... but not quite so strange when you think about it.
Calvin and Rand would be appalled by each other. The austere and devout Calvin was among the most radical of Protestant Christians. Rand was an uncompromising atheist. Calvin ruled Geneva as a religious dictator. Calvin was a theocrat, not a political ideologue (though to my mind that's a very fine distinction). Rand continues to profoundly influence American social and economic policy on the state and federal level. She was an ideologue and certainly not a theocrat.
And yet, there are growing ties between American right wing and fundamentalist Christians and the followers of Rand, with many (such as Glenn Beck) now claiming a dual identity as Randians and Christians.
All the Randians I've ever known were atheists and militantly anti-clerical, so this tea-party fusion with right-wing Christianity takes me by surprise.
American Christian fundamentalism, in all fairness, is a grotesque parody of Calvinism, but it is Calvinist nonetheless. Calvinist Christianity is the only form of the religion that rewards material success. Prosperity in this world is a sign of God's favor, the reward of righteousness (I can't think of anything more opposite of St. Francis, or even Martin Luther). American evangelical Christianity, and Mormonism (Glenn Beck's church), have deep roots in Calvinism.
I notice that Fundamentalists and Randians both jealously guard their sacred texts.
They share supremacism. They both divide humankind into the Worthy and the Unworthy, with the Worthy rightfully in charge of everything and owning it all. The Unworthy are fit only for punishment or for service to the Worthy. All solutions to social ills must be punitive. There are no structural injustices, no systemic failures. There is no real misfortune. There are only failures of individual character. Unworthiness is the wage of unrighteousness and flawed character. Only the rod of righteousness will set the slackers and sinners back on the straight and narrow. I think that this is what's behind the War on the Unemployed that's going on in Congress right now with millions of people consigned to Unworthiness through the misfortune of unemployment. It is all of a piece with a very supremacist view of the world.
It would also explain the son of a devout Randian, Rand Paul, speaking in an evangelical church in Kentucky (complete with lucite lectern in the background) to a gathering of mostly fundamentalist home schoolers.
No one chooses the circumstances into which they are born. The "playing field" of life is never level. Those who have already helped themselves to more than enough will always tilt the field in their favor and in favor of their own kind. It is human nature. We are mortal creatures who live three score and ten, and then we die. Misfortune, illness, accident, and vulnerability are facts of mortality. Those who help themselves at the expense of others are criminals. Those who need our help in times of calamity (like mass unemployment) are our neighbors. We help them because they are us, and because we are vulnerable to disaster ourselves. The life of invulnerability and unmitigated triumph is an illusion, as big an illusion as a life of painlessness and ever gratified desire. Other people have just as real and legitimate a claim upon this world as ourselves. We must share one world with other people who have their claim upon it as we have ours. We succeed because others made our success possible. Our success opens up new possibilities, blazes new trails, for our neighbors, as they have for us.
It turns out that the bulk of those millions of lazy shiftless unemployed leeching off society are formerly middle class people, many of whom are now facing destitution. Anyone who has stayed awake for five minutes in a history class knows that huge numbers of middle class people made poor is a recipe for disaster.