Can you tell the difference between God-centeredness and Other-centeredness?

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Is there a difference between focusing one’s life on God and focusing one’s life on others? It seems like they are synonymous. Look at Mother Teresa. She represented a godly life through her focus on the needs of others. At Brown University, I studied the Middle Ages. Amidst the violence and disease that caused me […]

Spiritual, but not Religious?

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Ayn Rand applauded a culture in which the interests and desires of the individual take precedence over those of the family, group, or community. Frequently, I hear “I am spiritual, but not religious” or “I like Jesus, but not Christianity.” I applaud the courage and honesty of people who have had bad experiences with churches, […]

journey of the word

A blog about a journey. In some ways unique and in other ways, common to everyone. Lydia Borengasser asks questions of herself and of others, exhorting and warning as she experiences God’s Word and shares her reflections.

journey of the word * Romans 15:4

Who is Mark David Henderson?

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Mark is the author of The Soul of Atlas: Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground [Reason Publishing]. He also speaks to a variety of audiences about finding common ground in unlikely places. Mark has been vitally interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy for over three decades. He studied Victorian Poetry and Neuroscience at Brown […]

Who else has a perspective on Christianity or Ayn Rand’s Objectivism?

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You ask some interesting questions about Ayn Rand’s Objectivism and Christianity: the differences and similarities between the two world views, Christian Libertarianism, Christian Anarchism, and Rand’s politics, and my own view. I’ll do my best, in a nutshell. Ayn Rand is a committed atheist. She believes in absolutes, but not in a Giver of absolutes. […]

Bill Whittle Tells It Like We All Should

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The conservative message, and view of America is that we are a nation of steely-eyed missile men with our eyes on a far horizon. We believe in loud guns, hot women, and fast cars. We want to do what we want to do all the time and we don’t like a bunch of high school student council weenies telling us what we can do, when we can do it, or how we can do it. We believe in freedom and prosperity and, if you work your tail off and you want to own seven houses (if seven is your limit), then that’s your business. And if you want to smoke a blunt that’s your business, too. It’s your business, not my business. We believe in limited energy and the power of the human mind to achieve miraculous goals. We have six flags up on the moon, and there’s nothing that we can’t do if we put our minds to it.

What is American Progressivism?

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Glenn Beck posted a helpful perspective on what some people call the third wing of the GOP and the second half of the Democratic platform (the first being Pure Socialism, I guess). Here are the links: Who were the Progressives, and why are they important? The Progressives and their Attack on America’s Founding How the […]

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Government Overreach and the Housing Market

There has been talk of improvement, but we’re still suffering from the devastating financial crisis that originated from excessive government subsidies and mandates on the banking system. Central planning continues as the government overreaches–it doesn’t matter which administration, central planning has dire consequences–has relaunched its campaign to “encourage” home ownership (more subsidies and banking system pressure). I believe that these activities exceed the government’s rightful role. (home prices, housing market, financial crisis, governement)

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Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff (William Morrow, 2014)

Matt Kibbe is the President and CEO of FreedomWorks, a national grassroots organization that serves citizens in their fight for more individual freedom and less government control. An economist by training, Kibbe is a well-respected policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator, and a regular guest on CNN, Fox News, The Blaze TV and MSNBC. He also serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. Dubbed “the scribe” by the New York Daily News, Kibbe is author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, (2012) and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto (2010). His most recent book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff was released on April 1, 2014.

In this essential manifesto of the new libertarian movement, New York Times bestselling author and president of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe makes a stand for individual liberty and shows us what we must do to preserve our freedom.

Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff is a rational yet passionate argument that defends the principles upon which America was founded—principles shared by citizens across the political spectrum. The Constitution grants each American the right to self-determination, to be protected from others whose actions are destructive to their lives and property. Yet as Kibbe persuasively shows, the political and corporate establishment consolidates its power by infringing upon our independence—from taxes to regulations to spying—ultimately eroding the ideals, codified in law, that have made the United States unique in history.

Kibbe offers a surefire plan for reclaiming our inalienable rights and regaining control of our lives, grounded in six simple rules:

  1. Don’t hurt people: Free people just want to be left alone, not hassled or harmed by someone else with an agenda or designs over their life and property.
  2. Don’t take people’s stuff: America’s founders fought to ensure property rights and our individual right to the fruits of our labors.
  3. Take responsibility: Liberty takes responsibility. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to solve your problems.
  4. Work for it: For every action there is an equal reaction. Work hard and you’ll be rewarded.
  5. Mind your own business: Free people live and let live.
  6. Fight the power: Thanks to the Internet and the decentralization of knowledge, there are more opportunities than ever to take a stand against corrupt authority.

No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous. — Benjamin Franklin

No nation was ever ruined by trade

What do you think Benjamin Franklin meant by “no nation was ever ruined by trade”? Do you think that his words apply to today’s Western economy?

Of course, Ayn Rand was a big proponent of free trade. Value for Value. And Christians, perhaps for the same and perhaps for very different reasons, should view free trade similarly.

Chapter 5 of The Soul of Atlas (entitled “Capitalism“) explores the Christian and the Objectivist view of Capitalism.

With economic turmoil and volatility in the capital markets today, skeptics come out of the woodwork like bugs in an old farmhouse. They question the validity and the viability of Capitalism, particularly the idea of laissez-faire, that the state should not intrude in the economic activities of entities in a free market. Media commentators reference the invalidation of a “free-market economy.” What G. K. Chesterton once said about Christianity can easily be addressed to today’s critics of laissez-faire Capitalism in the West: laissez-faire Capitalism has not been tried and found wanting. Rather, its moral basis has not been found “palatable” so it has not been tried.

Capitalism is Rand’s political system. She defines Capitalism in terms of the fundamental building blocks: a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

 

Both of my fathers espoused Capitalism despite their adherence to world views which stand opposed on many issues. Ayn Rand understood Capitalism to be the economic system that supports the individual to the greatest extent, the Christian sees Capitalism as an economic system that recognizes and incorporates the inevitability of self-centered human behavior.

Similarly, both of my fathers agree on free trade, but for different reasons. John (a follower of Ayn Rand) sees free trade as a core principle supporting the productive individual who creates value and trades for other values with a reasonable party. While Dad (a Christian) agrees with Ayn Rand‘s assessment, he also sees the ultimate benefit of others. Trading value for value is a means to multiple bottom lines. It’s not charity, but it happens to benefit everyone. There really is such a thing as a “win/win.”

Reason.com

An article headlining this quote was published on Reason.com. Ronald Bailey makes a strong case for free trade and observes that most politicians do not subscribe to it, or cloud their support for it.

So why do people, especially politicians, believe the opposite? The 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat explained this sort of disheartening policy myopia his brilliant essay, “What is Seen and What is Not Seen.” People tend to focus on the seen consequences of a policy, in this case, competition from trade eliminating some jobs at relatively inefficient companies.

But they miss the unseen benefits, such as new jobs that result from increased average productivity. Naturally, the people who lose their jobs are worried and angry, so they call their member of Congress to complain about “unfair” trade. Fearing that they may lose their jobs, the denizens of Capitol Hill seek to enact legislation to block imports or mandate “Buy American” to protect their complaining constituents against “unfair” trade. In politics, as in much of life, the squeaky wheels get oiled.

Some of the clearest and most thoughtful rationale for free trade comes from the CFA Institute, an organization of which I am a member and a CFA charterholder. Still, I appreciate Bailey’s simple and straightforward explanation and I hope to hear more from Reason.com on the subject.

Benjamin Frankin
The Life and Miscellaneous Writings of Benjamin Franklin (Edinburgh: William and Robert Chambers, 1839), 80