Atlas Shrugged Review

I just finished a review of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. This is an older
book, published in 1957, but for reasons I will detail below, has a message
that is still current today. This is also a very long read. I started this
book when we went to the hospital for Ethan’s birth. After staying in the
hospital for 5 days, I ended up with a good head start on this book, so it wasn’t that hard to finish.

I was drawn into the book from the very beginning, and enjoyed all but the
three hour speech (and maybe thirty pages) near the end of the book. The
story is told through viewpoint of the most successful industrialists in the
country, something I felt like I could identify with. This book is primarily
about the struggle between capitalism and communism, or between individual
rights and collectivism. (The collectivists lose.) This struggle is told
through a gripping story, and for the most part, lays off the heavy
philosophy, allowing the reader to draw his own conclusions as the events in
the story unfold. This book ended up spawning a philosophy of objectivism,
which in my opinion is a little extreme, and suffers, at least in part, from
some of the very same idealism that communism does, at least in the sense
that it doesn’t fully grasp the true nature of people and society, albeit on
completely opposite issues. I think the real strength of this book, and most
important message, is pointing out just why collectivism is such a terrible
idea.

So why is this book relevant today, more than a decade after the end of the
cold war? It turns out that collectivism is still alive in the form of
“transnational progressivism”. This is the thinking of the bureaucrats in
the European Union and many organizations within our own country. My
understanding is that the goal of transnational progressivism is to seek
equality of disadvantaged groups over individual rights. It seems to me like
this is to be accomplished by taking away from those that are successful.
Like Atlas Shrugged, in full conclusion, this would lead humanity back to
primitive societies. Fortunately, I don’t think this philosophy will ever
take hold in this country.

Purchase the book:

Atlas Shrugged

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