Any Rand's book Atlas Shrugged really bothers me. I really admire the intellect and the writing that created the book. I love her views on religion. But I am very conflicted by her views on capitalism. I have read Atlas Shrugged 2 times. First time in the 60's and again last year. I am a liberal socialist but I admire her intellect and her writing except for that very stupid book The Fountainhead. Are there any other lefty's out there that feel the way I do. The internet is really buzzing about Atlas Shrugged being made into a movie. I think it comes out in April and I think it is just part one. The book is over 1200 pages long and complex so I can see how it would be very difficult to make into one movie. It would probable have to be 10 hours long. I would love to know what other leftist think of the book and her. I am surprised that in this day and age there are people who are try to stop the movie.

Tags: Any, Atlas, Capitalism, Rand, Shrugged

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I have to admit, I cannot post authoritatively on this as I have not ACTUALLY read Ayn Rand's works. However they spent many years on the bottom of my "To Read" list, you know, below all those much better Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey, Stephen R. Donaldson, etc, novels. However, I have read a number of detailed analyses of Rand. Initially I was attracted to her works because of the good things said about them, and how they were supposed to be a realistic view of the world, etc. But when I realized that along with her godlessness came a cold and calculating survivalist form of Capitalism, I decided I didn't want those ideas in my head. Call me closed-minded, but I've had enough of Capitalism. I think, from what I've read of Ayn Rand, that you are right about the role it plays in her books. The fact that Tea Partiers are citing Ayn Rand is enough to prove to me that it has nothing worthwhile to say about economics!
Your opion might be correct but would carry more weight if you had read the book
Agreed, which is why I stated up front that I was going by the various synopsis I have read.

I never much cared for Atlas Shrugged.  I don't mind her philosophy of Objectivism, I simply think the writing could have been better, and at times she was overly-detailed.  I think I ended up disliking it for the same reason as Battlefield Earth, Les Miserables, and any book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.  A book isn't necessarily better because you make it 1200 pages long instead of 300.

 

As far as my personal politics go, since it may affect my judgement of the book, I'm a social liberal, but I am fiscally conservative.  Or to put it simpler, do what you want, just don't ask anyone else to pay for it.

There are a lot of people who feel just like you do. I would even go so far as to say that it seems to be the majority opinion. I would start at the bottom. When you start talking about philosophy, a logical place to start is with epistemology and metaphysics. And since she was an atheist, we can all agree that both her metaphysics and epistemology is probably pretty decent. There are some differences of opinion I think but its going to be a lot closer than with those of any religious person. Since you have to base your ethics on your epistemology/metaphysics, her ethics makes a lot of sense, with a huge BUT. I agree that values are ultimately selfish in nature, in that it is the self which does the valuing, but not that this means that we are selfish creatures by nature. I argue against these Objectivists (not well I'm afraid) that to the degree that we identify with others, we see them as a part of and as extensions of ourselves. This means that we are capable of acting for the sake of others, even sacrificing ourselves for others, even though we do it because it is in the interests of the values we hold. Objectivists don't agree. And since politics is based in ethics, there is already a big difference here. But further, her politics is unnecessarily narrowminded, simplistic, naive, and downright offensive to those of us on the left. No serious political philosopher takes her seriously. She is basically advocating a plutocracy, a rule by the wealthy and powerful, with apparently nothing to stop them from taking advantage of the poor except their own morality (hah!) or the apparent fact that if you don't like how the rich people are treating you you can just start your own competing business and that will level the playing field. I get very frustrated about this, because it really is so patently absurd and completely ignorant of political realities. They can have their movie, I've got the feeling that it will be a big flop.
Of course the movie will flop. Also there are too many people on the left who refuse to listen to people on the right, and people on the right don't seem to be very intellectual except for William Buckly R.I.P.  There is no one who can do justice to the book in a movie.  The book is too tight and complicated to shorten into a film.  I saw and heard her at UCLA (I think) in the early 60's and she gave me more to think about then any other person I have heard.
I also got a lot from her. Reading Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged was really my introduction to philosophy. I suppose I would have found philosophy sooner or later, but it was because of her that I learned about it even as late as I did and if it weren't for her I might have suffered even more greatly because of not knowing what philosophy is.
I hardly see how you being t only one conflicted is even possible. Pardon my hyperbole, but Ayn Rand is possibly the most controversial writer of the last century, and "Atlas Shrugged" the most controversial novel. Responses to it range from it being the most vile piece of crap ever written to it being the most influential and important piece of literature ever written. If there was one author readers were conflicted over it would be Ayn Rand.

her novels are "transcendantally awful", and while he has "some appreciation for the virtues of selfishness", he sees "no need for essays advocating the need for selfishness, I don't know what your impression has been, it requires no further enforcement". Although I completely agree with him, the argument could be made in response that it is the false virtues of altruism, of self-sacrifice to the mob and of one's personal talents and hard work being sacrificed for the good of those who are undeserving which the virtue of selfishness answers. My argument is that there is a vast middle ground between the one extreme of losing the self entirely and the other extreme which Rand advocates of losing all others purposely for the benefit of just the self. Hitchens makes the point well, because it seems the de facto result of altruistic religions is the complete opposite, the self-serving insanity of complete and utter selfishness! It is hard to understand how anyone who thinks this through can come to the same conclusion that Rand does, that we should behave just like the corrupt priests and politicians. Hello! What separates those moralities from a sense of decency and obligation to our fellow man?

Colbert has said a lot worse things about AR, if I'm not mistaken. This wasn't one of the better videos, certainly it wasn't one of the better Colbert videos because he hardly even shows up in it. Mostly its the other guy talking, but, he does make sense too.

 

Would most Americans prefer to give up a little GDP growth to gain a lot of security? Is a mixed economy with business regulations and progressive taxation better for the society than a pure capitalism would be? I think yes and YES.

I have to agree with your assessment of Rand. She is simplistic, inflexible and IMHO a shitty writer. I have trouble thinking of her as a philosopher; if so Larry the Cable Guy would be in the same league. She's just a mediocre to shitty writer with really shitty ideas.
Such anger.  Do you feel that way about everyone you disagree with?  I have never seen a flexible philosopher.  They have opions.

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