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Old April 12th, 2011 #2
Rick Ronsavelle
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Rick Ronsavelle
Default Religion versus America

I'll go out on a jewish limb here

"There was a flaw in the intellectual foundation of America from the start: the attempt to combine the Enlightenment approach in politics with the Judeo-Christian ethics. For a while, the latter element was on the defensive, muted by the eighteenth-century spirit, so that America could gain a foothold, grow to maturity, and become great. But only for a while. Thanks to Immanuel Kant, as I have discussed in my book The Ominous Parallels, the base of religion--faith and self-sacrifice--was re-established at the turn of the nineteenth century. Thereafter, all of modern philosophy embraced collectivism, in the form of socialism, Fascism, Communism, welfare statism. By now, the distinctive ideas at the base of America have been largely forgotten or swept aside. They will not be brought back by an appeal to religion.

What then is the solution? It is not atheism as such--and I say this even though as an Objectivist I am an atheist. "Atheism" is a negative; it means not believing in God--which leaves wide open what you do believe in. It is futile to crusade for a negative; the Communists, too, call themselves atheists. Nor is the answer "secular humanism," about which we often hear today. This term is used so loosely that it is practically contentless; it is compatible with a wide range of conflicting viewpoints, including, again, Communism. To combat the doctrines that are destroying our country, out-of-context terms and ideas such as these are useless. What we need is an integrated, consistent philosophy in every branch, and especially in the two most important ones: epistemology and ethics. We need a philosophy of reason and of rational self-interest, a philosophy that would once again release the power of man's mind and the energy inherent in his pursuit of happiness. Nothing less will save America or individual rights.

There are many good people in the world who accept religion, and many of them hold some good ideas on social questions. I do not dispute that. But their religion is not the solution to our problem; it is the problem. Do I say that therefore there should now only be "freedom for atheism"? No, I am not Mr. Kemp. Of course, religions must be left free; no philosophic viewpoint, right or wrong, should be interfered with by the state. I do say, however, that it is time for patriots to take a stand--to name publicly what America does depend on, and why that is not Judaism or Christianity.

There are men today who advocate freedom and who recognize what ideas lie at its base, but who then counsel "practicality." It is too late, they say, to educate people philosophically; we must appeal to what they already believe; we must pretend to endorse religion on strategic grounds, even if privately we don't.

This is a counsel of intellectual dishonesty and of utter impracticality. It is too late indeed, far too late for a strategy of deception which by its nature has to backfire and always has, because it consists of confirming and supporting the very ideas that have to be uprooted and replaced. It is time to tell people the unvarnished truth: to stand up for man's mind and this earth, and against any version of mysticism or religion. It is time to tell people: "You must choose between unreason and America. You cannot have both. Take your pick."

If there is to be any chance for the future, this is the only chance there is."

Leonard Piekoff

(Some have accused Dr. Piekoff, correctly, of being insane. But he is not insane all the time) FWIW