Friday, June 15, 2007

Atlas Shrugged

I finished this a few weeks ago and have been trying to narrow down exactly how I feel about it. It made an impression, certainly, and it sparked a lot of interesting discussions with Superdad while reading it, but it's hard to articulate exactly what I thought of the book.

Here they are, my random impressions and musings regarding a book which has helped shape many modern day conservatives' philosophies.

- The book was well written, entertaining and readable. I rarely felt bored or disengaged from the writing and that helped, in my opinion, not get in the way of the overall philosophy Rand was trying to illustrate.

- The characters were entirely one-dimensional. A good character was very, very good and a bad character very, very bad, with no middle ground. This didn't bother me though because the characters were merely props in a larger picture Rand was trying to paint. If the good characters had had flaws it would have, I believe, been harder to see the overall political message or, at the very least, it may have been harder to accept it.

- Rand's ideas are interesting, but also flawed. I agree with her in some respects (that government taxation and regulation ends up not only hurting those who it intends to hurt, which is those in positions of power and wealth, but also ends up detrimentally affecting those whom those very same regulations were intended to help) but I vehemently disagree with her in others (it would seem ideal, in theory, to hold reason without passion as an ideal, but when dealing with passionate, living beings we must, in my opinion, accept this as an impossible dream).

- I felt it was a very important book and I still find myself considering many of its premises, even weeks after reading its final page.


Superdad said...

Very important book. It is, in my opinion, a must read for anyone who is interested in philosophy or political science. You don't have to agree with Rand (I find some of her points very compelling and others utterly wrong) but you really should read it. Understanding her background also adds another layer of understanding to her philosophy of “Objectivism.”

Flagmusic said...

Hi! Several days after Superdad suggested I check out the blog, here I am, and what an interesting post I find! I have long heard about this book, but have never read it.

I agree with your point about regulation and taxation. And, interestingly, your second point about "the impossible dream" impacts a post I'll make in a few days on my own blog. I'll let you know when I've written it.

I'll try to check in regularly! And congrats on reading it -- I was, in fact, looking through this book while browsing in Barnes & Noble the other day. It looks like a long haul, and perhaps someday I'll get to it.

SuperMom said...

Welcome, flagmusic! Yes, please do let me know when you have a blog up and running-- it's a great way to stay in touch!

sixty-five said...

I started the long slog through this book back in the sixties but never made it to the end. Now I see that a movie version is in the works (2008 release) with (who else?) Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart. Rand herself was played by Helen Mirren in a 1999 film, "The Passion of Ayn Rand". I think I might enjoy that one.