The objectivist philosophy of Russian-born Ayn Rand has appealed to capitalists and entrepreneurs for over a generation. Today again her ideas about the independent, rational self and the power of logic and mutual self-interest are gaining more readers than ever. Is Ayn Rand’s philosophy just an update of Adam Smith’s? Should we be concerned that her insistence on individual rights and rational self-interest could go too far?
Well, many people are concerned, as you can see from perusing the resources below. Especially given the economic climate in Washington, Rand’s objectivist views are getting new traction with certain lawmakers and their supporters. Which makes this a good time for Christians – and all voters – to make sure we understand the nature of these views and where they can lead.
Resources for this topic
“Nothing to Shrug At,” by Charles Colson (see this week’s The Colson Files)
“Rationalizing Selfishness: The Legacy of Ayn Rand,”by Charles Colson
“The Ethics of Ayn Rand: A Preliminary Assessment,” by Kevin James Bywater
“Inverting the Moral Code: The Radical Selfishness of Ayn Rand,” by Charles Colson
“Conservatism versus Objectivism,” by John W. Robbins
“Gobsmacked by Human Nature: People and the Economy,” by Charles Colson
“Individualism and Self-Love,”by Lawrence S. Stepelevich
“Evangelicals and the Tea Party,” by Mark Tooley
“Any Limits?” by T. M. Moore
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- Select a couple of the articles from the list above. See if you can discern the core concepts of Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy. In what ways do these fly in the face of Biblical thinking? Talk with some friends about those concepts, and ask where they see these at work in our society today. What would be a proper Christian response to these objectivist views?
- Share this week’s Two-Minute Warning with a few friends over coffee. Watch one of the film versions of Ayn Rand’s best-selling novel, Atlas Shrugged. Why do you suppose her views appeal to so many people? Why are her views dangerous in a world where the law of sin continues to operate in human hearts?
- Email today’s Talking Points column to several Christian friends. Challenge them to read some of the resources, watch the Two-Minute Warning, and take on one of the activities.
A conversation starter
Here’s a conversation starter you can use with friends: “You know, Ayn Rand is becoming popular again – you know, the objectivist philosopher of the unfettered self. Do you think it’s a good idea that many young people are beginning to take to her views?”