I finished up “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand a few nights ago, although I got side-tracked from writing about it. I must say, “John Galt Speaks” is a very trying chapter and if I were a better person, I would have just skipped to the next chapter about 30 pages in. But, I have some compulsion about wanting to read every word.
In the end, I don’t see much morality in the book despite its claims to the contrary. I’m not sure of the fault of Eddie Willers or Cherryl Brooks, maybe because they chose to go against the advice of Dagny which led to their respective demises.
I didn’t particularly care for the portrayal of torture. For someone who places value on objective reality, the idea that someone can withstand torture is too over-the-top. If you are shocked, you scream. The archetype that there are human beings that can withstand the physical agonizing pain without a hint or display of it, besides maybe sweat, is unrealistic. It devalues real human suffering because admitting pain is seen as unheroic. I’m not talking about whining, I’m talking about “putting your finger on a grinder” pain. I don’t think someone who has actually experienced an electric shock would speak about so gracefully handling it.
My criticisms still stand from earlier. Not all people who oppose libertarian ideals are nihilistic, communist mystics. Competence is something that I see in a great many places. And I have even seen it in communist countries who seem to love the communist system.
I cannot recall any of the characters being black, or Asian, although many are obviously white. I think the implicit view of what constitutes meritocracy is particularly telling.
But, whatever, Ayn made money. She is a decent word-smith. She can make a convincing argument if all she has to fight are scarecrows. Although, I don’t think her arguments hold up as well in the realm of objective reality.