Author Topic: Atlas Shrugged  (Read 42063 times)

meadpointofview

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Atlas Shrugged
« on: June 07, 2013, 03:01:18 PM »
This is a totally amazing book and I recommend it.  It opened my eyes to the moochers and looters.  I will now be moving on to other Austrian Economics books like:
  • The Road to Serfdom - FA Hayek
  • For A New Liberty - Murray Rothbard

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 04:08:31 PM »
I'm just gonna leave this here.

Religion or no, it's a well thought out skewering of Objectivism and Rand's concept of "capitalism" with subtle points that are usually wasted with Randian "philosophy".

Also, by Rand's logic, any and all advice and assistance that you've received in these forums to improve your life and save money? Yeah, we're the socialist scum she railed against. I don't know about you, but I think a few people here would be offended to be slapped down and insulted for acts of kindness and altruism towards yourself. Me? I'll take it as a compliment.

meadpointofview

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 04:29:40 PM »
Maybe I completely missed the part in the book that pointed out kindness and voluntarily assisting someone as being maligned but moreso those acts that are mandated at the point of a gun or via that threat of jail and IP confiscation.


Spork

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 04:53:00 PM »

Also, by Rand's logic, any and all advice and assistance that you've received in these forums to improve your life and save money? Yeah, we're the socialist scum she railed against. I don't know about you, but I think a few people here would be offended to be slapped down and insulted for acts of kindness and altruism towards yourself. Me? I'll take it as a compliment.

Not necessarily.

I don't want to get into a religious war over it...   but that's really not exactly what she said.  [According to her] If you're helping here because you like to that's a darned selfish act.  She defines altruism as doing it as a duty or from tradition.

I've considered myself objectivist for probably about 30 years.  Note the little o.  Maybe I'm being petty -- but I've had my own issues with Big O Objectivism myself.  Much like some organized religion, sometimes the most offensive part of an idea isn't always the idea, but the followers of the idea.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 07:39:07 PM »
Maybe I completely missed the part in the book that pointed out kindness and voluntarily assisting someone as being maligned but moreso those acts that are mandated at the point of a gun or via that threat of jail and IP confiscation.

I believe he was referring to the philosophy required to live in Galt's Gulch.  Namely, that you have to pay for everything, doing things just to do someone a favor was not allowed.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 08:21:29 PM »
Maybe I completely missed the part in the book that pointed out kindness and voluntarily assisting someone as being maligned but moreso those acts that are mandated at the point of a gun or via that threat of jail and IP confiscation.

If that happened, he'd just be Daley.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 09:51:09 PM »
Complete garbage.

I do however, like the part where the raging "objectivist" idealogue raves about using the tools of the state that she abhors so much. Oh wait, that was Rand in real life, using medicare in her old age.

Ok ok, how about the part where the same character writes lovey letters to a mass murderer in prison, calling him the "ideal man". Hmm, not in the book either, that was Rand too.


Well, ok, Austrian economics. Here's a good one, the higher the debt to GDP ratio the lower the growth...a paper PROVED it. Well, except that there were mistakes considered so elementary that they were either the product of idiots (Harvard economists...they aren't supposed to be), or they were planted as proof for an ideology that is both morally bankrupt and useless at creating growth.

The period of highest growth in NA was also the period with the highest taxation on the rich. Rand hated this because she was a sycophant of the rich. She was a moocher, no doubt about it, they just don't look like the picture Rand tries to paint.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 11:36:51 PM »
I've considered myself objectivist for probably about 30 years.  Note the little o.  Maybe I'm being petty -- but I've had my own issues with Big O Objectivism myself.  Much like some organized religion, sometimes the most offensive part of an idea isn't always the idea, but the followers of the idea.

Same here. Her books exposed me to some concepts that would have taken me years to find through academia, and I'm grateful for that. But she is so divisive that just mentioning her name seems to bring out the worst in people of both ends of the spectrum.

@Deano-I'm no economist, but am fairly sure that Austrian economics has more to offer than a single paper, on a single concept (GDP vs. deb ratio). Probably important to consider the context that Hayek was writing in as well.

If that happened, he'd just be Daley.

I Lol'd...

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 08:58:39 AM »
Oh boy, this will open a can of worms.

I enjoyed the book when I was younger.  I think Ayn gets bashed on too hard for both her philosophy and her writing.  I don't think she's too bad at either.

She is very good at presenting ideas so that you agree with them, and while I, as a libertarian, think many of her capitalism ideas are true, think many of her objectivist ones are overly simplified in a complex world.

As with anything, examine with a critical eye, and throw out the bad, keep the good.
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Kriegsspiel

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 05:01:06 PM »
Oh boy, this will open a can of worms.

I enjoyed the book when I was younger.  I think Ayn gets bashed on too hard for both her philosophy and her writing.  I don't think she's too bad at either.

She is very good at presenting ideas so that you agree with them, and while I, as a libertarian, think many of her capitalism ideas are true, think many of her objectivist ones are overly simplified in a complex world.

As with anything, examine with a critical eye, and throw out the bad, keep the good.

Yea.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2013, 09:53:55 PM »
Not necessarily.

I don't want to get into a religious war over it...   but that's really not exactly what she said.  [According to her] If you're helping here because you like to that's a darned selfish act.  She defines altruism as doing it as a duty or from tradition.

I've considered myself objectivist for probably about 30 years.  Note the little o.  Maybe I'm being petty -- but I've had my own issues with Big O Objectivism myself.  Much like some organized religion, sometimes the most offensive part of an idea isn't always the idea, but the followers of the idea.

Which is why I respect you, Spork... but I do think you might be reading too deep into her writing for things that aren't there that you know logically need to be, which is why you're a lower case objectivist. Personally, I may not know you well, but you don't strike me as an objectivist... a realist and a rational man, but not an objectivist. I think as time marches on people try to romanticize Rand and her philosophy, which is why it's been adopted by modern "tea party" and "libertarian" types, despite the fact that their lot were despised by Rand the woman as well. "She loves capitalism! Entrepreneurs are heroes!" People forget history and detach the writings from the woman. A woman who was more bat-guano than a love child between Ron Paul and Donald Trump.



I believe he was referring to the philosophy required to live in Galt's Gulch.  Namely, that you have to pay for everything, doing things just to do someone a favor was not allowed.

Bingo. The Gulch is an embodiment of Rand's "perfect society". Read all you want into the rest of her philosophy, but that's ultimately what she's driving at. It's her utopian ideal.

At its core, Objectivism has the same fundamental flaw as Marx's Socialism in why it doesn't work. Human nature and sin. It's why Rand's own protagonists are hypocritical to her own ideals. They can't even function rationally otherwise, even in fiction.



Oh boy, this will open a can of worms.

I enjoyed the book when I was younger.  I think Ayn gets bashed on too hard for both her philosophy and her writing.  I don't think she's too bad at either.

She is very good at presenting ideas so that you agree with them, and while I, as a libertarian, think many of her capitalism ideas are true, think many of her objectivist ones are overly simplified in a complex world.

As with anything, examine with a critical eye, and throw out the bad, keep the good.

I can agree to an extent... but there's so much rubbish and personal hatred wrapped up in her philosophies (which is why she's so polarizing - hatred begets hatred), that it's not worth even bothering when you can skip straight to the source material for a far finer dissertation on responsible capitalism and not bother with the grossly negligent misunderstandings and simplistic adaptation of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.



Maybe I completely missed the part in the book that pointed out kindness and voluntarily assisting someone as being maligned but moreso those acts that are mandated at the point of a gun or via that threat of jail and IP confiscation.

If that happened, he'd just be Daley.

So that's what happened! I had no idea. *scowls* Dirty commies!

Spork

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 08:43:13 AM »


Which is why I respect you, Spork... but I do think you might be reading too deep into her writing for things that aren't there that you know logically need to be, which is why you're a lower case objectivist.

I actually remember her specifically writing about this (and I'm too lazy and not argumentative enough to go find it.)  The whole point was "trading a value for a value" -- not "never do anything nice."   (I probably have read everything she's written, though maybe not the stuff they've dug from her journals and released in the last 10 years or so).  For ages I subscribed to the various mags (The Objectivist Forum, The Objectivist, The Intellectual Activist) and many years ago I actually met/had drinks with a few of "the elite".

She is a lightning rod.  I know that.

Personally, I may not know you well, but you don't strike me as an objectivist... a realist and a rational man, but not an objectivist. I think as time marches on people try to romanticize Rand and her philosophy, which is why it's been adopted by modern "tea party" and "libertarian" types, despite the fact that their lot were despised by Rand the woman as well. "She loves capitalism! Entrepreneurs are heroes!" People forget history and detach the writings from the woman. A woman who was more bat-guano than a love child between Ron Paul and Donald Trump.


Yes, she spins one revolution in her grave every time I cast a libertarian ballot.  (And I'd say I'm lowercase libertarian, too.)  This was actually part of a bit of a sticking point where I "lowercased" myself.

I'm all for individualism.  But there is something in the BigO camp where they want to be so individual as to -- well, just not get along with anyone. 

If you think about it, the objectivist/libertarian camps should be the perfect ally for everyone*.  There are extreme left issues where they agree.  There are extreme right issues where they agree.  I can't for the life of me understand** why folks can't work together on a single thread they have in common even when they don't come to the same conclusion using the same premise.  I can't understand why they cannot be a middle ground voice of reason that would say (for example): "Dear Left: yes, this is an important issue that we need to protect.  And dear Right: you have a valid point that if this is allowed, you shouldn't have to pay for it."

--
*Probably this just isn't practical as the numbers are pretty low even for Libertarians.  But I can't tell you how many people I've met that say "I'd vote Libertarian if I thought they'd win."  Don't be stupid: They can't win until people vote for them.

**And yes, I've heard the Objectivist argument on this.  I "understand" it.  I am unconvinced.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 09:42:12 PM »
This book was a big eye opener for me. I studied history at UCLA and basically graduated a Marxist. I read Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead in the sauna in 2008, and I sweated out all the bullshit my commie profs fed me. Can't tell you how grateful I am today.     

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2014, 12:58:14 AM »
This book was a big eye opener for me. I studied history at UCLA and basically graduated a Marxist. I read Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead in the sauna in 2008, and I sweated out all the bullshit my commie profs fed me. Can't tell you how grateful I am today.   

Har!

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2014, 02:06:36 AM »
This is a totally amazing book and I recommend it.  It opened my eyes to the moochers and looters.  I will now be moving on to other Austrian Economics books like:
  • The Road to Serfdom - FA Hayek
  • For A New Liberty - Murray Rothbard

For an alternative view from a similar time, I'd recommend "For us, the living" by Robert Heinlein

It's a great description of the social credit theory of economics. 

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2014, 04:00:52 AM »
This is a totally amazing book and I recommend it.  It opened my eyes to the moochers and looters.  I will now be moving on to other Austrian Economics books like:
  • The Road to Serfdom - FA Hayek
  • For A New Liberty - Murray Rothbard

I HATED Atlas Shrugged (and Fountainhead).  Not that I disagreed with the ideas (though I think Rand is a bit of an extremist), but the writing was just awful.

I know, I know, as a libertarian, I'm supposed to love Ayn Rant, but I don't.  I find her writing style stilted and her characters ridiculously one-dimensional and unrealistic.

I waded through both books (not an easy task with "Atlas Shrugged" which goes on and on and on and on) just because I had plunked down the money at Barnes and Noble (I know, I should have gone to the library), but it was a chore.

Though I agree on the Hayek.  Also "Liberalism" by Ludwig von Mises (it discusses classical liberalism- the stuff America was founded on, not the big government, police state, politically correct modern "liberalism").

arebelspy

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2014, 09:49:19 AM »
It's very popular to hate on her writing, but I actually enjoy her stories, long monologues where she sits you down and hits you over the head with her philosophies aside.  So those of you dissuaded from reading it from hearing that over and over, still consider giving it a shot.  I think it's worth reading once (and then reading the criticisms of it afterward, and thinking critically about both).

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2014, 01:21:46 PM »
I really liked Atlas Shrugged the first time I read it. i tried to read The Fountainhead when I was in sixth grade (the smartest kid in our class had read it), and I got extremely bored in the first chapter. I let it go then.

I picked up Ayn Rand again when I was in college, accidentally running a libertarian/conservative newspaper. Reading both books turned me into a small l libertarian for almost two years.

One of my HUGELY Democrat (fairly prominent and influential Hoosier Democrat) professors talked to me about it when I came to office hours to ask him what his views were. He was always cutting himself off in class, because he knew that being a professor isn't automatically a political soapbox (unlike UCLA history professors, I guess). That day, I went back to being a centrist, which is where I started anyway. My political beliefs are a hodgepodge of the extremes of both sides of the spectrum. :)

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2014, 05:59:44 AM »
For a (hopefully) different viewpoint:

I happened to read this book at a point in my life where one of the ideas struck me very forcefully. Namely, the situation with Hank Reardon and his family, where he felt tied to them due to their weakness. The concept that the weakness of another person does not give them the right to DEMAND help and assistance continually, while providing nothing in return, hit home with where I was in my life, and ultimately helped me make some tough decisions that I needed to make to get my life heading in a better direction.

So, I have some gratitude to Ms. Rand for giving me the kick in the pants I needed at that point. I did also enjoy the book, although the diatribes could get a little tiresome.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2014, 09:45:04 AM »
I liked Atlas Shrugged.  While there's a lot to dislike about her philosophy it was at least an interesting viewpoint I hadn't been exposed to before.  Rand's writing was alright for the most part (Full Disclosure  . . . there was a multi-page monologue in the middle somewhere where I skipped a few pages ahead around the third or fourth time that the same point was repeated).

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2014, 12:13:35 PM »
there was a multi-page monologue in the middle somewhere

Multi-page?!? It was a novella monologue. In the real world, the mic would've been cut off by the third time he referred to himself in third-person.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2014, 01:01:28 PM »
Yeah, I remember it being particularly hard to read.  The rest of the book wasn't bad though.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2014, 07:22:58 PM »
Um...  You Libertarians do realize that Ayn Rand's philosophy evolved into Satanism as practiced by Anton LeVey's cult, right?  I am not exaggerating here.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2014, 07:53:04 PM »
Um...  You Libertarians do realize that Ayn Rand's philosophy evolved into Satanism as practiced by Anton LeVey's cult, right?  I am not exaggerating here.

I don't see how that matters one whit.  Plenty of people stretch things, misuse them, etc.

Do you blame Moses for the Westboro Baptist Church?

(Not saying either Ayn or Moses was right, but pointing out crazy zealots that take something and warp it doesn't make the original thing valid or not.)

Also, what's your problem with Satanists?

Overall, I don't see what your post has to do with anything.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 07:54:49 PM by arebelspy »
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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2014, 07:59:44 PM »
Um...  You Libertarians do realize that Ayn Rand's philosophy evolved into Satanism as practiced by Anton LeVey's cult, right?  I am not exaggerating here.

Also, what's your problem with Satanists?

Overall, I don't see what your post has to do with anything.

Because Satanists are evil, just like Objectivists (which are the same thing as Satanists).

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2014, 09:16:02 PM »
Um...  You Libertarians do realize that Ayn Rand's philosophy evolved into Satanism as practiced by Anton LeVey's cult, right?  I am not exaggerating here.

Also, what's your problem with Satanists?

Overall, I don't see what your post has to do with anything.

Because Satanists are evil, just like Objectivists (which are the same thing as Satanists).

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2014, 09:38:17 PM »
For a (hopefully) different viewpoint:

I happened to read this book at a point in my life where one of the ideas struck me very forcefully. Namely, the situation with Hank Reardon and his family, where he felt tied to them due to their weakness. The concept that the weakness of another person does not give them the right to DEMAND help and assistance continually, while providing nothing in return, hit home with where I was in my life, and ultimately helped me make some tough decisions that I needed to make to get my life heading in a better direction.

So, I have some gratitude to Ms. Rand for giving me the kick in the pants I needed at that point. I did also enjoy the book, although the diatribes could get a little tiresome.

+1 The same exact thing happened to me when I read it, and really resonated for me.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2014, 11:13:10 PM »
I don't like the parallels of all the pointless government bullshit which happens, that's for sure.

Or maybe that's the libertarian in me speaking up ;)

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2014, 02:28:18 PM »
Rand was ~90-95% right most of the time... but that last ~5-10% was seriously problematic, and it took gross distortions of reality to make her logic consistent for herself. It takes a massive denial of what society is, what it has done for everyone, and what we should do within it to be a moral part of it to blindly follow Rand.

She was guided heavily by Aristotle (re-branding much of his concepts as if they were her own -itself a corruption of her own 'self-made' delusion), then warped it all in her (otherwise justified) hatred of Russian Communism into thinking ruthless Capitalism was perfect. It's an endorsement of Social Darwinism -which is highly immoral.
She had a totally distorted view of what it means to say "I earned that".

Society goes too far in demonizing selfishness -a word that just means 'for yourself' and is morally neutral, but she went too far and rode an overly-selfish worldview right into the ground.

To make Atlas Shrugged work, she had to make two sides into ridiculous caricatures where one side has hero CEOs/master planners/inventors run companies, doing every single important thing on their own. On the other side, generic/nameless companies run by packs of complete worthless idiots who can only get ahead by cheating and stealing from the heroes and tricking government into making it all happen.

It's easy to see who's right in this impossible reality. But she taught her philosophy as if this WAS reality. That was pure blindness. It was just fear that Communism would take over America.

She rightfully took religion like we should any other claim -'show me the evidence. oh, you don't have any? ok. disbelief remains the default, and only logical, position.' A delusion I'm glad she railed against -and sad that modern psychology still gives a pass for no reason what-so-ever.

As for the book, it would be a pretty interesting dystopian classic (alongside -1984, Brave New World) IF it were ~300 pages. But it's a BILLION pages. This right there shows that she was somewhat insane and not objective. She would just claim she was not willing to lower herself or compromise -which was a cheap excuse to think she needed no editor and she was flawless.

As others have mentioned Galt's radio speech at the end is CRAZY long. If in any way realistic, no one would have been listening to it as it went on for hours. It didn't need to be so long to make her point, so that's a farce.

From what I remember, too... in The Fountainhead, the 'hero' architect blows up the building he designed because the people who paid him to build it, changed it. It was no longer the vision he created. But that ought to be the exact ANTI-Rand thing to do, since in her praise of Capitalism, it was not HIS building. They PAID him for a job. They had the right to change what was theirs unless it was written in a contract that they couldn't. So there she could've made a point about how artless, corporate bastards ruin shit by having too much undeserved power/money/control, and it's wrong to blow a building up, but we should fight this crap within the bounds of reason.

But no... she's got a big overdrawn speech where she acts like blowing the building up was the moral, justified thing to do. It was anti-morality AND anti-her own self. Very screwy. And that was the vision of her IDEAL man.

Sorry, if this was too long, too. Way to Galt it, bro!

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2014, 10:53:04 PM »
Read it when I was young.  Remember initially being very interested in what was to me a different outlook on life.

Got very uncomfortable with what I interpreted as racism (to be successful one had to be the whitest of white, the antagonists where all described as dark and ugly per my recollection).  This led to my not reading any more of her books.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2014, 09:20:43 AM »
Got very uncomfortable with what I interpreted as racism (to be successful one had to be the whitest of white, the antagonists where all described as dark and ugly per my recollection).  This led to my not reading any more of her books.

While I understand people disagreeing with Rand conceptually... I don't get this at all.  What characters were "whitest of white" or "dark".  (Good looking vs ugly... whether you agree with or not, is an extremely common protagonist/antagonist trait.  I understand that one and can think of many examples.)  I seem to recall most of the villains being described as sickly and pale.

The only characters I can think of that could be even remotely considered "of some other ethnicity" are Ragnar (Norwegian if I recall, debatable if that is "another ethnicity") and Francisco (from South America).  Both of these characters are clearly protagonists. 

So I am just curious...  what characters are you referring to that depict racism?

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2014, 10:11:50 AM »
Got very uncomfortable with what I interpreted as racism (to be successful one had to be the whitest of white, the antagonists where all described as dark and ugly per my recollection).  This led to my not reading any more of her books.

While I understand people disagreeing with Rand conceptually... I don't get this at all.

Yeah, I don't think that's in the book at all - guessing stachesquache must be confusing it with some other book they read around the same time.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2014, 11:03:03 AM »
Sooo..... is there a Cliff's Notes version of this book? I am interested in reading it, but not interested in drawn out, repetitive parables.

sol

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2014, 11:22:23 AM »
Sooo..... is there a Cliff's Notes version of this book? I am interested in reading it, but not interested in drawn out, repetitive parables.

Cliff notes version:  there is no god and the universe is full of pain and suffering.  Oh, and rape is totally cool.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 11:25:09 AM by sol »

Spork

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2014, 12:34:01 PM »
Sooo..... is there a Cliff's Notes version of this book? I am interested in reading it, but not interested in drawn out, repetitive parables.

Cliff notes version:  there is no god and the universe is full of pain and suffering.  Oh, and rape is totally cool.

That's The Fountainhead.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2014, 01:35:41 PM »
Um...  You Libertarians do realize that Ayn Rand's philosophy evolved into Satanism as practiced by Anton LeVey's cult, right?  I am not exaggerating here.

Also, what's your problem with Satanists?

Overall, I don't see what your post has to do with anything.

Because Satanists are evil, just like Objectivists (which are the same thing as Satanists).



HAH, perfect GIF.

Tallgirl1204

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2014, 09:20:53 PM »
I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged as a sort of adventure story when I read it the first time in my twenties--the idea of a female character who was CEO of her own business was new and enthralling.  But as it lingered in my m ind, it bothered me that there was no consideration of the environmental damage the capitalists were wreaking on their environments-- both in the steel mills of Pennsylvania and the mining hideaway of Colorado.  There was also no compassion for those who are "takers" genuinely due to circumstance or illness-- what happens to the elderly or the disabled in her world? 

I am always attracted to stories about the lone hero standing up to the masses, and I loved the idea of one person starting a movement that could stop the world.  But in retrospect, it makes for a fun story, but doesn't have much to say about the real world, which is much more tangly and gray than the black and white world she created.

MoneyCat

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2014, 12:21:40 PM »
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2014, 05:09:10 PM »
Ayn got it wrong.  The way to combat socialism and sloth is to become a better taker than the takers, not to try and start a Utopia elsewhere.

(now pardon me while I try to engineer our million plus portfolio such that I can qualify for max ACA subsidy and cost sharing...maybe qualify for a free phone too!)

sol

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2014, 05:18:54 PM »
Ayn got it wrong.  The way to combat socialism and sloth is to become a better taker than the takers, not to try and start a Utopia elsewhere.

(now pardon me while I try to engineer our million plus portfolio such that I can qualify for max ACA subsidy and cost sharing...maybe qualify for a free phone too!)

I find it amusing that when viewed from this perspective the "takers" are are the rich people who live off of other people's labor.  In most political contexts, "takers" is used to refer to poor people who do the actual work of our economy, like picking fruit and mopping floors.

Though I guess if I were a fabulously wealthy ivy league elite who inherited his fortune, I might also do everything in my power to convince people that I'm actually the pinnacle of human society rather than a parasite, that it is those lowly working class folks who are "taking" from me rather than the other way around.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #40 on: October 05, 2014, 05:33:17 PM »
I find it amusing that when viewed from this perspective the "takers" are are the rich people who live off of other people's labor.  In most political contexts, "takers" is used to refer to poor people who do the actual work of our economy, like picking fruit and mopping floors.

Though I guess if I were a fabulously wealthy ivy league elite who inherited his fortune, I might also do everything in my power to convince people that I'm actually the pinnacle of human society rather than a parasite, that it is those lowly working class folks who are "taking" from me rather than the other way around.

I didn't quite parse that.  To me a taker is the person holding the "will work for food" sign on a street corner when there are three "now hiring" signs on the store fronts behind him and the guy next to him is twirling a discount mattress sign for minimum wage.   The software engineer who puts in 14 hour days 70 hour weeks but hires someone to clean his house is not a taker in my book.

sol

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #41 on: October 05, 2014, 06:35:27 PM »
I didn't quite parse that.  To me a taker is the person holding the "will work for food" sign on a street corner when there are three "now hiring" signs on the store fronts behind him

I parsed that you were highlighting how to become a taker, by becoming rich.  To me a taker is someone who lives off the fruits of someone else's labors, say by "owning" a diverse basket of companies he knows very little about and takes no hand in running.  Living off of dividends is taking the profit from a company and putting it in your pocket.  Selling appreciated stock is taking someone else's money in exchange for a hypothetical ownership stake in a corporation, whether or not you ever worked for that company or even know anything about it.

Your example was particularly egregious, because people like you (and me) are deliberately structuring our large portfolios in such a way to get the maximum ACA subsidy.  We are taking from the government dollars intended for the poor and genuinely needy.  Not only are we takers because we profit without working, but we are the worst kind of takers for taking those subsidy dollars away from people who actually need that money to survive.  We might as well be stealing from the cup of a street beggar.  At least he's out on the street corner working for change, we're just sitting back watching the profits roll in while siphoning off the quarters from his cup.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2014, 07:32:15 PM »
Your example was particularly egregious, because people like you (and me) are deliberately structuring our large portfolios in such a way to get the maximum ACA subsidy.  We are taking from the government dollars intended for the poor and genuinely needy.  Not only are we takers because we profit without working, but we are the worst kind of takers for taking those subsidy dollars away from people who actually need that money to survive.  We might as well be stealing from the cup of a street beggar.  At least he's out on the street corner working for change, we're just sitting back watching the profits roll in while siphoning off the quarters from his cup.

Yes yes!  So you understood me exactly.   I used to think a bit like Ayn but now I just want to become the best taker I can be.

bacchi

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2014, 11:23:18 AM »
There was also no compassion for those who are "takers" genuinely due to circumstance or illness-- what happens to the elderly or the disabled in her world? 

If you follow Rand's lead, you file for social security and medicare.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2014, 02:57:59 PM »
There was also no compassion for those who are "takers" genuinely due to circumstance or illness-- what happens to the elderly or the disabled in her world? 

If you follow Rand's lead, you file for social security and medicare.

I never quite understood why this is used as a smear against her.  She was against SS/medicare, but paid in the taxes as required. 

Yes she took the benefits, but so what?  If you make me participate in funding a program I don't agree with, you can be guaranteed I will be participating on the withdrawal end.

If there was some way to opt out... and she didn't ... then there would be an argument.  Otherwise, I don't see it.

bacchi

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2014, 08:29:02 PM »
I never quite understood why this is used as a smear against her.  She was against SS/medicare, but paid in the taxes as required. 

Yes she took the benefits, but so what?  If you make me participate in funding a program I don't agree with, you can be guaranteed I will be participating on the withdrawal end.

If there was some way to opt out... and she didn't ... then there would be an argument.  Otherwise, I don't see it.

It's not a smear. It's her realization that the medical bills would've potentially ruined her even though she had substantial savings from her books. She had to accept government aid, dulling her entrepreneurial spirit, and the aid was way more than she paid in taxes (she did have lung cancer, after all, from her decision to smoke).

In other words, her recognition that all of her work, and all of her savings, weren't enough to pay for her health care surely suggests that maybe, just maybe, accepting government assistance, aka being a "moocher," is sometimes necessary when you live in the real world.

MoneyCat

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2014, 05:36:41 AM »
I never quite understood why this is used as a smear against her.  She was against SS/medicare, but paid in the taxes as required. 

Yes she took the benefits, but so what?  If you make me participate in funding a program I don't agree with, you can be guaranteed I will be participating on the withdrawal end.

If there was some way to opt out... and she didn't ... then there would be an argument.  Otherwise, I don't see it.

It's not a smear. It's her realization that the medical bills would've potentially ruined her even though she had substantial savings from her books. She had to accept government aid, dulling her entrepreneurial spirit, and the aid was way more than she paid in taxes (she did have lung cancer, after all, from her decision to smoke).

In other words, her recognition that all of her work, and all of her savings, weren't enough to pay for her health care surely suggests that maybe, just maybe, accepting government assistance, aka being a "moocher," is sometimes necessary when you live in the real world.

She took SS/Medicare for the same reason that big, highly-profitable corporations take corporate welfare, because capitalism is only really for the lower classes in the USA, while Socialism is reserved for the truly wealthy.

Spork

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2014, 10:37:23 AM »
I never quite understood why this is used as a smear against her.  She was against SS/medicare, but paid in the taxes as required. 

Yes she took the benefits, but so what?  If you make me participate in funding a program I don't agree with, you can be guaranteed I will be participating on the withdrawal end.

If there was some way to opt out... and she didn't ... then there would be an argument.  Otherwise, I don't see it.

It's not a smear. It's her realization that the medical bills would've potentially ruined her even though she had substantial savings from her books. She had to accept government aid, dulling her entrepreneurial spirit, and the aid was way more than she paid in taxes (she did have lung cancer, after all, from her decision to smoke).

In other words, her recognition that all of her work, and all of her savings, weren't enough to pay for her health care surely suggests that maybe, just maybe, accepting government assistance, aka being a "moocher," is sometimes necessary when you live in the real world.

I have a totally different view of that.

I am no fan of medicare/SS.  Not at all.  (I'm not dumb enough to think you should just "turn off the spigot".  Even if you wanted to dismantle it, it would be a decades long ordeal... but I digress...)

If you had given me the option to opt out 30 years ago: I would have jumped at it.  (And I mean a true opt-out, where I would receive that 15% in my paycheck to invest as I saw fit.)

But... I'm bloody close to retiring now.  I've paid in for almost 35 years.  At this point I don't see it as government assistance... I see it as the ROI on my forced investment.  (I know that's not how it's funded... but that's still how I see it.)

SS in particular is extremely progressive.  Those that earn more get much less from their pay in than those that earn less.  It is extremely steeply graduated.  At the upper end of earnings... it's not assistance at all.  It's far from it.

Medicare is slightly different... whether it is assistance or not depends on your health needs.  But again: it's an insurance plan you were forced to purchase.  If you force me to purchase it: I will use it.

bacchi

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #48 on: October 07, 2014, 11:53:44 AM »
If you had given me the option to opt out 30 years ago: I would have jumped at it.  (And I mean a true opt-out, where I would receive that 15% in my paycheck to invest as I saw fit.)

But... I'm bloody close to retiring now.  I've paid in for almost 35 years.  At this point I don't see it as government assistance... I see it as the ROI on my forced investment.  (I know that's not how it's funded... but that's still how I see it.)

Yeah, understood. It'd be foolish not to take it. However, when you're stridently against government aid or intervention and you write it and preach it and proclaim that you should never compromise your ideals and that such programs are "evil," don't you think it's significant that she eventually did take it?

Ignore any potential hypocrisy of it and reflect on why she signed up. Even with her genius and working hard, she still wasn't self sufficient enough. In the Gulch, she would've spent down all of her money and then the prescriptions would've gone unfilled and the doctor visits would've stopped. She would have likely died destitute.

In relation to universal health care, Hayek wrote,

Quote
Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision.



Spork

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Re: Atlas Shrugged
« Reply #49 on: October 07, 2014, 01:52:50 PM »

Ignore any potential hypocrisy of it and reflect on why she signed up. Even with her genius and working hard, she still wasn't self sufficient enough. In the Gulch, she would've spent down all of her money and then the prescriptions would've gone unfilled and the doctor visits would've stopped. She would have likely died destitute.


From what I've read, she actually didn't sign up...  Someone that had power of attorney for her did -- with her protesting all the way.  (Again: I don't get it.  I'd stand up and say "They made me participate, so I'm getting my money back.")

But yeah... I also don't get why she didn't have sufficient funds.  I would blindly assume (and that's what I'm doing) she made significant amounts of money from books and lectures.   I can only assume she had her own hedonic adaptations.