Remember that sweet budget packet the GOP leadership rolled out yesterday? Well, I didn't know there were any numbers to crunch but turns out, the Center For Tax Justice found some and ran 'em and have released a report (pdf) that has as its subtitle:
Poor Pay More and Rich Pay Less Under GOP Plan that Costs $300 Billion Annually More than the President's Plan
Ayn Rand has been actively cited in recent months as an inspiration for many leading conservatives with politicians such as Sen. Ron Johnson proudly endorsing Atlas Shrugged as his “foundational book.” Most famously, perhaps, Rep. Paul Ryan, author of the GOP Budget, extolled Rand, proclaiming that she “more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.” It is surprising, however, that Rand’s vehement opposition to conservative values (e.g. she was ardently pro-choice) and Judeo-Christian morality has not even been addressed by the media or religious leaders across America.
The American Values Network (AVN) recently released a video debunking the innocuousness of Rand’s philosophy (Objectivism). It drives home the point that one cannot be a Christian and be partial to Rand. For one, Rand was not merely advocating specific political actions, but rewiring the human conscience so that pure and unrepentant selfishness that leaves no room for altruism is foundational to human existence. In an interview with Mike Wallace, she went so far as to assert that altruism is “evil.” No helping the poor, the sick, the voiceless. It is all about the holy trinity of me, myself, and moi.
Rand’s philosophy goes well beyond simply rejecting faith (which many do) to directly challenging the morality taught by Scripture of loving ones neighbor and promoting the common good. Rand made the choice clear, you can follow her or Jesus, not both. For years Republicans have been cloaking their policies in the mantle of faith and values. But the priorities laid out in the GOP budget – ending Medicare as we know it, attacks on the middle and working class, gutting programs for the most vulnerable – reflect Rand’s philosophy, not Jesus’. This inherent contradiction needs to be forced to a head because it could drive a massive wedge within the ranks of the right. The GOP must be forced to explain to its Christian base whose values it really stands for. They must be forced to choose Ayn Rand or Jesus. Because at its heart this debate is about our values.
AVN’s video begs us to ask ourselves what we envision America to be. Do we want a self-obsessed America who leaves the disadvantaged by the wayside, who passes by the downtrodden on the other side of the road? Or do we want an America who, as John F. Kennedy has declared “… shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty?” Indeed, AVN’s video makes clear that these two visions of America are entirely incompatible with each other.