Monday, May 16, 2005

The "I've Got Mine, Jack" Theo-Political Defense

So on the one hand you've got your humanists, or more importantly, your secular humanists, who=liberals, who=Democrats, who=immorality. Why? Because they believe (the humanists, not necessarily the liberals or Democrats) that living a moral life doesn't have to require a religion or belief in a creator.

The right abhors this concept, and clings to the idea that morality without theology is like a car without an engine--you just can't make it work. So it would seem that the philosophies underpinning the right would require a deity in order to give them tenability, no? So the right=conservatism=Republicans=morality. And what right-wing philosophy seems to animate the present regime and zeitgeist?

Grover Norquist's fairy godmother, Ayn Rand, gave us that capitalist tool and free-market PR campaign, Objectivism--the ultimate reactionary justification for drowning government in the bathtub and withholding help to the less fortunate. From Wikipedia:

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievemen as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."--Rand

"In summary, Objectivism holds that "existence exists" separate from any conscious recognition of it, that human beings are conscious of this existence, using a process of reason to interpret and understand sensory data, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is to pursue one's own rational self-interest, and that the only moral social system is full laissez-faire capitalism with a minimal government limited to courts, police, and a military."
And if you can't get enough of this:

"Thus, Objectivism contends, the fundamental right of human beings is the right to life. By this phrase Objectivism means the right to act in furtherance of one's own life — not the right to have one's life protected, or to have one's survival guaranteed, by the involuntary effort of other human beings. Indeed, on the Objectivist account, one of the corollaries of the right to life is the right to property, which is assumed to always represent the product of one's own effort; An Objectivist respects the rights of other human beings out of the recognition of the value to himself or herself of living in a world in which the freedom of action of other rational (or potentially rational) human beings is respected.
According to Objectivism, then, one's respect for the rights of others is founded on the value, to oneself, of other persons as actual or potential trading partners. Objectivist political theory therefore defends capitalism as the ideal form of human society. Objectivism reserves the name "capitalism" for full laissez-faire capitalism — i.e., a society in which individual rights (as defined by Objectivism, including property rights) are consistently respected and in which all property is (therefore) privately owned. ...the proper role of institutions of limited to using force in retaliation against those who initiate its use — i.e., against criminals and foreign aggressors. Economically, people are free to produce and exchange as they see fit, with as complete a separation of state and economics as of state and church."
This is the right-wing philosophy that informs Grover Norquist's attack on government, and Bush's attempted murders of Social Security and Medicaid. You can see it in action, in all its moral grandeur, in the argument made last December on the Ayn Rand Institute website against sending aid to tsunami victims. These are the people with whom the proud, boasting theocrats of the evangelical Christian church have aligned themselves, and thus delude themselves that they are more ethical than the left and all those "secular humanists." This is where the worship of money and the justifcation of godliness converge, and how the powerful and the mean-hearted have convinced themselves of their moral superiority even as they take shelter away from the homeless and food away from the poor.

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