Objective Snake.

My mother gave Atlas Shrugged to me for my eighth grade summer reading project. While I did not finish the book at that time, upon reading Shrugged in 1999, I recognized that in it, Rand expressed my philosophy more clearly that I was able to put it into succinct words. I have read it annually since.

Following is a capsule of my core philosophy, first incorporated into a formal school of thought called Objectivism by Any Rand. The bulk of the following is amended from her statement of her philosophy in 1962. Her original version can be found at the Ayn Rand Institute.

Objectivism is :

  1. Metaphysics (the study of nature and the universe): Objective Reality
  2. Epistemology (the study of human knowledge): Reason
  3. Ethics (the study of what is right and wrong): Values
  4. Politics (the study of how people interact and govern): Capitalism

Rand suggest that the philosophy may be stated as:

1. Objective Reality: “Wishing won’t make it so.”
2. Reason: “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.”
3. Values: “Man is an end in himself.”
4. Capitalism: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

My philosophy holds that:

  1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
  2. Reason (which is that which defines man as unique among God’s creations) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of earthly survival.
  3. Man—every man—is not the means to the ends of others. He was created by God and in the image of God, separating him from all other of His creations. This image was not of God’s physical appearance, but that of a mind; of a choice- of a free will. Therefore, from a political or economic perspective, man must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his public life; his private life is defined through his religion, or lack thereof- which will be evident in his earthly pursuits.
  4. The ideal, and only moral political-economic system, is laissez-faire capitalism; a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of true capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

For the best introduction to Objectivism, take the time to watch this video by John Allison, former CEO and Chairman of the Board of BB&T; well worth an hour of your time:

A further explanation of the moral basis of my philosophy:

I believe that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. This statement pre-supposes a Creator.

To assume that the beginnings of mankind is an accident, the result of an evolutionary process, is preposterous, and degrades the exception to the universe that is the ability to reason that defines mankind. Any discussion regarding the rights or ability of man must begin with this understanding.

Thus, everything begins at the beginning; from Genesis:

26And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness… 27So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

It is not likely that God has two arms and two legs; rather, He that has free-will; this is the image of God. Of all of God’s creations, man was the only one granted free-will, the ability to make choices; to learn and pass that learning along; the ability to choose to worship Him- or to not. God gave man a rational MIND. It is the mind of man that is the uniqueness of God’s creation, and the likeness of Him. The purpose for which man was created is to choose to worship Him, but this is a choice that God gave the individual, not a decision of government or other men.

If God gave man the choice to worship or to not worship; to sin or not; to eat of the tree or not, who am I to place myself in a position above God in the life of another? It is from this, all social, economic and political decisions must be derived.

What, then, is the proper role of government in the lives of individuals? If God grants the the opportunity of each of us to succeed or to fail, to harvest the fields or to starve, can a government derived among men do anything more? The only way that government can do so is to rob man of the choices God granted man, to steal from the individual the productive effort of his mind to then give to another; to infringe upon the certain unalienable rights endowed upon him by the Creator.

The only way to measure the use of a mind- of reason- is productivity. One must produce- use one’s mind to excel. Thus the use of  a  mind in a productive way is inherently worshipful to God.

So then, can a Christian be non-productive, (or non-profitable) in his endeavor? I don’t see how. The greatest gift that God gave man is His Son; but it was the ability to reason that made man a man and not an animal. How can man worship Christ if man does not choose to reason first; how can he worship if he does not choose to first be productive?

It seems that many believe they can accept Christ, without accepting reason (reason requires responsibility, or an acknowledgement that A = A; lack of responsibility is contradictory to reason.) This lack of reason leads many Christians to believe that they can forcibly coerce others to “donate” to worthy causes, be it national health care, the homeless, or corporate bailouts.

The morality of the Bible is to allow man these choices. To deny these choices, and the responsibility of the outcome of these choices through various coerced social programs, is inherently immoral; to rob from one to give to another is inherently immoral (See Exodus 20:15).

In fairness to Rand and the purist of Objectivism, I must state that my belief in Christ is contradictory to Objectivism as Rand defined it.

Rand and Objective purist make one step (reason) and not the other (Christ as the Creator). This, however, does not create a flaw in their conclusion, especially when applied to a world that has never made the first connection, let alone the second.

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