Hatereading: Atlas Shrugged

Apr 15 | Posted by: Fighter #1 | Tags: Hatereading

I like to read books I know I won’t like. I feel like it’s important to keep myself honest by at least giving them a shot. I make fun of Ayn Rand and Objectivism a lot. Like, "write an entire concept album making fun of Rush for liking her" a lot. So I read Atlas Shrugged so as to better understand her and her philosophy.

I finished reading this book about a month ago. It’s taken me a while to write this blog post because I’m not sure what aspect of the book to rant about. Do I gripe about how it’s badly-written: with its straw-man communists and 3-hour speech that no one would actually listen to? Do I point out that adhering to the tenets of Objectivism ultimately requires one to reject most of Ayn Rand’s teachings as our understanding of the world grows or that the assumption that you are one of the elite few rationalists probably means that you’re not actually that good at assessing your own mental shortcomings, which is the entire point? Do I point out that the economy the book advocates isn’t particularly tenable; that a government that is unable to levy taxes also won’t be able to maintain a military or police force?

Nah, I’ll just point out a couple points where the book tries to portray utterly reprehensible behavior as moral!

There’s the pirate who is excused in his theft and murder because he only robbed and murdered socialists.

There’s the scene where a protagonist threatens to beat up his wife if she keeps asking him about his affair. Because expecting a man to live by his word merit abuse.

Then there’s the scene where a train crashes killing dozens of innocent passengers. At this point, the narrator herself interjects to say that they all deserved it because they were socialists.

Long story short, Atlas Shrugged is a bad book which aged even more poorly. Don’t read it.

Also, Leonard Peikoff has to be the most intentionally obtuse tool in the world.

Cover image used under fair use.

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