Friday, December 24, 2010

Capitalist Christmas

Christmas has arrived, and it certainly is more than just a "big celebrity birthday" as Dave Letterman joked in his monologue of Dec. 23, 2010. The CBS censors cut that bit from their Late Show webpage so don't bother checking.
Christmas is ostensibly a religious holiday (but it really is nothing of the kind) and the modern celebrations associated with it, have been criticized for being too commercial, too material and too gleeful, for a religion that worships self-sacrifice and rebirth into the after-life. Since Christianity (and several other religions) have a large antilife component, the celebration of the birth of a saviour deserves a more serious tone according to Christian orthodoxy.
In a wonderful essay, first delivered on a radio show fifteen years ago, Leonard Peikoff explains how the Christmas celebrated today by Canadians and Americans was an invention of post-Civil War America, a creation of "the happiest nation in history."
Dr. Peikoff was born a Canadian (Winnipeg, Manitoba) in 1933, and became heir and executor of the estate of Ayn Rand upon her death. I first read his work in The Objectivist magazine 40 years ago. Today he is a leading advocate of Objectivism and founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. His essay is published annually in Capitalism Magazine and can be viewed here. Enjoy, and Happy Christmas!      

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