James Garner’s best movie DARBY’S RANGERS?

Darby’s Rangers – Clip

Darby’s Rangers(1958)

Uploaded on Aug 21, 2011

Touching scene from “Darby’s Rangers” movie showing heroic figure of Colonel William Orlando Darby .
“Rangers lead the way!”

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Another good article on William Orlando Darby:

Darby’s Rangers

Brigadier General William O. Darby:  1st - 3rd - 4th Ranger Battalions Commander
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1942 was a year of great anxiety and emotional wandering. The world was shapeless and in turmoil. Everyday life had been snatched away for millions of people who now found themselves searching for a way to face whatever would happen next. A generation became an army and countless uncertainties began to unite in a common cause.

William Orlando Darby (b. 9 February 1911) was a young career officer pondering what part he would play in the global struggle. After graduation from West Point in 1933, he had been assigned to the Field Artillery and through the years, became a seasoned soldier. There is ample evidence to suggest he was continually exploring ways to personalize and broaden his career. Doris Darby Watkins remembers her brother’s strong interest in flying. Darby expanded his resume’ by participating in amphibious landing exercises in the United States and Caribbean region.

Nine years of soldiering finally found absolute meaning for him in 1942 when he was given the task of organizing and heading the First Ranger Battalion. As volunteers interviewed with Major Darby and his officers, they left those meetings with a new found purpose as well. The Rangers would be populated with young men who wanted to feel vital. The waiting was over for them! Thus, history records the precious melding of unique and strong personalities who became Darby’s Rangers.

The First Ranger Battalion and its offspring, the Third and Fourth Battalions, experienced a rare partnership where both officers and enlisted men trained, fought and died together. “The Men of My Command” a poem by Major Alvah H. Miller (KIA Cisterna) is an eloquent example of that bond. Ranger officers Herman Dammer and Roy Murray were greatly admired by their men and should always be mentioned in any remembrance of Darby’s Rangers.

Darby’s father, Percy, “never met a stranger” and his friendly personality transferred to young William. Darby was encouraged to explore music and literature in a loving home provided by his mother, Nell. As Ranger leader, Darby validated his childhood rearing by treating his men with respect, showing great concern for their safety and grieving for those soldiers lost in battle. His sister, Doris, remembers her brother’s conversation regarding enemy soldiers as ordinary people with families, jobs, hopes and fears.

His sensitivities and kind manner, however, were tempered by the essential, no-nonsense qualities of a true combat leader who stressed discipline and training; one who could both motivate and inspire and one who would maintain an emotional stability even in the most extreme circumstances.

Darby was known as a fighting officer and many times would unnecessarily expose himself in battle-a common practice by leaders for centuries. It can be argued his actions demonstrated a desire to instill confidence and courage in his men. His early training had begun in one of the last army horse mounted units and many of his instructors traced their military lineage to the prior century so this reasoning is entirely plausible.

Through his unique background, experience and Ranger success, Darby was able to “create” his commands throughout the war and, at Salerno, controlled thousands of soldiers in multiple units. Higher ranking officers reported to him in many major engagements. His rank was almost always below that which was command required, so it is always amazing to consider the three battalions of Darby’s Rangers. As is well known, they were provisional and could have been disbanded at any time-even Eisenhower refused to designate an HQ! Darby was a Lieutenant Colonel commanding a Regiment sized force. At Salerno, his command would normally require a Star Rank. In 1945, as a Colonel, Darby replaced a Brigadier General as Assistant Commander of the Tenth Mountain Division. Elements of the 504th and 509th Parachute Infantry Battalions, 83rd Chemical Mortor Battalion, 325th Glider Regiment and many other outstanding units proudly remember shared engagements with the Rangers under Darby’s command.

Those Rangers honored by the Sons and Daughters became a family who fought, suffered and won-forcing the Army to keep them as a fighting force. Many believe they had a connected desire to succeed and there are many supporting stories of wounded soldiers like Ben Defoe, who “escaped” his hospital when faced with a transfer out of the Rangers.

After Cisterna, many of the surviving Rangers, including Noe Salinas, Ted Fleser and Hollis Stabler, were absorbed into the fabled First Special Service Force. William O. Darby was given command of the battered and seriously under strengthed 179th Infantry Regiment at the Anzio Beachhead where he was instrumental in repulsing a furious German counterattack. It is a humbling exercise to consider Darby’s endurance through the lengthy, close-in, bitter and costly fighting at Venafro, then a month later the fury and loss at Cisterna, followed by the carnage with the 179th Regiment at Anzio.

Colonel William O. Darby was awarded three Purple Hearts, two Distinguished Service Crosses, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Russian Order of Kutuzov and the French Croix de Guerre.

He enjoyed working relationships with General Terry Allen, General Mark Clark, General Lucian Truscott, General George Hays and the legendary General George Patton. Patton awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross and offered him command of the 180th Combat Infantry Regiment, which Darby refused so he could stay with the Rangers. Darby also corresponded with and had many personal meetings with General Eisenhower.

Following a year long stint at the Pentagon where he was assigned to the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff, Darby returned to the war in Italy as Assistant Commander of the Tenth Mountain Division. He was killed just days before the German surrender. His long journey from North Africa to Sicily, then up the boot of Italy was virtually completed. At the age of thirty-four, he was posthumously given the rank of Brigadier General.

Many Ranger offspring carry the names “Bill” or “William” and there are world-wide reminders of General William Orlando Darby’s legacy to the present day. Army camps in Italy and Germany bear his name as did the ship USAT General William O.Darby, a recently scrapped military troop transport that distinguished itself in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

James Garner played him in the 1958 Warner Brothers film, “Darby’s Rangers”. Ranger James Altieri’s books, in particular, the “Spearheaders”, provide historical perspective to his life. Ranger Phil Stern’s photographs of Darby and the Rangers are some of the finest examples of combat photography. Stern almost died of wounds received while he was a Ranger photographer.

Darby’s hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas boasts the Darby Foundation which is headquartered in his boyhood home on a street bearing his name. The Fort Smith Museum of History has a large display of memorabilia and personal effects as well as a sizeable archival collection-most of which was donated by his sister, Doris. The junior high school is also named for Darby and their mascot is the Ranger. Darby is interred at the National Cemetery at Fort Smith.

Today’s Rangers celebrate the legacy of General Darby and many have attended the National Ranger Battalion Association Reunions through the years.

     Sketch courtesy Ranger Rene Kepperling 5/Hq

                          All rights reserved

The histories of William Orlando Darby and his Rangers will always be intertwined as it is impossible to separate the two. Their union of less than two years shaped the lives of so many, like Randall Harris, Lloyd Pruitt and James McVay, who went on to raise families and enjoy long, fruitful lives.

All Rangers of the original six battalions continue to live wherever any Sons and Daughters and Ranger Battalion Association members meet.

Rangers Lead The Way Through the Generations of Their Families and Friends! 
                                                                                                                    Darby Watkins

                                                                                                           Nephew of William O. Darby

 

 

 

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Brigadier General William Orlando Darby, born in western Arkansas, is best known for his organization of the First Ranger Battalion during World War II. He was known as an exemplary leader in combat, and he always led his men into battle.

Bill Darby was born on February 8, 1911, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). His father, Percy Darby, owned a print shop, and his mother, Nell, was a homemaker. He had a younger sister named Doris.

Darby attended Belle Grove School through the sixth grade and then went to Fort Smith Senior High School. After his graduation in 1929, he received an appointment to West Point Military Academy, where he served as a cadet company commander. He graduated from West Point with a BS on June 13, 1933. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the First Battalion, Eighty-second Field Artillery of the First Cavalry, the only mounted artillery unit in the army, at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was promoted to captain on October 1, 1940, and later received amphibious training.

He was assigned as aide-de-camp to Major General Russell P. Hartle, commander of the Thirty-fourth Infantry Division, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and deployed with the division to Northern Ireland in January 1942. General Hartle chose Captain Darby to organize and train a new elite commando unit. Darby received a promotion to major, and the official activation of the First United States Army Ranger Battalion took place on July 9, 1942.

Darby went into action when his rangers spearheaded the Center Taskforce as a part of Operation Torch under the command of Major General Lloyd Fredendan during the November 8, 1942, North Africa Invasion. Darby’s unit executed a number of successful night attacks.They landed at Arzew, Algeria, near Oran, where Darby served as the military mayor of the city for several months until he and his troops were sent to the Tunisian Front.

Near the close of the Tunisian Campaign, Darby set about training and expanding the rangers into three battalions. On July 10, 1943, the First, Third, and Fourth Ranger battalions spearheaded the invasion of Sicily. The three ranger battalions were the first to land during the invasion of Italy on September 9, 1943. Early in the morning of January 22, 1944, they landed unopposed in the harbor of Anzio. They had control from the moment they landed. On January 30, 1944, the First and Third battalions, however, suffered severe casualties in the battle for Cisterna, Italy, and were consolidated with the First Special Service Force. The Fourth Battalion also suffered heavy losses and now alone made up the ranger force.

Darby was reassigned to head the 179th Infantry Regiment, Forty-fifth Division on February 17, 1944. He reorganized the broken regiment into a serviceable unit after they played a role in saving the Anzio beachhead. Later that year, Darby was ordered back to the United States.

After a trip home, he was appointed as a section chief of the General Staff’s War Plans Division at the Pentagon, serving approximately eleven months in this office. Darby was eager to get back into action and was able to return overseas on an inspection tour of the European Theater in early 1945 with General Hap Arnold.

When Brigadier General Robinson E. Duff, assistant division commander of the Tenth Mountain Division, was wounded, Darby quickly volunteered to take his command. He received command and led the Tenth Mounted Division in the advance on Lake Garda. On April 30, 1945, he was in the process of outlining plans for the next day when a German shell exploded near his location. A piece of shrapnel hit him, and he was dead within minutes. Two days later, German forces in Italy surrendered. Darby received a promotion to brigadier general on May 15, 1945, the only soldier to receive such a promotion posthumously.

Darby received many awards, including two Distinguished Service Crosses, a Silver Star for “Gallantry in Action,” a Purple Heart, and a Combat Infantry Badge, as well as the British Distinguished Service Order.

Darby’s life is celebrated in many ways. Named for him are the USNS General William O. Darby, a U.S. Army troopship, which is now retired, as well as streets in many places. Cisterna, Italy, has a Darby School, and in his hometown of Fort Smith, the sister city to Cisterna, the senior high school he attended is now called the William O. Darby Junior High. Many army posts have training or airfields named after him.

Darby was originally buried in a military cemetery outside of Cisterna, Italy, but on March, 11, 1949, his body was returned to Arkansas and reinterred at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, just a few blocks from his boyhood home.

For additional information:
Darby, William O., and William Baumer. We Led the Ways: Darby’s Rangers. San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1980.

The Darby Foundation. http://www.thedarbyfoundation.org (accessed January 28, 2008).

Jeffers, H. Paul. Onward We Charge: The Heroic Story of Darby’s Rangers in World War II. New York: New American Library, 2007.

Maranda Radcliff
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 4/18/2012

About this Entry: Contact the Encyclopedia / Submit a Comment / Submit a Narrative

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Dear Senator Pryor, here are some spending cut suggestions (“Thirsty Thursday”, Open letter to Senator Pryor)

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Senator Pryor pictured below:

Why do I keep writing and emailing Senator Pryor suggestions on how to cut our budget? I gave him hundreds of ideas about how to cut spending and as far as I can tell he has taken none of my suggestions. You can find some of my suggestions herehereherehere, hereherehereherehere, herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere,  here, and  here, and they all were emailed to him. In fact, I have written 13 posts pointing out reasons why I believe Senator Pryor’s re-election attempt will be unsuccessful. HERE I GO AGAIN WITH ANOTHER EMAIL I JUST SENT TO SENATOR PRYOR!!!

Dear Senator Pryor,

Why not pass the Balanced  Budget amendment? As you know that federal deficit is at all time high (1.6 trillion deficit with revenues of 2.2 trillion and spending at 3.8 trillion).

On my blog www.thedailyhatch.org . I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. (Actually there were over 160 emails with specific spending cut suggestions.) However, I did not see any of them in the recent debt deal that Congress adopted although you did respond to me several times. Now I am trying another approach. Every week from now on I will send you an email explaining different reasons why we need the Balanced Budget Amendment. It will appear on my blog on “Thirsty Thursday” because the government is always thirsty for more money to spend. Today I actually have included a great article below from the Heritage Foundation concerning an area of our federal budget that needs to be cut down to size. The funny thing about the Sequester and the 2.4% of cuts in future increases is that President Obama set these up and then he acted like the sky was falling in as the cartoons indicate in the newspapers.

IF YOU TRULY WANT TO CUT THE BUDGET AND BALANCE THE BUDGET THEN SUBMIT THESE POTENTIAL BUDGET CUTS PRESENTED BELOW!!

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Obamacare increased government spending by expanding Medicaid and big subsidies for private insurance and it will bankrupt country eventually!!!

Obamacare resulted in big increases in the fiscal burden of government (ironically, it would be even worse if Obama hadn’t unilaterally suspended parts of the law).

The legislation increased government spending, mostly for expanded Medicaid and big subsidies for private insurance.

There were also several tax hikes, with targeted levies on medical device makers and tanning beds, as well as some soak-the-rich taxes on upper-income taxpayers.

These various policies are bad news for economic performance, but the damage of Obamacare goes well beyond these provisions.

Writing for Real Clear Markets, Professor Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago explains that Obamacare contains huge implicit tax hikes on work and other forms of productive behavior.

…can we begin to take seriously the idea that the fiscal policies and regulations hidden in the Affordable Care Act are shrinking our economy? …Politicians and journalists use the term tax more narrowly than economists do, but the economic definition is needed to understand the economic effects of the ACA. …Withholding benefits from people who work or earn is hardly different than telling them to pay a tax. For this reason, economists refer to benefits withheld as “implicit taxes.” What really matters for labor market performance is the reward to working inclusive of implicit taxes, and not the amount of revenue delivered to the government treasury… The ACA…is full of implicit taxes. Many of them have remained hidden in the “fog of controversy” surrounding the law and their effects excluded from economic analyses of it.

In other words, his basic message is that the government reduces incentives to be more productive and earn more money when it provides handouts that are based on people earning less money.

Indeed, click here to see a remarkable chart showing how redistribution programs discourage work.

And speaking of charts, here’s one from Professor Mulligan’s article, and it shows the nation’s largest tax hikes based on what happened to the marginal tax rate on working.

Wow. No wonder we’re suffering from a very anemic recovery.

Professor Mulligan elaborates.

During a period that included more than a dozen tax increases, the ACA is arguably the largest as a single piece of legislation, adding about six percentage points to the marginal tax rate faced, on average, by workers in the economy. The only way to cite larger marginal tax increases would be to combine multiple coincident laws, such as the Revenue Acts of 1950 and 1951 and the new payroll tax rate that went into effect in 1950. Even with these adjustments, the ACA is still the third largest marginal tax rate hike during the seventy years. …Let’s not be surprised that, as we implement a new law that taxes jobs and incomes, we are ending up with fewer jobs and less income.

By the way, other academics also have found that Obamacare will lure many people out of the workforce and into government dependency.

The White House actually wants us to believe this is a good thing, as humorously depicted by this Glenn McCoy cartoon.

But rational people understand that our economic output is a function of how much labor and capital are being productively utilized.

In other words, Obamacare is a mess. It’s hurting the economy and should be repealed as the first step in a long journey back to market-based healthcare.

P.S. Mulligan’s chart also re-confirms that unemployment benefits increase unemployment. Heck, that’s such a simple and obvious concept that it’s easily explained in this Wizard-of-Id parody and this Michael Ramirez cartoon.

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The Balanced Budget Amendment is the only thing I can think of that would force Washington to cut spending. We have only a handful of balanced budgets in the last 60 years, so obviously what we are doing is not working. We are passing along this debt to the next generation. YOUR APPROACH HAS BEEN TO REJECT THE BALANCED BUDGET “BECAUSE WE SHOULD CUT THE BUDGET OURSELF,” WELL THEN HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!!!! SUBMIT THESE CUTS!!!!

Thank you for this opportunity to share my ideas with you.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com  www.thedailyhatch.org, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

 

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 633) Pro-life atheist Nat Hentoff quotes wise 9 yr kid concerning abortion, “It doesn’t matter what month. It still means killing the babies.”

Open letter to President Obama (Part 633)

(Emailed to White House on 6-12-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. I know that you don’t agree with my pro-life views but I wanted to challenge you as a fellow Christian to re-examine your pro-choice view. Although we are both Christians and have the Bible as the basis for our moral views, I did want you to take a close look at the views of the pro-life atheist Nat Hentoff too.  Hentoff became convinced of the pro-life view because of secular evidence that shows that the unborn child is human. I would ask you to consider his evidence and then of course reverse your views on abortion.

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The pro-life atheist Nat Hentoff wrote a fine article below I wanted to share with you.

Nat Hentoff is an atheist, but he became a pro-life activist because of the scientific evidence that shows that the unborn child is a distinct and separate human being and even has a separate DNA. His perspective is a very intriguing one that I thought you would be interested in. I have shared before many   cases (Bernard Nathanson, Donald Trump, Paul Greenberg, Kathy Ireland)    when other high profile pro-choice leaders have changed their views and this is just another case like those. I have contacted the White House over and over concerning this issue and have even received responses. I am hopeful that people will stop and look even in a secular way (if they are not believers) at this abortion debate and see that the unborn child is deserving of our protection.That is why the writings of Nat Hentoff of the Cato Institute are so crucial.

In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthanasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

Francis Schaeffer

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I truly believe that many of the problems we have today in the USA are due to the advancement of humanism in the last few decades in our society. Ronald Reagan appointed the evangelical Dr. C. Everett Koop to the position of Surgeon General in his administration. He partnered with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in making the video below. It is very valuable information for Christians to have.  Actually I have included a video below that includes comments from him on this subject.

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

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Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2)

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Jewish World Review June 12, 2006/ 16 Sivan, 5766

Insisting on life

http://www.NewsandOpinion.com | A longtime friend of mine is married to a doctor who also performs abortions. At the dinner table one recent evening, their 9-year-old son — having heard a word whose meaning he didn’t know — asked, “What is an abortion?” His mother, choosing her words carefully, described the procedure in simple terms.

“But,” said her son, “that means killing the baby.” The mother then explained that there are certain months during which an abortion cannot be performed, with very few exceptions. The 9-year-old shook his head. “But,” he said, “it doesn’t matter what month. It still means killing the babies.”

Hearing the story, I wished it could be repeated to the justices of the Supreme Court, in the hope that at least five of them might act on this 9-year-old’s clarity of thought and vision.

The boy’s spontaneous insistence on the primacy of life also reminded me of a powerful pro-life speaker and writer who, many years ago, helped me become a pro-lifer. He was a preacher, a black preacher. He said: “There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of a higher order than the right to life.

“That,” he continued, “was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore out of your right to be concerned.”

This passionate reverend used to warn: “Don’t let the pro-choicers convince you that a fetus isn’t a human being. That’s how the whites dehumanized us … The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify what they wanted to do — and not even feel they’d done anything wrong.”

That preacher was Jesse Jackson. Later, he decided to run for the presidency — and it was a credible campaign that many found inspiring in its focus on what still had to be done on civil rights. But Jackson had by now become “pro-choice” — much to the appreciation of most of those in the liberal base.

The last time I saw Jackson was years later, on a train from Washington to New York. I told him of a man nominated, but not yet confirmed, to a seat on a federal circuit court of appeals. This candidate was a strong supporter of capital punishment — which both the Rev. Jackson and I oppose, since it involves the irreversible taking of a human life by the state.

I asked Jackson if he would hold a press conference in Washington, criticizing the nomination, and he said he would. The reverend was true to his word; the press conference took place; but that nominee was confirmed to the federal circuit court. However, I appreciated Jackson’s effort.

On that train, I also told Jackson that I’d been quoting — in articles, and in talks with various groups — from his compelling pro-life statements. I asked him if he’d had any second thoughts on his reversal of those views.

Usually quick to respond to any challenge that he is not consistent in his positions, Jackson paused, and seemed somewhat disquieted at my question. Then he said to me, “I’ll get back to you on that.” I still patiently await what he has to say.

As time goes on, my deepening concern with the consequences of abortion is that its validation by the Supreme Court, as a constitutional practice, helps support the convictions of those who, in other controversies — euthanasia, assisted suicide and the “futility doctrine” by certain hospital ethics committees — believe that there are lives not worth continuing.

Around the time of my conversation with Jackson on the train, I attended a conference on euthanasia at Clark College in Worcester, Mass. There, I met Derek Humphry, the founder of the Hemlock Society, and already known internationally as a key proponent of the “death with dignity” movement.

He told me that for some years in this country, he had considerable difficulty getting his views about assisted suicide and, as he sees it, compassionate euthanasia into the American press.

“But then,” Humphry told me, “a wonderful thing happened. It opened all the doors for me.”

“What was that wonderful thing?” I asked.

“Roe v. Wade,” he answered.

The devaluing of human life — as the 9-year-old at the dinner table put it more vividly — did not end with making abortion legal, and therefore, to some people, moral. The word “baby” does not appear in Roe v. Wade — let alone the word “killing.”

And so, the termination of “lives not worth living” goes on.

______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband. Now after presenting the secular approach of Nat Hentoff I wanted to make some comments concerning our shared Christian faith.  I  respect you for putting your faith in Christ for your eternal life. I am pleading to you on the basis of the Bible to please review your religious views concerning abortion. It was the Bible that caused the abolition movement of the 1800′s and it also was the basis for Martin Luther King’s movement for civil rights and it also is the basis for recognizing the unborn children.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part T “Abortion is a dirty business” (includes video “Truth and History” and editorial cartoon)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

“Sanctity of Life Saturday” Abortion supporters lying in order to further their clause? Window to the Womb (includes video ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE)

It is truly sad to me that liberals will lie in order to attack good Christian people like state senator Jason Rapert of Conway, Arkansas because he headed a group of pro-life senators that got a pro-life bill through the Arkansas State Senate the last week of January in 2013. I have gone back and […]

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part D “If you can’t afford a child can you abort?”Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 4 includes the film ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE) (editorial cartoon)

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Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part C “Abortion” (Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 3 includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

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Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part B “Gendercide” (Francis Schaeffer Quotes Part 2 includes the film ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE) (editorial cartoon)

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SANCTITY OF LIFE SATURDAY “AngryOldWoman” blogger argues that she has no regrets about past abortion

Sometimes you can see evidences in someone’s life of how content they really are. I saw  something like that on 2-8-13 when I confronted a blogger that goes by the name “AngryOldWoman” on the Arkansas Times Blog. See below. Leadership Crisis in America Published on Jul 11, 2012 Picture of Adrian Rogers above from 1970′s […]

“Sanctity of Life Saturday” The Church Awakens: Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (includes the video ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE)

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Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part G “How do moral nonabsolutists come up with what is right?” includes the film “ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE”)

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Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part E “Moral absolutes and abortion” Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 5(includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

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Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” (Schaeffer Sundays)

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Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” (Schaeffer Sundays)

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Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 6 “The Scientific Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

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E P I S O D E 5 How Should We Then Live? Episode 5: The Revolutionary Age I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Francis Schaeffer noted, “Reformation Did Not Bring Perfection. But gradually on basis of biblical teaching there [...]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 4 “The Reformation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IV – The Reformation 27 min I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer makes three key points concerning the Reformation: “1. Erasmian Christian humanism rejected by Farel. 2. Bible gives needed answers not only as to [...]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance”

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance” Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 3) THE RENAISSANCE I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer really shows why we have so [...]

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  Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 2) THE MIDDLE AGES I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer points out that during this time period unfortunately we have the “Church’s deviation from early church’s teaching in regard [...]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 1) THE ROMAN AGE   Today I am starting a series that really had a big impact on my life back in the 1970′s when I first saw it. There are ten parts and today is the first. Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why [...]

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Review and Pictures and Video Clips of Woody Allen’s movie “MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT” Part 3

Colin Firth, Emma Stone on Working With Woody Allen

Published on Jul 16, 2014

The “Magic in the Moonlight” co-stars answer your social media questions.

Review and Pictures and Video Clips of Woody Allen’s movie “MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT” Part 3

Movie review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ casts a vibrant romantic comedy spell

 

See also

Magic in the Moonlight

Rating:

Star
Star
Star
Star
Star

“MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT”– 4 STARS

Say what you will about how the man carries himself inside and outside of the film industry, but four-time Oscar-winning writer and director Woody Allen is nothing short of an “actor’s dream” as a filmmaker. Time after time, he assembles stellar ensembles of eclectic talent from all levels of Hollywood’s tiers and alphabetical lists. Just last summer in “Blue Jasmine,” you had stand-up comedian fossil Andrew Dice Clay sharing the screen and shaming two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett. There are dozen of examples like that throughout his cinematic history. People flock to work with him and his “who’s who” filmography can trump any “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game to represent a river basin of tributaries connecting limitless acting talent.

Even further, Allen’s broad project choices and his award-winning screenwriting (most Oscar nominations in screenwriting than anyone is history) challenge actors and actresses to leap out of their comfort zones and raise their game. If my math is correct, his films have netted 17 Oscar nominations for acting and 7 wins, including Blanchett this year. Woody Allen has the Midas touch of artistic credibility. Non-actors become notable presences. No-name actors become discovered somebodies. Name actors look better than they normally do and great actors get even greater, even when the films aren’t that great.

In his latest film, “Magic in the Moonlight,” Allen bestows that touch on one great actor and one name actress with Colin Firth and Emma Stone as his leads. Firth, who can easily get by as a man of few words, gets a richly vibrant leading man role full of words and well-guided bluster while Stone gets to showcase a rarely scene subtlety to balance her looks and charisma. Both are quintessential Woody Allen-style roles.

Firth plays Stanley, a legendary English stage magician of the 1920′s who dons oriental makeup to become the powerful mute character of Wei Ling Soo. Unmatched in popularity, he’s the best in the business and tours the world over captivating audiences. Outside of his character, Stanley is a rude, pompous, self-absorbed, and self-anointed prick, genius, and pessimist. He believes in all things rational and finds people that believe in faith, spirituality, and other forms of whimsy to be as gullible as those who fall for the magic tricks in his act.

Fellow magician and friend Howard Burken (theater veteran Simon McBurney) offers Stanley a proposition that piques his interest after attending a show in Berlin. Howard has come upon an American girl named Sophie Baker (Stone) that is posing to be a spiritual medium and psychic that can talk to the deceased. She and her handler mother (“Pollock” Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden) are getting rich families in the French Riviera to believe Sophie’s gifts and pay for her services. Worst of all, Sophie even has Howard believing in her supposed powers.

Howard knows that Stanley is a true student of the misdirection game and has, time and again for him, exposed countless frauds that sully the idea of magic with teases of spiritual connection and talent. Since he cannot debunk Sophie, he convinces Stanley to come to Cote d’Azor where she is residing with a rich widow (Jacki Weaver of “Silver Linings Playbook”) and wooing her son (Hamish Linklater of “42″ and “Battleship”). Upon arriving and seeing Sophie for himself, even the over-confident Stanley can’t seem to see how she’s pulling off her rouse.

As a romantic comedy, “Magic in the Moonlight” might come off as easy and predictable on paper at first, but the movie puts the “is-she-or-isn’t-she” game of Sophie at the forefront as an equal means of cinematic redirection parallel to what’s happening in the film itself. The movie casts a fun spell over us the way it does to Stanley as well. With dialogue dashing back and forth from sprite and coy to acidic and comedic, the clash between the spiritual and logical lead characters makes for excellent banter and breezy chemistry.

As aforementioned, Firth is his usual great self and then some while Stone successfully keeps up with a seasoned veteran like “The King’s Speech” Oscar winner. She more than wins a few scenes from Firth, but he’s still our eccentric center focus for “Magic in the Moonlight.” Allen gave each of them room to work and they succeed, despite their age difference. As with so many Woody Allen films, this became an entertaining actor’s showcase.

Beyond the performances, there’s certainly a worthy twist or two to the spell Allen is casting to heighten the entertainment value. Gorgeous costume work from designer Sonia Grande (“Midnight in Paris”) and period-perfect jazz and swing music add to the decadent allure. Topping it all off, the stunning French Riviera locales will also win you over in a hurry. This is one pretty and intoxicating film. In my opinion, “Magic in the Moonlight” is the best Woody Allen film since 2011′s“Midnight in Paris” after last summer’s disappointing “Blue Jasmine” and the wayward “To Rome With Love” the year before that in 2012. Fans of “Midnight in Paris” will gladly reacquire their Woody Allen fix from “Magic in the Moonlight.”

LESSON #1: THE CLASH WHEN LOGIC AND RATIONALITY MEET THE SPIRITUAL AND METAPHYSICAL– Part of “Magic in the Moonlight” opens the floor, albeit a dated one of 1920′s sensibilities, to the debate between science and faith. We have a mix of characters that having their convictions challenged toward their usual way of thinking, whether it’s the belief in something more beyond this world and the side that sticks to the facts of what you see is what you get. It’s a heady and intriguing competition built into this film.

LESSON #2: WHEN THE SOUL OF ONE’S HEART COUNTERS THE LOGIC OF ONE’S BRAIN– Within the ongoing debate discussed in Lesson #1 comes the moments where stalwart and fundamental opinions within people get changed, corrected, or justified. More often than not, thanks to Sophie’s convincing abilities, the heart is winning over the brain. People, and Stanley in particular, begin to forget the facts and go on the emotions stirring within them.

LESSON #3: LOVE IS NOT RATIONAL– Hammering home the winning streak of the heart from Lesson #2, love, the biggest emotional experience and investment we make in our lives, cannot be fully explained by rational logic. One can try and scientifically talk about pheromones, hormones, and carnal attraction, but love stirs from different parts of the brain and body. Love, in all of its components and details, cannot be defined or equated on paper. No two types of love are the same and variables of randomness are everywhere.

_____________

___________

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT – Official Trailer (2014) [HD] Emma Stone, Colin Firth

Published on May 21, 2014

Release Date: July 25, 2014 (limited)
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen
Starring: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Catherine McCormack, Paul Ritter, Jeremy Shamos
Genre: Comedy, Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout)

Official Websites: https://www.facebook.com/MagicInTheMo…

Plot Summary:
“Magic in the Moonlight” is a romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue. The film is set in the south of France in the 1920s against a backdrop of wealthy mansions, the Cфte d’Azur, jazz joints and fashionable spots for the wealthy of the Jazz Age.

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Clip from Woody Allen's movie LOVE AND DEATH

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Love and Death [Woody Allen] – What if there is no God? [PL]

Transcript of Woody Allen’s movie “Love and Death” and the i

Yes, but if God created it,

it has to be beautiful,                   

even if His plan's not apparent

to us at the moment. 

Sonja, what if there is no God? 

Boris Dimitrovitch, are you joking?   

What if we're just

a bunch of absurd people   

who are running around

with no rhyme or reason?  

But if there is no God,

then life has no meaning. 

Why go on living?

Why not just commit suicide?  

Well, let's not get hysterical.

I could be wrong. 

I'd hate to blow my brains out,

then see they found something.  

Boris. Let me show you

how absurd your position is.  

Let's say there is no God, and each man

is free to do exactly as he chooses.

What prevents you

from murdering somebody? 

- Murder's immoral.

- Immorality is subjective....
Boris, we must believe in God.  

If I could just see a miracle,

just one miracle.  

If I could see a burning bush,

or the seas part, or...  

Or my Uncle Sasha pick up a check.
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Open letter to President Obama (Part 632) People’s faith in big government is dropping fast!!

Open letter to President Obama (Part 632)

(Emailed to White House on 6-10-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. The recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

______________________

Will Rogers has a great quote that I love. He noted, “Lord, the money we do spend on Government and it’s not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money twenty years ago”(Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book, (1972) p. 20.)

People’s faith in big government is dropping fast!!

I was very pleased to report the other day that the people of France overwhelmingly favor spending cuts, even when they were asked a biased question that presupposed that Keynesian-style spending increases would “stimulate” the economy.

Now I have some polling data about British voters, though I confess I’m not sure whether to be pleased or worried.

You’ll see below two slides that were presented earlier today at the Bucharest stop on the Free Market Road Show. They’re not from my presentation, but rather from the speech by Matthew Sinclair of the UK-based Taxpayers Alliance.

As you can see from this first slide, the good news is that only 12 percent of British people think government taxes and spends too little.

Sinclair 1

On the other hand, it’s a bit worrisome that nearly 1-in-5 Brits believe in UFOs.

What a bunch of idiots.

Then again, nearly 1-in-3 Americans believe that higher taxes would be used for deficit reduction instead of more spending, and that’s an even more preposterous conclusion.

So I shouldn’t make fun of our English cousins.

Here’s some more good-news/bad-news polling data.

The good news is that only 12 percent of Brits think that the government can pay promised benefits (and I bet that number would fall even lower if they saw this shocking data on the U.K.’s long-run fiscal outlook).

Sinclair 2

The bad news is that 13 percent of Brits think the moon landings were faked.

But since 17 percent of Americans actually admit to having positive feelings about the federal government, I’m reluctant to throw stones since my country is a glass house.

Let me close on a positive note. I’ve expressed considerable pessimism about the future of the United Kingdom, and I think the current leadership of the supposed Conservative Party is terrible.

But maybe there’s reason to hope. It wasn’t that long ago that I shared a very encouraging story from England about civil disobedience against a revenue-hungry government.

And now we know from Matthew’s data that the British people have appropriately jaundiced views of their government.

So perhaps if they ever find another Margaret Thatcher, there’s a 5-percent chance that they can pull themselves back from the fiscal abyss.

 

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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Review and Pictures and Video Clips of Woody Allen’s movie “MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT” Part 2

David Letterman – Emma Stone on Colin Firth

Review and Pictures and Video Clips of Woody Allen’s movie “MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT” Part 2

‘Magic in the Moonlight’: Film Review

Woody Allen’s wanly whimsical latest is a very minor entry in the prolific director’s string of Europe-set films. A minute after it’s over, you don’t care.

At one point in the American Masters biography Woody Allen: A Documentary that aired on PBS in 2011, the endlessly prolific writer-director empties a box of paper scraps on which he’s jotted down assorted movie ideas over the years; when he finds one he still likes, he explains, he embarks upon his next screenplay. Would that he had tossed aside the “master magician falls in love with the lovely clairvoyant he’s trying to expose” concept that drives the plot of Magic in the Moonlight, a fugacious bit of whimsy that can only be judged minor Woody Allen.

From the 1920s French setting to the dreamily romantic title, this feels like a pale attempt to recapture a portion of the public that made “Midnight in Paris” by far Allen’s biggest hit ever. There’s a reason the film didn’t premiere at Cannes last May, just down the road from where it was shot.

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Set in an F. Scott Fitzgerald-esque Cote d’Azur populated by rich Brits and Yanks, this story of an imperious maestro’s plan to cut off an alluring arriviste at the knees could have been filmed in 1935 by George Cukor, Frank Borzage or Gregory La Cava, starred John Barrymore and Carole Lombard and probably would have been the better for it. It certainly would have more comfortably fit the Depression-era zeitgeist, as well as the public’s ready acceptance of fluffy, patently absurd comic premises.

There’s the strangely uneasy shadow of Pygmalion hanging overMagic in the MoonlightColin Firth’s Stanley Crawford, Europe’s most celebrated magician, who secretly performs in the guise of a “Chinese” conjuror, is just as arrogant, domineering and ultimately susceptible as Henry Higgins. But he simultaneously enacts the role of Higgins’ nemesis, Karpathy, in his determination to unmask the young woman as a fraud. His high-handed, bombastic nature, combined with a nasty destructive streak, makes Stanley rather unpleasant company altogether.

Stanley is lured to the Riviera by old pal and fellow magician Howard (Simon McBurney), whose friends are currently hosting the red-haired, blue-eyed Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), a young American woman of supposedly unerring clairvoyant powers. Posing as a businessman, Stanley accepts the lavish hospitality of gullible matron Grace Catledge (Jacki Weaver), who is keen to reconnect with her late husband via séances conducted by Sophie.

PHOTOS ‘Magic in the Moonlight’: Emma Stone, Colin Firth and Anna Wintour Hit the New York Premiere

It’s taken all of three seconds for Grace’s presumptuous son Brice (Hamish Linklater) to decide he will marry Sophie. But while idle, rich Brice serenades the low-born Sophie with insipid ditties on the ukulele, Stanley marvels as the young woman reveals astonishing, nay, impossible powers of insight and deduction that chip away at his malignant desire to prove her a fake. Driving with her along the dirt roads lining the coast and, in one scene, sheltering her from the rain in the magnificent, 127-year-old Nice Observatory (designed by Gustave Eiffel, as in Tower), Stanley begins to fall for Sophie.

Lushly shot on film and in widescreen by Midnight in Paris DP Darius Khondji, sumptuously decked out with period costumes by Sonia Grande and upper-crust settings by production designerAnne Seibel and awash in upbeat period ditties on the soundtrack, Magic in the Moonlight does have a not-disagreeable expensive-vacation vibe to it. But the one-dimensional characters are mostly ones you’d want to avoid rather than spend a holiday with.

In most Allen films, such as his last, Blue Jasmine, any number of supporting roles are deftly drawn and linger in the mind. Such is not the case here; as Sophie’s mother, for example, Marcia Gay Harden has absolutely nothing to do, while McBurney’s role is that of a mere facilitator.

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With Firth looking uncomfortable most of the time, as if unable to settle upon the precise level of misanthropic disdain to express while still engaging the audience, it’s up to Stone to save the day. She does what she can. Her giant eyes suggesting the possibility that she really can see more than ordinary mortals do, Stone is lively, spontaneous when called upon to peer into the future or past and, appropriately, given Stanley’s difficulty in cracking her nut, hard to read. Maybe too hard, as it’s tough to decide what her game really is and what one wishes for her. Just as George Bernard Shaw felt one way about whether Higgins and Eliza Doolittle should end up together in Pygmalion while most of his stage and screen interpreters have tilted the other way, so is one highly ambivalent about what should happen at the end of Magic in the Moonlight.

But so ephemeral is it all that a minute after it’s over, you don’t care.

Production: Dippermouth Productions
Cast: Eileen Atkins, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater,
Simon McBurney, Emma Stone, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Catherine
McCormack, Jeremy Shamos
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson
Executive producer: Ronald L. Chez
Director of photography: Darius Khondji
Production designer: Anne Seibel
Costume designer: Sonia Grande
Editor: Alisa Lepselter

Rated PG-13, 96 minutes

 

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MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT – Official Trailer (2014) [HD] Emma Stone, Colin Firth

Published on May 21, 2014

Release Date: July 25, 2014 (limited)
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen
Starring: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Catherine McCormack, Paul Ritter, Jeremy Shamos
Genre: Comedy, Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout)

Official Websites: https://www.facebook.com/MagicInTheMo…

Plot Summary:
“Magic in the Moonlight” is a romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue. The film is set in the south of France in the 1920s against a backdrop of wealthy mansions, the Cфte d’Azur, jazz joints and fashionable spots for the wealthy of the Jazz Age.

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A Christian’s review of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Part 2

A Christian’s review of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Part 2

AYN RAND ON JOHNNY CARSON part 1 of 2

Published on Jul 22, 2012

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson ( 1967 ) part 1 of 2

_________________________

The Ethics of Ayn Rand

Appreciation and Critique

Revised October 9, 2007

In the late seventies, I went on an Ayn Rand craze. I read most of her works, fiction and non-fiction. I recall sitting in the student center at Bethel College as a young professor of Bible reading Atlas Shrugged. An Old Testament professor from the seminary walked by and saw what I was reading. He paused and said, “That stuff is incredibly dangerous.” He was right. For a certain mindset, she is addicting and remarkably compelling in her atheistic rationalism.

To this day, I find her writings paradoxically attractive. I am a Christian Hedonist. This is partly why her work is alluring to me. She had her own brand of hedonism. It was not traditional hedonism that says whatever gives you pleasure is right. Hers was far more complex than that. It seems so close and yet so far to what I find in the Bible. So in this essay, my goals are to introduce Ayn Rand, to describe briefly her impact as a novelist and philosopher, and to assess her ethical theory from a Christian perspective—specifically from the perspective of Christian Hedonism. Though the original form of this essay was written almost thirty years ago, I have had to change very little.

Cogent Christian responses to Ayn Rand are few. Positive Christian assessments are almost non-existent. I aim for this treatment to be both Christian and primarily positive, even though Ayn Rand was an atheist and outspokenly anti-Christian. I trust I will be forgiven the presumption of stepping outside my own specialty: My field is neither literary criticism nor philosophy but biblical, theological and pastoral. I write this because I take pleasure in extending to others the delight I have had in learning from Ayn Rand.

Who Is Ayn Rand?1

Ayn (rhymes with “pine”) Rand was best known as the author of the novels Atlas Shrugged (1957), The Fountainhead (1943), and We the Living (1936) which together sold over twelve million copies.2 She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1905, graduated with a degree in history from the University of Leningrad in 1924, and emigrated to the United States in 1926. “I am an American by choice and conviction,” she wrote, “I was born in Europe, but I came to America because this was the country based on my moral premises and the only country where I could be fully free to write.”3 In 1929, she married Frank O’Connor whom she had met (ironically) at Cecil B. de Mille’s Hollywood Studio during the production of The King of Kings. Until The Fountainhead established her as a novelist, Ayn Rand worked as a screenwriter, a filing clerk, a typist, a script reader, and a freelance writer.

In 1958, soon after the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Nathaniel Branden, whom Ayn Rand calls her “intellectual heir,”4 began to offer a periodic series of lectures on the basic principles of Objectivism—the philosophy which Ayn Rand had developed in her novels. Together Rand and Branden published The Objectivist Newsletter from 1962 to 1968. This periodical, which applied Rand’s philosophy to contemporary events, was selling over 60,000 copies monthly before Branden ceased to be associated with the project in 1968. From 1968 to 1976, Rand produced a monthly four-page tract called The Ayn Rand Letter which reached a circulation of 15,000. She announced her decision to stop publishing the Letter with these words, “I intend to return, full time to my primary work: writing books. The state of today’s culture is so low that I do not care to spend my time watching and discussing it.”5

The Impact of Ayn Rand

Dr. Ruth Alexander once said in The New York Mirror, “Ayn Rand is destined to rank in history as [an] outstanding novelist and profound philosopher of the twentieth century.”6 Whether or not this historical judgment will prove true in the long run, we may surely say with M. Stanton Evans that the sheer success of her novels in the book market (over twelve million sold) “suggests she has touched some vital nerve deep within the exhausted tissue of our culture. . . .”7

Despite her success the literary establishment considers her an outsider. Almost to a man critics have either ignored or denounced the Book [Atlas Shrugged]. She is in exile among the philosophers too . . . . [L]iberals glower at the very mention of her name, but conservatives too swallow hard when she begins to speak. For Ayn Rand whether anyone likes it or not is sui generis: indubitably, irrevocably, intransigently individual.8

These words of Alvin Toffler were confirmed when one surveyed the critical opinions of Rand’s work. While Nathaniel Branden declared Atlas Shrugged to be “the most original and challenging novel of our age,”9 Newsweek branded the book “a masochist’s lollipop which runs to 1168 pages.”10 Other critics were just as negative, if not as creative: “execrable claptrap,” “a pitiful exercise in something akin to paranoia,” “longer than life and twice as preposterous,” “the worse piece of fiction since The Fountainhead.”11 James Collins, professor of philosophy at St. Louis University, regarded Rand’s writing as “free-floating harangue.”12 Perhaps the most wholesale condemnation came from freelance critic Bruce Cook in The Catholic World:

Miss Rand is a profoundly poor writer. To say that her plots are absurdly tendentious, her characters no more than wooden puppets and her diction utterly without grace or beauty (all of which is quite true) is to give no real idea of the quality of her novels, they are completely bad from conception to expression.13

Not only her fiction but also her underlying philosophy, Objectivism, received mainly negative criticism (except at the grassroots, see below). Besides Branden’s sympathetic “Analysis of the Novels of Ayn Rand,”14 there were two major studies on Objectivism both of which were almost entirely negative. Albert Ellis wrote Is Objectivism a Religion? to show that any resemblance between Objectivism and a truly rational approach to human existence is purely coincidental; that Objectivist teachings are unrealistic, dogmatic, and religious; that unless they are greatly modified in their tone and their content they are likely to create more harm than good for the believer in their way of life; and that they result in a system of psychotherapy that is inefficient and unhelpful.15

William F. O’Niell wrote the most detailed and scholarly critique of Objectivism called With Charity Toward None: An Analysis of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy. While his conclusions were negatively critical, he did grant that “whatever else Miss Rand may have achieved, she continues to serve as a useful intellectual catalyst in a society which frequently suffers from philosophical ‘tired blood.’”16

Probably more indicative of establishment sentiments, however, were the philosophical potshots taken in the popular press. Charles Shroder, in a typically vague and platitudinous critique said that “Miss Rand’s ideas appear to be a century or so out of date” and “her philosophical system is just another philosophy of retarded conservatism.”17 Joel Rosenbloon accused her of a “sophomoric analysis of the history of Western philosophy” and added that her own philosophy is “largely pretentious nonsense.”18 Miss Rand’s thought was described as “a sort of Nietzscheism-gone-rabid”19 and she was attacked as an anarchist and an incipient Hitler20 whose “grasp of logic is uncertain” and whose philosophy “is nearly perfect in its immorality.”21

But at the grassroots level, the story of Ayn Rand’s impact was different. All over the country, Randian enthusiasts discussed her books with an almost religious fervor. They still do in 2007. In business luncheons and dormitory bull sessions and neighborhood conversations, the glories of John Galt, Howard Roark, and Leo Kovalensky (Rand’s three heroes) were extolled, and the philosophy they embodied was applied to American culture. Typical conversion stories would include the following. A student recalls, “I was born a Catholic, but I just can’t believe in the gaudiness and fanciness of the Catholic church. I like Howard Roark’s worship of man much better.” A coed in the Midwest who didn’t say what church she had formerly belonged to remarked proudly, “It was only a few weeks after I read Atlas Shrugged that I left the church.”22 A Manhattan retail store executive described his experience after reading The Fountainhead: “I had found my spiritual home.”23 How much Ayn Rand’s philosophy had grown up from the grassroots into the minds of those with governmental power was hard to say. But in September, 1974, Time reported that Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, was a longtime friend and disciple of Ayn Rand.24

In my judgment, Ayn Rand was a very important intellectual voice in America and must be seriously reckoned with if for no other reason than the wide readership her novels have received and are still receiving in the 21st century. But there are other reasons. When first reading Atlas Shrugged and especially the speech of John Galt, which Rand says is the briefest summary of her philosophy,25 I was continually provoked to deeper and clearer perception and thought. I did not share the undifferentiated condemnations against her fiction, which was the among most enthralling I had ever read, or her philosophy, which as O’Neill said was at least “refreshingly abrasive.”26 But even more, Ayn Rand was right on some fundamental issues. The reason I have written this essay is to distinguish between some of the basic truths and errors in her teaching. Or to put it another way, I wanted to ferret out why I was both attracted and repulsed by her philosophy. I choose to focus on her ethics for two reasons: First, because as Toffler says, “Her philosophy . . . encompasses more than economics or politics. Primarily it sets forth a new kind of ethics . . .”27 Second, because her essay, “The Objectivist Ethics,” was the best distillation of her philosophy I read.

The Ethics of Ayn Rand: Restatement

The best one sentence summary of Ayn Rand’s thought came from the appendix to her greatest novel, Atlas Shrugged: “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 achievement as his noblest activity and reason as his only absolute” (1085). As an atheist and a thoroughgoing laissez-faire capitalist (F, viii),28 she opposed all philosophies and ethical systems based on supernaturalism or collectivism. The one opposes and destroys man’s life on earth by calling for self-sacrifice in hope of a non-existent future life; the other opposes and destroys man’s life by demanding his self-immolation for the sake of an ethereal entity called society. For Ayn Rand, all the emotions of exaltation, worship, reverence, grandeur, and nobility which religion arrogated to God, and collectivism arrogated to society, belonged in fact to man as a rational individual. Thus she said in a commencement address in 1963, “This is the motive and purpose of my writing: the projection of an ideal man.”29 She wanted to portray her characters so that “the pleasure of contemplating these characters is an end in itself” (F, vii). Accordingly, she designated “the sense of life dramatized in The Fountainhead as man-worship” (F, ix).

Ayn Rand’s most fundamental premise was, in the words of John Galt, “The axiom that existence exists” (FNI, 124; AS, 942). Then a corollary premise was that man is a conscious being who perceives this existing reality. These two, existence and consciousness, were fundamental, inescapable axioms in any action we undertake: “Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it” (FNI, 125; AS, 942). Implied in these two axioms was the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction. A is A; a stone is a stone and not a flower; a thing is what it is and not something else; you cannot have your cake and eat it too. That is the law of identity. Existence is not wishy-washy but a firm base for epistemology. The law of non-contradiction then is the epistemological form of the law of identity: You cannot know A to be A and at the same time know A to be not-A. Two mutually exclusive assertions cannot both be known to be true at the same time. “A contradiction does not exist . . . . To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality” (FNI, 126; AS, 943).

Thus for Ayn Rand, existence and consciousness were coordinate, so that existence or reality was always the standard by which the validity of the judgments of consciousness was measured. To put it another way, metaphysics (“that which pertains to reality, to the nature of things, to existence,” VS, 14) is the foundation and arbiter of epistemology. (See her critique of Kant’s bifurcation of phenomenal and noumenal, FNI, 30f.)

In a similar way, metaphysics functioned as the basis of Rand’s axiology, her system of values. Just as being is the foundation of knowing, so it is the foundation of duty. What is prescribes what ought to be. As she said in “The Objectivist Ethics,” “The validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is determines what it ought to do.” This premise must be grasped to understand Rand’s ethical system.

Rand argued that “life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself” (VS, 17). She did not mean mere existence, but rather the life appropriate to the nature of the organism. No more ultimate value than life can be conceived for any given organism when life is defined as the fullness of existence appropriate to one’s nature. But not only is life the highest value of any given organism; life is also that alone which makes the concept of values possible (VS, 16). For, since a “value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep . . . it presupposes an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative” (VS, 15). Therefore, without life values are not possible, and so life must be valuable since on it hangs the very validity of the concept of values. If one is to conceive of values at all, he must ascribe value to life or else contradict himself by devaluing that which makes his very devaluation possible.

It follows from this that “an organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil” (VS, 17). Or, to be more specific with regard to man, “The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics . . . is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man.” (VS, 23). Again, it is not mere survival, but survival proper to man’s nature. What is this nature?

Man’s distinction from the lower forms of life is this: “his consciousness is volitional” (VS, 20) and the knowledge upon which his survival as man depends and which he must achieve by the use of his volition is conceptual rather than merely perceptual (VS, 20). The uniquely human method of using consciousness Rand called “conceptualizing” and describes like this:

It is not a passive state of registering random impressions. It is an actively sustained process of identifying one’s impressions in conceptual terms, of integrating every event, and every observation into a conceptual context, of grasping relationships, differences, similarities in one’s perceptual material and of abstracting them into new concepts, of drawing inferences, of making deductions, of reaching conclusions, of asking new questions, and discovering new answers and expanding one’s knowledge into an ever-growing sum. The faculty that directs this process, the faculty that works by means of concepts, is: reason. The process is thinking (VS, 20).

If man is to be man he must will to think. His basic means of survival is reason. “No percepts and no instincts will tell him how to light a fire, how to weave a cloth, how to forge tools, how to make a wheel, how to make an airplane, how to perform an appendectomy, how to produce an electric light bulb or an electronic tube or a cyclotron or a box of matches. Yet his life depends on such knowledge—and only a volitional act of his consciousness, a process of thought, can provide it” (VS, 21).

The next step in Rand’s ethics was this: Since man’s uniqueness consists in, and his survival depends on, the volitional use of his reason, therefore “that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; and that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil” (VS, 23). The standard by which every man determines good and evil is the survival or fulfillment of his own life as a rational being. The basic ethical commitment of Ayn Rand was to be rational. That is, she sought a life that accorded with the fact that A is A, and no contradiction in one’s thinking or acting is to be tolerated. Thus in designating her standard of ethics as “rational self-interest,” the emphasis had to fall on the word “rational.”

All the virtues follow from this rationality. I will cite several examples. Independence: This is your commitment to think for yourself and to accept the burden and responsibility of your own rational life (FNI, 128).

Integrity: This is the conviction that man is an indivisible entity and that no breach can be permitted between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions (FNI, 129; AS, 945). To forsake integrity is to try to fake your own consciousness, to think yes and do no, to live a contradiction.

Honesty: “This is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud . . . honesty . . . is the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others” (FNI, 129; AS, 945).

Justice: This is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men. A is A and you cannot identify a person as A and treat him as non-A. “Every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly . . . just as you do not pay a higher price for a rusty chunk of scrap than for a piece of shining metal, so you do not value a rotter above a hero . . . To withhold your contempt from men’s vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement” (FNI, 129; AS, 946).

The virtue of justice has vast implications for inter-human relations. It affirms that “the principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal and social, private and public, spiritual and material” (VS, 31). Justice means that “one must never seek or grant the unearned and undeserved, neither in matter nor in spirit” (VS, 26). Hence, the heroes of Atlas Shrugged take this oath: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine” (AS, 680, 993).

All self-sacrifice is evil because “sacrifice is the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of non-value. Thus altruism gauges a man’s virtue by the degree to which he surrenders, renounces or betrays his values (since help to a stranger or an enemy is regarded as more virtuous, less ‘selfish’ than help to those one loves). The rational principle of conduct is the exact opposite: always act in accordance with the hierarchy of your values and never sacrifice a greater value to a lesser one” (VS, 44). To forsake this ambition is to forsake the only standard by which rational choices can be made. The man who loses his ambition to achieve his own values loses his ambition to live (FNI, 130; AS, 946). He thus forsakes the ground and standard of any rational ethics and must opt for some mystic (God), social (society), or subjectivist (desire) theory of ethics (VS, 34).

In this way Ayn Rand provides the philosophical underpinnings of her ethics. To sum it up again in her words: “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 achievement as his noblest activity and reason as his only absolute” (AS, 1085).

The Ethics of Ayn Rand: Appreciation

I agree with Ayn Rand that if man is to survive and live as man, he must live by his reason. That is he must think clearly about reality and make judgments on the basis of what he perceives to be real. “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” Jesus asked (Luke 12:57; see 1 Corinthians 10:15; 11:13). It is true that whatever negates, opposes, or destroys rationality or logic is evil. Blind faith is not a virtue. John Galt, the hero of Atlas Shrugged, is right when he says:

Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little you do know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Redeem your mind from the hock-shops of authority. Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience—that your mind is fallible but becoming mindless will not make you infallible—that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error. (FNI, 178; AS, 982)

No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality (FNI, 126; AS, 943).

The necessity and rightness of rationality is, so far as I can see, unimpeachable. Accordingly, I am willing to follow her defense of the virtues of independence (making one’s own judgments), integrity (practicing what you preach), honesty (maintaining a freedom from contradiction between your words and your convictions), and productivity (the ambitious struggle to achieve your values). I agree without reserve that one should “always act in accordance with the hierarchy of one’s values and never sacrifice a greater value to a lesser one” (VS, 44). And so long as Rand defines self-sacrifice as “the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one” (VS, 44), I will agree that all self-sacrifice is evil. She was right that the rational man should be dedicated to “the goal of reshaping the earth in the image of his values” (VS, 26).

Since your values are determined by the reality of who you are as a rational man, the struggle to achieve your values is the struggle to live. But the ambition and effort to experience life as a man is merely the existential form of the ambition (in psychological form) to be happy (VS, 29). Rand makes it very clear that by happiness she does not mean just any kind of pleasure. Self-interest must be qualified by “rational” (VS, 60): only that which is proper to a rational being is good and the ground of true happiness (VS, 23). This is why she opposes traditional hedonism which declares that “the proper value is whatever gives you pleasure” (VS, 30).

Happiness, for Ayn Rand, “is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction” (VS, 29). On the basis of this definition, I am willing to say yes to the following sentence: “The achievement of his own happiness is man’s highest moral purpose” (VS, 27). The meaning of this sentence is not that a feeling is exalted above the nature of reality in guiding our choices. The sentence rests on the conviction that reality is such that true happiness—“non-contradictory joy”—is the inevitable outcome of a life devoted to the principle that A is A, and that there is no true joy to be found in faking reality in any way. For the rational man, the aim to be happy is the aim to realize his values, and the aim to realize his values is the aim to live as a man, and the aim to live as a man is an effort to take reality seriously, to respond properly to the axiom A is A, Man is Man (FNI, 125; AS, 942). I cannot fault the basic validity of this approach to ethics. It is my own, as far as it goes.

The Ethics of Ayn Rand: Critique

It may have been noticed that in the list of Rand’s virtues above, which I condoned, justice and pride were omitted. This is not because I disagree with everything she said about them, but because the Christian cannot follow her consistently at these points. Rand argued that one must never “grant the unearned or undeserved, neither in matter nor in spirit” (VS, 26). Men must deal with each other as traders not as looters and parasites. The Christian, on the other hand, is instructed: “bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). In short, Ayn Rand has no place for mercy, whereas Christianity has mercy at its heart.

Why was there this conflict here? I think it was due to Rand’s thoroughgoing immanentalism: the complete rejection of a divine or supernatural dimension to reality. If she was right in her atheism and naturalism, then I think her system was consistent at the point of demanding only justice. Given the scope of reality that Ayn Rand took into account, the axiom A is A demands that men always trade value for value.

But if Ayn Rand was wrong about God, if he exists, and, as St. Paul said, “made the world and everything in it . . . and is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24f), if such a God exists (and Ayn Rand offered no argument to the contrary, only the assertion),30 then a radically new dimension of reality must be reckoned with and a corresponding new value should guide man’s behavior.

The new fact of reality is that God cannot be traded with as a man. There is nothing that man can offer to God that is not already his. You cannot exchange value for value with one from whom you have life, breath, and everything. You must, as a creature, own up to your total dependence on mercy and be content with it or, by an act of irrational rebellion, evict yourself from the realm of reality and try to live a contradiction.

In view of the nature of reality, the rational man’s highest value will be the admiration and enjoyment of his Maker and Redeemer. This value implies at least three others: First, it implies the value of knowing and being with God. The virtues that aim to achieve this value are study of and meditation upon divine realities. The second value implied in my admiration of God is the value of summoning others to see how valuable God is so that they can admire and enjoy his excellence. This is implied because it is a psychological necessity to want to increase my joy in God’s beauty by admiring it in another’s admiration for it. When the beauty of God is reflected in my neighbor’s delight in that beauty, my joy in that beauty is compounded. The virtue which aims to achieve this value is called evangelism or witness or apologetics. The third value implied in my admiration and enjoyment of God is a style of behavior in inter-human relationships which advertises the value I place upon the mercy of God. It is precisely here where Ayn Rand’s contempt for mercy would have to be altered. If I am to be true to my highest value—the excellence of God including his mercy—my behavior will have to reflect it in merciful acts.

Ayn Rand’s devastating criticism of altruism missed the point of Christian mercy.31 She could only conceive of mercy in terms of our sacrificing our greater values to lesser ones. The Christian sacrifices no values in blessing those who curse him, nor is his behavior causeless or aimless. It is an achievement of his own dependence on and love for the merciful God. It is caused by God’s mercy, and it aims to transform the enemy into one who treasures God above all things. It is thus a self-benefiting act, compounding, as it does, the joy of the believer.

What Ayn Rand means by altruism is indeed ugly and can be seen best in the words of Lillian Rearden to her husband in Atlas Shrugged. Here is the essence of the evil of altruism, as Rand saw it:

If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It’s no more than a fact and it costs you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty. To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She’s earned it, it’s a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake—and that is a real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self-esteem (AS, 290).

Since Ayn Rand had no place for a sovereign all-sufficient God who cannot be traded with, she did not reckon with any righteous form of mercy. All the antagonists of her books were corrupt by almost any standard and surely by a Christian one. It is indeed evil to love a person “for their vices”; it is evil “to give unearned respect” (AS, 367). But mercy in the Christian sense is not respect, nor is it a payment for someone’s vices. It is not “because of” vices, but “in spite of” vices. It is not intended to reward evil, but to reveal the bounty of God who cannot be traded with but only freely admired and enjoyed. It aims not to corrupt or compromise integrity, but to transform the values of the enemy into the values of Christ. While it may mean the sacrifice of some temporal pleasures, it is never the sacrifice of my values and so is never self-less. But the sacrifice of lower values to higher ones—a night’s rest for the timely delivery of a steel shipment—such sacrifice Ayn Rand believed in deeply.

Therefore, Ayn Rand’s philosophy did not need to be entirely scrapped. Rather, it needed to take all of reality into account, including the infinite God. In this case her own premise—A is A—would have demand an alteration in what she conceived as rational and how she evaluated mercy. Since she claimed to “provide men . . . with an integrated and consistent view of life,” this alteration would have meant a rebuilding of the whole structure. No detail of her philosophy would have been left untouched. But enough has been said here. That reconstruction is the job of a lifetime.

That is where the original essay ended. She was living at the time. She died on March 6, 1982. I sent her a copy with a personal letter, pleading that she rethink her ethics by taking all of reality into account, namely, the all-embracing reality of God. I don’t know if she ever received or read the letter or the essay. Her way of looking at the world strikes me still today in 2007 as amazingly perceptive and tragically provincial. So much in the world is seen so with a kind of truncated accuracy. But leaving God out of account distorts all reality. May the Lord give us eyes to see the world with as much sharpness as Ayn Rand, and with far more fullness and truth.

 

Footnotes

1 The only authorized biography of Ayn Rand is “A Biographical Essay” in Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden, Who is Ayn Rand?, (New York: Random House, 1962), pp. 149-239. It is an interesting but idealized portrait that reads just like a Rand novel.

2 “The Chairman’s Favorite Author,” Time, 104 (1974), p. 87. These numbers continue to climb and Atlas Shrugged is ranked #222 today (10-9-07) on Amazon.

3 “About the Author” in appendix to Atlas Shrugged, (New York: Signet, 1957), p. 1085.

4 John Kobler, “The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand,” Saturday Evening Post, 11 November, 1961, p. 91.

5 Time, 107 (1976), p. 32.

6 Cited in Bruce Cook, “Ayn Rand: A Voice in the Wilderness,” Catholic World, 201 (May, 1965), p. 119.

7 “The Gospel According to Ayn Rand,” National Review, 19 (October 3, 1967), p. 1060. In 1991 there was a wide-ranging survey that ranked Atlas Shrugged only behind the Bible as the book people said influenced them most. Most consider the claim exaggerated, but it points to a very significant impact (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_rand#_note-17).

8 Alvin Toffler, “Ayn Rand: A Candid Conversation with the ‘Fountainhead’ of ‘Objectivism,’“ Playboy, 11 (March, 1964), p. 35.

9 Who is Ayn Rand?, p. 5

10 “Born Eccentric,” Newsweek, 21 (March 27, 1961), p. 104.

11 “The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand,” p. 99.

12 “The State of the Question,” America, (July 29, 1961), p. 569.

13 “Ayn Rand: A Voice in the Wilderness,” p. 122.

14 Who is Ayn Rand?, pp. 1-148.

15 Is Objectivism a Religion? (New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1968), p. 11.

16 With Charity Toward None, (New York: Philosophical Library, 1971), p. 14.

17 “Ayn Rand: Far Right Prophetess,” Christian Century, 78 (December 13, 1961), p. 1494.

18 “The Ends and Means of Ayn Rand,” The New Republic, 144 (October 24, 1961), p. 29. (For a perceptive and balanced critique of her understanding of history see M. Stanton Evans, “The Gospel According to Ayn Rand.”)

19 “Ayn Rand: A Voice in the Wilderness,” p. 123.

20 “The Gospel According to Ayn Rand,” p. 1059.

21 Gore Vidal, “Comment,” Esquire, 56 (July, 1961), p. 27. This attack was effectively answered in a following issue: Leonard Peikopf, “Atlas Shrieked,” Esquire, 56 (October, 1961), p. 20.

22 Originally told by Robert L. White in New University Thought (Autumn, 1962). These and other accounts are recounted in “Ayn Rand: A Voice in the Wilderness.”

23 Dora J. Hamblin, “The Cult of Ayn Rand,” Life, 62 (April 7, 1967), p. 95.

24 “The Chairman’s Favorite Author,” p. 87.

25 The speech is printed separately in For the New Intellectual (New York: Signet, 1961), pp. 117-192.

26 With Charity Toward None, p. 15.

27 “Ayn Rand: A Candid Conversation,” p. 35.

28 In the rest of the essay, I will use the following abbreviations of the Signet paperback editions of her works: Atlas Shrugged (AS), The Fountainhead (F), For the New Intellectual (FNI), The Virtue of Selfishness (VS).

29 The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature, (New York: World Pub. Co., 1969), p. 160.

30 That is, in all the works I have read, atheism is assumed. If she argued for this position, I am not aware of it.

31 This problem of shooting down a bogus altruism is addressed by William O’Neill in With Charity Toward None, pp. 201ff, but not from a Christian perspective.

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My favorite M TV videos from 1980′s

My favorite M TV videos from 1980′s

 

All Those Years Ago – John Lennon & George Harrison

Michael Jackson – Beat It (Digitally Restored Version)

Uploaded on Apr 11, 2011

Music video by Michael Jackson performing Beat It. © 1982 MJJ Productions Inc.

Abba – Super Trouper

Van Halen – Jump (HQ music video)

Naked Eyes – Always Something There

Modern English – I Melt With You

A Flock Of Seagulls – I Ran

Published on Apr 11, 2013

Music video by A Flock Of Seagulls performing I Ran. (c) 1982 Zomba Productions Limited

The beach boys – Kokomo

The Moody Blues – Your Wildest Dreams

Men At Work – Down Under

Published on Feb 7, 2013

Music video by Men At Work performing Down Under. (C) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

The Rolling Stones – Waiting On A Friend – OFFICIAL PROMO

Published on Sep 11, 2012

WAITING ON A FRIEND
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Watching girls go passing by
It ain’t the latest thing
I’m just standing in a doorway
I’m just trying to make some sense
Out of these girls go passing by
The tales they tell of men
I’m not waiting on a lady
I’m just waiting on a friend

A smile relieves a heart that grieves
Remember what I said
I’m not waiting on a lady
I’m just waiting on a friend
I’m just waiting on a friend

Don’t need a whore
I don’t need no booze
Don’t need a virgin priest
But I need someone I can cry to
I need someone to protect
Making love and breaking hearts
It is a game for youth
But I’m not waiting on a lady
I’m just waiting on a friend

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Come Dancing – The Kinks

Uploaded on Oct 10, 2008

Groovy!

Come Dancing is a 1982 song performed by British Rock group The Kinks, released as a single in that year in the UK and 1983 in the US and included on their album State of Confusion.

The song is a nostalgic look back at childhood memories of writer Ray Davies, remembering his older sister going on dates to the local Palais dance hall where big bands would play. The lyrics tell how the Palais has been demolished and his sister now has her own daughters who are going on dates.

The song was something of a comeback for The Kinks, being their first UK top 20 hit in over ten years (reaching number 11) and its number 6 peak on the US chart was their highest there since “Tired of Waiting for You” made the same position in 1965. It also made the top 10 in Canada (#6) and the top 20 in Sweden and Belgium. Such success was most likely spurred on in the US by the accompanying MTV Music Video, which was continually pushed and broadcast (in the style of early MTV). The song has, over the years, become one of the most popular songs on Classic Rock Radio, and remains so today.

Elton John – I’m Still Standing

Uploaded on Sep 1, 2010

Music video by Elton John performing I’m Still Standing. (C) 1983 Mercury Records Limited

The Police – Every Breath You Take

Uploaded on Feb 23, 2010

Music video by The Police performing Every Breath You Take (Black and White Version). (C) 1983 A&M Records Ltd.

Flashdance What A Feeling – Irene Cara Official Video

Uploaded on Feb 3, 2010

DOWNLOAD SONG
http://bit.ly/9os7DL
Flashdance What a Feeling Irene Cara
© 1983 Unidisc Music Group

Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed (Extended 12″ Version) (Music Video)

Blondie – Heart Of Glass

Rock Me Amadeus by Falco

Golden earring – Twilight zone

Uploaded on Jan 4, 2007

It’s 2 am
The fear is gone
I’m sitting here waiting
The gun’s still warm
Maybe my connection
Is tired of taking chances

Yeah, there’s a storm on the loose
Sirens in my head
Wrapped up in silence
All circuits are dead
Cannot decode
My whole life spins into a frenzy

Help, I’m steppin’ into the Twilight Zone
Place is a madhouse
Feels like being cloned
My beacons been moved
Under moon and star
Where am I to go Now that I’ve gone too far

Soon you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone

Soon you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone

I’m fallin’ down a spiral
Destination unknown
Double-crossed messenger
All alone
Can’t get no connection
Can’t get through; where are you?

Well the night weighs heavy
On his guilty mind
This far from the border line
When the hit man comes
He knows damn well he has been cheated

Help I’m steppin’ into the Twilight Zone
Place is a madhouse
Feels like being cloned
My beacons been moved
Under moon and star
Where am I to go Now that I’ve gone too far

_____________________

Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now?

Published on Feb 5, 2013

Music video by Men At Work performing Who Can It Be Now?. (C) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment (Australia) Pty Ltd

_________________

Scandal;Patty Smyth – Goodbye To You

Uploaded on Oct 25, 2009

Music video by Scandal;Patty Smyth performing Goodbye To You. (C) 1982 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

_______________

Abba – The Winner Takes It All

Uploaded on Oct 7, 2009

Music video by Abba performing The Winner Takes It All. (C) 1980 Polar Music International AB

______________________________

John Lennon – Watching The Wheels

Daryl Hall & John Oates – You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

The Rolling Stones – Start Me Up – Official Promo

Published on Oct 2, 2012

The official promo video for the Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

Released in 1981, the song was a number one hit and the lead single from Tattoo You.

The song was written by Jagger/ Richards, produced by the Glimmer Twins and features Mick Jagger on lead vocals, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on guitars, Charlie Watts on drums and Bill Wyman on bass.

_____________________

Blondie – The Tide Is High

Uploaded on Dec 15, 2007

The tide is high (1980) from the album autoamerican

_________

Vacation – The Go-go’s

Uploaded on Mar 4, 2011

Vacation – The Go-go’s, all female post-punk, new wave, pop rock band of the 80′s. This song is from their 1982album “Vacation”.

___________________

The Bangles – Manic Monday HD

Steve Winwood – While You See A Chance

Men At Work – Overkill

Published on May 23, 2013

Music video by Men At Work performing Overkill. (C) 1982

________________
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A Christian’s review of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Part 1

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Nathaniel Branden on “My Years With Ayn Rand”

Uploaded on Nov 11, 2009

Throughout Ayn Rand’s career, no collaborator was closer to her than Nathaniel Branden, whom she once named her “intellectual heir.” 

In Rand, Branden found a fearless advocate of individualism and of man as a heroic being. In Branden, Rand saw her vision come to life in flesh and blood. “She gave people a sense that they could be effective. That if they would persevere, stick by their standards, work hard, you could achieve something you can be proud of. Find that part in you—she would say the hero in your own soul’—and work towards that,” says Branden.

After a decade at the center of Rand’s inner circle, Branden founded the Nathaniel Branden Institute with the goal of promoting her philosophy. The Institute was largely responsible for the spread of Rand’s ideas during the 1960s, but came to an abrupt end when romantic conflict between Branden and Rand tore apart their professional association.

Despite the official and unreconciled split between the two, the 79-year-old Branden has remained true to the spirit of Rand’s work during his prolific career as a psychologist of self-esteem. To this day, their legacies remain inseparable and in 2000, Branden authored My Years with Ayn Rand, his second memoir of his relationship to the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

Approximately 10 minutes. Nathaniel Branden was interviewed by David Nott, filmed by Alex Manning, and edited by Hawk Jensen and Alex Manning. 

This video is part of the Reason.tv series Radicals For Capitalism: Celebrating the Ideas of Ayn Rand.

__________________________

Was Ayn Rand Right?

  • Article ID: JAF1324
  • By: Jay W. Richards

Synopsis

In response to the critics of capitalism, many conservative Christians turn to philosopher Ayn Rand for ammunition. Rand was a staunch defender of capitalism, but also an anti-Christian atheist who argued that capitalism was based on greed. Greed, for Rand, is good. But if Rand is right, then Christians can’t be capitalists, because greed is a sin. Fortunately, Rand was wrong. She missed the subtleties of capitalism. First, we should distinguish self-interest from selfishness. Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, famously wrote, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” True enough; but that alone isn’t a problem. Every time you wash your hands or look both ways before you cross the street, you’re pursuing your self-interest—but neither activity is selfish. Second, Smith never argued that the more selfish we are, the better a market works. His point, rather, is that in a free market, each of us can pursue ends within our narrow sphere of competence and concern—our “self-interest”—and yet an order will emerge that vastly exceeds anyone’s deliberations. Finally, Smith argued that capitalism channels greed, which is a good thing. The point is that even if the butcher is selfish, he can’t make you buy his meat. He has to offer you meat at a price you’ll willingly buy. So capitalism doesn’t need greed. What it does need is rule of law, freedom, and human creativity and initiative. And we can point that out without any help from Ayn Rand.


If you’re over forty, you probably remember the 1987 movie Wall Street. Kirk Douglas played the key role, a ruthless corporate raider named Gordon Gekko. Gekko is famous for his defense of selfishness: “Greed…is good,” he tells a young broker. “Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms…has marked the upward surge of mankind.” Gekko embodies the enduring stereotype of the greedy businessman.

Given the coverage of the current financial crisis, it’s no surprise that Twentieth Century Fox is now producing a sequel. Many people, including many Christians, believe that the crisis is the product of greedy capitalism—pure and simple. Others, including many Christians, want to defend capitalism, but end up drawing on the work of philosopher and playwright Ayn Rand, who called greed a virtue. That puts most of us between the proverbial rock and the hard place.

As if in response, some prominent evangelicals such as Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, and Ron Sider have criticized capitalism as based on the “greed principle” (to quote Campolo).1 And it’s hard to blame them, since even many fans of capitalism, such as Rand, seem to agree. And certainly for Christians, greed is not good. Greed, selfishness, or “avarice” is one of the seven deadly sins, and the Bible has nothing good to say about it. In the Gospels, when Jesus was asked to settle an inheritance dispute, He responded: “Watch Out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15 TNIV). The Tenth Commandment says, “Do not covet,” which no doubt applies to greed as well. Jesus includes greed with murder and adultery in a long list of sins (Mark 7:21– 22). Paul tells the Ephesians that no greedy person—“that is, an idolater,” he explains—will inherit the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5 ESV). These are just a few of the dozens of biblical passages condemning greed.

So what do we do? Must we embrace Rand’s anti-Christian philosophy to defend capitalism? Or must we reject capitalism because it’s based on greed? I don’t think we have to do either. The truth is much more interesting, and much more encouraging.

THE BEEHIVE

Rand wasn’t the first one to identify capitalism with greed. That honor goes to a Dutchman named Bernard Mandeville. In 1705, he wrote a poem called The Fable of the Bees. Nobody noticed it. So in 1714, he republished it with a lengthy commentary explaining that the poem was a metaphor for English society. Mandeville saw humans and bees as little more than bundles of vicious passions. The Parable reflected that belief.

In the beehive, different bees do different tasks, but they all have the same motivation—vice. The poem describes avarice, pride, and vanity as producing great wealth for the hive. The bees, however, are discontent. They grumble at the lack of virtue around them. They gripe so incessantly that Jove eventually gives them what they ask for. Honesty and virtue now fill the hive. And everything collapses. The bees’ virtuous actions led to disaster whereas the individual acts of evil had led to social good.

Taken literally, Mandeville’s claim is ridiculous. Good doesn’t come from evil. Virtue isn’t born from vice. Virtue doesn’t destroy society. Still, he did get one thing right: bad intentions don’t always yield bad results. Recall that the Apostle Paul once delighted that some were preaching the gospel out of envy of him. He didn’t delight in the envy, but in the preaching. So even private sinful acts may lead to a social good.

THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS?

After Mandeville came the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, who in 1776 wrote the most famous book in the history of economics, The Wealth of Nations. Though the book is long on pages and detail, its basic purpose was simple. Smith wanted to defend what he called the natural system of liberty: rule of law, unobtrusive government, private property, specialization of labor, and free trade. To prosper, a society needed “little else,” he said, “but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.”2 But so far from flattering the business class, Smith famously said that “people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”3 Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Smith never credited the happy outcomes of trade and business to the virtues of business people. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker,” he wrote, only to be quoted by every economics textbook ever written, “that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”4 Nevertheless, through the invisible hand of the market, individuals will “promote an end which is no part of [their] intention.”5 That end often benefits society overall.

If you don’t read Smith carefully, you might think that he’s making the same argument as Mandeville: individual greed is good for society. That’s a misreading of Smith, which was made wildly popular by Ayn Rand.

THEN COMES RAND

Perhaps more than anyone else, Ayn Rand not only identified capitalism with greed, but defended it in those terms. She even wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness.6 For Rand, greed was the basis for a free economy. Capitalism and greed go together like fat cats and big cigars. To prevent readers from thinking she was using hyperbole, Rand went out of her way to espouse atheism and stridently denounce Christian altruism as antithetical to capitalism: “Capitalism and altruism are incompatible,” she said, “they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society.”7 In fact, she had a hard time distinguishing Christian altruism from socialism.

Rand was born in Russia in 1905 as Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, and immigrated to the United States in 1925, just as communism was securing its stranglehold on the Soviet Union. Her hatred of the collectivism she saw in her youth was etched into her worldview, her writings, even her strange personality. After coming to the U.S., she worked as a script writer in various Hollywood studios. The release of her novel The Fountainhead in 1943 made her famous. Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, made her a sensation.

In her novels, she developed characters that expressed her philosophy “of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”8 Her books read more like tracts for her philosophy of “objectivism” than ordinary novels. As Daniel Flynn puts it, “The themes of Rand’s four novels—We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged—are identical. As far as the philosophy of her novels goes, to read one is to read them all.”9

But for millions of readers, her books still inspire. I discovered Rand during my senior year in college. Her books were like a blow to the chest. She mercilessly skewered every leftist cliché that I had taken for granted. I found her bracing prose and iconic heroes attractive and repellant at the same time. For a few months, she seized me. I frittered away a week of my senior year reading Atlas Shrugged rather than studying for a German final.

The book tells about an elite group of creative entrepreneurs and inventors, “individuals of the mind,” who go on strike against a state that implements the communist principle “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” For Rand, these entrepreneurial heroes, like Atlas in Greek mythology, hold up the world. By pursuing their long-term self-interest, they create value for everyone. So when they shrug—that is, strike—society begins to decay.

The hero of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt, founds a secret community off the collectivist grid, called Galt’s Gulch. Here in this New Jerusalem, individuality and self-interest are prized above all else. One long chapter of the book, “This is John Galt Speaking,” is nothing but a speech by Galt. It’s the perfect distillation of Rand’s philosophy.

Despite Rand’s official praise of selfishness, however, John Galt doesn’t look anything like Ebenezer Scrooge or that fat, cigar-smoking, tuxedo-clad guy in Monopoly. On the contrary, Galt is a pioneer, a brave creator of wealth who pursues his vision despite powerful obstacles, including a malevolent state bent on destroying him. In fact, although Rand despised Christian self-sacrifice, Galt is suspiciously Christ-like. He preaches a message of salvation, founds a community, challenges the status quo and official powers-that-be, who hunt him down, torture him, but ultimately fail to conquer him.

To be sure, there are dissonant notes. His symbol is not a cross, but the dollar sign. The book ends with Galt and his lover tracing the sign of the dollar across a dry valley. But insofar as Galt’s character works, it’s because he contradicts the miserly stereotype that Rand’s philosophy leads the reader to expect. In fact, not one of Rand’s best fictional characters fits her philosophy very well.

Rand convinced me that collectivism was a false moral pretense. She also taught me the importance of entrepreneurs in creating wealth. Rand knew, better than some economists, that you can’t have capitalism without capitalists. Rand continues to be popular with some conservatives, including some Christians. Based on my brief description of her work, that might seem unlikely. But the lack of robust moral defenses of capitalism has left a void. And for many, Rand has filled it.

That’s a problem, of course, since her philosophy as a whole is clearly incompatible with the Christian worldview. Fortunately, we don’t need Rand’s philosophy to defend capitalism. Capitalism and Rand’s defense of it are two different things. This is clear once you realize that Rand bought into a myth more common among critics of capitalism, that the essence of capitalism is greed.

SELFISHNESS AND SELF-INTEREST

Some thirty million books by Rand have been sold, and more than five-hundred thousand copies of her books are still sold every year. In a poll conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club in the 1990s, Atlas Shrugged came in second behind the Bible as the most influential book. Although her work is best known in the U.S., it’s read around the world.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that many conservatives, including many Christians, embrace her: they think they have nowhere else to go. Who but Rand made industrialists the heroes of novels? Whatever the reasons for her popularity, however, she completely missed the subtleties of capitalism. Her hatred of Marxism and collectivism led her to defend a caricature of capitalism more grotesque than anything Marx imagined.

Her praise of “greed” is the reduction to the absurd of a bad interpretation of Adam Smith’s concept of self-interest. Smith, a moral philosopher, didn’t goad butchers, brewers, and bakers to be more selfish.10 He believed that normal adults aren’t self-absorbed monads but have a natural sympathy for their fellow human beings. His point about self-interest is that, in a rightly ordered market economy, you’re usually better off appealing to someone’s self-love than to their kindness. The butcher is more likely to give you meat if it’s a win-win trade, for example, than if you’re reduced to begging. Smith isn’t suggesting that butchers should never help beggars.11

Smith was a realist. He wasn’t naïve about the motives of merchants and everyone else. In fact, like most academics, he harbored snobbish prejudices against business. He knew the difference, however, between self-interest and mere selfishness.12 Smith believed humans are a mixed breed. We are pulled to and fro by our whims and passions, but we’re not a slave to them, since our passions can be checked by the “impartial spectator” of reason. We are capable of vices such as greed and virtues such as sympathy.

Unlike Mandeville, moreover, Smith didn’t view all our passions as vicious. We may be passionately committed to a just cause, for instance. At the same time, he saw greed as a vice. So while he agreed with Mandeville that private vices could lead to public goods, he was an ardent critic of the Dutchman. “There is,” he said, “another system which seems to take away altogether the distinction between vice and virtue, and of which the tendency is, upon that account, wholly pernicious: I mean the system of Dr. Mandeville.”13 You’d never catch Smith endorsing Ayn Rand.

For Smith, pursuing your self-interest was not in itself immoral. Every second of the day, you act in your own interest. Every time you take a breath, wash your hands, eat your fiber, take your vitamins, look both ways before crossing the street, take a shower, pay your bills, go to the doctor, read a book, and pray for God’s forgiveness, you’re pursuing your self-interest. That’s not just okay. In most cases, you ought to do these things.

In fact, proper self-interest is the basis for the “Golden Rule,” which Jesus called the second greatest commandment, after the command to love God: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12 NIV). I’m supposed to use my rightful concern for myself as a guide in how I treat others. This makes sense, since I know best what I need. “Every man is, no doubt, by nature,” Smith said, “first and principally recommended to his own care; and as he is fitter to take care of himself than of any other person, it is fit and right that it should be so.”14

Self-interest isn’t just looking out for number one at everyone else’s expense. Since we’re social beings, our self-interest includes our friends, families, communities, coworkers, coreligionists, and others.15 When I pay my bills, I’m not just pursuing my narrow interest, but the interests of my family, my bank, my community, and whomever I’m paying. I chose my church and my neighborhood and my car not just for myself, but for my children. (Mostly for them, in fact. If I were childless, do you think I’d drive a grey Honda Accord?)

Most of your choices involve the interests of others, too. Self-interest has to do with those things we know, value, and have some control over. I’m most responsible for what I do. Smith’s point was not that the more selfish we are, the better a market works. His point, rather, is that in a free market, each of us can pursue ends within our narrow sphere of competence and concern—our “self-interest”—and yet an order will emerge that vastly exceeds anyone’s deliberations.16 The same would be true, even if we did everything with godly rather than mixed motives. The central point is not our greed, but the limits to our knowledge. The market is a higher-level order that exceeds the knowledge of any and all of us.

FALLING INTO CAPITALISM

So, contrary to Rand, capitalism doesn’t need greed. At the same time, it can channel greed, which is all to the good. We should want a social order that channels proper self-interest as well as selfishness into socially desirable outcomes. Any system that requires everyone always to act selflessly is doomed to failure because it’s utopian. That’s the problem with socialism: it doesn’t fit the human condition. It alienates people from their rightful self-interest and channels selfishness into socially destructive behavior such as stealing, hoarding, and getting the government to steal for you.

In contrast, capitalism is fit for real, fallen, limited human beings. “In spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity,” Adam Smith wrote, business people “are led by an invisible hand…and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society.”17 Notice he says “in spite of.” His point isn’t that the butcher should be selfish, or even that his selfishness is particularly helpful. His point is rather that even if the butcher is selfish, even if the butcher would love nothing more than to sell you a spoiled chunk of grisly beef in exchange for your worldly goods and leave you homeless, the butcher can’t make you buy his meat in a free economy. He has to offer you meat you’ll freely buy. The cruel, greedy butcher, in other words, has to look for ways to set up win-win scenarios. Even to satisfy his greed, he has to meet your desires. The market makes this happen. That’s making the best of a bad situation, and of a bad butcher.

DOES CAPITALISM MAKE PEOPLE GREEDY?

Even if capitalism doesn’t need greed, doesn’t it feed greed? Many religious scholars don’t even distinguish capitalism and greed.18 Capitalism is just greed elevated to economics, or so they think. And if you happen to catch Donald Trump on The Apprentice, you might suspect they’re on to something.

To be sure, Rand and other champions of capitalism appeal to greed, even glory in it. There’s no evidence, however, that citizens of capitalist countries in general, or Americans in particular, are more greedy than average. In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite.19

Of course Americans should be more generous, more loving, more thankful, more thoughtful, and less sinful. If you look, you can find greed all across the fruited plains and in every human heart. That’s because we’re fallen human beings, not because we’re Americans or capitalists. Every culture and walk of life has heaping helpings of greedy people. There are greedy doctors, greedy social workers, greedy teachers, politicians, park rangers, and youth pastors. That’s why greed can explain why capitalism works no better than it can explain the universal thirst for, say, well-synchronized traffic lights: greed is universal. Capitalism is not.

THE GIFT GIVERS

Think of a stereotypical miser like Ebenezer Scrooge (as opposed to the ordinary greedy person). Misers hoard their wealth. They hole up in their bedrooms, counting their gold bullion and hiding it in their mattresses. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal,” Jesus commanded His disciples, “but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus is talking about the person who hoards, who trusts his possessions rather than God. “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:19–21, 24 NIV). The Apostle Paul said that greed is idolatry (Eph. 5:5). If religion involves our “ultimate concern,” as Paul Tillich said, then the miser is an idolater. He worships his money. That’s because you can only have one ultimate concern.

Many of the biblical warnings seem to apply to misers, but how many misers have you met? Do you know anyone who keeps a bag of money in his mattress, where he can count it? Probably not. We see misers on TV, read about them in children’s books and in Dickens. In capitalist societies, however, misers are in very short supply. That’s because capitalism discourages miserliness, and encourages its near-opposite: enterprise.

“The grasping or hoarding rich man is the antithesis of capitalism, not its epitome,” writes George Gilder, “more a feudal figure than a bourgeois one.”20 The miser prefers the certainty and security of his booty. Entrepreneurs, in contrast, assume risk. They cast their bread on the waters of uncertainty, hoping that the bread will return with fish. They delay whatever gratification their wealth might provide now for the hope of future gain. The miser treats his bullion as an end in itself. The entrepreneur, whatever his motives—including the desire for more money—uses money as a tool. The carpenter uses hammer and saw; the doctor, scalpel and stethoscope; the entrepreneur, cash and credit.

Only by the constant din of stereotype could we come to mistake the entrepreneur for the miser. In his modern classic, Wealth and Poverty, George Gilder explores a surprising feature of enterprise: supply precedes demand. After all, before you can exchange, you must first have something to exchange. I must have a good or service, a coconut or a potholder or an iPod that someone wants in order for trade to ever get started. Right off the bat, if I’m an entrepreneur, I have to think about the wants and needs of others. In a free economy, great entrepreneurs, including greedy ones, succeed by anticipating and meeting the desires of others. In that sense, Gilder argues, they are altruistic—alter in Latin means “other.” Entrepreneurial investments, he argues, are like gifts, since they are made without a predetermined return.21 Competition between entrepreneurs in a free economy thus becomes an altruistic competition, not because the entrepreneurs have warm fuzzies in their hearts, or are unconcerned with personal wealth, but because they seek to meet the desires of others better than their competitors do.22

Not for nothing did Ayn Rand dedicate her final lecture to a tirade against Gilder. But her view of the capitalist, in the end, was skewed by the Marxist stereotype she had officially rejected. Gilder’s view captures much better the nature and subtlety of entrepreneurial capitalism.

Far from requiring vice, entrepreneurial capitalism requires a whole host of virtues. Before entrepreneurs can invest capital, for instance, they must first accumulate it. So unlike gluttons and hedonists, entrepreneurs set aside rather than consume much of their wealth. Unlike misers and cowards, they risk rather than hoard what they have saved, providing stability for those employed by their endeavors. Unlike skeptics, they have faith in their neighbors, their partners, their society, their employees, “in the compensatory logic of the cosmos.”23 Unlike the self-absorbed, they anticipate the needs of others, even needs that no one else may have imagined. Unlike the impetuous, they make disciplined choices. Unlike the automaton, they freely discover new ways of creating and combining resources to meet the needs of others. This cluster of virtues, not the vice of greed, is the essence of what Rev. Robert Sirico calls the “entrepreneurial vocation.”24

I’m convinced that Ayn Rand continues to be popular, in part, because she dared to make entrepreneurs the heroes of her novels. Whatever her other failings, this was a keen insight. Without entrepreneurs, very little of what we take for granted in our economy and our everyday lives would exist. Here in my office, the concrete forms of entrepreneurial imagination are everywhere: paper, scissors, pens, highlighters, ink, CDs, an empty Tupperware container that held the pork loin I ate for lunch, a flat-screen monitor, fonts, lamps, light bulbs, Post-it notes, windows, sheet rock, speakers, a laptop computer, and an optical mouse. Behind all these visible objects lay real but less visible innovations in finance, manufacturing, and transport that I scarcely comprehend. All of these things are gifts of entrepreneurs. Only the most miserly moralizer could look at this mysterious efflorescence of cooperation, competition, and creativity—of entrepreneurial capitalism—and see only the dead hand of greed.

Does this mean that if you’re a Christian, you must embrace capitalism? No. But it does mean that Christians don’t need to adopt Ayn Rand’s anti-Christian philosophy to defend the morality of capitalism. Once we comprehend the nature of entrepreneurial capitalism, we see that it has fit within the Christian worldview all along.

Jay W. Richards is the author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009). He has held leadership positions at Discovery Institute and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute.

notes

1 Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 142.

2 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan (New York: Modern Library, 1994), xliii.

3 Ibid., 148.

4 Ibid., 15.

5 Ibid., 485.

6 With Nathaniel Branden (New York: Signet, 1964).

7 Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1967), 195.

8 Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (New York: Random House, 1957), appendix.

9 Daniel J. Flynn, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas (New York: Crown Forum, 2004), 200–201.

10 See the excellent article on this point by Robert A. Black, “What Did Adam Smith Say about Self-Love?” Journal of Markets and Morality 9, 1 (Spring 2006): 7–34.

11 The “butcher, brewer, baker” quote is notoriously misinterpreted when pulled out of context. For context, see Wealth of Nations, 15.

12 So Smith, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, says: “It is the great fallacy of Dr. Mandeville’s book to represent every passion as wholly vicious which is so in any degree and in any direction.” Quoted in F. B. Kaye’s commentary to Bernard Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, vol. 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1924; repr. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988), 414.

13 Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976; reprint Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981). Quoted in P. J. O’Rourke, On the Wealth of Nations (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2007), 157.

14 Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments.

15 Smith understood this, but he is often misinterpreted by later economists working in a more thoroughgoing utilitarian and individualistic mindset. As James Halterman puts it, “Clearly Smith’s notion of self-interest is not expressed as the isolated preference of an independent economic agent, but, rather, as the conditioned response of an interdependent participant in a social process.” In “Is Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy an Adequate Foundation for the Market Economy?” Journal of Markets and Morality 6, 2 (Fall 2003): 459.

16 Robin Klay and John Lunn develop this idea in their excellent article, “The Relationship of God’s Providence to Market Economies and Economic Theory,” Journal of Markets and Morality 6, 2 (Fall 2003): 547–59.

17 Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part Four, chap. 1.

18 See, for instance, the edited collection by Paul Knitter and Chandra Musaffar, Subverting Greed: Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002).

19 For statistical evidence, see International Comparisons of Charitable Giving (Kent, UK: Charities Aid Foundation, November, 2006), http://www.cafonline.org/research. See also Arthur C. Brookes, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism (New York: Basic Books, 2006).

20 George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1993), 30.

21 Ibid., 27.

22 Ibid., 20–24.

23 Ibid., 37.

24 Robert A. Sirico, The Entrepreneurial Vocation (Grand Rapids: Acton Institute, 2001).

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