Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fifty Years of Riveting Reading

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged was published fifty years ago October 12th. I first read the novel in 1966, having already enjoyed her second novel, The Fountainhead. I was driven to learn more. I attended an NBI (Nathaniel Branden Institute) Basics of Objectivism lecture series in Hollywood, then I began to cast about for like-minded individuals. At the time, there seemed to be very few, but as time passed, I located some libertarian meeting groups and met some libertarians who were not objectivist-oriented, as well as many who were.

Over the years, I've met and become friends with many objectivists and many libertarians who found their way to liberty-oriented philosophies by other means.

Today's (Sept 15th) New York Times published a story, in its Business section, about Atlas Shrugged and how it has influenced many CEO's and top businessmen to get to where they are today. After the horrible review NYT gave Atlas Shrugged at the time of its publication, this story seems rather a turnabout.

It's kind of gratifying to see that, after all the scandals and peccadilloes, the Times has finally come to terms with Atlas Shrugged.

I read Atlas Shrugged every couple of years, partly to satisfy my craving for the portrayal of successful rebellions against the parasitical political class, and partly to renew in my mind the way the world might be and ought to be. I'm very much looking forward to the upcoming movie, even realizing that movies often don't measure up to the level of the novels from which they're developed. Athas Shrugged has some good people involved in its development, so I'm optimistic.

"In the name of the best within us....."

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


Aurora said...

Wow, you've really gone into it. I was introduced to Ayn Rand by a huge fan and promptly read three or four of her novels in quick succession. She's a clear, concise thinker with no frills.
I read today that Greenspan mentions a long friendship with Ayn Rand in his newly released biography. It might be a good read.

Col. Hogan said...

....And after forty years of study of libertarian philosophy from many sources, I still cannot reconcile Rand's insistence 'pon the need for a strictly limited government with the notion that such government will still violate the rights of the individuals it presumes to serve. Every libertarian philosopher I know holds that no one may initiate force against any other (that has to include government agents themselves, as individuals, or as agents).

There's unquestionably a contradiction there that, as I see it, can only be reconciled by the individual's right to contract voluntarily with those who can offer these sorts of services (personal protection, personal property recovery, etc.) according to his perceived needs.