Ayn Rand, very interesting, I have only skimmed shallowly through her ideas previously and they make me a bit afraid. I have not judged her and her points of view out of principle, since I have hardly read anything at all, but I don't think I can move past some of these things to actually give her a chance. It is most unfortunate that I can seriously study the thoughts at oppose my own, it will only limit my horizon, but there is a level of pain and there are other paths to widen my gaze.
I fully agree that cultural bias clouds things, but it's interesting that you mention 'patriotic' since here there has long been a counter reaction to this and is seen as something ugly in the general public. Waving our country flag, singing the anthem and celebrating the national day isn't practices much at all compared to neighbouring countries, and nowhere near the pride Americans have. This crisis of identity is fertile ground for the racism that is sweeping though Europe.
FWIW, my opinions towards socialism are grounded more in the writings of Ayn Rand (an atheist) than they are from any religion. I doubt that would shed much light to aid my position, and I don't agree with Rand wholesale (there are some points she makes, or rather doesn't make, about the "worth" of an average "joe guy" individual that don't make sense to me), but from a purely political POV I think she sums the matter up quite well. It is not in my interest to speak ill of existing political systems, but I think recent history does that well enough in many cases, while a few exceptions do seem to hold on. As with any patriotic propaganda, sometimes it can be difficult to see beyond the nationalist sentiment...and that includes myself and my country.
I've been thinking about it and it's probably true that socialism and religion don't go well together. But being from a socialist country 'socialism' doesn't really stand out the same way that it does for an American. I will give it some more thought and search the internet for some causations and correlations.
OK, well, I hardly think it requires a belief in conspiracy to note the close association between socialism and atheism in many, if not most, institutions of higher learning. While I do believe a healthy dose of scepticism and critical thinking are essential, that is not what I see being taught at all. Rather students seem to end up mindlessly mimicking rote endorsing a socialist agenda, and it seems to me (without having any direct proof) that a lot of liberal foundations are only too happy to further this end with generous donations. Hardly anything conspiratorial. More of an observation of the disintegration of learning.
Hmmm, I might have misunderstood you. You where talking about socialism, I assumed you were talking about politics. But I don't see the connection between socialism, atheism and academia. Could you please clarify before I go forward passing judgement on you*?
"...or else some multimillion dollar grant from a liberal foundation looking to forward a socialist agenda by planting the seeds of doubt in young minds."
Waoh, that came from nowhere, you always seem line such a well rounded guy, but this is pretty much conspiracy level.