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Introduction: Ayn Rand, Conservatism, and the Devil
As recently as 1991, a survey by the Library of Congress ranked Atlas Shrugged the second-most influential book in the United States, second to the bible. Written as Ayn Rand’s Magnum opus in 1957 Atlas Shrugged depicts a collectivist dystopia. Individual liberty and private enterprise are being expunged by way of taxation and regulation. Donald Trump’s favorite writer, Ayn Rand’s work has been championed by Christian conservatives and plagiarised in The Satanic Bible.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, laid the foundation of Modern Satanism in 1969 when it was appropriated by Anton LaVey. More than half a century later Ayn Rand has become the conservative equivalent of Karl Marx; atheism included. Her tenants are touted by right-wing politicians; ideas preached to a majority Christian voter base.
Ayn Rand is simultaneously the mother of contemporary conservatism and Modern Satanism.
Ayn Rand: Red is not a Creative Color
Born to a prosperous family in 1905 Ayn Rand came of age at the cusp of the October Revolution. Her family’s business was subsequently confiscated. They would face continued hardship under communist rule.
However, universities began admitting women and Rand was among the first to enroll. While studying history she was introduced to Aristotle; her greatest influence. She was purged from the university shortly before graduating along with other bourgeois students.
She arrived in the United States on a visa in 1926 intent on becoming a writer. She’d find success fictionalizing her profound experience under communist rule. The Red Scare in full-swing, she struck a chord during The Cold War and doubled down. Writing romantic odes to capitalism and individuality.
Fervently anti-communist, Rand became the, “creator of a new form of morality.”
Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism: Let’s Get Randian
Atlas Shrugged follows the railroad heiress Dagny Taggart. As leaders flee to John Galt’s capitalist utopia American industry grinds to a halt under new government restrictions. Society breaks down and Dagny searches out Galt. When found Galt explains that, “the men of the mind,” are on strike. Withholding innovation from a society that demands personal sacrifice. The book acts as a fictionalized introduction to Objectivism.
An inverted Marxism, Objectivism is a moral defense of self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism. Rand believed the ambitious suffer at the hands of bureaucrats and collectivists. Who infringe the individual liberties of the affluent.
She saw rational self-interest as a sole moral responsibility and means of cooperation. Cooperation under coercion by the state is immoral, like taxation.
Simply put Ayn Rand exalts selfishness and admonishes altruism.
Modern Satanism: Ayn Rand for Rebels
Anton LaVey, the father of Modern Satanism, rose to prominence as a Bay Area occultist. A local celebrity, Lavey began attracting notable San Franciscan socialites. He started giving lectures and performing rituals during regular parties. The jumping off point of his first religious organization, Order of the Trapezoid. A group that later renamed itself The Church of Satan.
Riding a wave of public interest LaVey found a publisher for his Satanic Bible and consequently struggled to reach the deadline a year later. In a flurry of expropriation he outlined his philosophy, it would be Ayn Rand’s.
He lifted his Nine Satanic Statements directly from Atlas Shrugged. They promote materialism, atheism, and self-indulgence. A diluted form of Randian ethics.
LaVey said of his religion, “I give people Ayn Rand, with trappings.”
The New Right: Fair is Laissez-Faire
Late in 2008, with anger brewing over corporate bailouts, Liberatarian views began gaining mainstream traction. Conservative pundits aligned themselves with the growing sentiment and the TEA Party quickly became the focal point of right-wing politics. They would espouse the virtues of Ayn Rand.
She soon permeated the Republican voter base. A match made in heaven, Rand’s philosophy of unregulated markets and individual liberty would help elect senators like Rand Paul. Eventually reaching the White House in Donald Trump, a fan of her work.
She’s even a regular point of reference for Rush Limbaugh. Ted Cruz would be quoted as saying she’s one his, “all-time heroes.” Conveniently sweeping Rand’s atheism and contempt for religion aside.
Conservatives have successfully distorted and repackaged Rand’s laissez-faire policies under the auspice of personal freedom. To the benefit of their donors.
Summary: Up is Down, Left is Right
For Rand’s part she’d be embittered by all of this. Republicans and Satanists lie at opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum. Yet they share a fundamental commonality, the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
Christian conservatives hold religious beliefs betrayed by votes and political opinions. In support of Donald Trump.
The Satanic Temple, The Church of Satan’s predecessor, sees a windfall of new members opposing the Trump presidency. As they preach the very philosophy that elected him.
The cognitive dissonance is undeniable. In the end, a Satanist is an anti-Christian who never read Ayn Rand. Conservatives are Christians who have. The result is the same.
Two antithetical groups with the same morality and objective, self-interest. A metaphor for American politics.