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Author Topic: The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged  (Read 10583 times)
Fmr President & Senator Polnut
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« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2011, 08:18:22 am »
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One thing that seems pretty clear... she really didn't like women did she?
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« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2011, 12:36:20 pm »
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One thing that seems pretty clear... she really didn't like women did she?


Perhaps she just didn't like the characteristics traditionally associated with women by people like you, you male chauvinist.

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« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2011, 11:12:47 pm »
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One thing that seems pretty clear... she really didn't like women did she?


Perhaps she just didn't like the characteristics traditionally associated with women by people like you, you male chauvinist.

Wink 

Ah yes! That must be it Wink
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« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2012, 04:05:04 pm »
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Just ordered a copy of Atlas Shrugged.  I don't agree with most aspects of Rand's philosophy, but Anthem enticed me... even though that book definitely exaggerates collectivism.
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« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2012, 09:12:00 pm »
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I too am reading Atlas Shrugged. It is, simply put, challenging. It is 1,000 pages (not too much of a challenge, I just read Nixonland) and is very (almost too) descriptive. Rand’s philosophy is something I only half agree with. Her defense of the common man and his capacity to well in society is something I have always believed in and agree with. But the attacks on religion really bugged me. Rands philosophy states (a description was in the back of the book) that “facts are facts, A is A”. If one believes in God, then one should look at Gods existence as “fact” and “reason”. Rand also glorifies the common sociopath. I like the book, and I like the respect she held for the common man, but all in all, I find it was poorly written.

I just watched these videos today, and I thought they gave a good insight into Rand’s views and personality.




Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzGFytGBDN8
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUwTHn-9hhU&feature=related
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N4KbLbGYgk&feature=related
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q7cje1I3VM&feature=related
Part 5:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfqq4VKh1xM&list=UUNTrCzThyx2lV9B0KuM4RBg&index=36&feature=plcp
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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2012, 04:36:15 pm »
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It is so incredibly boring!
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« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2012, 10:22:02 am »
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I read Atlas Shrugged about ten years ago.  I found it to be slow, at first, but about halfway through it gets more interesting.  I suppose it's a bit like the movies "Malcolm X" and "Titanic" in the sense that it's a little too long, but not a bad read.

The Fountainhead was much better, in my opinion.  It's also very long, but it has less fluff.  It's good for the non-conformist in you.  At first glance, it is a story of one man and his struggles as an architect against a successful rival, but the book addresses deeper issues.  If you only read one of these two books, let it be Fountainhead.
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« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2012, 05:09:18 pm »
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I've never read anything by Ayn Rand myself, though some of my family members like her work (that said, most of my family members are batsh**t insane). A friend of mine read Atlas Shrugged a few years ago at the age of 12 (end of 6th grade) and heavily recommended it.
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« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2012, 05:37:19 pm »
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When I was 12 I at least realized that the junk I was reading fell under the 'Fantasy' label.
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« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2012, 04:33:00 pm »
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My copy of Atlas Shrugged has worked pretty well as a doorstop.
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« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2012, 08:08:56 pm »
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Atlas Shrugged was a massive book in size, depth, and detail. It had way too many subplots, way too much detail, and as mentioned, had only two characters in multiple forms. But, for all her kinks in Atlas Shrugged, she still is a decent writer. Certainly not the best ever, but if you read Anthem and We the Living you will quickly find that her writing style was not as bad as it was in Atlas Shrugged.

If you are getting into Rand, I suggest you first read Anthem, and then We the Living. Anthem gives you a basic introduction to Objectivism. We the Living gives you background on why she thought the way she thought.

I agreed overall with Rand’s views on the divide between capitalists and the “looters.” But Rand’s views on religion are the opposite of what I think as a Christian. As a Paleoconservative, I believe that church/private welfare or charity programs are very beneficial to society and should be encouraged. But I don’t believe that my tax dollars should pay for welfare that I will never get. Rand’s opposition is much more sinister. Rand believed that it was belittling for a man to help another man because it did not benefit him. When pressed about this, Rand once said “I believe in charity and assistance. If my husband wants me to go get some milk at the store, I will do it. Why? Because it is in my self interest to keep his love.” If my mom, brother, or grandma asked me to go get some milk, I would do it whether it benefited me or not. As far as I know, love is supposed to be as close to unconditional as possible. Atlas Shrugged seems kind of contradictory when Dagny Taggart buys the homeless man dinner. Wasn’t that charity? You finally think something good is happening, when bam, you realize Dagny’s goal was to find out about an old factory. Once again, selfishness prevails.

Rand’s objection to Christianity was the most powerful argument for atheism I have ever read, but it had no effect on my spirituality whatsoever. Rand basically said that believing in a God would make you subhuman-a slave to a master. But, through Jesus dying for me, I am freed, and eternally in debt to him. I am pretty sure Rand would agree with me that you have to pay what you owe. How do Christians pay for the unpayable debt we have to Jesus? We love one another, as he loved us. Furthermore, Rand preached ration or reason as the best way for man to find answers. Ration tells me that human kind developing on our own is impossible, and that evolution is only half true. Others will disagree, and say that evolution is rationalized. That’s fine. It’s just a common disagreement, but at the end of the day, reason is seen through the eyes of the beholder.

Overall, Rand was a great writer, a decent (but misguided) philosopher, and a literary icon. While I don’t know what her personality was like, judging by her childhood and life in Russia, she was a very bitter, angry women who had a lot of hate. Christianity would of solved her problems, but she was very principled and stubborn, so she would never have excepted it. Her views on gender roles, charity, and “selfishness” were alright in theory, but awful in practice. It is not a bad thing to condemn the government for having social programs, but too condemn man himself? That is not Libertarianism at all. Its just the opposite in fact. Atlas Shrugged is a 7/10 in my opinion.
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« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2012, 07:52:05 pm »
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Anyone that thinks that she was a good writer needs to be sent to a re-education gulag immediately for some intensive brainwashing.
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« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2015, 08:03:14 pm »
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I think that the problem with Ayn Rand's books is that she's pushing an agenda so hard that it gets in the way of character development and her ideology becomes more important then telling a story and having multidimensional characters. That's not unique to her, it's also true for a lot of agenda driven fiction, "How The Steal Was Tempered" is another good example as are a lot of Christian apologetics like the "Left Behind" books and nazi garbage like the "Turner Diaries" which I skimmed at one point, couldn't stomach much of though.
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« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2015, 09:12:47 am »
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Her notion of objectivism doesn't hold very well philosophically at all. At its core moral egoism doesn't really make sense. And I mean that not in a moralizing way but on pure logical grounds.
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« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2015, 10:45:14 am »
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At its core moral egoism doesn't really make sense. And I mean that not in a moralizing way but on pure logical grounds.

Could you expand on this?
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« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2015, 01:48:30 pm »
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At its core moral egoism doesn't really make sense. And I mean that not in a moralizing way but on pure logical grounds.

Could you expand on this?

Essentially, you can say that people ought to keep their own money even if they want to give it away. But that is pretty dumb. Alternatively you can say that people should just do what they actually do (since people sort of by definition do what they want) but that isn't a prescriptive moral theory. Rand sort of goes back and forth between the two in Atlas Shrugged. You can perhaps argue that people are brainwashed and that this should override what they think they want, but such a line would be the same kind of moralizing Rand is criticizing.
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« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2015, 03:48:00 pm »
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I think the worst part about children being continuously born is that there will always be a fresh new mind interested in discussing The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

It is truly the greatest flaw of God's creation.
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« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2015, 04:47:10 pm »
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At its core moral egoism doesn't really make sense. And I mean that not in a moralizing way but on pure logical grounds.

Could you expand on this?

Essentially, you can say that people ought to keep their own money even if they want to give it away. But that is pretty dumb.

Yes, nor does it really sound like moral egoism.

Quote
Alternatively you can say that people should just do what they actually do (since people sort of by definition do what they want) but that isn't a prescriptive moral theory. Rand sort of goes back and forth between the two in Atlas Shrugged. You can perhaps argue that people are brainwashed and that this should override what they think they want, but such a line would be the same kind of moralizing Rand is criticizing.

Max Stirner wrote that people always do what's in their interest, but because they often do so without admitting to themselves that that's why they do it (for example, by saying that they donate to charity because it's "the right thing to do", rather than because donating to charity makes them happy, and being happy is in their interest), people's thoughts and actions are confused and contradictory. Those who recognize that self-interest is the be-all and end-all of life, and actually think and act accordingly, are called "voluntary egoists", while everyone else is called an "involuntary egoist".
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« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2015, 03:49:39 am »
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I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 15, and it turned me into a die hard partisan Democrat.
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Mynheer Peeperkorn
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« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2015, 10:45:13 pm »
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Well, they are books completely unknown in the rest of the world. That has to mean something (and something not precisely good).
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« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2015, 09:59:48 pm »
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Atlas Shrugged is the most overrated political economy book of all time.
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« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2015, 10:56:51 am »
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At its core moral egoism doesn't really make sense. And I mean that not in a moralizing way but on pure logical grounds.

Could you expand on this?

Essentially, you can say that people ought to keep their own money even if they want to give it away. But that is pretty dumb.

Yes, nor does it really sound like moral egoism.

Quote
Alternatively you can say that people should just do what they actually do (since people sort of by definition do what they want) but that isn't a prescriptive moral theory. Rand sort of goes back and forth between the two in Atlas Shrugged. You can perhaps argue that people are brainwashed and that this should override what they think they want, but such a line would be the same kind of moralizing Rand is criticizing.

Max Stirner wrote that people always do what's in their interest, but because they often do so without admitting to themselves that that's why they do it (for example, by saying that they donate to charity because it's "the right thing to do", rather than because donating to charity makes them happy, and being happy is in their interest), people's thoughts and actions are confused and contradictory. Those who recognize that self-interest is the be-all and end-all of life, and actually think and act accordingly, are called "voluntary egoists", while everyone else is called an "involuntary egoist".

Then it still isn't much of a prescriptive moral theory, just a description of why people do what they do.
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« Reply #47 on: June 16, 2017, 03:41:03 pm »
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I read Anthem, which I think is her shortest work. It doesn't have the complexity of some of the others, but it was interesting enough for a quick read.  A defense of individualism against collectivism, which I appreciate, but in a way lacking because her sort of individualism doesn't really lend itself to a consideration of the complicated and intimate meaning of human relationships.  I think if I were going to read a book as large as Atlas Shrugged I would go instead for Dosteyevski. The book of hers I am interested in reading is We The Living, as it is based more in her own life experience and those suffering under a historical totalitarianism.

Anthem fits very nicely in with the dystopian novels of the 1930's along with A Brave New World and predates 1984. It is so simple a 5th grader could read it and take away a lesson about how dreadful a collectivist society like that in the book would be.

I have not read We the Living but some people who are put off by the length of her two big novels happen to like that book particularly because it is semi-autobiographical and a more concise tale of real world totalitarianism.

A lot of people have issues with Rand's characters and if you are not interested in long monologues about individualism, being uncompromising, being against second-handers, etc. then you will not be able to enjoy The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged that much. Some people appreciate the mystery aspect of the story - "Who Is John Galt", the trail for the motor in the factory, the disappearing business leaders. Others may like the world it envisions and see some parallels to the absurdity of our modern world.

I think the lead female character, Dagny Taggart is an interesting one and a much improved lead than the sacrificial Dominique Francon from The Fountainhead. The architectural discussions of The Fountainhead certainly are thought out to the point of looking at Frank Lloyd Wright vs the other popular architects of the day such as Le Corbusier whose style maybe is closer to that which Roark was going for but who made projects like the one that Peter Keating would typically make. The world of Atlas Shrugged takes a leap in to wild conjecture where you can say it too is a dystopian world like in Anthem - 19th century adventurer railroaders meet mid 20th century corporations where the world has more or less fallen to People's States. Having read a few essays from the Voices of Reason collection, watched some videos of her and her immediate heir Leonard Peikoff, and read Anthem and The Fountainhead I feel I have a good understanding on the strengths and weaknesses of Rand going into Atlas Shrugged both from a literary and philosophical point of view. This was important for me. I don't think Atlas Shrugged is a good starting point for Rand. It is a big time investment at over 1,100 pages. I seriously doubt Donald Trump has read it - maybe audio book perhaps but even there I am not sure if he has the patience. The books take about 100-200 pages to get into the groove I've found.

I like her punchy style and word choice though she falls back on tropes - how many times are they looking up at skyscrapers or over some cliff? Her philosophy is incomplete and uncompromising in practice they talk about reason. On paper it expands on some good ideas from Aristotle and the Founding Fathers, is in line with classical liberalism and the Enlightenment, as well as giving a voice to the non-aggression principle at least in regards to personal conduct and domestic affairs.

The fiction books do not delve into foreign policy. The essays do and her less stated allegiance to US-Israeli militarism and pre-emptive & total war is my biggest issue. She would have advocated a quick war against Iran for the hostage crisis. Perhaps this is why she did not support Reagan in 1980 though she had supported Nixon (prior to his price controls and ending of the international gold standard exception of course).

Unfortunately Peikoff and the current Ayn Rand Institute head Yaron Brook are even more into the pro-Israel militarism stance than Rand and they talk so much about attacking Iran so I continue to view the current Objectivists with a grain of salt. It is this that bothers me about them much more than for instance a silly point about Robin Hood in Atlas Shrugged, the misuse of the word 'selfish', or her blatant dismissal of religion.

In that her philosophy and writing came at an ebb in free market ideas and was the kickstarter of the modern libertarian movement - Rothbard and Walter Block both have interesting anecdotes about meeting Rand, Nathaniel Branden, and Alan Greenspan  and how they were rejected by Rand - it is a key for greater understanding of capitalism. In particular because you can go into nearly any bookstore in America and find at least these two novels it is very important as she has much more reach than Mises, Hayek, Rothbard or the classical liberal economists & philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries will ever have.
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