We are a socio-political nation divided in many way these days, none more stark than how we look at and treat each other. Consider two related words: community and compassion.
Some find the former word dangerously close to “communist,” and assert that in the end, we are all separate and owe no particular allegiance to anyone but ourselves and perhaps our immediate families.
Just over a decade ago, George W. Bush used that other “c-word” as if it were a political asset. Today, true-blue conservatives practically can’t say it without spitting.
“The crap that’s been done in the name of compassion in this country has robbed people of their dignity, of their chance, of their opportunity at their own greatness in using their own ambition and desire,” Rush Limbaugh pronounced on his Sept. 27 show, repeating a mantra he’s floated for years.
Despite the indisputable favor in which the Gospels hold the idea of compassion — for the poor, the weak, the sick — the nominally Christian GOP majority has all but abandoned that ethic for that of a new apostle, Ayn Rand.
Rand, the openly anti-Christian thinker and writer best known for “Atlas Shrugged,” neatly summarized her Objectivist philosophy in a 1964 interview with Playboy magazine: “The Objectivist ethics, in essence, hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”
To Rand, the anti-Jesus, the very idea that one would give of oneself for another is anathema. No surprise, then, that her contemporary adherents would believe that they should not pay taxes to help who Jesus called, “the least of these.”
That’s really all we need to know to understand the recent public demonstrations of anti-community and anti-compassion expressed by a few GOP partisans in the media. There were those who cheered Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s record of 236 executions. And the men who shouted a throaty “Yeah!” (in a neatly Biblical echo, three times) at a September presidential “debate” at the idea of allowing an uninsured person to pay the price of his irresponsibility (which it is) with his life. And then, of course, we have the bizarre spectacle of a debate audience booing an Iraq soldier who identified himself as gay. Plenty more examples where these came from.
Read the rest at the Boulder Daily Camera