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    Has anyone on here read Ayn Rand's books? My brother just introduced me to them and I've finished Anthem. She's an objectivist and has some interesting views on individual rights and society (sheeple) topics.

    I know a lot of you guys will like her stuff. For a quick preview...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_rand



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    I know about her, but since shewas a modern-dayproponent ofthe popular18th century "Enlightenment" belief system, I dismissed her as being just an ignorant deluded anti-Christian Secular Humanist...so I never wanted to read her books.

    -- John D.


    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." --John Galt, Atlas Shrugged

    Great book!
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." --John Galt, Atlas Shrugged

    Great book!
    It is indeed a great book. And an important one for those who believe in principles of responsibility, innovation, productivity and responsible governance, both formal and societal.

    Only persons of limited, um, perspective, would avoid at least learning about the book, much less refuse to read it...

    Those who do should, um, check their premises....

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    She is one of the founders of the modern libertarian movement. Her ability to explain the basis for individual liberty was considerable.

    If she had a fault, it was that she was intolerant of any deviation from her interpretation of the world. If you weren't an atheist, if you weren't a believer in the gold or silver standard, etc., you were on the road to tyranny. She even took it a bit farther: if you didn't like the same music she did, if you ever drank a sip of alcohol, you weren't right in the mind and were on the road to tyranny.

    Her band of followers resembled a cult, which is ironic given her absolute hatred of any religions, cults in particular. The cultish behavior of objectivists is what leads to thephrase "don't become a Randroid".

    While I freely acknowledge that had I ever met her she wouldn't have liked me (not being an atheist and having a fondness for alcohol), but I still admire her greatly.

    Read it and think.

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    HankT wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." --John Galt, Atlas Shrugged

    Great book!
    It is indeed a great book. And an important one for those who believe in principles of responsibility, innovation, productivity and responsible governance, both formal and societal.

    Only persons of limited, um, perspective, would avoid at least learning about the book, much less refuse to read it...

    Those who do should, um, check their premises....
    damn hank,

    +1000...

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    SNIP While I freely acknowledge that had I ever met her she wouldn't have liked me (not being an atheist and having a fondness for alcohol), but I still admire her greatly.
    So, if someone worships good scotch, he wouldn't have stood a chance with her?

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    nickerj1 wrote:
    Has anyone on here read Ayn Rand's books? My brother just introduced me to them and I've finished Anthem. She's an objectivist and has some interesting views on individual rights and society (sheeple) topics.

    I know a lot of you guys will like her stuff. For a quick preview...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_rand

    I enjoyed Anthem.

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    expvideo wrote:
    nickerj1 wrote:
    Has anyone on here read Ayn Rand's books? My brother just introduced me to them and I've finished Anthem. She's an objectivist and has some interesting views on individual rights and society (sheeple) topics.

    I know a lot of you guys will like her stuff. For a quick preview...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_rand

    I enjoyed Anthem.
    Now that you've read Anthem, go listen to Rush's 2112 album...

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    Tomahawk wrote:


    Now that you've read Anthem, go listen to Rush's 2112 album...




    +1000

    my favorite song of all time: the red barchetta, off of the"moving pictures" album

    we're giving away our old age tomahawk. lol

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    I just had to pipe in here and say that I think everyone should read Anthem. Its short and sweet and shoudl be required reading for school children if you ask me... at least then they woudl get ONE book that doesnt promote the glorification of the state and its various socializations...

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    thorsmitersaw wrote:
    I just had to pipe in here and say that I think everyone should read Anthem. Its short and sweet and shoudl be required reading for school children if you ask me... at least then they woudl get ONE book that doesnt promote the glorification of the state and its various socializations...
    I would add Animal Farm to that list. It's also short enough to deal with short attention spans. So, for that matter, is Tom Paine's Common Sense.

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    Until a few months ago I had never heard of Rand. In recent months I read Anthem and The Fountainhead, and I recently started reading Atlas Shrugged.

    I'm an atheist, however, I was a Christian the first 20-some years of my life (I'm 26 now). I haven't yet seen anything particularly anti-religious in Rand's writings. However, the overall message of liberty is, in my opinion, contrary to religious servitude.
    Participant in the Free State Project - "Liberty in Our Lifetime" - www.freestateproject.org
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    cloudcroft wrote:
    I know about her, but since shewas a modern-dayproponent ofthe popular18th century "Enlightenment" belief system, I dismissed her as being just an ignorant deluded anti-Christian Secular Humanist...so I never wanted to read her books.

    CA_Libertarian wrote:
    Until a few months ago I had never heard of Rand. In recent months I read Anthem and The Fountainhead, and I recently started reading Atlas Shrugged.

    I'm an atheist, however, I was a Christian the first 20-some years of my life (I'm 26 now). I haven't yet seen anything particularly anti-religious in Rand's writings. However, the overall message of liberty is, in my opinion, contrary to religious servitude.
    Well, I didn't read AS until rather late in life. And it was not required, I'd just had it recommended by a pretty intelligent management expert who used some of the concepts in his work and his teaching.

    I don't see he anti-religious angle or criticism, just the relentless focus on liberty and individuality.


    But, for some, after one is a certain age, you've done/read just about everything.And can just rely on hearsay whenever faced with deciding to read one of the classics. Who knows?Someone just might be right in vaguely using a categorical to eliminate it from the reading list. No need to follow the herd and read just anything...


    Not that there ever was much of a herd to read an 1100+ page book...:P

    Too many ideas can be contained in such a long book. Best for some to just categorize...and avoid. Not worth even a brief thought...



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    CA_Libertarian wrote:
    I haven't yet seen anything particularly anti-religious in Rand's writings. However, the overall message of liberty is, in my opinion, contrary to religious servitude.
    Oh, Rand is pretty explicit in her rejection of religion, which she usually refers to as mysticism.

    Her position is that man is a rational being, and religion is irrational, therefore, anyone who believes in mysticism or superstition of any kind is betraying their own rational nature, and failing to live a proper human life.

    Despite the fact that I do not consider myself an atheist, I see the point in her argument. What I take from it is that whatever your religious beliefs, you should seperate them from the reality of the world around you. Don't mix science with the supernatural.

    In the politics of liberty, try to base the foundations of your arguments on real world facts that can be measured scientifically.

    So when a christian tells me that "God gives us our rights", I try to explain to him that a better way to phrase it is to use Jefferson's term "Creator", because creator can be interpreted by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as "God", but can also be interpreted by atheists as "the laws of the universe" or whatever. Almost anyone can relate to the concept of a "creator", whether it means a supernatural being or just a metaphor for the laws of nature.

    Rand's version would be something like "Rights are a function of your existence as a human", which could also be covered by Jefferson's poetic language.

    So I loved reading Rand to see how someone who basically worships logic, instead of God, can make an argument for liberty independent of a belief in a deity. It gives me ammo to make the argument to non-believers and believers alike.

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    HankT wrote:
    I don't see he anti-religious angle or criticism, just the relentless focus on liberty and individuality.
    Well, she only briefly touches on it in Atlas Shrugged (briefly in that book being defined as a few paragraphs at least), the first Rand book I read was a collection of essays called "The Virtue of Selfishness", which was non-fiction. In that book she devotes pages of writing on the problem with mysticism, and blames a slavish devotion tothe supernaturalfor many of humanity's problems with tyranny.

    Rand believes that rational thinking is what makes humans seperate from animals, and that rational thinking is out greatest survival asset. Thus, anyone who believes in mysticism is not thinking straight and therefore prone to making other bad decisions, such as believing in socialism and servitude, etc.

    VoS is a good Rand primer because it's short essays in a short book and you can tear through it pretty quick, like Anthem. But it is also the quickest way to become a Randroid if you're not careful.

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    Very nice lesson, T-hawk. Thanks.

    I've only read AS. Fountainhead and Anthem are on the piles to read somewhere.

    AS is an awesome projection of apocolyptic socialist society and her projection is wrong in so many ways. But it's quite persuasive in its major warnings.



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    Just by coincidence, here's an article from today's Wall Street Journal:





    COMMENTARY


    Rand and the Right
    By BRIAN DOHERTY
    October 13, 2007;PageA11

    Because of her opposition to New Deal government controls, novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand started off thinking of herself as a conservative. By the time her blockbuster novel, "Atlas Shrugged," was published 50 years ago this week, she'd changed her mind. She decided she was a radical -- a "radical for capitalism," that is.

    Conservatives, she'd come to believe, were insufficiently principled in their defense of a free society and once the novel was out, the official conservative movement turned its back on her.

    While "Atlas Shrugged" was a ferocious defense of certain values shared by many conservatives, then and now -- limited government, economic liberty and the primacy of individual rights over perceived collective needs -- National Review's editor and conservative movement leader William Buckley found the novel's intransigence and Godlessness, alarming. He assigned communist-turned-conservative Whittaker Chambers to review it.

    After squinting at this sweeping, thousand page-plus epic, portraying America's collapse thanks to a rising tide of unlimited government, economic restrictions and the subordination of individual rights to perceived collective needs, Chambers pronounced his judgment. With a sighing, refined hostility, he found it "silly," "preposterous" and hateful. "From almost any page," he declared, in a bizarre and oft-cited passage, "a voice can be heard . . . commanding: 'To a gas chamber -- go!'"

    Mr. Buckley and his National Review were trying to build a politically viable postwar right, including a border fence around respectable conservatism. Rand's ferocious and uncompromising opposition, not only to any government action beyond protecting individual rights, but also to religion and tradition for its own sake, put her outside that fence. She was too absolutist, too outrageous, too faithless.

    After that Chambers review, Rand saw mainstream conservatism as her avowed enemy. Meanwhile, a distinctly libertarian political and intellectual movement was on the rise, one enormously influenced by Rand. Yet many conservatives still loved her, even if as a sometimes guilty pleasure, especially on college campuses

    Her daring, root-and-branch assault on the postwar liberal welfare state consensus made her beloved even among a rising generation of young conservatives, without making them full-bore Objectivists (her name for her philosophy). For just one example, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his new memoir that Rand's "vision of the world made more sense to me than that of my left-wing friends," although he "didn't fully accept its tenets."

    And Rand was, despite her exile from the conservative movement, a fan of Barry Goldwater, the modern Right's first serious presidential candidate. She told him "I regard you as the only hope of the anti-collectivist side on today's political scene, and I have defended your position at every opportunity." For his part, Goldwater said that "I have enjoyed very few books in my life as much as . . . 'Atlas Shrugged.'"

    Rand and a fair number of her closest followers were notorious for casting into outer darkness anyone who might agree with everything she advocated, but not for their reasons, properly deduced from the facts of reality. This perceived dogmatism helped make her seem a silly character to many, liberal or conservative. And yet, when it came to Goldwater, Rand wrote something wise that conservatives should contemplate, and return the favor: "If he advocates the right political principles for the wrong metaphysical reasons, the contradiction is his problem, not ours."

    In other words, when it comes to politics, politics is more important than metaphysics. And Rand had plenty to offer conservatives about politics that is still salient.

    Even when reinforcing her exile from respectable conservatism in a 1967 National Review feature story, M. Stanton Evans recognized that "there are a number of subjects on which Miss Rand is right . . . Foremost among these is that class of issues having to do with the secular conditions of freedom." He notes her "excellent grasp of the way capitalism is supposed to work" and her "powerful" critique of "bureaucrats, planners, and social engineers." Also, her "effective" satire of "the intellectual flux and slither in which modern relativism seeks to bury moral issues."

    That's a great list of virtues, and exactly what modern conservatism needs, in the political and cultural wars of today. Rand's virtues as a political thinker and polemicist touch on the most important matters of modern politics.

    She recognized, not merely that government shouldn't take as much from us as it does, but also that it can't justly and pragmatically do as much as it currently tries to do. As government spending, even under Republican rule, grows faster than ever before; as new plans to further bureaucratize American health care arise; as the benefits of free trade and free movement of capital and labor are under continued assault -- Rand's consistent, passionate and even heroic defense of American freedom is sorely needed.

    Rand's insistence that all values be rationally chosen made her "bad," in modern conservative terms, on the family and on religion. But if the GOP can contemplate nominating twice-divorced Rudolph Giuliani (who agrees with Rand on abortion rights), conservatives should realize political movements can no longer demand agreement on matters of faith and family. They need to recognize -- as Rand was, ironically, mocked for failing to recognize -- that metaphysics and religion are extra-political.

    Why does she matter to modern politics? It's not like she is around for conservatives to seek her endorsement. But it is worthwhile for political activists to remember that Ayn Rand was utterly uncompromising on how government needed to respect the inalienable right of Americans to live their own lives, and of American business to grow, thrive, innovate and improve our lives without niggling interference.

    Her message of political freedom was enthusiastic, and optimistic, and immensely popular. No major American political party has embraced her message in full. But millions of Americans have voted for her with their pocket books, and hundreds of thousands continue to do so every year.

    On the 50th anniversary of her greatest novel, her advocacy of the still "unknown ideal" of truly free market capitalism is something that America, and the conservative movement, needs to reconsider.

    Mr. Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine and author of "Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement" (PublicAffairs, 2007).


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    Not bad for the War Street Journal. Then I noticed the writer is from Reason magazine.

    Rand is definitely worth a read, even if you don't grock it all. And it's encouraging that her books still sell as well as they do.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    Not bad for the War Street Journal. Then I noticed the writer is from Reason magazine.
    It was in the Op-Ed page. It's pretty normal for the big papers to print op-eds from non-staff writers.

    Happens every day...been happening for hundreds of years....

    Glad you read the whole thing, T-hawk, even the little bits at the end. Good werk.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    She is one of the founders of the modern libertarian movement. Her ability to explain the basis for individual liberty was considerable.

    If she had a fault, it was that she was intolerant of any deviation from her interpretation of the world. If you weren't an atheist, if you weren't a believer in the gold or silver standard, etc., you were on the road to tyranny. She even took it a bit farther: if you didn't like the same music she did, if you ever drank a sip of alcohol, you weren't right in the mind and were on the road to tyranny.
    Right you are. She actually hated libertarians and often derided them as cheap ripoffs of her works. She was a purist and wanted everyone to think just like her. But her books are loved by many libertarians and individualists.

    I've never actually read any of them.


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    I just finished reading Anthem and wanted to thank everyone for the recommendation. It was a great book. I didn't realize how short it was, and now wish I'd read it sooner.

    I found this excerpt particularly good:

    "But what is freedom? Freedom from what? There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. This and nothing else.

    At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains. He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number, for his is the right of man, and there is no right on earth above this right."

    Now I guess I'll have to read Atlas Shrugged, but it seems it will take significantly longer to finish.

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    cloudcroft wrote:
    I know about her, but since shewas a modern-dayproponent ofthe popular18th century "Enlightenment" belief system, I dismissed her as being just an ignorant deluded anti-Christian Secular Humanist...so I never wanted to read her books.

    -- John D.
    This comment persuaded me to go out and buy Atlas Shrugged today. Will begin reading tomorrow...

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    I've not read any Rand yet.

    I think I have some of her work on my Zippo drive, though.

    I know Kendo_Bunny has... I might have to borrow a book or two from her.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Speaking as a future English teacher, I believe 'Anthem' is Rand's best book. Her problem was that she never learned how to write conversation and is unable to have two characters that embody her philosophy talking without it coming off sounding incredibly awkward. She was also apparently deadly afraid that if she didn't repeat her point 15 times, no one would understand it. See the 62-page monologue in 'Atlas Shrugged'.

    As someone interested in politics, I think she was spot-on a fair amount of the time with people's slavish devotion to the tyranny of mediocrity. I can say that as a religious Christian- to me, she did worship a god. She worshipped a god of rationality, and my particular brand of my religion has only let me see God as a rational being.

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