How to show a certain familiarity with Ayn Rand\’s work

Eventually, leaving Rand was no more different or difficult than, say, leaving a friend who had grown to annoy me over time – sure, I was very intimate with her ideas, but that just gave me more insight into their outright dysfunctionality, and the strength to say \”sayonara!\”


OK, so,
claim of knowledge of Rand.

Granted, it\’s doubtful that any political group so suspicious of the intelligentsia would actually read Rand\’s 1,200 word magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged,

My, that is a lot of words, isn\’t it?

Never having been able to finish the dreck myself I do wonder what she put on all the other pages though.

11 comments on “How to show a certain familiarity with Ayn Rand\’s work

  1. The thing that annoys me about this person, and a lot of people actually, is that reading them, one would never guess that one can have other opinions on a person or thing other than: ‘totally agreed’ and ’100% pathology and the downfall of civilisation’.

    Atlas Shrugged is actually a pretty enjoyable book, one just should not be afraid to skip forward ten pages when one of the characters starts to make a speech. Whatever else one thinks of her, the caricatures which appear in the book reflect real tendencies and attitudes of people; the problems which she portrays with regulatory capture, public choice problems, etc. are real problems in a social democratic society.

  2. Also, lol at the second sentence: “I say this not with hate or ignorance, but with deep familiarity.”

    Because of course, one cannot hate what one is familiar with; and it’s totally OK to wish for the eradication of a particular philosopher and eir school, so long as one takes the time to become familiar with it first…

  3. I can’t help feeling that a 1000 page book that an enthusiast claims you regularly need to skip 10 pages in just to stop yourself throwing it in the fire / out the window, is probably very badly written.

    A text book claiming to be a novel is a very hard thing to write (Godel, Escher & Bach comes close, but isn’t a novel; Flatland is good, if you’re that sort of physicist.)

  4. I kind of agree with SE.

    The problem with the speeches is that they don’t make very good dialogue. They are the most wooden parts of quite wooden character. However they are the medium by which Rand has the characters advance the argument.

    For example the Root of Evil Speech, which is critical to the book, is really an essay purporting to be dialogue. And if you read it as an essay it stands well, but it doesn’t advance the plot. However, to say you can skip it seems to miss the point of the book.

    After all, what exactly is left? A train line is built out of a new type of steel. There’s a crash in a tunnel. Someone comes across an old deserted factory then find a lost valley containing Shangri La.

    Try stripping the political philosophy out of ’1984′, and you end up with a trip to the country.

  5. Whenever I meet someone who claims to have “deep familiarity” with Rand, I immediately starting eyeing all possible exits from the room. Other than the silly plots, wooden dialogue, one-dimensional characters, juvenile politicial philosophy and Rand’s very troubling rape fantasies, her’s are works for the ages…

    The ages of 14 to 19.

    And she’s the only writer I can think of who can go toe-to-toe with Karl Marx for outright unreadability.

  6. “juvenile politicial philosophy”

    Ironic, wouldn’t you say, since there are no children in Atlas Shrugged?

    My guess why: children cannot fend for themselves and must be supported by the labor of others.

    Unnecessary message complication.

  7. It had never occurred to me that anyone outside the USA would bother with Ayn Rand. I put it in a category along with Believing in Freudianism, Disbelieving in Evolution and a few other American idiosyncrasies.

  8. Beg to differ with TW and the commentariat.

    Splendid book, although so far as I’m aware nobody has read John Galt’s speech in its entirety, or, if they have, are unable to recall it.

    The bit where the train is about to crash, but first we are made aware of the sheer badness of each and every one of the passengers is eerily reminiscent of the European Union.

    (PS for dm: I am not and never have been an American)

  9. Dennis The Peasant – “Other than the silly plots, wooden dialogue, one-dimensional characters, juvenile politicial philosophy and Rand’s very troubling rape fantasies, her’s are works for the ages…”

    Dennis, I admire your work more than any other accountant from Ohio on the internet. Really I do. But this once I have to disagree with you. Her work is better than anything the Booker Prize is likely to be given to. Given the praise for Rand I actually read one of her books. Atlas Shrugged I guess. It does better as a book on politics than as a novel. But then it wasn’t as dire as, say, half of Heinlein’s work. Better than, say, anything written by Salman Rushdie. Now I know I am not setting the bar high, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was a fan or anything.

    As for her rape fantasies, I have to say I was not troubled at all. In fact they almost endeared me to the nut case.

    “And she’s the only writer I can think of who can go toe-to-toe with Karl Marx for outright unreadability.”

    Oh come on. That is utterly unfair. Rand can be read. With something that comes close to being pleasure. Marx cannot. Under any circumstance.

    8dearieme – “It had never occurred to me that anyone outside the USA would bother with Ayn Rand. I put it in a category along with Believing in Freudianism, Disbelieving in Evolution and a few other American idiosyncrasies.”

    Not to mention Modern Art.

  10. “Dennis, I admire your work more than any other accountant from Ohio on the internet. Really I do.”

    We all live for the good days, don’t we…

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