Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

Strangely compelling despite the preachy prose and ham-fisted philosophy. Almost thou persuadest me to be an Objectivist…but first, lose the 50-page long oratory, Ms. Rand.

Free love, atheism, ultra-capitalism. Even ultra-chaste Mormons forgive Rand the first two.

Who is John Galt? Filthy rich. What else matters?

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7 thoughts on “Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

  1. I still can’t imagine why Mormons think Objectivism and Mormonism are even compatible.

    Plus the premise of her book—the world collapses if the “giants” go on strike—is pretty lame. Her assumption is that no one will come to pick up the slack. In her view there is an elitist class of individuals, and without them, the world goes to hell in a hand basket. Eh, I shrug at that. Go on, Mr. Galt, strike. I’m educated enough to take your place.

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  2. I don’t think Dan actually read the whole thing. Sounds like the same regurgitated complains that people have had against AS since it was written. And yes, one of Rand’s points is that if you are capable, you CAN take John Galt’s place.

    I love it. It’s one of the starting points for Libertarian thought. I’m glad you read it, Ronan. And yes, very atheist in its sense of trashing all religion, but honestly, what religion is spotless? They’re all wrong, but we do the best we can within them.

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  3. David,

    You’re right, I have not read the book. I started reading the Fountainhead, and could not get past the ridiculousness of the stick-figure characters. So I read some of the reviews of Atlas Shrugged, and saw that she didn’t change her style any. If those kinds of peoples are your heroes, hey, whatever floats your boat.

    My problem with Rand is that she saw the evil of Leninism and assumed that anything that even remotely goes in that direction is bad. That includes religion too. I doubt she had kind words about Mormonism.

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  4. David J., just a quick comment to say I can’t quite believe you called Atlas Shrugged “one of the starting points for Libertarian thought.” First of all, it comes a couple hundred years too late to take that credit — libertarianism is, of course, an outgrowth of the Western liberal tradition and thus has starting points in Hobbes and Locke if not earlier. But, second, Ayn Rand’s influence in modern libertarian philosophy is virtually nil. Most of her ideas weren’t original and the ones that were — including the Darwinist celebration of the elites that Dan objected to — haven’t really stuck.

    Rand is successful at appealing to young folks and at popularizing a philosophical tradition that otherwise is a bit inaccessible. But she’s certainly not an innovator, and even less a starting point for libertarianism.

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  5. Funny. When I picked this book up in the summer I felt like I was reading some secret thing. Turns out all of you Yanks have read it. Rand is not even on the radar in the UK, but it would seem Atlas Shrugged is required reading for college freshmen in the US. I’m sure that means something deep.

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  6. Ronan,

    It appears that young teenage males, fresh out of high school, filled with angst find some sort of sollace in Rand’s philosophy. They love raging against the machine. But then they grow up and many leave her behind.

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