Monday, August 20, 2012

Who The Hell Cares Who Is John Galt?

I have a confession to make: years ago I actually read "Atlas Shrugged". Yep, all of it. Every interminable page, each excruciating word. (Feel free to mail your sympathy cards to....)

I have mentioned before that I tend to be an optimist. Part of what kept me going was the hope that eventually the book would redeem itself. After all, if it were this famous, it must get good by the end, right?


I never understood the romance, if that's what it was. Who'd want a guy like that? I mean, even knowing there is a certain type of woman attracted to power, just what about this guy was attractive? Or was it the bad-boy thing? I get the theory. Still, I never saw the chemistry.

But the real problem for me is that none of it ever rang true. From the beginning the book was a failure in logic, not to mention being counter to my core values. Obviously, I was raised with Christian ethical values, including helping the poor and unfortunate. In this book they are the villains, not by being evil, but simply by being unfortunate.  Helping them is what's killing this society. It's not a failure of my imagination, as I had by then read hundreds of science fiction books and stories with alternate world ideas. I tried to fit this into that kind of mold, without success.

Rand starts with a problem that doesn't exist, and describes it in as extreme details as possible. Then she "cures" it by imposing the extreme opposite as the only possible cure, with no leeway given for any terrible consequences. I'll repeat: it's a failure in logic.

Maybe it takes a completely different example with the same kind of "logic" imposed on it to show how nonsensical this book is. Take your bathroom. To start, let's claim that it's completely flooded, floor to ceiling, and you are about to drown. This of course would be bad, were it to ever happen. But let's just roll with the "logic" here. Since a completely flooded bathroom is a bad thing, then the only possible cure is to shut off all water to the bathroom, completely and forever.  There is no fixing a leaky pipe in Rand's world. You are left with no washing, no flushing, no showers, but it's still a bathroom and by Rand's logic it now functions perfectly. And don't forget, Rand's female protagonist falls for the plumber, who convinces her not only was the bathroom completely flooded but being completely dry is the only solution.

The really scary thing is that the people who think this way want to run the country!

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