The Atlas Society archives hold five compelling essays about Christmas.
The revelries of the December holiday season inevitably are accompanied by sober inquiries about the “true” meaning of Christmas and, too often, somber pronouncements that kill our buzz when a’buzzing we should go. Before you throw down this article...
Winter 2011 issue -- When I think of Christmas, I think about gathering with family, sharing bounteous feasts, warming up in front of a roaring fire after shoveling the snow off the steps, decorating a tree, singing carols, and watching familiar TV...
The holiday season is a time for spiritual reflection, celebration, and frenzied commerce. These activities might seem incompatible. They are not, and that's what makes this such a joyous season. Christmas commemorates the birth of a child whom many see as manifesting the highest aspirations of the human spirit. But what exactly...
The Christmas catalogs start arriving in September, a trickle that becomes a flood by Thanksgiving. They pile up in colorful drifts until it’s time for my favorite part of Christmas: choosing gifts for the people on my list. Christmas has roots in...
December 2006 -- It’s a Wonderful Life. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, Todd Karns, Samuel S. Hinds, and H.B. Warner. Screenplay by Frances...
Ed Hudgins posted a link to his "Four Cs" on the GaltsGulchOnline discussion board. There, in my comments, I pointed to one from Rebirth of Reason because it directly contradicted Robert L. Jones' endorsement of It's a Wonderful Life.
On that last, reviewer Robert L. Jones wrote:
"However, I’ve learned first-hand that professing my love for this film is sure to provoke arguments with those who accept the ethics of rational individualism. On its face, the message of the film appears to endorse self-sacrifice for the good of others. But I disagree with that interpretation—and that’s the reason for this special review. In fact, I think that the choices made by George Bailey during his life were truly wonderful, embodying a full and proper conception of personal, long-term self-interest."
Indeed, back in 2002, this appeared on "Rebirth of Reason"
It's a Thankless Life: The "doormat syndrome" and George Bailey
by Alison Randall
It's the holiday season again, and television viewers will be treated to the same lineup of Christmas classic movies and specials, with several common elements: altruism, redemption, and depression.
That provoked a good discussion, with Chris Sciabarra (editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies) speaking up for the film, as did Philip Coates, another knowledgeable Objectivist.
I will point out here that in explaining her theory of aesthetics, Rand focussed on plot and theme (and invented plot-theme as an integration of the two standing as a separate concept). She did not endorse or condemn novels or films solely on the basis of their apparent ideology. The works of Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoevsky come to mind on that account.
Also at GaltsGulchOnline, writer "ObjectiveAnalyst" posted a link to his own blog and his essay on "Ayn Rand on Christmas."
Those are especially important, and I created this as an Activism Report, because despite its name, GaltsGulchOnline is not an Objectivist forum. Like Michael Stuart Kelly's ObjectivistLiving, the Gulch is open to just about anyone who can keep their decorum online while discussing issues of the day. It is my estimate that attracted by the Atlas Shrugged movies, most of the writers and readers in the Gulch are conservatives.
Sometimes we argue religion and it goes nowhere, of course. Mostly, we maintain a laissez faire attitude about it. But that just underlies many deeper rifts. Some writers, such as ObjectiveAnalyst and one "ewv", clearly have well-developed conceptual understandings of the principles of Objectivism. (ewv often takes me to task. I once posited in jest that ewv is Dr. Leonard Peikoff. ) But generally, the content in the Gulch is mainstream traditional American values of hard work, reason, facts, science and technology, open markets, and affirmative art. And those are consonant with Objectivism.
That is why I suggest that as easily as we in our daily lives speak among our friends of those values, so, too, it might do us well to tell our friends why an atheist would celebrate Christmas.