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Friday, January 01, 2010

More Ayn Rand

I'm reading "Atlas Shrugged" for the second time and enjoying it even more. Although the book is over 50 years old it really resonates with the times, and I thoroughly recommend it to you.
Without giving any of the story away, there's a sub plot regarding the government's passing into law the "Equalisation of Opportunity Bill", designed to prevent any one company or organisation gain an advantage in business, even when the other companies are inefficient or useless. Sound familiar?
Here are two small speeches given by the champions of the Bill. First of all we have a professor of philosophy Dr Pritchett:
"..I made it clear that i am in favour of it (the Bill), because I am in favour of a free economy. A free economy cannot exist without competition. Therefore, men must be forced to compete.Therefore, we must control men in order to force them to be free."

Then another character is asked his view of the Bill.
"Certainly I approve of it. Our culture has sunk into a bog of materialism. men have lost all spiritual values in their pursuit of material production and technological trickery. They're too comfortable. They will return to a nobler life if we teach them to bear privations. So we ought to place a limit upon their material greed."

Doublespeak. Orwell was not the only one to warn us about it. And yet we see it everywhere about us today. Moves to restrict our movement in order to protect our liberty. Vested interest groups wishing to dictate to the rest of us how we should live our lives and spend our money. Choices that are no choice- I mean have you ever flicked through the TV channels at any given time? Ten channels, all with home improvement shows. Choice? No choice- doublespeak.
Anti-discrimination laws that by their very nature are discriminatory. Doublespeak.


Clay Barham said...

Is it self-centered greed or legitimate self-interest that is the main concern with those who do not understand Ayn Rand? Those who admire and criticize Ayn Rand’s beliefs about people who stand on their own feet often say she promoted selfishness, thereby greed, which is self-centered and anti-individual creativity. That is anti-Rand. Rand admired the creative individual, people like railroad builder James Jerome Hill, on whom she was reputed to have based her character Nathaniel Taggart in Atlas Shrugged. Independent “I’m OK, you’re OK” people are OK with Rand, not the criminal takers. If we look at Howard Roark’s summation to the jury, from Fountainhead, we do not see a self-centered individual destroying his work. If he was greedy he would have simply accepted his payment. We see an other- and outer-centered individual in love with his own dreams and creations, as one would love a spouse, child or family and refuse to allow them to be assaulted. That is the kind of self-interest that built America. Though love for anything spiritual may be missing, a great idea or vision also measures up to that which is spiritual, beyond self, and that view is not even inconsistent with Christianity.

Diana Hsieh said...

I'm so glad that you're liking "Atlas Shrugged" the second time around! (I also just re-read 1984, and I liked it more than I did years ago.)

You and your readers might find my still-in-progress collection of podcasts on "Atlas Shrugged" of interest. They're here:

-- Diana Hsieh. Ph.D, Philosophy