Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mad at Bill.

I wouldn't say mad, really, but at the very least he has perturbed me.

There was a recent comment made her on my page featuring a link to a web page that derides the book Atlas Shrugged. It is written from an obviously socialist standpoint, which in and of itself I have no problem with. The problem comes, for me, when anyone hears that I like that book. (Well, not anyone, but anyone who is even mildly socially aware.) There is an automatic assumption that becuse I like that book I am staunchly capitalist and hate "the people". The problem arises in the fact that I don't really feel how I feel because of what THEY got out of the reading of the book but rather what I derived from the book. Let's take a step back though...

For those of you who haven't heard about, or read, the book let's get a brief rundown:

Atlas Shrugged is ostensibly about a young woman who is in a position of power and will not lower her standards and becomes an outcast of industry in search for like. What it is really about is the clash between capitalism and socialism, as many powerful industrialists in the book form a little club and drop out of society, causing the infrastructure to collapse as "common people" are left to flounder without any direction or benefactors. This is all horse-shit. Not least of all because of the way it portrays a supposedly enlightened and powerful woman.
What Atlas Shrugged is about, to me:

Okay I think we can all agree that the premis is kind of bullshit. To assume that if a few wealthy and powerful people disapeared society and the national infrastructure would crumble before other power-hungry and ambitious people stepped up to fill their place is a hard pill to swallow. So don't swallow it. I know I didn't. There are, however, many ideas in the book that got me to thinking, or struck a chord, which is why I like the book. First and foremost is the central idea behind the story. A story which wandered a little to far from the point. The idea is that people--society as a whole--should not come to rely on the goodness, the power, and the importance of others, or all will be lost. Atlas Shrugged is a parable about taking responsibility for yourself and not expecting, nevermind asking for, the help of others and becoming to rely on what others have done as a crutch for your own survival and well being. I do not think that we live in a world where we should put others before ourselves in the sense that we cannot be expected to survive on our own. Every man is great enough to survive and prosper without handouts from others.

I fear that our country is on the verge of becoming the dystopia portrayed in Atlas Shrugged, but that is a whole different blog entry. In the end what I like about the book is it's underlying ideas, rather than the story. I love what it makes me think about and that it allows me to dispise what it depicts while still spawning positive and self assuring ideas and notions within me. I am fairly positive that this is not the message intended by Rand in the book. Her message, however, is much more clear in The Fountainhead, which is why I like it much more. It is more clean cut and about not sacrificing ideals in a more personaly way, which, to me, is better. (Look at all those commas!)

Okay, that is all for now, I'm out for a week, but contemplating writing a journal on here every night of my vacation, just to get the typing juices flowing again so I can blog better and more frequently. Tell me what you think.


-A.R. Leith

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