Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Will there be a split between Ayn Rand conservatives and the Christian Right?

Frederick Clarkson and Frank Cocozzelli speculate about a possible split between Ayn Rand fans who worship selfishness and greed as virtues and the Christian Right in The Randian Fault That Could Shake Conservatism Talk to Action 05/02/2011:

Movement conservatism usually presents itself as the stalwart guardian of traditional faith. But conservatism may experience a profound identity crisis due to the increasing popularity [of Ayn] Rand's philosophy of Objectivism -- which celebrates selfishness as a virtue; declares religious faith to be incompatible with reason; and altruism -- including self-sacrifice - is a vice. Objectivism says there are only two kinds of people in this world, creators and parasites. Suffice to say, such a view is very far from the vision of most conservative Christians.

All this suggests a deep fault line just below the normal fractiousness of the active factions of conservatism. If the exposure of the Randian Fault is a quake waiting to happen among movement conservatives, it could very well be The Big One.
It could happen. But I suspect they are being too logical here. The Christian Right has shown little hesitation about supporting tax policies that accelerate the increase in the maldistribution of wealth and income between the very wealthy and everyone else. And supposed Randians also don't seem to be that uncomfortable hanging out in the same political neighborhood as sex-hating fundamentalists theocrats.

Today's Christian Right base differs from that of the Scopes Trial fundamentalists of the 1920s in that that some of those in the fundi orbit then were also attracted by left-populist ideas on economics. Today's fundis seem to have comfortably integrated the values of "killer capitalism" (as Europeans have been known to call the American version) and of warmongering militarism. Promotion of Christian love and peace on Earth/good will toward men aren't high on their list of political priorities. And forget good will towards women!

Unfortunately, political analysts since Ronald Reagan's first term have been predicting an immanent split between the "Wall Street" and "Main Street" Republicans, another way of referring to economic libertarians vs. Christian theocrats. Joe Conason wrote about this in It Can Happen Here (2007), describing "the informal but clear division of functions" between the two groups as follows:

The corporate sector (and especially corporate lobbyists) provide the hundreds of million of dollars needed to fuel and lubricate the party, while the religious right (and a few other related constituencies, such as gun owners) motivates and mobilizes the millions of volunteers and voters needed to win elections. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the rest of Washington's vast network of trade associations and lobbying outfits funnel their money to Republican candidates, taking direction from the party leaders and mostly shunning Democrats. The Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, American Family Assocation, Focus on the Family, the enormous religious broadcasting apparatus, and state and local ministries and megachurches send their devout followers into Republican campaigns while demonizing the Democrats.
Cynthia Tucker was speculating about the pressures for such a split in 2007.

It hasn't happened yet.

Tags: , ,

| +Save/Share | |

Links to this post:

Create a Link


"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • Studies in Prejudice: Prophets of Deceit (5 of 6)
  • EU austerity and the crisis of the euro and the EU...
  • Torture, the rule of law and Bin Laden
  • Studies in Prejudice: Prophets of Deceit (4 of 6)
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest and the IMF's poli...
  • Bin Laden's death and chances for a more peaceful ...
  • Studies in Prejudice: Prophets of Deceit (3 of 6)
  • Presidential hit lists for American citizens
  • Studies in Prejudice: Prophets of Deceit (2 of 6)
  • Is there an Al Qa'ida 2.0?



    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    www TBV




    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links



    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory



    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse