display. Mentally handicapped Iraqis are being rounded up by ISIS and used against their will as suicide bombers. And mass executions against civilians accused of ‘blasphemy’ continue unabated.”

 

The incursions continue as the “Saudis plan on building 560 mosques across the South Asian nation of Bangladesh.”  Is it not surprising, then, that “minority communities across Bangladesh are once again facing violence and persecution by the Sunni Muslim majority”?  Mohshin Habib describes how “many Hindu areas experience attacks of … religious oppression.  Muslim fundamentalists vandalized idols, set fire to Hindu temples and … looted valuables from temples.”

 

Bruce Thornton asks, “[H]ow much worse will the destruction and death have to be to wake us up?”  These “indulgences of naive idealism,” dangerous delusions, and jihad denial still paralyze the West.  Ayn Rand reminds us that “there are two sides to every issue.  One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”

 

Until we can incorporate the idea that “nothing is creepier than Islam” and begin to “challenge Islamic racism, misogyny, genocide,” as Edward Cline exhorts, how can decent people not fall prey to Linda Sarsour’s “stealth jihad in a hijab”?

 

Amazingly, the more obvious the facts, “the more fiercely do people resist them.”  Bawer explains that “as skilled propagandists [continue to] represent Muslims as the mother of all victim groups, many Westerners [are] quick to buy into it all.”  This is aided by the “media’s cheery ignorance about Islam’s hostile ideology,” as revealed by A.Z. Mohamed.

 

This is the most puzzling aspect of the media’s capitulation.  After all, Islam brooks no dissent, and freedom of press and speech is eventually obliterated.  But Ayn Rand explains that “to act rationally means to act in accordance with the acts of reality.  Emotions are not tools of cognition.  What you feel tells you nothing about the facts; it merely tells you something about your estimate of the facts[.]”

 

Even the Church, which is “the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith,” has abrogated its role.  Instead of fighting to save the lives of Christians who are unwilling to renounce Christ, too many churches are deafeningly silent on terrorism.  Denis MacEoin describes how the United Church of Christ (UCC) cultivates dealings with Islamic groups “despite the fact that Muslims across the Middle East have been killing, expelling, and humiliating Christians for a very long time, but especially in recent decades.”  Why hasn’t the UCC noted the mass exodus of Christians precipitated by extremist Muslims and the Palestinian authorities?

 

But what might be a motivating factor for this ostensible ignorance and indifference?  I turn again to Ayn Rand.  For most people, the term “altruism” has a positive connotation.  But Rand “rejects this perception of altruism[.] She argues that the ultimate moral value, for each human individual, is his or her own well-being.”  Thus, Rand believes that selfishness is a virtue because “it secures and protects one’s rational values – ultimately, one’s life and happiness. Since a concern with one’s own interests is a character trait that, when translated into action, enables one to achieve and guard one’s own well-being, it follows that selfishness is a virtue. One must manifest a serious concern for one’s own interests if one is to lead a healthy, purposeful, fulfilling life.”

 

Rand maintains that “[t]he injunction ‘don’t judge’ is the ultimate climax of the altruist morality which, today, can be seen in its naked essence. When men plead for forgiveness, for the nameless, cosmic forgiveness of an unconfessed evil, when they react with instantaneous compassion to any guilt, to the perpetrators of any atrocity, while turning away indifferently from the bleeding bodies of the victims and the innocent—one may see the actual purpose, motive and psychological appeal of the altruist code. When these same compassionate men turn with snarling hatred upon anyone who pronounces moral judgments, when they scream that the only evil is the determination to fight against evil—one may see the kind of moral blank check that the altruist morality hands out.”

 

Edward Cline has asked if Europe is in the terminal state of a death wish.  He asserts that Europe’s “foundational driver is altruism” – a kind of “moral blank check.”  The West appears to have lost the desire “to value [itself] which means to fight for [its] happiness.”

 

Since “Allah demands that humans not love him, but submit to him, as slaves submit to their masters, and to sacrifice their lives for him,” we should absolutely refuse to accept this frame of reference and all that it entails.  Instead, we need to realize that “if any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism [or self-destructive generosity] that men have to reject.”

___________________

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.

 

© American Thinker 2017

 

About American Thinker

 

American Thinker is a daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda.

 

There is no limit to the topics appearing on American Thinker. National security in all its dimensions — strategic, economic, diplomatic, and military — is emphasized. The right to exist and the survival of the State of Israel are of great importance to us. Business, science, technology, medicine, management, and economics in their practical and ethical dimensions are also emphasized, as is the state of American culture.

 

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Staff biographies

 

Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher, calls himself a recovering academic. After graduating from Kenyon College, he studied modern Japan, sociology, and business as a graduate student at Harvard (three degrees) and joined the faculty at Harvard Business School, where he began the consulting career that was to lead him away from academia. He also taught sociology and East Asian studies at Harvard and held visiting professorships at Columbia University and the Japanese National Museum of Ethnology. As a consultant, he has READ THE REST 

 

At the Expense of Others


Justin Smith explains the original vision of the Founding Fathers’ Inalienable-Natural Rights and Liberty as opposed to the manipulative propaganda of man-made Rights currently being rammed down each American’s throat.

 

JRH 5/13/17

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At the Expense of Others

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 5/13/2017 10:56 AM

 

Any alleged ‘right’ of one man which necessitates the violation of the rights of another is not and cannot be a right.” – Ayn Rand

 

Americans and our society, by and large progressives of both parties and independents, have become a wilting, withering mass of weak, needy cry-babies, who have departed far and away from the strength of back, intellect and character of America’s Founders, who created a system that none other has ever equaled. Rather than follow along the path that made America a strong, economically thriving and prosperous nation, many Americans, especially Millennials, pursue petty and paltry pleasures, as would a sloth and a glutton, and claim their slightest whim to be a “right”.

 

Some things like food, shelter, clothing, water and healthcare are critical to our life, however, they are not “rights”. Even if they were made rights, this would set in motion a confiscatory requirement to satisfy that right at the expense of others, much as America currently chafes against our current welfare system.

 

Just as many of us witnessed Tennessee’s House Democrats release a collection of fifty bills called “The People’s Bill of Rights” in February 2017, more and more, America hears a clamor from their progressive countrymen of all rank and file, for wants and desires to be provided through government funds, the taxpayers’ dollars. Now, not only do many across the nation demand healthcare as a right, they also demand a $15 per hour minimum wage and free university educations among other items.

 

In March, Chris Enloe [The Blaze] reported Senator Kamala Harris’s (D-CA) tweet, which stated: “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.”

 

My good friend, retired U.S. Army Colonel Kurt Schlicter, editor for Townhall, tweeted back: “Guns are in the Bill of Rights, but they aren’t one (according to Democrats). The right to have one pay for your healthcare is not (in the Bill of Rights), but it’s a right?”

 

In a study published by the Heritage Foundation, Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield detail in the ranks of America’s contemporary poor, that eighty percent have air-conditioning, fifty percent own a personal computer and can access the internet and two-thirds have cable TV. A household receiving $50,000 in welfare benefits is still considered poor, if its pre-welfare income falls below the poverty line, even though they are living, in many respects, better than the middle class of 1964.

 

According to Rector and Sheffield, our government has spent $22 trillion of U.S. taxpayer dollars fighting poverty, since 1964 and President Johnson’s Great Society. The study also documented and charted $1 trillion spent annually on 90 means-tested welfare programs.

 

Over one hundred years of Marxist propaganda, the kind found in President Woodrow Wilson’s treatise entitled ‘Constitutional Government in the United States’ and President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1944 ‘Second Bill of Rights’, seems to have done its mischief well. Arguing for corrupting the Constitution, Wilson saw it as a vessel to further the progressives’ agenda, while FDR viewed it as a means to assure equality, “economic security” and the pursuit of happiness. Wilson spoke of our rights as “privilege”, and FDR framed them as “political rights”.

 

Our rights are God-given and natural [of interest from Conservapedia:Unalienable rights], and they exist simultaneously among all people. The rights of free speech, freedom of religion, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures — to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — are inalienable rights; and, they are not privileges to be granted or rescinded, in the manner some past presidents, Obama included, would transform them. And in the pursuit of “true individual freedom” through “economic security”, Roosevelt and Obama offered the antithesis of the right to one’s own private property.

 

A true right does not impose any obligation on another. One’s rights to free speech, religious liberty, self-defense and assembly. among others, impose no obligations on anyone else, except to allow each other to use these rights without interference.

 

Ayn Rand wrote in 1961 (‘Man’s Rights’) [PDF Version]:

 

If some men are entitled by right to the product of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.”

 

Even if most Americans are willing to accept the theft of their labor, their wealth, to fund real healthcare, we already know that government is not a trustworthy guardian of such an enormous responsibility. What did America receive under Obamacare, other than $2 trillion more debt, the loss of doctors, a rise in premiums, a massive tax and a welfare law that contained 20 new taxes and a huge expansion of Medicaid? And so far, the Republican plan isn’t much better [American Health Care Act].

 

In the meantime, Americans rename privilege and benefits “their right”, while ignoring their own misguided lifestyle and poor choices. Too many Americans spend more than they save, and too many prefer the government security blanket over the pride of one’s own independence.

 

Some Americans bemoan the public corruption our country is suffering and the associated moral and constitutional crises. However, the country on the whole has failed to promote the values that would have prevented it. Corrupt leaders continue to advocate and implement measures that negatively impact businesses and families, that also limit individual liberty and true free-market capitalism, expanding government in the process.

 

Other Americans have become fanatics for their various causes. They are in the streets ironically, demanding their own demise, as they protest against their own self-determination and for ever more autocracy and authoritarianism. When they vote, they vote to enslave not only their fellow countrymen but themselves, however unwittingly. They accept the collectivization of rights, and soon they will accept the collectivization of property.

 

Friedrich Hayek, author of ‘The Road to Serfdom’ [Mises Institute Description. PDF version], puts this struggle in proper perspective:

 

Economics has from its origins been concerned with how an extended order of human interaction comes into existence through a process of variation, winnowing and sifting far surpassing our capacity to design … motivated by [our] needs and desires within the community.” [Quote from “Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism” – PDF version. The quote can be easily located at Wikiquote; Fatal Conceit; Ch. 1: Between Instinct and Reason]

 

 

Sadly, this trend towards fascism, this malaise, has permeated the ranks of our country’s future leaders, our children, and it has left them with false expectations. Outside family, churches and communities, the marketplace is the vanguard for moral truths in a free market society, and positively influencing the community through clear decent and moral principles, Judeo-Christian principles, improves businesses and betters people’s lives. In asking the next generation to return to a true capitalist value-based society, America’s conservatives ask for something that has not existed in their lifetime, but it is necessary to avoid self-induced destruction, and to ask is righteous.

 

Freedom and moral truths and the strength of men’s will in a free society, unfettered by superfluous regulations, enabled America to succeed. They are the facilitators that fuel innovation, support free-thinkers and encourage people worldwide to become who they choose to be, not who the state demands they must be. When government guarantees equality and “economic security”, it suppresses creativity, ingenuity and reward systems that enable people and nations to grow and prosper. Have Americans learned nothing from history?

 

By Justin O. Smith

________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Linked text outside of brackets are by Justin Smith.

Bracketed links and text are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

Transforming to Conservatism with an Illumination of Heresy


Proud to be everything Leftists Hate

John R. Houk

© August 8, 2014

 

Years ago when I became a Born Again Christian I began the ironic evolution (ironic because since being Born Again I am not a huge fan of Darwinian Evolution) of moving from a Center-Left Liberal to a downright Christian Right Conservative. And honestly there are quite a few Neoconservative ideas in which I have an affinity.

 

I began with this micro-bio of my faith because I read a fascinating article from the Acton Institute with the theme of heretics and heresy. I first became aware of the Acton Institute back in the days of the disillusionment I began having with the Democratic Party. Just think, back in the early 1980’s the Dems were not even close to being as anti-Christian as they have become under the direction of President Barack Hussein Obama. One of the last good Dems was still in the Senate – Henry (Scoop) Jackson – in Washington State where I grew up in Eastern Washington.

 

Senator Jackson was quite Liberal on most domestic issues (I am a bit uncertain social issues such as abortion and gay marriage). On the other hand before terms like Neoconservatism and American Exceptionalism was a political cause, Jackson was quite supportive of a strong military to confront Marxist expansionism embodied by the then Soviet Union. Jackson believed in supporting Western-style democracy in foreign governments to confront the totalitarianism that was the spread of the disease of Communism.

 

After abandoning the Dems I was not politically transformed enough to be a Republican. Hence in 1980 I did not vote for Ronald Reagan. Actually I don’t even remember the name of the Candidate I voted for in 1980 except it was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for POTUS. I voted Libertarian because of my disgust for Carter and my distrust Reagan (at the time) as a button pushing warmonger. It is in these Libertarian days that I found the writings of Lord John Acton, Ayn Rand (See Also HERE and HERE) and Ludwig von Mises. Libertarians promoted these people as pioneers of Libertarianism. Although my insight today is these guys though definitely espoused much of the Libertarian ideals, none of them would call themselves Libertarian in today’s sense of social Liberalism and Free Market Conservatism as expressed in this thought:

 

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property-rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force-actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud. (Quote from Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz; Found at – What is Libertarian? Written for Institute of Humane Studies at George Mason University)

 

This train of thought sounded like a great compromise between the exploitive ravages of Left Wing Liberalism and the part of Conservatism I was not ready embrace, viz. a super military with the ability to threaten the people of Independent nations that live under a different political paradigm in which Americans are acquainted. Today I view the latter as naïve wishful thinking that people can just get along. The former sounded great from a Liberty point of view yet I came to realize Social Libertarianism did not comply with the Biblical view of God Almighty.

 

This social view hypocritically viewed the rights of female individuals trump the rights of unborn human beings in a woman’s womb. This social view deceptively justifies immoral living as acceptable as long as it doesn’t cause physical harm to another person. This is deceptive because if the Creator says it is wrong that means there is harm to the inner man (or inner person to feminists and Liberals) of an individual both in person and to those unwittingly exposed to immorality from another. And so, I abandoned Libertarianism.

 

I have found that the Acton Institute (actually founded in 1990) named after Lord John Acton promotes Conservative economics and Godly morality.

 

And hence I return to the fascinating article from the Acton Institute entitled, “Heretics and Heresies, New and Old”. Here Hunter Baker brilliantly demonstrates that a heretic can be something other than merely deviating from the orthodox principles of a particular faith.

 

JRH 8/8/14

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Heretics and Heresies, New and Old

 

By Hunter Baker

August 6, 2014

Acton Institute

 

You may not have realized it, but Tony Dungy is a heretic.  Does the former football player, coach and now TV analyst hold beliefs that are considered heretical by his fellow Christians?  No.  But his recent doubts about Michael Sam as an NFL player (you’ll recall Sam as the All American college athlete who has publicly announced that he’s gay), caused Dungy to be viewed as a heretic by members of another sect that is gaining adherents at a rapid pace.  They are more sure of themselves than ever.  Where once they pleaded for tolerance, now they sense that they are gaining the upper hand.  “There can be no tolerance for ideas that are wrong,” they explain.  And they are thinking it might be time to exercise new power.

 

Whether the issue is the HHS mandate regarding the provision of contraceptive products or new attitudes regarding same-sex romance and marriage, the group holding what might be called “progressive” attitudes has demonstrated a willingness to push those who disagree into conforming.  The Christian florist or baker must be brought to heel.  Maybe even sent away for sensitivity training.  When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a narrow decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, the secular-progressives howled as though some peasant had failed to remove his hat in the presence of the king.

 

The issue hasn’t always been sex or bioethics.  If we look back into the 20th century, we can see the Soviets persecuting heretics of a different kind.  In Russia, the heresy was the idea that the state should be limited or that people should be able to determine their own economic destiny.  Some heretics even thought (gasp!) that citizens should be allowed to own property. While they were at it, of course, the Soviets, and the Bolsheviks before them, launched a massive persecution of Christians that heaped up martyrs by the millions.

 

China under Chairman Mao had heretics, too.  These were people who had doubts about The Great Leap Forward and other plans set forth by the great leader who declared that “China has stood up!”  Some of the heretics were people like college professors who had to be humbled by being sent out into the rural areas to perform farm labor.  Others forgot to place pictures of Mao in their homes in prominent positions.  During the Cultural Revolution, packs of enthusiastic teens beat such people, including their once esteemed elders, with belt buckles for a lack of proper revolutionary attitude.  As of this summer, I think a few members of our own revolutionary vanguard may have wanted to take belts off and start swinging at the proprietors of a certain craft store.

 

The tragic thing is that we all seem to have a tendency to want to marginalize and hound the heretics among us. Deng Xiaoping was sent to a re-education camp by Mao Zedong for his incorrect thinking.  You might think he would, in turn, be an advocate for greater freedom of expression.  But who authored the outcome at Tiananmen Square?  It was none other than Chairman Deng.

 

I am sorry to say that Christians, who are rapidly becoming the heretics of this age as they were in others, are far from innocent in this regard.  They were persecuted terribly as an unacceptable cult in the Roman Empire.  When they finally gained acceptance, it was a great deliverance for them.  Official tolerance brought freedom.  Eventually, there was power.  While the first Christian emperor, Constantine, was not a great coercer of others, some of his successors were.  And we all know that the experience of the church in the west includes acts of savagery in war and the torment of heretics in times of peace.  Sometimes repression is due to a desire to retain power, but all too often we are willing to commit crimes against others because we want to bring the millennium.  According to this view, Paradise won’t overtake us unless a few committed people are willing to do whatever it takes (perhaps by any means necessary) to get the job done.

 

It is one thing to pursue visions of moral and spiritual excellence in a positive fashion.  We should feel free to exchange ideas and to persuade one another of the correctness of our views.  That is the process by which we attempt to discover truth.  But there is a human factor that turns healthy debate toward coercion.  It is the penchant we have for finding disagreement and disconfirmation unpleasant and unsettling.  We don’t like to hear that others hold a different view.  Our understandings of the world are precious to us.  It can be especially exciting to have some new view that seems to be enlightened in comparison to the retrograde mindsets of others.  We don’t appreciate it when these knuckle-draggers don’t get with the program.

 

But the temptation is always there to finish the process of converting the group with a little intimidation here, some official marginalization there, and the loss of privileges.  Maybe those people shouldn’t be able to run a school or have an important job or participate in the community in a variety of ways.  Brendan Eich, another new heretic who co-founded Firefox and was evicted from his own organization, can tell you all about it.

 

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Transforming to Conservatism with an Illumination of Heresy

John R. Houk

© August 8, 2014

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Heretics and Heresies, New and Old

 

© 2014 Acton Institute

 

Acton Institute Core Principles

Integrating Judeo-Christian Truths with Free Market Principles

 

1)     Dignity of the Person

 

2)     Social Nature of the Person

 

3)     Importance of Social Institutions

 

4)     Human Action

 

5)     Sin

 

6)     Rule of Law and the Subsidiary Role of Government

 

7)     Creation of Wealth

 

8)     Economic Liberty

 

9)     Economic Value

 

10) Priority of Culture

 

Dignity of the Person – The human person, created in the image of God, is individually unique, rational, the subject of moral agency, and a co-creator. Accordingly, he possesses intrinsic value and dignity, implying certain rights and duties both for himself and other persons. These truths about the dignity of the human person are known through revelation, but they are also discernible through reason.

 

Social Nature of the Person – Although persons find ultimate fulfillment only in communion with God, one essential aspect of the development of persons is our social nature and capacity to act for disinterested ends. The person is fulfilled by interacting with other persons and by participating in moral goods. There are READ THE REST

 

Go See ‘Atlas Shrugged’ the Movie


John R. Houk

© April 22, 2011

 

The book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand was one of my favorite novel reads of all time. I first read the book in the 1980s; however the book was written in 1957 nearly one year after my birth (just in case you were interested). Here we are in 2011 and someone finally made the classic Ayn Rand novel into a movie.

 

Atlas Shrugged opened to audiences last weekend on a limited showing basis. It opened up to a mere 299 screens. The movie did so well that this weekend the total screens is moving up to “423+” screens according to a Tea Party Expressemail I received recently. The Atlas Shrugged movie site has a movie locator as to where the movie is playing. At the movie locator you type which State you live in then shows which cities a theatre can be located. I am pleased that Atlas Shrugged Part 1 is being showed in the State I reside! If you reside in the Tulsa area that theatre is the AMC located roughly on 41st and Yale area.

 

If you have ever read the book or are an Ayn Rand fan you will want to catch this movie. The book is loaded with Ayn Rand political philosophy which has been termed Objectivism. Objectivist philosophy is the creed for life for a huge amount of Libertarians.

 

Ayn Rand Objectivism

 

A full system of philosophy advocating reason and egoism has been defined in our time by Ayn Rand. It is the philosophy of Objectivism, presented in detail in Atlas Shrugged, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and The Virtue of Selfishness. It is the antidote to the present state of the world. (All further quotations, unless otherwise identified, are from the works of Ayn Rand.)

 

Most philosophers have left their starting points to unnamed implication. The base of Objectivism is explicit: “Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.”

 

Existence and consciousness are facts implicit in every perception. They are the base of all knowledge (and the precondition of proof): knowledge presupposes something to know and someone to know it. They are absolutes which cannot be questioned or escaped: every human utterance, including the denial of these axioms, implies their use and acceptance.

 

The third axiom at the base of knowledge—an axiom true, in Aristotle’s words, of(READ THE REST at Ayn Rand Institute)

 

My old Libertarian days are what led me to Ayn Rand and two of my favorite novels in “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. These are also the days in which I found the life renewing power of Salvation in Christ Jesus. As much as I began to love Objectivist Libertarianism I came across a concept that I could not reconcile to my new faith. Ayn Rand and here philosophy were atheistic. As much as Rand hated Communism and its precursor of Socialism, she also felt that religion was an illusion that stifled creativity and a productive existence. In my view subject faith in God is the foundation for all that exists. It is Christ Jesus and His Redemptive act that has reconciled the fallen nature of man to at-one-ment (atonement) with God Almighty, i.e. Right Standing with God or in Biblical terms I possess the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. There is no observable objectivity that can measure subjective faith and thus there is no objective way to disprove the existence of the Creator of all that exists. The best objectivity can do is to measure what can be observed and utilize logical assumptions that evolves into a conclusion based on the conjecture of those logical assumptions.

 

There are natural laws that are observable and codified as they are discovered. The Objectivist Philosopher, Scientist or Mathematician cannot comprehend supernatural laws because even when seen the occurrence cannot be measured as to the “why” or the “how” of the occurrence and so is classified under unknown or known by the conjecture of probabilities to attempt to explain the occurrence seen in the natural but has a supernatural law reason.

 

In natural law lift explains how an object maintains a stable trajectory without gravity forcing the object to the ground. Thus lift overrules gravity. In a similar way supernatural law overrules natural law as far as I can conjecture. That drives any person wholly dedicated to some form of Objectivist thinking entirely nuts.

 

Anyway, my line of thinking is what led me away from Objectivist Libertarianism. As cool as the freedom of free will is in Objectivist Libertarianism it is a godless philosophy. I simply cannot embrace the atheistic nature of this kind of Libertarianism which essentially leads to Moral Relativity which goes on to validate certain social acts and social lifestyles as good relative to the times and yet denying the foundation of Biblical Morality which exists because the Creator is the base line for morality that humanity should walk in.

 

And yet Ayn Rand’s philosophy incorporated with a foundation of faith has amazing possibilities for leading a productive and creative life before Christ returns in which an eternal existence would override the need to overcome the urges of a fallen human nature.

 

As such the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 1 should be a movie everyone should to drawn to view. If the movie is true to Ayn Rand’s book it will show how a Socialistic Collective society stifles innovation which also stifles Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I pray President Barack Hussein Obama watches this movie to get an understanding of what his concept of “Change” will lead America toward.

 

Here is a good summary of Atlas Shrugged the novel that should not give away the mystery of the movie.

 

Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy of Objectivism in an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex.

Atlas Shrugged is a mystery story, Ayn Rand once commented, “not about the murder of man’s body, but about the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit.” It is the story of a man—the novel’s hero—who says that he will stop the motor of the world, and does. The deterioration of the U.S. accelerates as the story progresses. Factories, farms, and shops shut down or go bankrupt in ever larger numbers. Riots break out as food supplies become scarce. Is he, then, a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why does he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies but against those who need him most, including the woman, Dagny Taggart, a top railroad executive, whom he passionately loves? What is the world’s motor—and the motive power of every man?

Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, and charged with awesome questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is a novel of tremendous scope. It presents an astounding panorama of human life—from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy (Francisco d’Anconia)—to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction (Hank Rearden)—to the philosopher who becomes a pirate (Ragnar Danneskjold)—to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph (Richard Halley). Dramatizing Ayn Rand’s complete philosophy, Atlas Shrugged is an intellectual revolution told in the form of an action thriller of violent events—and with a ruthlessly brilliant plot and irresistible suspense.

We do not want to spoil the plot by giving away its secret or its deeper meaning, so as a hint only we will quote here one brief exchange from the novel:

“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 the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders–what would you tell him to do?”

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

“To shrug.”

 

The Objectivism Reference Center has a fascinating page that has loads of reference links to book summaries, critiques and essays about Atlas Shrugged.

 

For those of you who have not read the book as yet but are considering to view Part One of the movie before you tackle the rather large Ayn Rand novel I leave you this teaser.

 

Who is John Galt?

 

See a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W07bFa4TzM&feature=player_profilepage

 

JRH 4/22/11

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Atlas Shrugged Movie Gains Momentum!

 

Sent by Tea Party Express

Sent: 4/22/2011 7:09 AM

 

Normally we’re not too focused on what movies are playing in local cinemas, but the release of Atlas Shrugged The Movie (based on Ayn Rand’s monumental book) has become a seminal event in the tea party movement.

 

And we’ve got some good news to report to you on the success of this movie that has liberal film critics up in arms.

 

In its debut weekend, Atlas Shrugged surprised everyone, grossing more in ticket sales per movie screen than any other movie save the hit family movie, “Rio.”

 

And this week, Atlas Shrugged expands – from 299 screens last weekend to 423+ screens this weekend.  You can find the closest movie theater showing the film near you – FIND MOVIE THEATER HERE

 

The movie, like the book, serves as a wake up call to the dangers posed when governments take on too much power and subvert the will and freedom of the individual.  Specifically, it showcases what happens when entrepreneurship and free market principles are deemed to be unseemly and unacceptable to Big Government.

 

When you watch the movie you’ll feel like you could be watching the real-live events of today, not a fictionalized account written by Ayn Rand some 60+ years ago.

 

And the fact that this movie touches on many of the problems we face today, and that we in the tea party movement are fighting, explains why so many liberal movie critics have slammed this movie and urged people not to see it.   They don’t want you to see this movie, because they don’t want you to see the truth about what is happening in America today.

 

  • ·       Michael Phillips, writing in the Los Angeles Times, complained about the film’s “tea-stained politics.”

 

  • ·       Peter Travers in RollingStones vented, “Who’s the idiot responsible for this fiasco?”

 

  • ·       Roger Ebert gave the film just 1-star and whined:  “And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault.”

 

  • ·       Peter Debruge incorporated a swipe at Fox News Channel in his review for Variety, writing that: “…Atlas Shrugged” becomes a series of polite policy conversations interrupted by Fox News-style updates whenever exposition is called for…”

 

Yes, we get it, liberal film critics.  You all can’t stand free markets, and you can’t stand that there is a film out there that echoes many of the same evils that the tea party movement here in America is fighting against.

 

You can see the movie for yourself this weekend, and in the process angry a Big Government, autocratic, liberal.  Watch it again, even if you’ve already seen it once.  Oh, and  be sure to take a friend with you too.

 

To find the nearest cinema showing “Atlas Shrugged” – JUST CLICK HERE.

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Go See ‘Atlas Shrugged’ the Movie

John R. Houk

© April 22, 2011

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Atlas Shrugged Movie Gains Momentum!

 

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