Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ayn Rand on Sacrificing Justice to Mercy: Forcing the Innocent to Suffer Twice

Just a few days ago, Part II of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged premiered in theaters, and Part III is yet to follow. Rand grew up in the USSR and witnessed the Russian Revolution in the early 20th Century. She came to the US and was disturbed by the trends she witnessed here that reminded her of the collectivism that she watched sweep through her own country.

Though I don't agree with her on many points of belief which I could write about until your eyes bleed, I deeply appreciate her insights about the dangers of totalism and her appreciation of freedom and liberty. She had a keen appreciation for the gifts of humanity, though I disagree with her on why mankind is gifted and how we can best celebrate those distinctions. I am continually amazed at how much she gets right wherein I agree with her, and I'm in awe at how differently from me she attributes the causality which explains our shared beliefs about the nature of freedom and how man best benefits from it.

There are two brilliant quotes from the prophetic book, Atlas Shrugged, that speak to the problem of feigned, cheap forgiveness and what it does to those who are put upon by the abusive actions of another. Before delving more deeply into this topic, I offer her words for your consideration which I find completely consistent with a Judeo-Christian view of justice.
In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils, which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.

When one acts on pity against justice, it is the good whom one punishes for the sake of the evil; when one saves the guilty from suffering, it is the innocent whom one forces to suffer. There is no escape from justice, nothing can be unearned and unpaid for in the universe, neither in matter nor in spirit—and if the guilty do not pay, then the innocent have to pay it.