Carter is worried, you see, because lots of conservatives and professed Christians—Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), and Rush Limbaugh among them—have said nice things about the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in the last couple of years.
What they don't seem to have noticed that her writing conveys "the same philosophy" [strident italics in original] as Anton LeVay's 1969 classic The Satanic Bible. Conservatives and Christians who feel OK crediting Rand with influencing their intellectual development wouldn't pledge allegiance to Satan, would they?
Carter's fundamental point is legit. One cannot fully embrace both Christianity and Objectivism. As he notes:
Conservative Christians who embrace [Rand] as the "enemy-of-my-enemy" seem to forget that she considered us the enemy.
True enough. Donald Luskin made this very point in The Wall Street Journal a couple of months ago. As did Rand herself. But sweet mother of Rand, why drag the Prince of Darkness into this?
Lots of people are influenced by Rand without buying her arguments wholesale—including Anton LeVay. (The same is true of Jesus, incidentally.) Ta da! Problem solved. You can be a Christian and read Rand without descending (ascending?) immediately into LeVayan Satanism.
Carter says he's not trying to offer a guilt-by-association ad hominem argument in his wonderfully overwrought First Things essay. But it's pretty clear that's exactly what he is doing: Rand=LeVay=Satan, and you hate Satan, right?
Carter isn't just late to the Rand-is-back party, he's even late to the Rand-is-Satan party. Andrew Sullivan has been on the Rand=Satan beat for a while now. His research on the connection is also incomplete: Carter missed the utterly batty Ayn-Rand-was-Phillip-Rothschild's-satanic-mistress angle altogether. For shame.
Enjoy Reason's juicy, relatively Satan-free archive of Randania here.