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.
In the comments section of that post, this quote:
I've always suspected that Rand, who fled to America as a result of Stalinist persecutions, at least according to her data, was a Soviet sleeper agent sowing discord in America by effectively starting a religion that raised self-satisfaction to the highest of human aspirations [..] and openly mocked and scorned concepts like altruism and charity; her view, enshrined in ATLAS SHRUGGED, that men of great talent should step away from society and await its inevitable collapse under the weight of its own corruption is oddly similar to Marx's conviction that communism was the natural and inevitable end result of capitalist society.
not quite as pithy, admittedly.
As usual... more criticism from people who appear too have NOT read the book.
The first quote, while clever, doesn't reflect any "real world" person I've met. He who develops a "lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes" was an idiot to begin with. He who accepts the obviously intentionally caricaturistic like characters as exaggerations to make points clear, by a woman who was writing in her second language, can gain a ton of excellent "real world" perspective. Her characters, IMO, were designed to offer sharp contrast to the absurdly altruistic nonsense that too many people preach and supposedly take to heart as the good side of good and evil (not that I've met many that truly live up to that side of the coin either). Hell, one of her characters even vilified Robinhood as the perfect personification of evil. Said character, Ragnar Danneskjöld’s, point was spot on as he delivered it, so it got the job done.
More pointedly; if I am emotionally stunted, socially crippled, or unable to deal with the real world in any way; this is the first I’ve learned of it.
The second quote is even more absurd. Even Rand's most devout critics would (should) recognize it as such. Comparing Rand's philosophy to Marx is beyond idiotic. The "Strike" she proposed for the talented folks who create; was designed to help the rest of us realize that without those people's efforts, the less talented would have less job opportunity and less ability to tax the profits of the successful entrepreneur. She painstaking (and yes, repetitiously as hell) sounded the warning that too much government interference from non-productive bureaucrats (that haven't, and couldn't produce that which they insist on meddling with, too frequently to the detriment of us all) hurts rather than helps the big and little guys alike. This has been demonstrated by virtually every Industry Nationalization in history.
Now sure, it's fun and makes a man feel altruistic and superior to vilify Rand and the productive captains of industry she vehemently defends... even idolizes, but it doesn't really make any sense. I suppose it's easier than simply admitting she's right. The simple truth is; too often the ordinary man wants to believe it's the tail that wags the dog.
At any rate; the author of that second quote either hasn't read Rand or hasn't read Marx... or, most likely, either one. Just another damn fool that think he can sound off against concepts he himself hasn't taken the time to absorb for himself. (I really hate it when intelligent people think they can gain an accurate perspective from reading summaries and excerpts from critics and fools.
Nimh: YOU would benefit greatly from reading Atlas Shrugged with an open mind (the wager I once proposed is still on the table). I doubt you'd become a proponent of her philosophies anymore than Joe has... but even Joe's personality has no shortage of "Randian" traits to it, whether he wants to admit it or not. And they are both good on him and good for him.