Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand wrote that “the charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says ‘Merry Christmas’–not ‘Weep and Repent.'”

With that in mind, the proper source of Christmas cheer is not religion, but commercialism, said an Ayn Rand Institute senior writer. “The commercialism of Christmas, its emphasis on ingenuity, pleasure, and gift buying, is the holiday’s best aspect–because it is a celebration, the achievement of life,” said Andrew Bernstein.

“One of the best legacies of the Industrial Revolution is the fact that it transformed Christmas from a time of self-denial and lament to a time of celebration and good will. Only a life-enhancing society could create such a secular, non-religious celebration.” Bernstein added that Santa Claus, with his focus on rewarding the good whether they are rich or poor, is the perfect symbol of the secular Christmas holiday.

Another Ayn Rand scholar, Leonard Peikoff author of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, in his essay Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial agrees with Bernstein, noting that,

…the Puritans denounced Santa as the Anti-Christ, because he pushed Jesus to the background. Furthermore, Santa implicitly rejected the whole Christian ethics. He did not denounce the rich and demand that they give everything to the poor; on the contrary, he gave gifts to rich and poor children alike. Nor is Santa a champion of Christian mercy or unconditional love. On the contrary, he is for justice — Santa gives only to good children, not to bad ones.

“Santa Claus is, in literal terms, the anti-Christ,” said Bernstein. “He is about joy, justice, and material gain, not suffering, forgiveness, and denial.”

But Santa Claus is also a symbol of good will, and thus is the appropriate holiday symbol of America, a country that, because of its material prosperity, can inspire good will in all of its citizens.”

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Chris Wolski

The author is a contributing writer to Capitalism Magazine.

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