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02 January 2010 @ 06:36 pm

I have to admit that it's tough for me to crap all over Ayn Rand when I haven't read more than a few hundred words of her writing. I could be basing my dislike on a few out of context quotes, but when your philosophy seems to boil down to "every man for his (or her) self" it's difficult to be patient. It's hard to comment on a given work intelligently if it makes you angry to the point where you can't actually force yourself to sit through it.

Reddit, the website that the above image is pulled from, has a demographic that skews towards students, which gives me hope. However to suggest that a person should read nothing as opposed to say, anything, is obviously self-defeating. Instead of suggesting someone should avoid reading a specific book, maybe you should suggest that they read a specific book in its stead. The forth book on the list was Brave New World, which would be great, and further down at sixth was Calvin and Hobbes, even better.

Interesting note, for a long while I believed that the RAND corporation had named itself in tribute to the author. The use of all-caps should have been a dead giveaway to the name being an acronym, but you have to admit there are some eerie parallels.
Current Music: Toxic, Mark Ronson
Benbenicek on January 3rd, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
I'd never heard of Rand, so your post here prompted me to go and google her. Possibly she's less well known here in Europe. I can see how her childhood would have shaped her ideas; an atheist, anti-Bolshevik, anti-Tsarist, Russian Jew, persecuted from all sides. Her rejection of the ideal of sacrifice makes certain sense. Sacrifice, particularly military sacrifice, is a key plank in any kind of totalitarian dogma, the suicide bomber's creed. But she seems to have taken it to extremes, ruling out any sort of tax-funded co-operative enterprise, which is why the right-wing must love her. She died in 1982, so she never saw Enron or the credit crunch. I wonder what she would have made of those. Corporations acting against the interests of their own share holders and investors. She never saw the 'war on terror' either. Possibly she would have despised these as much as she did welfarism.

I wonder what a 'required reading' vote would turn up in Britain. We have no written constitution. Maybe I'd vote for 'Oliver Twist'. We need to be reminded just how awful the good old days were.

Edited at 2010-01-03 12:32 pm (UTC)
ted_slaughterted_slaughter on January 4th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC)
I never actually considered Rand to be distinctly American, and it's hard to come up with an equivalent in British culture since the effects of the Red Scare still have echos in our cultural zeitgeist. I recall Atlas Shrugged being recommended (not required) summer reading during high school, and after Obama was elected POTUS, certain commentators on Fox News recommended that their viewers read the same composition.
It begs for a "Rand is to Reagan as ____ is to Thatcher" analogy.

Also, I'd be interested in what Rand would have to say about the bank and auto company bailouts.