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This diary is the expansion of and revisions to a comment I made in an excellent diary by Scott Wooledge: The Virtue of Selfishness: Romney, Ryan and Rand

Please recommend that diary.  

The Christian fundamentalist right will never admit it, but in terms of actual beliefs and practice, and not just lip service, the Romney/Ryan ticket is a deeply anti-Christian ticket.  It's about self and ego over all others.  But it's not just anti-Christian. The Romney/Ryan ethic is antithetical not only to Christ's teachings, but to Judaism's core precepts, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, most other religions, and most non-religious ethical systems.  

For example, utilitarianism's core principle is the greatest good for the greatest number.  Now it can get very complex, as my friend Neil the Ethical Werewolf (a philosophy professor) has explained to me, but the core principle generally does not say that selfishness (the greatest good for me and screw you Jack) is the defining principle.  Kantian systems tend to look at the good of the action and not at its consequences the way utilitarians do.  Now I'm way out of my league here, so I'll stop. The point is that most major non-religious ethical systems reject egoism as the defining principle.  (Randian Objectivism is not a major system, and laughable in the field, but Ryan loves it and Romney lives it.)  

Most religious and ethical systems of thought seek to balance the egoism of self with compassion for others and (with respect to religions generally) the idea of a power (God) or precepts greater than mere self-seeking.  Something more than the self is the name of the game.  For many, it is God and a conception that "I am not God" is deep within both Judaism and Christianty (the First Commandment)  

For Romney and Ryan, the self is their God.  Their entire lives and philosophies are blasphemous in the eyes of the Lord in Christian and Judaic thought.  (also Islam, and Buddhism is all about not-self, which is considered to be an illusion)  And that is a problem for folks who are voting, even if they do not always consciously notice this.  They feel it.  It hits home in a deep way.  

Note how Obama keeps talking about "we are our brother's keepers; we are our sister's keepers."  He talks about how we are one nation, a community.  Patriotism itself is an aspect of not-self.  When a soldier risks his life for his or her nation, it's not all about self.  (This is why McCain never approached the negatives Romney has)  

President Obama is excellent at using pre-existing narratives (and this is a big one to many) to make points that are entangled with politics.  

We all are selfish at times.  But most people seek, using another Obamaism quoting Lincoln, "the better angels of our nature."  

Look at popular movies.  The hero sacrifices for others, protects others.  Take Batman.  Wealthy beyond imagination, he uses that wealth for the good of others, even at the risk of his own life and happiness.  And who are the villians?  Greedy, selfish people.

It's all through our movies and literature, both reinforcing core religious and ethical principles and being reinforced by them.      

"Atlass Shrugged" recently failed as a movie.  Why?  Part of it is that the sense of self-sacrifice and not being selfish is deep in most people, whether religious or not.  In this culture, it is part of who we are.  Even people that are very selfish try to portray their selfishness as really good for others also.  

It is this undercurrent that is driving people away from Romney and Ryan and will continue to do so.  It reaches the gut of a voter.  Over and over the TV commericals show Romney as a selfish person.  Meanwhile, President Obama is known to the American public.  Outside of the haters, people do not see him as personally selfish.  He seems friendly, generous, a decent man.

I know Romney gives millions to his church, but the arc of his life is about self, not others.    

Most parents tell children to share.   My daughter was an only child, but we told her anyway. Certainly most siblings learn to share.  It's not the only value, and we still are selfish at times, but it is a core value.  

Various levels of this is in us.  The central message of the Christian narrrative is self-sacrifice.  The central message of the Randian narrative that Romney appears to have lived and Ryan endorsed is self.  Just self.

Seen through this lens, no amount of Koch Brothers money will elect Mitt Romney.  Regardless of specific issues, the undercurrents of this theme are killing Romney's chances.

And putting Ryan on the ticket just made it worse.

Originally posted to TomP on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 10:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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