Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everyone should read "Atlas Shrugged"

So much for writing something every day. Well, I guess I haven't had a lot to say in the past week. I've been knitting, finished my last square for an afghan knitalong...still working on the shawl for my sister. I started spinning the alpaca I mentioned a few posts ago. But I've actually been focusing my attention on reading.

I just finished reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. It is a very very good book. Before I read it, I had heard that it was "an interesting study on the nature of socialism". But it's so much more than that. In the book, socialism is slowly but surely taking over the country. (This was written in the 50s, so it's not necessarily about the current administration.) The main characters in the book are Dagny Taggart (Operating Vice President of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad), Hank Rearden (of Rearden Steel), and Francisco D'Anconia ( of D'Anconia Copper). These, among others, are the producers. They work hard, think for themselves, think outside of the box, and expect to make a profit on the products they produce. As they should. But, throughout the book, other producers are suddenly, and without warning, disappearing. Nobody knows where they are going, or why. Over time, Dagny and Hank begin to understand why: they refuse to produce for the system of "looters and moochers". Eventually, they do learn where the missing men have gone. And they discover the answer to a rhetorical question people ask throughout the book: "Who is John Galt?" It's used as a phrase that means "Why ask questions that have no answers?" But it does actually have an answer. There is a small part of the philosophy included in the book, with which I do not agree, but for the most part it's very good. Well written, well-thought-out. It's not for children, but I think every adult should read it. It's timeless and timely. I'm seeing a lot of parallels in current events. Read it; you will, too.

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