Ayn Rand Institute Press Release
The Enemy of Prosperity
April 5, 2007
Irvine, CA--In his forthcoming book, the Pope claims that the West, in its pursuit of earthly prosperity, has "plundered and sacked" Africa and other poor regions. "We see how our lifestyle, the history that involved us, has stripped them naked and continues to strip them naked," he writes.
"Contrary to the Pope's statements, the Third World is not impoverished because of Western 'exploitation,'" said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "It is impoverished precisely because it has failed to embrace Western ideals--the very ideals rejected by Christianity.
"The root of the West's prosperity is its distinctive values of reason, science, and capitalism. Rational minds, free to pursue material prosperity, have produced an explosion of wealth and technology--from electricity to automobiles, from medicines to personal computers--that has improved our lives and extended our lifespan.
"It is obvious that the third world has failed to embrace these values, and has instead remained mired in mysticism and tribalism. But Christianity rejects them as well; it teaches us to scorn science and earthly success in favor of prayer and religious asceticism. As Jesus counseled his followers, 'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.' It is bizarre to suggest that the solution to the third world's rampant poverty is a philosophy that idealizes poverty.
"In rejecting the preconditions and goal of prosperity, the Pope makes it clear that his aim is not to see the Third World advance--it is to condemn the West for its commitment to improving and enjoying life on this earth.
"Those who desire better lives for themselves and their families should reject the Pope's immoral message and embrace the values of reason and freedom."
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