Skip to main content

View Diary: Y'all are gonna hate me for this (120 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  You're probably right not to expect a lot of (13+ / 0-)

    affirmation for your devotion to Ayn Rand but you tell a compelling story.  At first I though it was satirical but in the comments it's obvious you're sincere.

    I had a different impression of "Atlas Shrugged" than you did.  After college, I fell in with an eclectic group of people who insisted that I read Ayn Rand.  One of them gave me a used copy of "Atlas Shrugged."  It had obviously passed through so many hands that it made me think I should wear surgical rubber gloves before touching it.  Why it was so recommended was a mystery to me.  It seemed very much like a cheesy romance novel written for a female audience crossed with some half-baked science fiction.  Compared with the great works of English and French literature I had read in high school and college it was something like a comic book to me.  I had a friend at the time who was familiar with it and if it was lying around my apartment he'd pick it up and read a random section aloud, using a dramatic voice as if he was acting out the various characters.  He didn't have to read very much before we were literally rolling on the fall laughing till it hurt.

    In a way I was looking at the story from a perspective opposite yours at it was just trash.  Along the way I learned that Rand was born in Russia and she was a young teen growing up in a bourgeois family at the time of the Communist Revolution.  It was obvious she never got over the bitterness of losing a privileged status in society during the period of forced collectivization during the early 1920s.  The theme of creeping socialism resonated in 1950s America when anti-communist hysteria was at its height.  But that was no longer a real concern when "Atlas Shrugged" fell in my hands which made the book an irrelevant period piece that should be forgotten.

    Years went by and I never thought of Ayn Rand again.  I was amazed to hear anyone mention it, let alone successful white males like Paul Ryan.  What could there possibly be in "Atlas Shrugged" for somebody like him?  It's not uncommon for adolescents to become obsessive fans of all sorts of books they read at that age.  To me it seemed that people like Ryan never advanced to maturity and instead they chose this awful novel to use as a blueprint for society.  

    Well guess what.  Just like they do with the Bible, the Constitution, Milton Friedman's economic theories, and who knows what else, conservative libertarian Republicans cherry picked what they like in Rand's writing and discarded the rest.

    I can understand how you might see a role model of the empowered female in the novel's heroine.  I certainly don't need that as an individual but I can see how others might be inspired.  Libertarians today may have adopted "Atlas Shrugged" but they don't respect individual freedom.  To them, Dagney Taggart is just another broad who will submit to a transvaginal ultrasound procedure if that's what they decide is needed to protect male dominance and paternity.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 03:28:04 AM PDT

    •  Had a similar reaction to "Atlas" as a teen. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrybuck, akeitz, AuntieRa, Kevskos
      It seemed very much like a cheesy romance novel written for a female audience crossed with some half-baked science fiction.

      The characters seemed as real to me as those in, say, "Valley of the Dolls," and I read those kinds of books for the same reason--brain dessert, after a lot of concentrated serious reading or studying. (There wasn't that much on TV in those days.)

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site