15 April 2011

Deception or Blindness? Thomas on Rand and Eisenhower

Here's the latest column from Cal Thomas.

http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/thomas041411.php3

He's just below Colson in my estimation. I disagree with him only about 98% of the time. Thankfully the local 'christian' radio station quit playing his commentaries, especially after he made some pretty outrageous comments about Muslims and especially Palestinians (as in round them up and put them in camps, which they've pretty much done) but he's still in our local newspaper.

Today he was talking about Ayn Rand, the atheist advocate of Free Market Economics and Libertarian ethics. Christian Conservatives like her for the most part despite her presuppositions. I would argue this once again is a case of their failure to see that when it comes to economics they're thinking more like post-Enlightment Americans than Christians and when it comes to social behaviour and government they're wildly inconsistent. They want a Christian society with freedoms for Christians while they would be quite oppressive to those who don't fit their mold. History has proven this and in recent years they've done their best to re-write it. Colson and Beck have shown astonishing audacity to try and claim that they are descendants of and spiritual cousins to the Civil Rights movement! They say this while they are the direct political descendants and ideological cousins to the opponents of the Civil Rights movement. Black is white and white is black...no pun intended.

Thomas is often excoriated because he occasionally says that politics won't work and we can't build the Kingdom that way...but then on a regular basis takes a hard-line position when it comes to Christian Right political issues. Right Wing politics is right and good he seems to say, but just don't get too carried away.

Anyway, this clip from today's post made me pause. I'm afraid this is pretty typical of most Conservative commentators.

Ayn Rand is not for everybody. Her philosophy is rooted in objectivism, which, Wikipedia says, "holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception ... that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest and that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in laissez faire capitalism."
Objectivism is a philosophy devoid of G0d and the opposite of what Thomas Jefferson rightly believed to be the source of our rights, that they are "endowed by our Creator."
This religious vacuum does not mean Rand was not on to something, just as Dwight Eisenhower was when he warned in his 1961 Farewell Address against the dangers of the "military-industrial complex."

Actually Objectivism fits rather well with the Deism espoused by Jefferson. Jefferson believed in morality and natural laws but functionally rejected Supernaturalism. He revised the New Testament to fit this notion, removing all the miracles and anything that suggested Christ's Deity.

Rejecting Supernaturalism is rejecting Providence, the idea that God governs the affairs of men. Jefferson seemed to believe that the 'Creator' whatever he was to Jefferson- obviously not the God of Scripture- had pretty much left man to himself to figure out through Natural Law and Logic what's right and wrong.

In other words employing logic based on empirical observation we determine ethics. What are we here for? To serve the God of Scripture? No, no.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That harmonizes quite nicely with Rand's ideas. Don't misunderstand, just because Jefferson's ideas are NOT Christian doesn't mean they're all bad. I don't mind living in a society pursuing those goals. It's certainly preferrable to many other alternatives, but in no way is it Christian. It doesn't work anyway, but it sounds nice.

As Christians we also should know that it can't work...not in a fallen world. Just like Rand's Capitalism, the fall prevents it from working because someone else will pursue happiness at someone else's expense. And then that someone else will pick up a gun and so it goes. These systems are missing something rather vital to the Biblical Worldview.....

The reality of sin.

Cal Thomas seems to think that Jefferson and Rand are at odds. Hardly. Actually though they technically represent different schools, Thomas if he is Christian should realize that they're actually quite similar...both being based on anti-supernaturalism and that man is capable of doing and determining good.

And as far as the Eisenhower quote....this is one of those moments that I am genuinely stunned. Can he possibly mean it?

Thomas has spent his entire editorial career promoting, advocating, and benefitting from the military-industrial complex. He constantly argues for more military spending, more war, harsher domestic surveillance, increased muscle in American foreign policy, and putting security above the Constitution. Thomas like most in the Christian Right were devout Cold Warriors. They really believed all the government propaganda and wanted and still want to expand the nuclear arsenal.

And he's going to make a statement like this? If it were Colson, I would just laugh, knowing he was lying... as I am convinced he does on a regular basis. But with Thomas, could he be that deceived or dare I say that blind?

When I read this stuff I just keep thinking....strong delusion.

He likes to talk about Francis Schaeffer and Biblical Worldview...I'm afraid that whole approach has only baptized his anti-Scriptural notions.

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