Mind Games 2.0

Bloggin' 'bout science and life

Tag: Ayn Rand

Burkean vs. Randian Conservatism

As is my want first thing, I got up and turned on the news this morning.  They were talking to two lawyers from the Federalist Society about their opposition to Trump and his attacks on the rule of law. One of the questioners made a quip that it must be tough to go home for Thanksgiving to a house full of Republican relatives who must be Trump supporters now, and she said it wasn’t because her parents are Democrats.  She said she became a conservative as a teenager when she first read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  

A couple of minutes later, another one of the questioners of these two lawyers made a joke about throwing in some Burke to round things out.  The juxtaposition of Ayn Rand with Edmund Burke was jarring to me, and I’ve been thinking about it on and off all day, because it highlights the two major strains of conservatism in very stark contrast. 

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A Conservative Principle to Guide Health Care Reform

For all the “conservatives” who rail against the ACA as a liberal take-over, you should go back and read your Adam Smith (remember, the guy who wrote Wealth of Nations – or more correctly An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – the founding document of modern capitalist economic theory). His first book was The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a fascinating philosophical book that lays out the basis for what makes the Wealth of Nations work. His moral philosophy is undergirded by the Golden Rule. For example, this paragraph is from Chapter 1 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

And hence it is, that to feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety. As to love our neighbour as we love ourselves is the great law of Christianity, so it is the great precept of nature to love ourselves only as we love our neighbour, or what comes to the same thing, as our neighbour is capable of loving us.

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