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"Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away


Many evangelical Christians, especially politically conservative ones, might be shocked by the tenor of the attack that "Born Again" author and Christian conservative icon the late Charles Colson -- who was deeply respected and beloved by many on the evangelical right -- recently launched against Ayn Rand and her followers in the GOP: especially because among those ranks, Colson indicated, was Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Colson noted his friend William F. Buckley's effort to purge such "crypto cultists" and "cranks", including Ayn Rand and her followers, from the conservative movement. Colson's words carried great weight, and he was not the only one among influential Christian conservative voices to make such charges.

One prominent Catholic-affiliated journal accused Rand's followers of being a "satanic cult" and suggested they might as well give away copies of The Satanic Bible instead of Rand's Atlas Shrugged. My 3 and 1/2 minute video featuring Colson's attack on Rand, and Paul Ryan's statements praising her writing, follows up on yesterday's post of mine which covered such attacks, from the evangelical right, on Ayn Rand and her followers.

My post also went briefly into the widely noted similarities between Ayn Rand's ideas and Anton LaVey's philosophy of satanism). The video features footage from the late Charles Colson, Paul Ryan, and Ayn Rand, and quotes from Anton LaVey. Below the video is also the quote base that I included with yesterday's story.

"I give people Ayn Rand, with trappings"
--- Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan (to Kim Klein of the Washington Post, 1970), as cited on page 2 of Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology, by Jesper Aagaard Peterson (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2009)


"Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism."
--- Congressman Paul Ryan, 2009 official Ryan For Congress video ad.


Mike Wallace: "You are out to destroy almost every edifice of the contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government regulated capitalism, our rule by majority will. Other reviews have said you scorn churches and the concept of God. Are these accurate criticisms?"

Ayn Rand: "Yes. I am the creator of a new code of morality."
--- Mike Wallace 1959 CBS interview with Ayn Rand


"Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is an acknowledged source for some of the Satanic philosophy as outlined in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey... Satanism has far more in common with Objectivism than with any other religion or philosophy. Objectivists endorse reason, selfishness, greed and atheism. Objectivism sees Christianity, Islam and Judaism as anti-human and evil. The writings of Ayn Rand are inspiring and powerful."
--- from the essay Satanism and Objectivism, republished on the website of the Church of Satan


"My great friend, the late Bill Buckley - one of his greatest contributions to modern conservatism was his effort to purge it of cranks and crypto-cultists and for Buckley, Ayn Rand and her followers certainly fit that description...  [Ayn Rand's] patently anti-Christian ideas seem to be gaining steam... powerful committee chairmen on Capital Hill make their staffers read her tracts."
--- former Nixon Administration member Charles Colson, May 2011 installment of his "Two Minute Warning" video series, titled Atlas Shrugged and So Should You


"I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we're engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that's what I tell know everybody does their soul-searching, and trying to find out who they are and what they believe, and you learn about yourself.

I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It's inspired me so much that it's required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged."
--- U.S. Congressional Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), 2005 keynote speech in honor of Ayn Rand's birthday, held by the Atlas Society.


"As for his 'religion,' he called it 'just Ayn Rand's philosophy with ceremony and rituals added' "
--- Bill Ellis, quoting Anton LaVey on the intellectual source of his form of satanism, from page 180, Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions and The Media (2000, the University Press of Kentucky)


"To imply or state that the Church of Satan was the first to clearly state the Satanic ethic is to ignore the continuing impact of Ayn Rand...

To illustrate this historical precedent, let us examine the Nine Satanic Statements [from The Satanic Bible] in view of the Rand work Atlas Shrugged. In Galt's speech (pages #936-993) is the written source of most of the philosophical ideas expressed in the Satanic Bible... Note that the sequential order of these Atlas Shrugged quotations parallels the order of the Nine Satanic Statements."
--- Essay by George C. Smith, "The Hidden Source of the Satanic Philosophy", republished in The Satanic Bible (link to PDF file of Anton LaVey's book)


"[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism... can't find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand.

It's so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand's vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are. I always go back to, you know, Francisco d'Anconia's speech (at Bill Taggart's wedding) on money when I think about monetary policy. And then I go to the 64-page John Galt speech"
--- Paul Ryan, 2005 speech to the Atlas Society


"What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."
--- Ayn Rand, 1964 interview with Playboy magazine

"Today you're supposed apologize to every naked savage anywhere on the globe because you are more prosperous."
--- Ayn Rand, 1980 interview with Tom Snyder


"1.    Blessed are the strong, for they shall possess the earth - Cursed are the weak, for they shall inherit the yoke!
2.    Blessed are the powerful, for they shall be reverenced among men - Cursed are the feeble, for they shall be blotted out!
3.    Blessed are the bold, for they shall be masters of the world - Cursed are the righteously humble, for they shall be trodden under cloven hoofs!"
--- from The Book of Satan, part V, in The Satanic Bible


"I am not attacking Rand for the overlap of her views with LaVey's; I am saying that, at their core, they are the same philosophy. LaVey was able to recognize what many conservatives fail to see: Rand's doctrines are satanic...

"[P]erhaps instead of recommending Atlas Shrugged, we should simply hand out copies of The Satanic Bible. If they're going to align with a satanic cult, they might as well join the one that has the better holidays."
--- from The Fountainhead of Satanism, by Joe Carter, published June 8, 2011 in the Neoconservative Catholic-affiliated monthly journal First Things


"[I]f a man smite thee on one cheek, SMASH him on the other!" --- Anton LaVey, from The Satanic Bible (Section III, paragraph 7)


"It's hard for me to imagine a worldview more antithetical to Christianity - also difficult to imagine a more juvenile one"
--- the late Charles Colson, May 2011 installment of his "Two Minute Warning" video series.


"Rand's novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible...

If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence.
--- Michael Gerson, Former Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning, and Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Speechwriting, under President George W. Bush, April 21, 2011 column in The Washington Post, Ayn Rand's adult-onset adolescence


"I read Atlas Shrugged recently and respected its support for innovators... I also was amazed at the viciousness of Rand's view of Christianity, leading up to its conclusion, where the book's hero traces in the air the Sign of the Dollar, a replacement for the Sign of the Cross...


And this, sadly, is the book that a budget expert I admire, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recommends--apparently without caveat--and tells his staffers to read. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is also a Rand fan...

...Ryan and others, if they want support from Christians, cannot merely react to the left's criticism with a shrug: They should show what in Rand they agree with and what they spurn. The GOP's big tent should include both libertarians and Christians, but not anti-Christians."
--- Marvin Olasky, intellectual father of "compassionate conservatism", July 16, 2011, Take a stand against Rand, published in World Magazine


"I am afraid that Chairman Ryan's budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Survival of the fittest may be OK for social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love."
--- Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, as quoted April 24, 2012 in the Washington Times


"There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."  
--- John Rogers, screenwriter and comic


 "I hope you picked it [Atlas Shrugged] up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail." --- Flannery O'Connor, letter to a friend