Review: The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller My rating: 5 of 5 stars I am so grateful for this, the best devotional I have read in the last 30 years. The approach of the Kellers is refreshingly practical, very devotional. It illustrates what it means to “preach […]

Review: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations My rating: 1 of 5 stars Of course, this is a classic now and many people refer to this document when they identify human rights violations. It is a “must read.” But there are some troubling aspects to this document, especially because it is so widely referenced. […]

Review: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations My rating: 1 of 5 stars Of course, this is a classic now and many people refer to this document when they identify human rights violations. It is a “must read.” But there are some troubling aspects to this document, especially because it is so widely referenced. […]

A Tale of Two Philosophies: Objectivism and Christianity

It’s a rather tired reference to a novel by Charles Dickens, but… …it also describes theme of The Soul of Atlas by Mark David Henderson. Like with many philosophies, there is a lot to learn from how a person handles “the big three”: Money, Sex, and Power. John and Dad view money differently. They might […]

Who is Mark David Henderson?

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 […]

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)

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

Kindle Promo Free: The Soul of Atlas is available now!

I just saw The Soul of Atlas available for Amazon Kindle’s free download… Now! Please jump on this opportunity to download this title for free now to Amazon Prime members. If you’re not a member, email me now and I will see what I can do as an author desiring to promote this title. Thanks!

a-preface-to-paradise-lost-400x400-cslewisThe older poetry, by continually insisting on certain Stock themes–as that love is sweet, death bitter, virtue lovely, and children or gardens delightful–was performing a service not only of moral and civil, but even of biological, importance. Once again, the old critics were quite right when they said that poetry “instructed by delighting,” for poetry was formerly one of the chief means whereby each new generation learned, not to copy, but by copying to make, the good Stock responses. Since poetry has abandoned that office the world has not bettered. While the moderns have been pressing forward to conquer new territories of consciousness, the old territory, in which alone a man can live, has been left unguarded, and we are in danger of finding the enemy in our rear. We need most urgently to recover the lost poetic art of enriching a response without making it eccentric, and of being normal without being vulgar. Meanwhile–until that recovery is made–such poetry as Milton’s is more than ever necessary to us.

Reading John Milton‘s Paradise Lost has been a delight and C. S. Lewis is one of my favorites. In this “Preface” (a series of lectures), Lewis illuminates the entire genre of epic poetry.  Even Ayn Rand recognized the beauty of poetry and art to inspire and elevate to new heights.
What have been your experiences with art and poetry?
In what way do you value art and poetry? Why?
I would love to hear your recommendations.

 

On Goodreads.com

Preface to Paradise Lost
by C. S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347999313l/207546.jpgThe sixth chapter is entitled “Virgil and the Subject of Secondary Epic.” After arguing that Homer’s subject is not what makes an epic, Lewis seems to say that Virgil’s subject rescues the Aeneid from obscurity when he builds so much depth and substance around his characters and events that we feel as if national, or even cosmic, issues are at stake.

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

C. S. Lewis
Preface to Paradise Lost (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), 57

For the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand: a great place to start!

I’m often asked by people who are interested in The Soul of Atlas, “Do I need to read Atlas Shrugged before I read your book?” The answer, I think, is “No.” But there’s a caveat. If you’re unfamiliar with Ayn Rand and you’re curious, I recommend her shorter work For the New Intellectual. Description This […]