In case you couldn’t already tell from my generally pissy attitude and contempt for almost everything and everybody, I have been influenced by Objectivism.
(Obejctivism is the name novelist Ayn Rand gave to her system of philosophical teachings. She summed up her philosophy as a commitment to objective reality, reason as the only way to understand and deal with that reality, serving your own self-interest as a perfectly legitimate moral goal, and free market capitalism as the best political system.)
Rand was a notoriously difficult person. By the time she died, there were dozens of former disciples and friends, many of them well-known intellectuals, who had been booted out of her life for various offenses, mostly heresy.
Ayn Rand is one of my life-heroes. That crazy bitch spoke truth to power like nobody’s business. There is no one better than Rand at teaching you to trust your own bullshit detector. If you want to truly understand how little there is to understand about the supercilious morons who infest every college and corporation, Aynie’s your girl scout tour guide.
I’ve introduced several friends to Rand. Reading her typically has an immediate, bracing impact on their personalities. I’d say Rand is the intellectual equivalent of anabolic steroids. Can be dangerous, but effective, and not as dangerous as everyone tries to tell you they are.
Few people who’ve read her are indifferent to Rand’s work. It’s pretty much a love her or hate her thing. The people who hate Rand do so for good reason–they suck. They are puffed-up poseurs terriifed of pinpricks. They are primordially afraid that kids who read Rand will whiff their bullshit, no matter how much they douche and deodorize. I think Rand-hating is a pretty good litmus test.
Atlas Shrugged, her magnum opus (it’s well over a thousand pages), is one of the top 2 or 3 bestsellers of all time. It was published in the 1950’s and still sells enough copies every year that it would remain on bestseller lists except it’s too old. Amazon has it at #252–the Amazon list doesn’t discriminate against the elderly. More interesting, there are 1800 reviews of the book. I haven’t read the reviews, but I’ll bet they’re incendiary, on both sides.
I’ve seen it reported several times recently that Atlas Shrugged is jumping off the shelves this year as conservatives and libertarians urge their friends to read it in light of the Obama administration’s asinine policies.
Anyhow, if you’re a young person, get the book, especially if you’re in college. Your teachers will HATE seeing you carry it around. If you’re older, you better read it if a young person in you life is, or watch out!
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it is that Atlas Shrugged is one of the most subversive books ever written.