Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Values and Politics

Christian values noticeably absent from parties and politics

Pete Reilly | Letter, Asheville Citizen-Times | October 15, 2008

Unless we change things soon, this great nation of ours is in a death spiral and we have no one to blame but ourselves. For a Christian nation it is inconceivable that we have two political parties that have absolutely no Christian values. Lying, slander, innuendo, half-truths, distortion, castigation of another human being by any means possible, solely to achieve the highest office in the land. Or at the rate we are going, is it the lowest office in the land?...

Politics is the concrete expression of an abstract moral framework in the domain of human action.

The writer is correct that there are super-ordinate values that inform morality, and in turn, politics and law in a rational society. But those values do not derive from religion -- even the writer's favorite one.

The values that inform a proper moral worldview derive from the human individual's fact of existence and the facts of reality. A proper moral code respects freedoms of action, freedom of association, and freedom of contract and forbids any predation, fraud or negligence that stands to hamper or injure the individual.

Reason, free will, lucid consciousness -- these are the qualities that distinguish the human animal. It is the need to protect the free exercise of these unique human qualities in a pluralistic society that requires an objective, secular body of law that respects individual rights and the pursuit of happiness as primaries over against the primacy of any social, organizational or religious agglomeration that may form to circumvent the free exercise of human will.


Man's Rights by Ayn Rand | April 1963
“Rights” are a moral concept-the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others -- the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context -- the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist
By Tara Smith
Ayn Rand is well known for advocating egoism, but the substance of that instruction is rarely understood. Far from representing the rejection of morality, selfishness, in Rand's view, actually demands the practice of a systematic code of ethics.