I promised to say something about John Michael Greer, the Archdruid, in July 2011. I finally found something of his worth quoting. Better late than never!
Third, civil religions share with theist religions a curious and insufficiently studied phenomenon that may as well be called the antireligion. An antireligion is a movement within a religious community that claims to oppose that community’s faith, in a distinctive way: it embraces essentially all of its parent religion’s beliefs, but inverts the values, embracing as good what the parent religion defines as evil, and rejecting as evil what the parent religion defines as good.I couldn't resist the juxtaposition of Satanism with Objectivism. I'm not the first to make that connection, which goes all the way back to Anton LaVey himself, as noted by Joe Carter at First Things.
The classic example of the type is Satanism, the antireligion of Christianity. In its traditional forms—the conservative Christians among my readers may be interested to know that Satanism also suffers from modernist heresies—Satanism accepts essentially all of the presuppositions of Christianity, but says with Milton’s Satan, “Evil, be thou my good.” Thus you’ll have to look long and hard among even the most devout Catholics to find anyone more convinced of the spiritual power of the Catholic Mass than an old-fashioned Satanist; it’s from that conviction that the Black Mass, the parody of the Catholic rite that provides traditional Satanism with its central ceremony, gains whatever power it has.
Antireligions are at least as common among civil religions as they are among theist faiths... Communism has its antireligion, which was founded by the Russian expatriate Ayn Rand and has become the central faith of much of America’s current pseudoconservative movement. There is of course nothing actually conservative about Rand’s Objectivism; it’s simply what you get when you accept the presuppositions of Marxism—atheism, materialism, class warfare, and the rest of it—but say “Evil, be thou my good” to all its value judgments. If you’ve ever wondered why so many American pseudoconservatives sound as though they’re trying to imitate the cackling capitalist villains of traditional Communist demonology, now you know.
Perhaps most are unaware of the connection, though LaVey wasn’t shy about admitting his debt to his inspiration. “I give people Ayn Rand with trappings,” he once told the Washington Post. On another occasion he acknowledged that his brand of Satanism was “just Ayn Rand’s philosophy with ceremony and ritual added.” Indeed, the influence is so apparent that LaVey has been accused of plagiarizing part of his “Nine Satanic Statements” from the John Galt speech in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.I also can't resist pointing out that the Pournelle Chart shows both Communism and Objectivism enthrone Reason, which makes both anti-conservative according to Pournelle's definition. Where they differ is their attitude to the State. Communism worships it, at least as the personification of the will of the collective, while Objectivism thinks of it as the ultimate necessary evil, allowing only the military, police, and courts as its legitimate functions. That makes Objectivism the funhouse mirror reflection of Communism, exactly the point Greer is making.
Devotees of Rand may object to my outlining the association between the two. They will say I am proposing “guilt by association,” a form of the ad hominem fallacy. But I am not attacking Rand for the overlap of her views with LaVey’s; I am saying that, at their core, they are the same philosophy. LaVey was able to recognize what many conservatives fail to see: Rand’s doctrines are satanic.
For more of my musings about the Pournelle Chart, read Food Fight! Thoughts on liberalism and conservatism inspired by the Preface to Food, Inc. and James Howard Kunstler swims against the stream on marriage equality. Pournelle doesn't have it completely right, but he has produced a useful tool.