Ayn Rand - Objectivism - ATLAS SHRUGGED

I’ve posted this - don’t know if it’s the correct topic - after refreshing my memory. Ayn Rand was a remarkable writer who developed the philosophy of “Objectivism”, and illustrated this in her most famous 1957 novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED. I urge ALL of you to look into this - two b & w interviews on UTUBE among other discussions are given by Mike Wallace in the pre-60 Minutes era, and by Johnny Carson on an early episode of THE TONIGHT SHOW. Rand’s philosophy which influenced conservatives and libertarians you can bet is avoided like the plague in universities, and a SURE bet is that ATLAS SHRUGGED is never studied or taught even at the high school level. If we engaged in book-burnings, this novel would be at the top of the list! This is real food for thought, so check it out. FYI



I heard a great deal about Rand in college. Unfortunately, most of her fans didn’t understand her works as well as they thought that they did.


Her books were on the recommended reading list both at my high school and college in…drum roll…Commiefornia. But I won’t tell you what year. :laughing:


I read the (college version, very fine print). It is a good explanation of what will happen if the (left) get total control. :scream:


I was alerted to the movies, no surprise they were rather hard to find, it took some searches on streaming TV to find them, and you had to know exactly what you were looking for.


The hero of Atlas Shrugged is an engineer that (in a selfish snit) starts the collapse of society, killing millions if not billions of people. That he is the hero of the story, the messiah, is telling. The rest of the reasonable readers of this screed tend to think that he’s a genocidal asshole.

Self-interest is the only moral value and individual rights are absolute are the core of objectivism, that altruism is an evil, that only self interest, selfishness is the true guiding ethics that a true good person should follow. And if killing millons is a side effect for a person to be true to that belief, so be it.

“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."

[Kung Fu Monkey – Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009]”


To give the other hand, in Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick you will find a great libertarian argument, Nozick proposes a nightwatchman state, “limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on.” The state tends to become immoral when it exceeds these limits. But Nozick does not deny that altruism is part of the human condition.

There is a modern story line I’ve watched that I thought had a very twisted set of morals and values being blended into an otherwise very “traditional values” culture and people. That would be the very popular series “Yellowstone”. It was as if someone had taken a good Western and it’s values, and put it in a blender with a “Chicago Mob” Movie. I remember wondering, as I sat there repeatedly disturbed at some of the actions and attitudes I saw portrayed, - Is that how Hollywood and the left sees conservative country folks these days??

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expand/explain on the twisted values being portrayed as traditional, being a liberal, perhaps I can help in the translation that many of my silly compatriots seem to believe (wrongly by the way).

You can watch Atlas Shrugged 1-2-3 on YouTube, free with ads.

Her sex scenes are awkward enough for an adult, I can’t imagine what a high school student thinks of them.

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I will try.

I will first say I have been a part of the ranching community, as well as mountain communities.

The values were the largest part of what I felt had been “blended” and, or, twisted, and naturally the actions followed the values, or perhaps displayed them.

Decisions and actions in running and defending the ranch and its “personnel” were perhaps the most notable. The killing of employees who simply, possibly, knew too much is one example, barbaric methods of defense and revenge, is another, like hanging a man, or cutting a brand from another man’s chest before murdering him. Though things like that did of course happen in the old west, the peoples of the mountains and ranching communities I was a part of would no more solve problems that way, than would a mom of 5 in the suburbs. Modern mountain and ranching communities are very often made of rugged and independent people who have that traditional sense of honor and moral code that we think of as fitting most closely to what is described by the conservative label. The actions of the Yellowstone characters was OUT of character for the vast majority of anyone I ever knew. As I mentioned, it was like watching “Chicago Mob Cowboys”.

One odd blending is the greater respect shown for animal life, than for human life.

I will conclude by saying that I know it is Hollywood entertainment, and so is exaggerated for affect, but even with that taken into account, I still felt it excessively twisted and brutalized a way of life.

I hope that helps.


It does and gives a lot of grist for thought. I will have a response by tomorrow.

To give succor, while I am quite liberal, I was raised in a small dairy farm town in Western Massachusetts, in which I hunted with my classmates families in spring. While I live in cities and vote left, that raising never have left me.

Give me a day or so and see you back here, its a very interesting conversation.

Very good, and yes it is an interesting conversation. I think, that what I found disturbing, was the blend of values that, if one actually holds certain of those values, they are in fact, not compatible with some of the other values on display. One way of describing the kind of " incompatible" I am talking about is the term. “Arsonist Firefighter” both can be true as a fact, but very unlikely so as a value system.


By the way, the pitch the show creators probably used on the money was something like this,

Soprano Cowboys


Very sharp, I like that.

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Curious, which collage? I was 10 years out of a BA degree in accounting before I heard about Ann Rand.

I was exposed to Rand at Sonoma State while reading for a philosophy degree, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. The work (which seeks to be a defense of pure reason) is incomprehensible, almost post-modern in its use of pseudo-logics and pseudo-maths.

If your concept of reason is flawed, people are not the super-rational self-interested maximizers that Rand’ites believe, every other conclusion from the philosophy fails.

No comment on Rand’s POV expressed in the writings. Regarding exposure to Rand now and the past 50 years, basing on your philosophy degree in the Great State of California, the Great State of Florida made little effort to showcase Ann Rand’s thoughts for a business major.