Randians and the Middle Ages
At a Randian site, The New Clarion, the blogger starts off with your standard Randian attack on the Middle Ages as a period of utter darkness and horror in which men of the mind directed their thoughts to otherworldly fantasies of God while “human beings screamed in agony—decaying from starvation, eaten by leprosy and plague, dying in droves in their twenties.” Right out of John Galt’s speech about how Christians are as evil as Communists. Then the commenter Madmax, who fears and loathes me as an obscurantist Christian racist and reluctantly agrees with some of my points, quotes at length from my 2005 entry, “Response to reader who denies that Christianity has contributed anything to the West,” which is mainly a summary and defense of the Middle Ages (500 to 1500 A.D.). Madmax says Randians need to know something about history, and not just use (Randian) clichés when speaking about it—almost a heretical idea in Randian circles. The discussion goes on from there.
Alan Levine writes:
I cannot agree too strongly with your comments about the idiocy of the Randian view of the Middle Ages. In fact, they were even worse than you thought! Apart from the fact that the Church obviously was THE civilizing agent in most of the Middle Ages, it did not in fact oppose the development of science, or any other learning, until modern times. In fact, the roots of experimental science, as men like Crombie and White showed generations ago, lie in the High Middle Ages and were cultivated by high churchmen such as Grosseteste. The Middle Ages, even the early Middle Ages, saw a vast advance in technology. It was the late period of Classical Civilization, after the Hellenistic period, and especially after the first century A.D, that was the real period of stagnation in which little or nothing positive, other than Christianization, took place. These Randians are a bunch of know nothings. For that matter, so are most of the libertarians I have encountered.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 13, 2011 09:43 AM | Send