Print Story Should I read "Atlas Shrugged"?
Religion & Philosophy
By dmg (Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:24:33 PM EST) (all tags)
Although I pose as some sort of Libertarian on the Internet, I have yet to subject myself to the writings of Ms Rand.

So, I know some of you have ploughed through "Atlas Shrugged", my question is, should I bother?

I have  a very short attention span. Is Ms Rand's work worth the effort I would have to put in?

To put it another way: will my 31337 trolling sk1llz benefit from a large dose of Objectivism or not?


 
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Should I read "Atlas Shrugged"? | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
'Atlas Shrugged' was a tough slog, especially by chuckles (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:55:34 PM EST
Galt's radio speech. I thought The Fountainhead wasn't too bad (except at one point there is a distractingly unrealistic trial and jury verdict).

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
The Fountainhead by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:00:40 AM EST
was an awesome movie. Replete with Meaningful Glances.
--
[ Parent ]
I read a library copy by dr k (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 02:25:11 AM EST
of Anthem a few months ago. Immature, flimsy, terrible. Then I read the first fifty or so pages of The Fountainhead, which was excitingly homoerotic. I mean the young architect guy wakes up in the flat of the rich older architect guy and doesn't remember the previous night, maybe I misinterpreted.

The only problem with reading Rand is you have to make sure to hide the cover of the book in public, because people might see it as an invitation to come talk to you about their favorite book (and the only one they've read voluntarily since grade school).

:| :| :| :| :|

The sexy stuff in The Fountainhead is great by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 04:53:47 AM EST
You can practically hear her drool dripping onto the manuscript. I reckon Rand would have been pretty good in bed.

Actually what I've found in the UK is hardly anyone has heard of her. I read it on the Tube without any funny looks. She's definitely more of an American thing.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
I'm reading "The Fountainhead" at the mo by nebbish (4.00 / 2) #3 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 04:50:12 AM EST
It's actually a pretty good read, fast paced, lots going on, she actually writes very well in a strange sort of way; but it's fiction, so it's a little bit difficult to grasp what she's driving at philosophically. It's also faintly ridiculous - she seems to be deriving a philosophy based on the actions of a load of characters she's made up in her own head. It has very little relation to the real world.

I was considering reading "Atlas Shrugged" after, but if I do ever read it it'll be a long time in the future. I'm getting a bit fed up with her after 600 pages.

It's been a pleasant surprise though, I thought I'd hate it but it's pretty good in a weird way and certainly unusual.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

I understand why people write like that by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 3) #10 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:01:02 AM EST
they want to make philosophy approachable by wrapping it in a story. But you're absolutely right - I'm tired of people who use the behavior of characters in books to "prove" philosophical points.

Not just Rand; I've heard people use Heinlein in defense of libertarianism (and anarchy) and other books to justify various forms of collectivism.

Ugh. I have to stop thinking about it. Every time I start thinking about how stupid most people are my politics start shifting back to totalitarianism.


An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Heinlein by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:30:40 AM EST
I read Starship Troopers cos I loved the film so much. He seems to be missing that essential satirical edge :) Should read some more some time though, it was enjoyable.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Starship Troopers by lm (4.00 / 1) #12 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:34:51 AM EST
The real film adaption of Starship Troopers was, oddly enough, entitled Aliens.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I still claim that Haldeman should have sued by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 07:08:33 PM EST
over adapting the Forever War without paying him.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
You can't copyright a plot arc by lm (2.00 / 0) #16 Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 11:55:16 AM EST
You can only copyright specific words that are used to lay out a plot arc.

Which is why, given the litigious nature of the western world, there are actually relatively few copyright infringement suits that make it to court.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
not the point by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #17 Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 06:37:06 PM EST
I'm not about to watch the movie. The point is that Haldeman stole Starship Troopers lock, stock, and power suit. The difference between the two books is that one is written by an Annapolis grad that was kicked out for medical reasons before Pearl Harbor and one was tried greatly to dispute his drafting into Viet Nam by conscience objector (doesn't work well for atheists). He set off airport alarms due to retained shrapnel before 9/11.

Heinlein once wrote that Starship Troopers was not only pro-soldier propaganda, he stopped writing Stranger in a Strange Land and started writing Starship Troopers in response to Eisenhower's stopping atomic testing. Change the propaganda and you have Forever War.

Wumpus

I guess this is one of my weirder and easier buttons to push. I suppose it started when I managed to take ENGL02nn Science Fiction as a creditable fluff course. Favorite "fat pitch" exam question "discuss Heinlein's influence on "Forever War" (Starship Troopers was not mentioned in class).

[ Parent ]
That's not an unreasonable point by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 06:59:05 PM EST
But that sort of theft is a question of morality rather than of law.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I forgot to mention your objection. by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 06:40:29 PM EST
There has been at least one patent granted for a plot arc. I wouldn't count on a judge ruling against any claim that strengthens copyright these days.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
patents are entirely another matter by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 06:56:05 PM EST
But with regards to any civil lawsuit, I would never count on a judge for anything.

But in the case of copyright infringement and plot arcs there is a massive amount of case law as well as a large number of suits every year. It takes a rather spectacular situation for any to prevail.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Totally right on by SunlightGirl (2.00 / 0) #22 Sun Jun 07, 2009 at 11:33:02 PM EST
Which is why you see scifi movie come out and it seems like right before it is to release some knock off or right afterwards comes out with very similar plot.

So few original thoughts out there.
Oh fuck the ponies - fuck it all...
[ Parent ]
He was a big fan of Man with a capital M. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 2) #13 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:56:20 AM EST
And, of women with a capital "Boobies" - although by today's standards his stuff is all very tame and between-the-lines.

Probably his best pieces are The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - which is basically his book about anarchy, Stranger in a Strange Land which combines religion with more sex than you can shake a hello-kitty vibrator at, and Friday - artificial assassin girl faces prejudice and gang rape but still wins the lottery.



An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
irrelevant observation by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #5 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 05:00:54 AM EST
As an atheist, I can't stand to read Dawkins.

More relevantly, Les Dawson was a good bad piano player because he was a good piano player in the first place. Wikipedia confirms so it must be true.


A more fulsome critique by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #6 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 06:11:26 AM EST
Can be found in a previous diary


Skip Rand and shoot for Nozick by lm (4.00 / 3) #7 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 07:12:48 AM EST
A while ago ni pointed me towards Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia which is fairly readable and a good attempt at providing a philosophical underpinning to Libertarianism. Nozick is also famous for pointing out that Rand's Objectivism is anchored in an enormous case of question begging, she can't explain why self interest is rational and yet she claims to have done so.

The only reason I would bother to read Atlas Shrugged would be to try to better understand the likes of Alan Greenspan.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Yes, very definitely. by Fela Kuti (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 08:39:05 AM EST
Especially if you are a fan of dime-store philosophy and do not plan on maturing past the mind-set of your average 18-year old. But, despite all that good stuff, I have to warn you: as a story-teller and stylist, Rand falls somewhere between a bad Harlequin Romance novel and the back of a cereal box.


Ayn Rand > Victor Hugo by Alan Crowe (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:58:44 PM EST
I was intrigued by Bryan Caplan's post
Ayn Rand, the Russian-American Victor Hugo
, but I have a feeling that I will never get round to reading Victor Hugo for myself, so I will never know if his comparison is reasonable.

Depends on your patience by SunlightGirl (4.00 / 1) #21 Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 11:33:09 PM EST
I finished Atlas Shrugged just a couple months ago.I do like part of the concepts presented esp as USA under Obama seems to be moving toward socialist type government where he thinks it is the neighborly thing for the rich to give up some of their earned wealth at higher levels to help those who are poorer.

Lomg read won't lie to you. One of those read it once in your life and never again kind of books unless you are really into Rand.
Oh fuck the ponies - fuck it all...
(Comment Deleted) by SunlightGirl (4.00 / 1) #23 Sun Jun 07, 2009 at 11:34:13 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by SunlightGirl



Should I read "Atlas Shrugged"? | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback