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It's my birfday so I'm taking liberties.

Most atheists are rather fond of peace, you know. And we can't use religious differences as grounds for war so that makes us superior beings. Nevertheless, I shall take liberties with the following worthy words attributed to St Francis of Assisi:

   Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master,
    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive.
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

    Amen.

I sort of take issue with the final phrase in regard to Eternal Life but I'm going to give it an atheist twist that will try Paul Ryan's soul, below the fold.

Herein I repudiate the atheism of the selfish, self-serving, self-centered egotism of Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand by reinterpreting the final phrase of Francis of Assisi's prayer as signifying the death of the Ayn Randian spirit of righteous selfishness in her The Virtue of Selfishness into an individual's recognition of what is owed to the collective history and power of humanity. We did not accomplish what we have accomplished through our singular efforts but rather through the collective works of us all:

Throughout history, man has been offered the following alternative: be “moral” through a life of sacrifice to others—or be “selfish” through a life of sacrificing others to oneself. In The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand blasts this as a false alternative, holding that a selfish, non-sacrificial way of life is both possible and necessary for man.

.... In “The Objectivist Ethics,” Rand gives an outline of her code of rational selfishness, and of her argument establishing it as the only objective, fact-based moral code in human history. In the course of the essay, she raises and answers a fundamental and fascinating question: Why does one even need a morality?

Being “'moral' through a life of sacrifice to others" is not utter self-sacrifice but a mere payment of the "tax", yes, the TAX, damn it, we owe to society and civilization for the benefits we have enjoyed through the collective and aggregate efforts of others.

The idea of rugged individualism is an utter crock, a fairytale generated by fools.

And, I'm stealing the words of Tobias Barrington for the final word on Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand:

Paul Ryan has identified Ayn Rand as his greatest inspiration. Her work has shaped his thinking more than any other single person, throughout his career in politics. Mr. Ryan has made campaign videos extolling the work of Ayn Rand, saying that Rand's writings are "sorely needed" in today's America. According to Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand "more than anyone else" understood "the morality of Capitalism."

That morality is one of selfishness -- the selfishness of the rich, the selfishness of the corporation, the selfishness of the powerful -- joined with utter contempt for the virtues of charity, community, and the imperative to love your neighbor as yourself. Ayn Rand's response to the second of Christ's "greatest commandments" would have been "Forget that. What's mine is mine. You can't have any." That is the "morality of Capitalism" that Paul Ryan is urging upon America. It is a perfect fit for the Vulture Capitalism that Mitt Romney practiced for decades.

Ayn Rand spent a lot of time attacking government programs that are based on a public-minded spirit -- programs like Social Security and Medicare, which aim to ensure that everyone can lead a stable and dignified life in their later years, even if they are not wealthy. .. But make no mistake: Private acts of altruism and charity were equally pathetic and worthless to Ayn Rand. If a disaster struck your community, would you pitch in to help your neighbors, doing what you could to make sure they were safe and had adequate food and shelter? Ayn Rand would ask, "What's in it for me? Where's my profit?" Hers was the Vulture Capitalist response.

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