Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in Twenty Words or Less...

From a post by Barefoot Bum: "There are those who would argue this sort of meritocracy directly and explicitly, notably Ayn Rand, gleefully contemplating the fall of civilization when a few thousand rich bastards exempt themselves from human society."

I just love quotes that so succinctly sum up a particular notion.

10 comments:

Tammy said...

Ooooo... you be dissin' Ayn Rand. We're about to have us a smackdown. :-)

DBB said...

While I am obviously sympathetic to at least some of the basic concepts therein (as anyone who has any libertarian leanings would be), Ayn Rand herself was a bit of a looney in some respects. I always think the danger is going too far to one extreme or another. Though sometimes taking things to an extreme for illustrative purposes, particularly in fiction, can be an interesting exercise. That's sort of the way I see Atlas Shrugged.
An illustration of an extreme. Btw, I think they are making a movie out of it with Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart (if I recall the name correctly).

Tammy said...

"... gleefully contemplating the fall of civilization when a few thousand rich bastards exempt themselves from human society."

Um, no. How about "...woefully contemplating the fall of civilization when a few thousand innovators, creative geniuses, and free-thinkers exempt themselves from human society."?

And -- oh God forbid! -- their industriousness, fortitude, and unbreakable spirit actually resulted in the acquisition of -- gasp! -- WEALTH!

I do realize that the characters in Atlas Shrugged represent the "ideal", of course. We, admittedly, rarely see a TRUE example of a "Hank Reardon" in the world. We are much more likely to see a man like Kenneth Lay.

Regardless of how depressing that is, I still can't wrap myself around the whole "money is the root of all evil" argument.

I would make a very poor Socialist.

Hmmm..."Poor Socialist" -- I think there may be a pun in there somewhere.

Tammy said...

Oh, and the thought of Angelina Jolie playing Dagny Taggart makes me want to gag.

DBB said...

I actually kind of liked the idea of Jolie doing Taggart. Even if you don't really like her, a big name like that can be what gets a project off of the ground. She apparently is really a big fan of the book.

I'm not much of a socialist, either. I think you need to reward innovation and creativity and genius. (Though this doesn't mean you can't also at least provide a minimum standard of living for everyone else, at the very least provide health insurance and a living wage).

DBB said...

And while I did actually like reading Atlas Shrugged, I read The Fountainhead afterwards, and I actually liked that book better. I thought it even made the points she was trying to make better. But maybe that's just me.

Tammy said...

The Fountainhead is one of my favorite books, oh, EVER. I have read it so many times that I couldn't even venture a guess at the exact number. Atlas Shrugged, however, I have only read twice -- once when I was 19 and then again (ironically, considering the timing of this post) about a month ago. I wrote a couple of posts about it:

Tammy Shrugged

Feeling a Little "Randy": Sexuality, Submissiveness, and Ayn Rand

I, too, think that The Fountainhead, as you stated, "made the points that she was trying to make better". Ayn Rand, however, thought of The Fountainhead as merely an overture to Atlas Shrugged. So be it -- my heart and spirit will always belong to Howard Roark, regardless.

Tammy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammy said...

Oh, and MY pick to play Dagny Taggart? Cate Blanchett.

hedera said...

I actually thought the summary was great. I've never read "Atlas Shrugged"; I plowed my way through "Fountainhead" once, in college when I thought I ought to. Books that I enjoy, I read over and over; I've never returned to "Fountainhead." It was incomprehensible to me and the people seemed alien and repulsive.