Part 2: Why the Hell Are Progressives Not Beating Theocons Over their Heads for Being Anti-Biblical Randian/Miserian Libertarians? Why?
For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket -- by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, the collecting blackmail from the sinners.
Ayn Rand in For the New Intellectual
In Part 1 (click here) yours truly demonstrated the existence of a bizarre situation at the highest levels of the national cultural, political and economic wars. A situation that so far has been seriously under appreciated, under exposed, under covered, and under exploited by the left and the press. The perversely ironic situation is that the vehemently anti-socialist, pro-libertarian, super individualistic economics promoted by the likes of social Darwinists Herbert Spencer, Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises that to an astonishing degree is directing the financial affairs of this nation has been embraced by the bulk of the Christian right. That's deeply odd and hypocritical because the above social Darwinists were notorious anti-Christians as are many libertarians, because the first tome to promote outright socialism enforced by godly death was the Bible both Judaic and Christian, and because Christocapitalists are promoting the social Darwinism that they regularly denounce as being spawned by Darwin's biological theory! It's a level of hypocritical and blasphemous hypocrisy, and inconsistency that is breathtaking in its incoherent chutzpah. Almost as mind blowing is how just about everyone else has been failing to call out the right for the inanity of The Great Theocon Libertarian Contradiction. This part of the discussion focuses on how the progressive movement has been grossly negligent for not doing everything possible to take full advantage of the gift that is the marvelous set of theolibertarian contradictions, and why it is about time that the confusion of the right was fully exposed until it is part of the normal, customary national debate.
In Part 1 I noted how Jay Richards -- whose book Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem tells you where the right wing creationist is coming from -- is doing pseudointellectual back flips trying to deny that the Bible looks with such great favor upon socialism that it effectively invented a religious version of communism, or that the likes of Christophobes like Mises and Rand are having a major impact upon the world view of the modern Christian right. Which compels us to ask, does Richards really not know how far Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead have infiltrated his creationist brand of Christianity? Is he sociologically/politically that naÃ¯ve? Surely he does not imagine that the recent boost in sales of her books is all due to antisupernaturalists. Or that all those Atlas Shrugged signs being held at Tea Party rallies represent merely the atheist contingent. It is hard to see how Richards could be that outright obtuse, so one can be excused for concluding that he is playing a game of pretend in which the truth is suppressed for purposes of ideological propaganda. The key question is why is Richards trying to sweep under the theocon rug what is painfully obvious? That is not hard to figure out. He is scared, very scared. As well he should be. And not just him, all on the right should be afraid. Afraid of two things. Amerotheocons think that the most libertarian capitalist and most Christian 1st world country is more blessed by their perfect creator than any other, so free wheeling markets and Jesus have to go together, right? If not then their whole world view collapses. The other item they are afraid of? Exposure. So far the American right has held together by playing a colossal game of pretend in which their massive internal contradictions are played down if not ignored. All movements have their internal conflicts, but in this case the incongruities are potentially explosive to the point of being lethal. If it becomes common knowledge that the theocons who often denounce biological and social evolutionism are blasphemously embracing the social evolutionism of the wild west, individual obsessed, materialism and wealth infatuated economic libertarianism promoted by flaming atheists and dedicated anti-Christians as they reject the collectivist ideals of the Bible, then the contradictions promise to tear into and severely damage the right wing.
And it would embarrass the hell out of them.
If theocons are going to such great efforts to evade being exposed for the inconsistent hypocrites that they are then a major goal of the progressive left should be to go right ahead and blow the whistle on conservative Christendom. For decades the religious right and its allies have not been called out for some of its biggest inconsistencies and hypocrisies, contradictions that make them vulnerable to exposure. It's yet another example of the moderate left being too nice out of politeness and/or ignorance. The right is smart enough to not miss such an opportunity in their favor, their willingness to regularly go for the jugular is one reason they have leveraged their sociopolitical power well beyond what there minority status warrants. It's not like the strange hypocrisy of the right has gone entirely unnoticed, there's a fair amount of discussion about it on the web, with even some theocons dismayed at how their brethren have come under the spell of atheist philosophers. But the critique remains stuck at the bottom of national awareness. It is time, well past time, that progressives from pious to atheist (most of the latter are liberals) wrap the fascinating incoherence of anti-Darwinian biology, pro-Darwinian economics that is today's right wing around their conservative necks.
Here's an example of how this can work. Let's expose Michele Bachmann. It will be fun and informative. She proudly promotes herself as a head over heals born again Christian who brooks no patience with those who dare deny that the God of the Good Book is central to American Exceptionalism. According to press accounts she has said she takes one of the deans of the famed Austrian school of Libertarianism, Ludwig von Mises, to the beach to read. The great work of Mises is Socialism, which is all against the collective in favor of the individual. And that is were Bachmann is a sitting duck waiting to have torpedoes put into her vulnerable theocon flanks. What progressives need to do is get in Bachmann's face and ask her what is her opinion of the following and awkward quotes from Socialism: "This is the case in which [Christ] the redeemer's words bore evil seed. More harm has been done, and more blood shed, on account of [Biblical egalitarianism] than by the persecution of heretics and the burning of witches". the infectious resentment [against the rich] which raged among their proteges and was justified by the Gospels". [Jesus] express] fierce resentment against the rich, preaches hatred of the family, and advocates voluntary castration". the clearest modern parallel to the attitude of complete negation of primitive Christianity is Bolshevism" and "the religion which called itself the religion of love became a religion of hatred" (for more extracts see click here).
But wait, that's not all. Bachmann also lists as an influence George Mason University's Walter Williams who is so into the individual liberty and ownership thing that he wrote the essay "My Organs Are For Sale" (econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/fee/organs.html). Well, not necessarily his organs since he enjoys a nice income with excellent benefits and his organs are too old for anyone to want them anyway. But Williams wants to ensure that younger folks on the down and out are free to sell off their own flesh and blood odds and ends. What's perversely cool about this is once you can sell say a kidney there is no particular limit to garnering income with body pieces as long as it does not endanger one's life. Say that fingers are being transplanted. How about someone putting some of their fingers on the free market. How about one or two legs -- they being replaceable with increasingly effective artificial alternatives after all.
What I do not get from a sociological perspective is why the likes of Maddow, Olbermann, O'Donnell, Schultz are not having a field day with this stuff. Even better would be a mainstream interviewer posing these questions to Bachmann herself.
Aside form the damage this sort of exposure could do to the right, there is the simple truth that folks should know what theocons are thinking as a matter of public record. This requires a hard search of the sort the staffs of Maddow, The Daily Show and the like, as well as mainline journalists, are renowned for to figure which theocons are into Rand et al. Earlier this summer, for instance, a Republican congresswoman was on one of Book TV's short "What Are You Reading?" segments when she cheerily included Atlas Shrugged. Who was she and does she go about claiming to be a Godly anti-socialist? How many other Christian Repub members of Congress, state legislatures, governors, judges and the like are fans of Rand and Mises?
We do know that congressional members Ron (perpetual presidential candidate) Paul and son Rand as well as Ron Johnson are open Rand enthusiasts. And Paul Ryan not only waxes rhapsodic about the morality of Ayn R. (http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1191939045695), the Randian inspired low Federal budget, low taxes for the wealthy, low regulations, anti-union scheme he proposed was embraced by a huge swath of the theocon movement, so the influence the late philosopher-novelist enjoys extends far beyond her open admirers.
And there is the biggest theocon fish of them all. Ronnie. Reagan that is. He has become, of course, the idealized great icon of the right. The Repub conserv who could do no wrong. But it was he who appointed two notorious Ayn Rand groupies, the irreligious Milton Friedman and similarly nontheistic Alan Greenspan, to high financial positions. And Reagan himself was a devotee of Friedrich Hayek, who aside from being an agnostic was buddies with the infamous free market dictator Pinochet. Why not beat his heritage over the head with these unBiblical acts and opinions?
Logically Stewart, Maddow, Olbermann, O'Donnell, Maher et al. should on a regular basis challenge Christolibertarians on how Palin, Bachmann, Coulter, Beck, Limbaugh, Gingerich, Perry et al. can reject as ungodly evil the very socialism that is enforced by their God in the Bible they profess to read and believe? Just how can one claim the believe in the Bible and then go on about taxation without representation is against Christ? And how can those economic libertarians who manage to be devout Christians fawn over Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises whose entire philosophy is a condemnation of Christian doctrine? Push O'Reilly and Bennett to explain how they can continue to be in opposition to their Pope who issued the newest encyclical reaffirming the churches opposition to libertarian economics. And ask Ann Coulter and fellow theocons who oppose evolution as demonic because it leads to ungodly societal chaos how they can at the same time endorse the economics that most closely replicate biological evolution? If one really wishes to push matters to the limit charge theocons who deny Biblical socialism with committing blasphemy. It does not make practical sense for progressives to fail to use the deep, hypocritical conflicts that mar the right to try to split the movement at its weakest links. The right cannot reply in kind because progressives are less internally conflicted -- although liberals too range from devout to atheist they share a secular sense of social tolerance, concur that the gospels include economically progressive sections, and agree that organisms have evolved over geological time.
The next recommendation is crucial. Labels matter. So it should be de rigueur to tag Libertarians atheist and especially theist with labels that accurately describe what they are, while maximizing their embarrassment with what they are. As a matter of course financial libertarians and their ilk should be labeled social Darwinists, or social evolutionists, to maximize public understanding of how they are adherents of the kind of economic system that most replicates the amoral biological evolution so many on the right condemn as ungodly. That will be awkward for them. Take the term libertarian. It sounds cool to many because it incorporates liberty etymology wise. Take Rick Perry. He wants to be President. Might get the Repub nomination. Sounds good to those on the right when he is labeled libertarian. So make the policies he advocates sound less appealing, even to the right. A term that describes libertarianism is social Darwinism. So does social evolutionism. It's not just Perry. All the potential GOP nominees qualify as social Darwinists (albeit least so Romney who did put in semi-universal health care in Massachusetts). There is no excuse for progressives to not take utmost advantage of this reality and attach the name of the discoverer of the biological theory theocons hate the most to their economic ideology. It will give them fits. The other label for libertarianism is Ayn Randism. So glue that tag to the libertarians. Again and again, when folks hear names like Perry, Bachmann, Limbaugh, Gingerich, Coulter -- you know the list -- it should be proceeded by Ayn Rand libertarian and/or social Darwinist or social Darwinist. It should be the standard on MSNBC and Current TV in the evening.
Progressives with differing world views can take advantage of The Great Theocon Libertarian Contradiction in ways most suitable for themselves. I'm an antisupernaturalist (click here) so I do not care all that much about contending that Christ was a socialist (and probably was not assuming that he actually did exist because he was not concerned with the order of future human societies, the soon coming end times being what he was all about). All the more so since citizens of the most successful progressive hybrid economies of the world are not in the habit of asking what Jesus would do because they are the most irreligious democratic societies yet seen - to see just how little most western Euros care about matters theological check out Phil Zuckerman's Society Without God. But as a social researcher I ponder why progressive Christians are not far more aware of and promoting the progressive aspects of their book -- mainly because few Christians left or right actually bother to read the thing (doing the latter is how I became fully cognizant of Christosocialism). Letting theists know that parts of the Bible are socialist tracts will go far to undermine the Christian right's blasphemous claim to godly authority. It's the obvious thing to do.
1 | 2