Ayn Rand: the mother of American Satanism

LaVeyWhen I say that Ayn Rand was a wanna be Antichrist who inspired The Satanist Bible, I am not suggesting that Paul Ryan, a huge Ayn Rand fan, shares that distinction.  Ryan is struggling to be a good Catholic Christian and a devotee of a woman who turned the teaching of Jesus on its head.

Fortunately, a long list of conservative politicians and Christians has no illusions about Ayn Rand. The late Charles Colson, shortly before his death, made a last ditch attempt to warn fellow conservatives that Ayn Rand and Jesus are antithetical.  “Atlas shrugged,” Colson said, “and so should you.”

Colson wasn’t alone.

In a biting article in First Things, a conservative Christian journal founded by Richard John Neuhaus, Joe Carter addressed the link between the Satanism of Anton LeVey (the author of The Satanic Bible) and Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy.

 . . . to be a follower of both Rand and Christ is not possible. The original Objectivist was a type of self-professed anti-Christ who hated Christianity and the self-sacrificial love of its founder. She recognized that those Christians who claimed to share her views didn’t seem to understand what she was saying.

Many conservatives admire Rand because she was anti-collectivist. But that is like admiring Stalin because he opposed Nazism. Stalin was against the Nazis because he wanted to make the world safe for Communism. Likewise, Rand stands against collectivism because she wants the freedom to abolish Judeo-Christian morality. Conservative Christians who embrace her as the “enemy-of-my-enemy” seem to forget that she considered us the enemy.

Even if this were not the case, though, what would warrant the current influence of her thought within the conservative movement? Rand was a third-rate writer who was too arrogant to recognize her own ignorance (she believed she was the third greatest philosopher in history, behind only Aristotle and Aquinas). She misunderstood almost every concept she engaged with—from capitalism to freedom—and wrote nothing that had not been treated before by better thinkers. We don’t need her any more than we need LeVay.

Few conservatives will fall completely under Rand’s diabolic sway. But we are sustaining a climate in which not a few gullible souls believe she is worth taking seriously. Are we willing to be held responsible for pushing them to adopt an anti-Christian worldview? If so, perhaps 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.

Faux historian David Barton wasn’t publicly unmasked until conservative Christian scholars, embarrassed by being associated with blatant lies and distortions, went into full revolt.  I am hoping the same dynamic plays out in connection with Paul Ryan’s boyish infatuation with a woman who hated his Jesus with the darkest passion.

This debate transcends partisanship.  The big problem is that Ayn Rand’s Antichrist philosophy drives a business culture where, by design, only the strong survive. Unless you argue that Christian ethics have nothing to do with the teaching of Jesus, or that the teaching of Jesus should be dissociated from business ethics, this is a problem.  Paul Ryan like Ayn Rand because, like most American politicians, red and blue, he shares her take-no-prisoners, profit-driven outlook.  The only people exempted from this survival of the fittest social Darwinism are your family of origin, your spouse and your children.  Everyone else is on their own.

That is the philosophy of Antichrist.

If you find it hard to believe that Ayn Rand was (a) the inspiration for popular Satanism, or (b) philosophically opposed to the empathy and compassion of Jesus, you should peruse this extensive list of telling quotations compiled by Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action.  You will notice that virtually every Rand critic quoted is a card carrying conservative.

But before you scroll down the list, check out this video Bruce Wilson put together:

The Ryan/Rand/satanism link made simple.

“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 people..you 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…

…you 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

19 thoughts on “Ayn Rand: the mother of American Satanism

  1. To be fair, there was substantial criticism of Rand from the religious and secular left in mid-2011. So, the attacks weren’t solely from the right. But I wanted to emphasize the political magnitude of the attacks on Rand, in 2011, from evangelical and Christian right heavyweights such as Michael Gerson, Chuck Colson, Marvin Olasky, and First Things.

    I’d add that if you do a search for “Ayn Rand” at First Things, you’ll pull up even more brilliant and hilarious writing on Rand ( see “The Trouble With Rand”) – it’s great reading. Politically, First Things is hard, neoconservative right. And, the editors seem not to have liked Ayn Rand one bit.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, Bruce. I emphasized the conservative nature of the critique because I don’t want this issue to be gaining partisan advantage in an election year.

  3. Rand never claimed to be an anarchist, but she was in favor of a constitutional republic that protected individual rights, replete with a military and court system that protected the rule of law, etc. And she never said one should never get any help, only that it is not the proper function of govt to take from some citizens and give to others. It’s been obvious how that process has been corrupted in our system as evidenced by class-warfare politics. In her view, that is the realm of private charity. Why should a govt force citizens that aren’t politically favored to pay money to those that are? It’s a simple and overlooked question, but there really is no argument for it. Those down and out and/or incapable or unwilling to take care of themselves have depended on charity in some form since the beginning of time. The issue is whether the govt should be in the forced charity business. Romney, for instance, would argue that govt should be less involved than Obama would, yet Romney’s charitable contributions are through the roof compared to Obama’s. It is reasonable to argue that had we a solvent govt unburdened by massively wasteful entitlement programs, we would have a much healthier economy and the already functioninng non-profit charity system would flourish to the point of being able to handle all social ills.

    What impressed me with rand from day one was how she applied logic to all issues consistently, and how her resulting philosophy was one of beauty and freedom and achievement, totally consistent with life on earth. I never understand how people can read her works and find anything different, but I find it telling that they always have to misrepresent her work in order to attack it, like we’ve seen with this article and countless others.

  4. Do they misrepresent her work when they say it is counter to the teachings of Jesus, when they say she is an atheist. If one wants to acknowledge that ethics of the kingdoms over agains the ethic of the Kingdom, it is their privilege.

  5. No, they don’t misrepresent her work when they say she is an atheist and not a big fan of the ‘teachings’ of Jesus. When they liken her to some sort of anti-Christ, call her an anarchist, say she didn’t give a crap about poor people, etc, they do misrepresent her. As an atheist, she would give no thought to any concept of a Satan, which perhaps even more ridiculous to an atheist than a god would be. Rand disavowed all forms of mysticism, which would include any concept of satanism.

    She was a proponent of individual rights, first and foremost, and applied that concept consistently. She was pro abortion and pro gay rights. She wrote extensively against racism (and far more eloquently than MLK I might add), against unnecessary wars like Vietnam, on the concept of eradicating poverty, etc. There was not one thing she ever wrote that wasn’t pro-human, pro-happiness, etc, yet because she showed that free-market capitalism was the best system to help EVERYONE be successful, she has been demonized by collectivists that can’t answer for their own century of failure and want to use govt to force the masses to their political agenda. Collectivism is a failure in every way, and the world could learn a lot from the writings of Rand who vehemently defended the rights of individuals to their own lives, no more, less. And since collectivists can’t refute her writings, they demonize her and smear her and accuse her of things she never wrote or said. Pitiful.

  6. You write that “There was not one thing she ever wrote that wasn’t pro-human, pro-happiness, etc.”

    But if you are true to Ayn Rand’s dictum that humans should be guided by reason rather than faith, you will have to acknowledge the reality that humans evolved as a “collectivist”, tribal species which, behaviorally, has much in common with social species such as bees, mole rats, and ants – like those species, humanity is a super-organism.

    Rand’s ideas are radically at odds with current scientific awareness, that humans are a highly social, cooperative species. We are anything but a collection of atomized individuals. Efforts of exemplary individuals can be extremely important, yes, but it is intellectually incoherent to claim such individuals would or could ever exist apart from collective humanity.

  7. Actually, she was much more than “not a big fan” of the teachings of Jesus. She was diametrically opposed to them. In my books that makes her anti-christ though not the Antichrist.

  8. Yes, a bunch of quotes, as opposed to one or two. Do you detect a pattern? Enlighten us. How is Ryan affiliated with Rand? He claims that she is his guiding light. Wrong?

  9. Exactly. You have to allow for a little poetic license. Ayn Rand wanted to be known as the woman who denied the central tenets of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus talked about forgiveness, mercy and the first being last. He talked about loving our enemies. Rand disagreed vigorously. You are free to do the same . . . unless you wish to be known as a devout Christian ala Paul Ryan. Then, as Chuck Colson suggests, you’ve got a problem. As an atheist, Rand didn’t believe in Satan. Neither, I suspect, does Anton LaVey, founder of the Satanist Church. His big thing is selfishness, egoism, and disdain for weakness in all its forms. Satanism isn’t a supernatural religion and belief in a literal Satan isn’t necessary. “Satan” is merely a convenient personification for the obverse of Jesus. Like Ryan, LaVey found Rand’s objectivism helpful because she had already created a system that represented a point-by-point rejection of Christianity. If being in the company of Jesus-haters makes you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. On the other hand, if you want to be a Jesus-hating atheist, this is America, go for it. But don’t try to narrow the gap between Jesus and Rand–she worked very hard to distance herself from Jesus as much as possible.

  10. If Ryan is an objectivist, he is a pathetically poor one at that in practice, perhaps in that respect he has a lot in common with Christians! Funny how people purport that she is not to be taken seriously then write extensive articles about her whilst steadfastly refusing to engage her reasoning. Who calls her childish and then engage in ad-hominem attacks. But I guess you have a lot to fear, the men of the mind will eventually overcome Attila and the mystic. Reason rather than faith and force is the only way to rescue civilization.

  11. He isn’t an Objectivist. He never said he was. There’s a curious belief, especially applied only to Ayn Rand, that if one is influenced by her one believes everything she wrote.

  12. To be a Satanist you need to believe in the existence of Satan first. I think most Christians are therefore closer to becoming Satanists than Ayn Rand could ever have been.

  13. Not necessarily. To be a satanist one must merely stand Christianity on its head, which is why the Satanist Bible took its lead from Ayn Rand.

  14. I think one can believe in Ayn Rand’s economic values and even self worth values and still be a Christian. Her main objective with her books was to show how progressivism and socialism can destroy a culture. To declare her the head of American Satanism is ridiculous.

  15. The extent by which human beings are highly social and co-operative is dependent upon exactly which humans you are referring to. There is a world of difference between the semi-nomadic rural families of Siberia and the life-in-a-sardine-can rat race of the inner city. Social behavior and co-operation generally increase in direct proportion to population density. It doesn’t take a history major to realize that the heavy majority of human beings, until the last century, lived in rural environments with low population density. In the last three hundred years the United States has transformed from a nation of freedom-loving, relatively independent land-owing agricultural capitalists into a nation of densely packed, television brainwashed zombies lead around by the high time-pressure of their rat-race, government-interbred-with-business facsimile of an actual life.

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