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William F. Buckley vs. Ayn Rand: Ayn Rand's Revenge

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Ayn Rand's Revenge

First a little background. Stories are myriad today about the renewed popularity of the novel "Atlas Shrugged" by novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand. With capitalism widely being declared dead or defunct it may seem strange to some people that masses of Americans are turning to this work of literature which celebrates laissez-faire capitalism, among other, more fundamental, themes.

Stranger still it is that Americans are flocking to this book when one considers that Rand (who died in 1982) was declared intellectually dead some fifty years ago by an influential public figure, one William F. Buckley Jr. Buckley was always loud in his declaration, but he seemed to be unsure of his conclusion. He felt the need to declare her death repeatedly over the years, as though trying to convince himself.

Buckley "patron saint of the conservatives" (in biographer John Judis´ words) was famous for his graciousness and class, at least publicly, and could often be seen in the company of such liberal luminaries as John Kenneth Galbraith, and even ostensible arch-nemesis George McGovern.

But when it came to Rand he produced writing filled with graceless personal attacks. He seemed obsessed with her alleged personal shortcomings. Rand it seems drove the poor man batty.

Buckley´s antipathy towards Rand first manifested itself publicly in the pages of his magazine, National Review, when "Atlas Shrugged" was published in 1957. He had Whittaker Chambers pen a bizarre review which mischaracterized her views. (Robert Tracinski has written a great dissection of this "review" see "A Half-Century-Old Attack on Ayn Rand exposes the Dark side of Conservatism.") Chamber´s review missed its target, but at least it contained philosophical arguments.

But Buckley´s own attacks on Rand were emotional and personal; he barely addressed the substance of her arguments, preferring instead to sneer at her personally along with his liberal friends. Apparently such pseudo-intellectuals like Galbraith (who never made an honest economic prediction in his life) were better people than her.

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Rand´s life and character stand in sharp contrast to Buckley´s and he probably knew it. Rand would never have put up with such blatant dishonesty as Buckley´s wife engaged in. Nor would Buckley´s irrational behavior towards his son go unnoticed. They met at least once. Rand had little time for this small man. He apparently was frightened of her.

Philosopher Harry Binswanger, a close associate of Rand´s, had this to say publicly after Buckley´s death: "… Ayn Rand told me that in the years following her public condemnations of Buckley, he sent her more than one letter ´crawling on his knees´ (her words) trying to get her approval and/or a rapprochement. Needless to say, he failed in this attempt."

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And unfortunately, Buckley´s insecure rants against Rand retarded the intellectual progress of the right for decades.

The important point here involves Buckley, but it involves a lot more. The issue with Buckley is that he truly had nothing to contribute intellectually. And when faced with a true intellectual like Rand, all he could do was guttersnipe. Yet the wider point pertains to conservatism today.

Until it begins to intellectually justify itself in a logical way, conservatism will remain lost, and statism will continue its march. Rand provided the intellectual justification for capitalism and liberty and she did so by reference to the fundamental metaphysical facts of reality and human existence. She did not appeal to tradition or the supernatural. She appealed to the rational. And the public has been responding to her ever since.

Buckley and his cohorts brag about their electoral successes-"we elected Reagan" they chime. But what permanent changes have been made? The procession of the welfare state goes on. And who can stop it, people who say God went "poof" and then there were rights?

----------------

These days people are flocking to read "Atlas Shrugged." They are not burning a hole in their wallets to buy "God and Man at Yale."

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Say! I was going to post this link, but you beat me to it!

I found the first part kind of boring, but it was worth reading to the end, as it got a lot better. I had to laugh at the "God went 'poof'" part. Pretty funny.

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Buckley on Firing Line was always smug, sophomoric, malevolent, and unlistenable. I'll always think of this slimy bore-master with the large (but not rich) vocabulary as that tiresome pseudo-intellectual who couldn't even sit in a chair, tie his tie, or focus his eyes! :lol:

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... unfortunately, Buckley´s insecure rants against Rand retarded the intellectual progress of the right for decades.

I don't think that is true. To the extent Buckley influenced anyone against Ayn Rand, it had nothing to do with retarding the "intellectual progress" of those influenced, who could not have made much intellectual progress under any circumstances.

I met Buckley once and immediately found him to be an unimpressive, pompous, bag of air -- and ignored him from then on.

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... unfortunately, Buckley´s insecure rants against Rand retarded the intellectual progress of the right for decades.

I don't think that is true. To the extent Buckley influenced anyone against Ayn Rand, it had nothing to do with retarding the "intellectual progress" of those influenced, who could not have made much intellectual progress under any circumstances.

I met Buckley once and immediately found him to be an unimpressive, pompous, bag of air -- and ignored him from then on.

Do you have an opinion about why he is so enamored by other conservatives, such as Rush Limbaugh?

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... unfortunately, Buckley´s insecure rants against Rand retarded the intellectual progress of the right for decades.

I don't think that is true. To the extent Buckley influenced anyone against Ayn Rand, it had nothing to do with retarding the "intellectual progress" of those influenced, who could not have made much intellectual progress under any circumstances.

I met Buckley once and immediately found him to be an unimpressive, pompous, bag of air -- and ignored him from then on.

Do you have an opinion about why he is so enamored by other conservatives, such as Rush Limbaugh?

To most conservatives he was a famous and articulate-sounding spokesman, who was bright enough to be fast on his feet, at a time when there weren't many. Remember that most of them don't have much intellectual or philosophical depth either, except for occasional special expertise in some field. As for Rush Limbaugh, I think he respected Buckley for his persistence and influence over many years, but Rush Limbaugh is much, much better in many ways than Buckley ever was, which I don't think he realizes. Buckley was not a hay-seed; Ayn Rand recognized his inherent intelligence but thought he was too smart to believe the things he did, and after not much of an encounter with him -- but enough to see how bankrupt he was -- dropped having anything to do with him. As good as Rush Limbaugh is, he lacks a lot of what Ayn Rand had.

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"Buckley himself is exposed as a self-absorbed ass ..."

That's been evident to any honest observer, from the beginning.

Still, it's good to have someone publicly point out the truth.

* * *

Also from the article:

Rand made the case against the welfare state root and branch. She was the first to make a secular case against Communism and Socialism, and the first to make a fully secular defense of American values. The fact that her ideas were shut out by Buckley hurt the entire cause of Americanism.

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As good as Rush Limbaugh is, he lacks a lot of what Ayn Rand had.

Well, yeah. I admire much about Rush, but Ayn Rand is far deeper than Rush could ever hope to be. She is an originator of a whole philosophy that rivals Aristotle's work. Who else can say as much? Nobody! So, really, the comparison is a bit unfair.

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As good as Rush Limbaugh is, he lacks a lot of what Ayn Rand had.

Well, yeah. I admire much about Rush, but Ayn Rand is far deeper than Rush could ever hope to be. She is an originator of a whole philosophy that rivals Aristotle's work. Who else can say as much? Nobody! So, really, the comparison is a bit unfair.

I don't think that that is what Erich was referring to. Rush already has Rand's work in existence to study and understand. He doesn't need to create it. What he needs to do is to translate his understanding of freedom to what is required to philosophically justify it, which is what he has not done. It is his understanding of the need to do this that he lacks and what Rand had.

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As good as Rush Limbaugh is, he lacks a lot of what Ayn Rand had.

Well, yeah. I admire much about Rush, but Ayn Rand is far deeper than Rush could ever hope to be. She is an originator of a whole philosophy that rivals Aristotle's work. Who else can say as much? Nobody! So, really, the comparison is a bit unfair.

Rush Limbaugh is a major part of the problem. NOBODY pushed harder for both Bushes to win - two of the biggest religious/statist/socialists we have ever had in office. The moment Bush senior said atheists should not even be citizens is when any decent analyst should have condemned him. Rush didn't. He touts religion, and, when he feels it is okay, even compromise on taxation/spending and bad foreign policy issues. Then what he does, to seem okay to the right, is criticize Dems like Clinton and Obama very hard when they happen to win and get into office, even if they do virtually everything that republicans do. Limbaugh stands for whom he thinks can win on the Republican side, rather than who is right. He is a pragmatist of the right. Anyone who even brings "Judeo/Christian values" within a country mile of any discussion of ethics should be laughed out of existence, not admired. Is he better than most? Yes. Is that saying much? No.

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Don't forget: this manatee clown mostly stole his act from Howard Stern; and after all that illegal "hillbilly heroin" he took, where he deserves to be is prison.

Drugs should be legal, he should not be in prison. He should not have been put in the position of having to obtain the drugs he wanted through trickery and/or illegality. But, interestingly enough, he is a typical conservative who does believe in the "war on drugs," so it was a bit of poetic justice that he ran into trouble.

I agree that he is an entertainer first and foremost, and often a bore. More importantly he has bizarre beliefs like, for example, that human beings are "hard-wired" for faith. He panders to the religious right so badly that he has to be called out on it before any compliments can be thrown his way. Of all the big radio hosts, only Hannity is more openly pro-religion, while more level-headed thinkers like Elder and Boortz get less respect and listenership. Elder is now out of the business, and Boortz, although currently the best there is, labels himself a libertarian (mostly out of hatred for the existing republicans and democrats in power).

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As good as Rush Limbaugh is, he lacks a lot of what Ayn Rand had.

Well, yeah. I admire much about Rush, but Ayn Rand is far deeper than Rush could ever hope to be. She is an originator of a whole philosophy that rivals Aristotle's work. Who else can say as much? Nobody! So, really, the comparison is a bit unfair.

Rush Limbaugh is a major part of the problem. NOBODY pushed harder for both Bushes to win - two of the biggest religious/statist/socialists we have ever had in office.

"NOBODY"? Really? Not the Republican Party? Not the fund raisers?

The choice in those elections was between a Bush versus Clinton, Gore or Kerry. Rush Limbaugh does not support "religious/statist/socialists". An election is restricted to the choice between the major candidates running for office, one of whom will be in power whether one likes the choice or not. Voting and supporting a candidate is not an endorsement of him as an ideal or desirable candidate or an endoresement of his philosophy. These principles and the necessity of applying them in the context of the possible have previously been discussed extensively on the Forum. We are fortunate that Rush Limbaugh has strongly supported those choices which for the most part have made living more possible in a declining political culture.

The moment Bush senior said atheists should not even be citizens is when any decent analyst should have condemned him. Rush didn't.

When and where did G Bush say "atheists should not even be citizens" and what did Rush Limbaugh know about it?

He touts religion, and, when he feels it is okay, even compromise on taxation/spending and bad foreign policy issues. Then what he does, to seem okay to the right, is criticize Dems like Clinton and Obama very hard when they happen to win and get into office, even if they do virtually everything that republicans do.

Please site documentation for the claims that he "even compromise [sic] on taxation/spending and bad foreign policy issues" when he "feels it is okay". What evidence do you have that he does that or anything else to "seem ok to the right". Do you really think that "Dems like Clinton and Obama" just "happen to win" and that they "do virtually everything that republicans do"? Do you follow the news? Are you aware of who is fighting for what witin the various factions in Washington DC and where most of the worst of the trouble is coming from?

Limbaugh stands for whom he thinks can win on the Republican side, rather than who is right. He is a pragmatist of the right.

That is not what he does or says. What evidence do you claim to have for that? He speaks out daily for three hours about what he thinks is right.

Anyone who even brings "Judeo/Christian values" within a country mile of any discussion of ethics should be laughed out of existence, not admired. Is he better than most? Yes. Is that saying much? No.

Rush Limbaugh is justifiably admired for his accomplishments and actual support of individualism and human values. Those of us who follow him and are familiar with his positions greatly appreciate his courageous, self-confident intellectual leadership in the realm of pro-American individualist, capitalist values and his exteremely insightful and competent political analysis of current events. There are aspects of Rush Limbaugh that have been validly criticized here, but attempt to smear him with falsehoods, inuendo and out of context 'factoids' have appeared on the Forum before and have been appropriately rejected. We prefer objective analysis.

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Don't forget: this manatee clown mostly stole his act from Howard Stern; and after all that illegal "hillbilly heroin" he took, where he deserves to be is prison.

Drugs should be legal, he should not be in prison. He should not have been put in the position of having to obtain the drugs he wanted through trickery and/or illegality. But, interestingly enough, he is a typical conservative who does believe in the "war on drugs," so it was a bit of poetic justice that he ran into trouble.

Rush Limbaugh's addiction to pain killers was a result of his taking them for very serious back pain at a time when the addictiveness was not fully understood. He has nothing to do with a "Howard Stern act" or "hillbilly heroin" and has rarely mentioned the "war on drugs". The unsuccessful attempt to prosecute him were politically motivated by the Democrat establishment in Florida.

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We prefer objective analysis.

Okay.

(1) Limbaugh endorsed both Bushes. There were alternatives. There is also endorsing abstaining.

(2) Both Bushes are religious/statist/socialists.

(2a) Both believe in god and regularly attend church and reference the bible, hence they are religious.

(2b) Both believe that the government has the right to abridge property rights by controlling its use: Junior signed McCain-Feingold, Senior signed both the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Clean air Act, these respectively resulted in the governments increased control of, say, a privately owned radio station, a professional golf association, and an auto-manufacturing plant, respectively. They are statists. ***Of particular interest to me is the fact that Bush Jr. signed McCain-Feingold in 2002, and still got Limbaugh's endorsement in 2004. Awesome. The biggest infringement on 1st Amendment rights in the history of this country and still gets the endorsement. Put a checkmark next to statists. Thanks.

(2c) As for whether the Bushes are socialists - is there really any debate here? Tax money and tax subsidies for "faith-based initiatives," prescription drugs, or how about never even questioning the governments near-monopoly in education? They had a pulpit for a combined 12 years. At least a peep would have been nice. Are they cradle-to-gravers? Not really. Are they socialists in nearly every fundamental? Yes. And to Limbaugh's credit, he has occasionally taken issue with the Bushes on these issues. But he still endorsed them. It is a fact. If it's a lesser of two evil thing, he should have said so, but he hasn't, and I have been listening to Rush since 1990 and challenge anyone here to find where he has ever, in any phrasing, said that a choice for either of the Bushes, at any time, was a lesser of two evils thing. Put another checkmark next to socialists.

(3) Bush senior said, "I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens." in an interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987. He had announced his candidacy a week earlier. I never said that Rush knew about this. But a lot of people do. And when one is in the business of advocating candidates, one ought to know. Rush covered the 1988 RNC convention and is on the record supporting Bush for president in 1988.

(4) Yes, I do believe that Democrats like Obama and Clinton do virtually everything that Republicans do. I base this on observation. I am not alone on this. Incidentally, Ayn Rand once said that she had heard a quote about Washington politics to the effect that, "If you hear something bad has happened in Washington politics, it was probably a Democrat, but if you hear that something particularly evil has come about, you can be sure it was a Republican." She clearly admired the quote for its insight. The quote is probably not exact, but it is in one of her interview or lecture cassettes.

(5) I find it hard to answer whether I "know where most of the worst of the trouble is coming from?" The phrasing "most of the worst" is almost comical in its formulation. The trouble, simply, is coming from every single one of our politicians. Every, single, solitary, godd$%#$^%ned one of them. How can anyone answer otherwise?

(6) I know he speaks about what he thinks is right, but what he thinks is right is, unfortunately, pragmatism. Apparently, another thing that he thinks is right is making fun of Michael J. Fox'es condition. Classy.

(7) That should make my position clear of any "innuendo." If you need me to post at least a hundred quotes here where he has disparaged atheists I will do so, though I think it is not needed. On many occasions, he has insulted every single one of us here, at least those who are atheists.

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We prefer objective analysis.

Okay.

(1) Limbaugh endorsed both Bushes. There were alternatives. There is also endorsing abstaining.

(2) Both Bushes are religious/statist/socialists.

(2a) Both believe in god and regularly attend church and reference the bible, hence they are religious.

(2b) Both believe that the government has the right to abridge property rights by controlling its use: Junior signed McCain-Feingold, Senior signed both the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Clean air Act, these respectively resulted in the governments increased control of, say, a privately owned radio station, a professional golf association, and an auto-manufacturing plant, respectively. They are statists. ***Of particular interest to me is the fact that Bush Jr. signed McCain-Feingold in 2002, and still got Limbaugh's endorsement in 2004. Awesome. The biggest infringement on 1st Amendment rights in the history of this country and still gets the endorsement. Put a checkmark next to statists. Thanks.

(2c) As for whether the Bushes are socialists - is there really any debate here? Tax money and tax subsidies for "faith-based initiatives," prescription drugs, or how about never even questioning the governments near-monopoly in education? They had a pulpit for a combined 12 years. At least a peep would have been nice. Are they cradle-to-gravers? Not really. Are they socialists in nearly every fundamental? Yes. And to Limbaugh's credit, he has occasionally taken issue with the Bushes on these issues. But he still endorsed them. It is a fact. If it's a lesser of two evil thing, he should have said so, but he hasn't, and I have been listening to Rush since 1990 and challenge anyone here to find where he has ever, in any phrasing, said that a choice for either of the Bushes, at any time, was a lesser of two evils thing. Put another checkmark next to socialists.

(3) Bush senior said, "I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens." in an interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987. He had announced his candidacy a week earlier. I never said that Rush knew about this. But a lot of people do. And when one is in the business of advocating candidates, one ought to know. Rush covered the 1988 RNC convention and is on the record supporting Bush for president in 1988.

(4) Yes, I do believe that Democrats like Obama and Clinton do virtually everything that Republicans do. I base this on observation. I am not alone on this. Incidentally, Ayn Rand once said that she had heard a quote about Washington politics to the effect that, "If you hear something bad has happened in Washington politics, it was probably a Democrat, but if you hear that something particularly evil has come about, you can be sure it was a Republican." She clearly admired the quote for its insight. The quote is probably not exact, but it is in one of her interview or lecture cassettes.

(5) I find it hard to answer whether I "know where most of the worst of the trouble is coming from?" The phrasing "most of the worst" is almost comical in its formulation. The trouble, simply, is coming from every single one of our politicians. Every, single, solitary, godd$%#$^%ned one of them. How can anyone answer otherwise?

(6) I know he speaks about what he thinks is right, but what he thinks is right is, unfortunately, pragmatism. Apparently, another thing that he thinks is right is making fun of Michael J. Fox'es condition. Classy.

(7) That should make my position clear of any "innuendo." If you need me to post at least a hundred quotes here where he has disparaged atheists I will do so, though I think it is not needed. On many occasions, he has insulted every single one of us here, at least those who are atheists.

This is not "objective analysis"; this post repeats commonly heard fallacies and innuendo, with sarcastic, snide remarks thrown in for emotional emphasis substituting for facts and rational explanation. The mischaracterizations clearly show that Gattacan does not know what Rush Limbaugh does, on a daily basis, and that he does not or cannot distinguish between what different politicians and government officials do, perhaps because he don't know much about it.

You can "abstain" from voting when you don't understand the difference between candidates; you cannot abstain from the fact that one of them will be in power and that more often than not, which one it is makes a difference to those of us who have to live under it even though neither of the alternatives is good. Gattacan should go back and read the previous discussions of this topic on the Forum, as suggested previously, rather than repeat the same fallacies. If one doesn't know much beyond headlines on what happens in Washington and who is doing what in which battles he won't know very much about what difference it makes. Government has become much worse under Obama and the Democrats, which isn't hard to see, and is much worse under state governments where progressives have been in control for years. The differences have a real affect on people's lives; ignorant libertarian platitudes hysterically denouncing everything in sight do not help. One can recognize the seriousness of a downward statist spiral without being oblivious to important differences in government actions and policies.

Gattacan denounced Rush Limbaugh for not "condemning" GHW Bush for an alleged statement about atheists not being citizens, but claims now that he "never said that Rush knew about this". That speaks for itself. But there is more: there is no public record or confirmation of the alleged statement -- claimed by Gattacan with dramatic fanfare, as if it were widely known and verified, to have been made in an "interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987; He had announced his candidacy a week earlier". The statement was in fact alleged to have been in a private conversation that no one else remembered hearing. Everyone, even the Bush's, obviously know that atheists are citizens, and any politician running for the office of President would know better than to make such a controversial statement (except maybe a Biden), making it highly dubious that the statement was ever made or intended in anything resembling the form claimed if it were made at all. This is not grounds for denouncing Rush Limbaugh, who had nothing to do with it.

The misrepresentation of Rush Limbaugh on Michael Fox is common in the liberal media and has been thoroughly debunked, as it was here on the Forum. This is far beyond the point where someone can glibly toss it out as a self-justifying denunciation.

It isn't worth going through every numbered item in Gattacan's alleged "objective analysis", especially since it has all been refuted many times before as false or out of context rationalism. Those who have been mislead by the MSM about Rush Limbaugh should be angry at the source, not Rush Limbaugh or those who defend his record in context. No one has to listen to Rush Limbaugh if he doesn't want to, or to agree with every position he takes, but neither should accusations consisting of ignorance, smears and the sophistry of out of context rationalism be permitted to influence readers on the Forum. Enough respected people here and elsewhere have found Rush Limbaugh's articulate analysis and principled defense of capitalism to be of sufficient value and interest that those who don't know first hand should find out for themselves what they may like or not like about him and follow up accordingly as time allows.

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I agree, ewv.

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Gattacan denounced Rush Limbaugh for not "condemning" GHW Bush for an alleged statement about atheists not being citizens, but claims now that he "never said that Rush knew about this". That speaks for itself. But there is more: there is no public record or confirmation of the alleged statement -- claimed by Gattacan with dramatic fanfare, as if it were widely known and verified, to have been made in an "interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987; He had announced his candidacy a week earlier". The statement was in fact alleged to have been in a private conversation that no one else remembered hearing. Everyone, even the Bush's, obviously know that atheists are citizens, and any politician running for the office of President would know better than to make such a controversial statement (except maybe a Biden), making it highly dubious that the statement was ever made or intended in anything resembling the form claimed if it were made at all. This is not grounds for denouncing Rush Limbaugh, who had nothing to do with it.

...

Bush's statement about atheists is more than merely alleged; I remember reading and hearing about him making it. The question he was asked was whether atheists had full rights as Americans, and he replied something to the effect of "Not really; this is after all one nation under God."

I remember quite a few Objectivists being aware of this and discussing it during the 1989 TJS conference, so I definitely wasn't the only one who knew about it.

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Gattacan denounced Rush Limbaugh for not "condemning" GHW Bush for an alleged statement about atheists not being citizens, but claims now that he "never said that Rush knew about this". That speaks for itself. But there is more: there is no public record or confirmation of the alleged statement -- claimed by Gattacan with dramatic fanfare, as if it were widely known and verified, to have been made in an "interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987; He had announced his candidacy a week earlier". The statement was in fact alleged to have been in a private conversation that no one else remembered hearing. Everyone, even the Bush's, obviously know that atheists are citizens, and any politician running for the office of President would know better than to make such a controversial statement (except maybe a Biden), making it highly dubious that the statement was ever made or intended in anything resembling the form claimed if it were made at all. This is not grounds for denouncing Rush Limbaugh, who had nothing to do with it.

...

Bush's statement about atheists is more than merely alleged; I remember reading and hearing about him making it. The question he was asked was whether atheists had full rights as Americans, and he replied something to the effect of "Not really; this is after all one nation under God."

I remember quite a few Objectivists being aware of this and discussing it during the 1989 TJS conference, so I definitely wasn't the only one who knew about it.

George Bush on atheism and patriotism

"Did George Bush really say that atheists should not be considered citizens?"

The following exchange took place at the Chicago airport between Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press">American Atheist Press and George Bush, on August 27 1987. Sherman is a fully accredited reporter, and was present by invitation as a member of the press corps. The Republican presidential nominee was there to announce federal disaster relief for Illinois. The discussion turned to the presidential primary:

RS: "What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?"

GB: "I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me."

RS: "Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?"

GB: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

RS: "Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?"

GB: "Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."

UPI reported on May 8, 1989, that various atheist organizations were still angry over the remarks.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mat...ments.html#bush

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Gattacan denounced Rush Limbaugh for not "condemning" GHW Bush for an alleged statement about atheists not being citizens, but claims now that he "never said that Rush knew about this". That speaks for itself. But there is more: there is no public record or confirmation of the alleged statement -- claimed by Gattacan with dramatic fanfare, as if it were widely known and verified, to have been made in an "interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987; He had announced his candidacy a week earlier". The statement was in fact alleged to have been in a private conversation that no one else remembered hearing. Everyone, even the Bush's, obviously know that atheists are citizens, and any politician running for the office of President would know better than to make such a controversial statement (except maybe a Biden), making it highly dubious that the statement was ever made or intended in anything resembling the form claimed if it were made at all. This is not grounds for denouncing Rush Limbaugh, who had nothing to do with it.

...

Bush's statement about atheists is more than merely alleged; I remember reading and hearing about him making it. The question he was asked was whether atheists had full rights as Americans, and he replied something to the effect of "Not really; this is after all one nation under God."

I remember quite a few Objectivists being aware of this and discussing it during the 1989 TJS conference, so I definitely wasn't the only one who knew about it.

George Bush on atheism and patriotism

"Did George Bush really say that atheists should not be considered citizens?"

The following exchange took place at the Chicago airport between Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press">American Atheist Press and George Bush, on August 27 1987. Sherman is a fully accredited reporter, and was present by invitation as a member of the press corps. The Republican presidential nominee was there to announce federal disaster relief for Illinois. The discussion turned to the presidential primary:

RS: "What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?"

GB: "I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me."

RS: "Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?"

GB: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

RS: "Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?"

GB: "Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."

UPI reported on May 8, 1989, that various atheist organizations were still angry over the remarks.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mat...ments.html#bush

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Gattacan denounced Rush Limbaugh for not "condemning" GHW Bush for an alleged statement about atheists not being citizens, but claims now that he "never said that Rush knew about this". That speaks for itself. But there is more: there is no public record or confirmation of the alleged statement -- claimed by Gattacan with dramatic fanfare, as if it were widely known and verified, to have been made in an "interview at O'Hare airport in Chicago on August 27, 1987; He had announced his candidacy a week earlier". The statement was in fact alleged to have been in a private conversation that no one else remembered hearing. Everyone, even the Bush's, obviously know that atheists are citizens, and any politician running for the office of President would know better than to make such a controversial statement (except maybe a Biden), making it highly dubious that the statement was ever made or intended in anything resembling the form claimed if it were made at all. This is not grounds for denouncing Rush Limbaugh, who had nothing to do with it....

Bush's statement about atheists is more than merely alleged; I remember reading and hearing about him making it. The question he was asked was whether atheists had full rights as Americans, and he replied something to the effect of "Not really; this is after all one nation under God."

I remember quite a few Objectivists being aware of this and discussing it during the 1989 TJS conference, so I definitely wasn't the only one who knew about it.

Regardless of who "discussed it", the fact remains that there was no such public statement, the allged private statement was never confirmed and there is no reason to think that he made any such statement denying the rights of atheists. "Reading and hearing about" such claims does not make them "more than alleged". GHW Bush did a lot of damage during his single term, but it had nothing to do with religion.

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This and other such claims are all based on the same source of the accusation, Robert Sherman alone, who did not record the supposedly detailed account and has no evidence that it occurred in any such form.

Has Bush denied saying it?

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This and other such claims are all based on the same source of the accusation, Robert Sherman alone, who did not record the supposedly detailed account and has no evidence that it occurred in any such form.

Has Bush denied saying it?

As far as I know he considered Sherman to be too small to bother with at all. He didn't owe him anything and granting a denial or interview would only give him public attention and feed his political controversy, of no value to Bush. Whatever we think of GHW Bush's administration and his political philosophy, which were worse in most respects than Bush-II, he had no reason to do that. Whatever Bush's personal views on atheism he surely knew that atheists have the same legal and political rights as everyone else and his personal views on the subject had nothing to do with his actions as President. He had more important things to worry about and mess up.

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This and other such claims are all based on the same source of the accusation, Robert Sherman alone, who did not record the supposedly detailed account and has no evidence that it occurred in any such form.

Has Bush denied saying it?

As far as I know he considered Sherman to be too small to bother with at all. He didn't owe him anything and granting a denial or interview would only give him public attention and feed his political controversy, of no value to Bush. Whatever we think of GHW Bush's administration and his political philosophy, which were worse in most respects than Bush-II, he had no reason to do that. Whatever Bush's personal views on atheism he surely knew that atheists have the same legal and political rights as everyone else and his personal views on the subject had nothing to do with his actions as President. He had more important things to worry about and mess up.

Beliefs like Bush senior's are commonplace among conservatives, and should not be hard to fathom. To quote another "great conservative," Jack Kemp said this, and I heard it quite a few times with my own ears, "In America, we have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." I kid you not. This was like a catch phrase of his for a while. The context was usually about atheists protesting taxpayer dollars being spent on public nativity scenes, and also school prayer, which was big, starting in the Reagan days.

Limbaugh has reverence for men like Buckley, Bush, and Kemp. And Rush insults atheists often. That means most of us, I would hope and presume.

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