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Atlas Shrugged

I listened to a few more hours of Atlas Shrugged. I'm up to the part where Hank and Dagny have just found the engine and are trying to find the designer.

The book is full of 50s cliches and some of them are terribly offensive. Like the fact that every time Dagny takes a lover she is supposedly thinking about wanting to be conquered? Bullshit. To want that, a strong personality like hers really has to be being forced to lead when she doesn't want to, and nothing else about her suggests that in the slightest.

I was also struck by the corruption that is going on around them. I realize that this was not Rand's intention, but it reminds me nothing so much of the Bush administration. Sure, their motives were different, but their means are very much the same.

And for the book not being explicitly religious or irreligious, there is a definite undercurrent of anti-Christian sentiment. The notions of purity she keeps dissing, like with Hank's hang-ups. And with the motivations behind some of the laws being passed. They are extreme, but in their extremity, their Christian roots just stand out all the more. And they strike me as being particularly Orwellian. Like the "Equalization of Opportunity Bill". Opportunity, to me, always referred to things like equal access to public education, and not being discriminated against for no good reason. But what this bill is doing is destroying the meritocracy. And in sorta a quasi-socialist, quasi-fascist way. The scheme is nothing if not insane. And because it seems so terribly unlikely, it weakens the argument I think Rand is trying to make.

I'm a little bit past the 10% mark now, maybe 12%.

If nothing else, it's giving me an insight into the couple of Objectivists I know. I was chatting with one of them on Thursday, and I think he has a messed up conception of my viewpoint, not to mention political science in general. The biggest mistake he made was challenging me to a debate. He thinks I'm some kind of socialist, but while I do lean left, I'm not a socialist. I take what I like from dozens of worldviews. I haven't yet found a label I care to adopt, or one that fits me particularly well. He assumes that by labeling me he knows what to expect in such a debate. He would be mistaken. He also freely admits to being essentially a lazy debater: he likes logical debates, but doesn't enjoy the research. I do enjoy the research, which is why I'd walk all over him in a formal debate. Fortunately for him, I don't think he was serious.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Ayn Rand frustrates the hell out of me. Like, I get where she's going but then I think, damn, that world view is so bitter, self-serving, and shallow and then I'm sad because her books have merit.
Jul. 21st, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. I know quite a few objectivists online and they seem to share that bitter, self-serving view. They are so into the breaking away from society out of fear of statism that they actually want to privatize all roads.

But there are some things I like, and like every other philosophy I've ever read, I'll take what I like, discard what I don't. But, it's no worse than reading Plato or Aristotle and having to reject some of their mystical, metaphysical crap.

I doubt I will ever find a philosophy I'm willing to entirely embrace. Truth is, I'm not that good a follower and I prefer to think for myself.
And my thinking is better than average. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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