Tag Archives: the fountainhead

Why people like Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand’s philosophy

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand

I believe I have figured out the appeal of Atlas Shrugged.

#1. Herbert Spencer’s defense of capitalism is flawed. Before there was Ayn Rand, the philosopher of the market was Herbert Spencer, who used a social Darwinism message to defend the unchecked accumulation of wealth. The argument ran: “Evolutionarily speaking, if you’ve got it and you can keep it, you deserve it, no matter the source.”

The immense flaw with this plan is that if, say, the Russian Revolution came along and reminded merchants that they were a bunch of wussy powderpuffs wholly dependent people capable and willing to kick ass to defend them from brutal thugs who would kick their middle classes asses in a hot minute, then the very philosophy they espoused was turned against them: unable to hold onto things, they did NOT deserve them, and now the communists do.

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Thoughts on the movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1

We just saw the movie, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, starring Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden.

Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 11% score. It is the highest rated of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy of movies, and the score is justified. It is not a good movie.

Still, I’m not here to damn the movie, exactly, but to discuss it, comparatively, to Part 1 of the novel.

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The trick of philosophical novels is that they’re not philosophy

One of the interesting things about Objectivism is that its primary method of transmission is novels – particularly Atlas Shrugged, but to a lesser but still serious extent The Fountainhead.

I don’t like philosophical novels. I don’t mind books with philosophy in them, as a sort of undercurrent, but when the characters start preaching platitudes, my eyes glaze over. So, one of my favorite novels is Dune by Frank Herbert, but by the time we get over to God-Emperor of Dune, I’m just bored. Leto’s long, dull as speeches rehashing a primitive Nietzschean fantasy are uninteresting. So, unsurprisingly, I’m also not fond of Atlas Shrugged and its even longer, even more overtly philosophical speeches. But, philosophically, they’re a trick and nothing more.

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