>Saturday Book Review

>Quite possibly the best most on-target book review I’ve ever read: What I Think About Atlas Shrugged.

That said, it’s a totally ridiculous book which can be summed up as Sociopathic idealized nerds collapse society because they don’t get enough hugs.

I mean, there’s tons more awesomeness in there, but I just read that and had to share it. Because damn it’s true. Once you say that you pretty much have said it all.

But what the hell, let’s go on:

All of this is fine, if one recognizes that the idealized world Ayn Rand has created to facilitate her wishful theorizing has no more logical connection to our real one than a world in which an author has imagined humanity ruled by intelligent cups of yogurt. This is most obviously revealed by the fact that in Ayn Rand’s world, a man who self-righteously instigates the collapse of society, thereby inevitably killing millions if not billions of people, is portrayed as a messiah figure rather than as a genocidal prick, which is what he’d be anywhere else. Yes, he’s a genocidal prick with excellent engineering skills. Good for him. He’s still a genocidal prick. Indeed, if John Galt were portrayed as an intelligent cup of yogurt rather than poured into human form, this would be obvious. Oh my god, that cup of yogurt wants to kill most of humanity to make a philosophical point! Somebody eat him quick! And that would be that.

You know, I saw one of those ridiculous “Who Is John Galt?” bumper stickers the other day and I just thought, oh you poor dears. Is the right so desperate for a hero that they must latch on to a narcissistic couch potato whose best idea for revenge on the world is to quite literally do nothing? (Okay, I confess, I haven’t read Atlas Shrugged in about 20 years and it kind of runs together in my head with The Fountainhead but near as I can recall that’s the basic premise …)

Anyway, I remember feeling the same as John Scalzi did after reading both books: they’re entertaining, fast-paced reads but completely fantasy based, morally suspect and certainly not the basis for a political movement in any reality-based world.

Can’t wait for the movie though — unless it suffers the same fate as the “Red Dawn” remake.

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7 responses to “>Saturday Book Review

  1. >Also, There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.Remember, a post about Ayn Rand without the above quote is no more possible than a Pepe LePew cartoon without a can of white paint.

  2. >I haven't read those two books for about twenty years either. I started The Fountainhead a few months ago but gave it up after about 150 pages.The modern-day Ayn Rand fans are really some characters. I've gotten to know some of them in the gun debate. Their extreme views on self-sufficiency and hatred of government are nothing short of mental illness, in my opinion.

  3. >You call Ayn Rand 'sociopathic' but I wonder if you appreciate the literal truth of this. I would strongly suggest you investigate William Edward Hickman, a prominent public figure of the late twenties whose 'philosophy' Rand admired and attempted — unsuccessfully — to write a book based on it.If you don't recognize the name, it is because Hickman was a 'philosopher of the deed.' He was, in fcat, a criminal, a child-murderer, mostly likely a serial killer. And, unlike many criminals of the late 20s, he received none of the romanticism given to the Dillingers and Capones — from anyone but Rand, at least.There is a good reason for this. He was no one who could be portrayed as a 'romantic rebel against the system' or as somehow heroic even in his evil, and the details of his crimes — particularly the one that ended his career — were so incredible and ugly I will not describe them here.(For those who are interested and have strong enough stomachs and weak enough imaginations, the details can be found <a href="http://www.michaelprescott.net/hickman.htm>in Michael Prescott's discussion of him and the link between them.</a> You should, if you go there, check out the further posts he references at the beginning of his article.)

  4. >Well hold on Prup — it's not Ayn Rand who was called sociopathic but the characters in "Atlas Shrugged," and it wasn't me who stated that it was John Scalzi (though I agree with him).However I"m quite intrigued about William Edward Hickman and will definitely check your link out!

  5. >SB: And Prescott is no liberal, but an anti-Objectivist conservative who celebrated his cable company finally giving him FNC — though his main current interest seems to be the paranormal — which he tries, unsuccessfully, to approach scientifically — and 'near-death experiences.' (Which might make me discount him if Aynal types did not concede the accuracy of his statements and only dispute his interpretations of them.)

  6. >Nick Sagan, Carl Sagan's son, has an interesting take on this in his novel Everfree. In that book, a virus has eliminated all of humanity. The rich were able to freeze themselves and wake up years after the plague. So, you have a society comprised entirely of the wealthy, entitled elite. Everybody is a leader with no followers. No one wants to do the real work. And society never really recovers because there are too many selfish pricks.

  7. >"And society never really recovers because there are too many selfish pricks."That, gentle readers, is NOT a fictive nor futuristic premise.Hi, Prup, good to see your comments.