Thursday, December 13, 2012

What do Objectivists really think of "A Christmas Carol"?

Objectivism is a philosophy invented by Ayn Rand that considers selfishness to be the supreme virtue and altruism to be the lowest vice.

Now it's always good fun to parody Ayn Rand and Objectivists - I did it myself in my short play Christmas Blessing. It helps that Rand's novels are laughably bad.

And Christmas especially, with its emphasis on generosity and fellow-man sentiment is a natural enemy of Objectivism.

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with its Objectivist hero Ebeneezer Scrooge has been an excellent source of Objectivism parody as in this book, Ayn Rand's Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

But really there's very little that Objectivists actually say that doesn't sound like a parody. Here is what Capitalism Magazine has to say about A Christmas Carol:

...At the heart of this short story lies an abomination: that man— productive man as sordidly portrayed by Dickens— is a being to be stomped into the dust, a creature to be forced to submit to the whims of others. Indeed the very universe demands it. Man’s values are those imposed upon him by others. Chief among these are self-sacrifice, humility and guilt. An Augustinian view of man as “crooked, sordid, bespotted and ulcerous” pervades the work. Individual man cannot aspire to greatness for the sole reason that he is a hopelessly flawed. He simply must accept his lot as a pack animal.

Here are some highlights from an actual Objectivist discussion of A Christmas Carol:

 I have to admit, I actually felt very sorry for poor Ebenezer Scrooge.That the Three Ghosts could emotionally blackmail him  into sharing his wealth
I have always viewed "The Christmas Carol" as little more than a socialists screed against those who are achievers and producers! 
My question is simply; do you think there is a redeemable message in " A Christmas Carol " and is Scrooge a miserable bastard?  Or is Dickens ( Known to be a passionate Socialist ) spreading a sick message of Anti-Greed, Anti-businessman propaganda? 
I believe that "A Christmas Carol" deserves our attention as Objectivists. It is usually presented as one of the most inmoral characterization of altruism ever. Others may think it just speaks about generosity and benevolence. For some it has the germ of British socialism. For others it is just a call to mitigate the inevitable byproducts of capitalism.Maybe it is a mix of many things.
I cherished A Christmas Charol for many years, but after I discovered reason and freedom, I regard it a very toxic product with which, however, we must deal every Christmas season
There's no doubt this was one of the most evil books I ever had the misfortune of reading. Scrooge indeed represents the most persecuted minority in the US today: big business. This horrible, evil book just sowed seeds of anti-capitalist fervor in the ranks of the so-called intellegentsia and media, and could have been indirectly responsible for the social fascist Obama getting elected. 

Ho ho ho!