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#21081 - 02/24/09 10:27 AM Atlas Shrugged
icu4whatur Offline
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Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 21
Hey everyone,
I read the book club topic and saw that there was some interest in this one so I thought I would start a thread on it.

Atlas Shrugged changed my life. The philosophy of Objectivism held so many truths that I valued, but had never heard them laid out in such a way. It is a beautiful story and it is also the foundation for modern Conservatism and Libertarianism. It also gave the Atheist movement a huge shot in the arm.

I studied Rand's work for many years and eventually read everything she ever wrote. Taken as a whole, Objectivism is simply the greatest philosophical foundation that has ever been written. It can be applied to all areas of one's life and can be very beneficial...

However there are some problems with it. For one thing, Ayn rejected all things that even remotely looked like mysticism... especially the Occult, which (on the surface) she reviled just as much as she did Christianity. I have heard recently however some tinfoil about Atlas Shrugged being the blueprint for the Illuminati takeover of the world economy, and Philip Rothschild was her model for John Galt who was destined to "stop the motor of the world". While I don't doubt that the world's economy is being systematically destroyed... I question whether Rand's own philosophy would have allowed her to do that. I'm pretty sure that her model for John Galt was Nathaniel Branden... But anything is possible. After all, Alan Greenspan wrote an essay for her book "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal" on the benefits of the gold standard.

Anyway, there is much that can be discussed here about this book, Objectivism, or Ayn Rand herself.

She has definitely made an impact on my life... Most notably her "Virtue of Selfishness" definitely prepared me for my awakening into Satanism. I suspect LaVey had that in mind when writing TSB.

If anyone is reading it for the first time now... Look for parallels of the events in the book to current events.

It's... spooky ;\)

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#21104 - 02/24/09 06:57 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: icu4whatur]
Morbid Rex Offline
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Registered: 01/29/09
Posts: 130
I had Atlas Shrugged recommended to me by one of my friends at my old workplace.

I think I'm probably getting The Virtue Of Selfishness first though.
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#21122 - 02/25/09 12:49 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Morbid Rex]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
I have the audio version of Atlas Shrugged narrated by Edward Herrmann.
On 10 CDs, the total running time is 12 hours - and guess what, this is an ABRIDGED version.
Anyone else think this is a bit on the long side?
Methinks old Ayn wasn't a fan of leaving half her work on the cutting-room floor.

Whenever I see this book recommended, I can't help but think of the following dude:



Oddly enough, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are libertarians, thus partial sympathizers to some of Rand's ideals - and Mr "Chickenlover" here looks too much of a hippy to enjoy this book.

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#21162 - 02/26/09 01:55 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Meq]
ballbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 134
Loc: Toronto, Canada
If you want Rand just go for her smaller, non-fiction works like Capitalism and the Virtue of Selfishness. Much more concise and much more time saved.

Rand's libertarianism is pretty close to other forms of libertarianism that involve the principle of self-ownership; the main differences I see w/Rand are that she still advocates for a minimal state and gives it a kind of 'just war' duty to liberate unfree countries. She seems somewhat bombastic as well...I recall a passage where she's generally favorable towards European settlers who forcibly took native land.

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#21582 - 03/05/09 03:02 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: icu4whatur]
KaosKrieg Offline
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Registered: 03/04/09
Posts: 30
Loc: NYC, USA
No offense intended, 700 pages of "The Fountainhead" wasn't quite enough to get the point across about Objectivism so the same exact novel called "Atlas Shrugged," Rand's magnum opus, should do the trick with 1100 pages.

There are many villains and they are all exactly the same. They are the caricatures of evil socialists and embodiments of pure evil! They want to create a perfect socialist world order ruled by the inept! They all suck! Socialism sucks! Ha, ha, ha!

The heroes are all exactly the same. They are all noble and perfect and have very angular and insolent faces. They can read each other's minds and the minds of everyone else in the book, leaving less room for misunderstanding and more room for pontificating. They are all in love with Dagny Taggart, the only woman in the universe worth a damn.

Who is John Galt?

Who gives a shit?

It's rumored that Angelina Jolie will play Taggart in the possible movie adaption. Just a tidbit for those who don't agree with my dislike of Ayn Rand.
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#21598 - 03/05/09 08:53 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: KaosKrieg]
Fist Moderator Offline
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Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 1453
Loc: B'mo Cautious MF
Well the fact of the matter is that socialism does suck. Do you disagree?

At the moment, we have an actual Marxist as President and a cabinet of Bolsheviks. Do you disagree?

Rand escaped here from the USSR where they were practicing the genuine article. She saw that many in the US were easily swayed by collectivist thought. Here books were a warning to the US based on what she was seeing unfold.

I don't think her books could be any more timely than right now. When the Dow hits 3000 a lot of people may be actually asking "Who is John Galt?"
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#21607 - 03/05/09 11:43 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Fist]
daevid777 Offline
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Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
Yeah, currently reading The Fountainhead - I bought the wrong Ayn Rand book for the "Satanic Book Club" thread... oops.

After reading and completely disliking "Anthem" many, many years ago, I was a little worried about tackling on a "thicker" book by this author.

I am pleasantly suprised thus far, though I do agree with the characterizations... Howard Roark to be exact.

It does seem quite timely to me.
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#21618 - 03/06/09 03:57 AM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Fist]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: Fist
At the moment, we have an actual Marxist as President and a cabinet of Bolsheviks. Do you disagree?

Obama an actual Marxist? Looks more center-left to me.
I've yet to see him quote Chairman Mao when determining his policies.

His form of socialism doesn't quite look the same as its European variety.
Somehow I doubt the top earners in the States will be paying 45% income tax any time soon, as will soon be the case in the UK. Do you disagree?

What we have here is a dialectic. Bush's fuckups gave fuel to his opponents.
If Obama fucks up, the populace will most likely be pining for the Reagan days, and a "new, improved" Republican party will be happy to play it up and snatch the reins.

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#21625 - 03/06/09 08:07 AM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Meq]
Fist Moderator Offline
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Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 1453
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 Quote:
I've yet to see him quote Chairman Mao when determining his policies.


Right. I said Marxist not Maoist. His message and policies are every bit of "From each according to their worth, to each according to their need."

He uses more flowery language like 'having skin in the game' or 'paying your FAIR share' but the message is the same.

 Quote:
I doubt the top earners in the States will be paying 45% income tax any time soon, as will soon be the case in the UK. Do you disagree?


Well, his proposal is to raise EVERYONE who earns more than $250k to 39%. This means a lot of small/family businesses will get a large tax hike. Congress did away with the ATM and the Leftists in the US are pissed. Obama plans to 'fix' this.

Again, keeping this thread on topic, Rand seems as relevant now as ever. Perhaps the people who actually make and do thing should stop. Perhaps every business should just fire everybody and the owners, operators, and heads of industry should just cash in their chips. Let the mob figure out how to make the economy work.

Good luck!
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I am the Devil and I am here to do the Devil's work.

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#21633 - 03/06/09 12:55 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Fist]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: Fist
Well, his proposal is to raise EVERYONE who earns more than $250k to 39%. This means a lot of small/family businesses will get a large tax hike. Congress did away with the ATM and the Leftists in the US are pissed. Obama plans to 'fix' this.

Sounds quite different to the UK's proposal to tax everyone at 45% earning 40,000 or higher (Google has the current exchange rate, around $56,000 USD). The current rate is 40%. Apparently not quite high enough here yet.
Also bear in mind that your country's populace are armed. Just the sort of thing your Second Amendment was designed for.

 Quote:
Again, keeping this thread on topic, Rand seems as relevant now as ever.

The consensus of many here seems to be that it is precisely the kind of greed fostered by Bush's Republican policies which led to the current state of affairs. Bear in mind that the crisis did not start in socialist Europe, but in the free economic climate of Bush's United States. Is socialism somehow to blame for the current crisis?

You could of course argue that the form of greed Rand wished to promote does not include irresponsible lending on a huge scale. In that case, good luck in convincing the masses to make the distinction. For in a democracy, the masses are always right.

To return to Rand, Atlas Shrugged tends to give the impression that in a free capitalistic society, what is best survives and inferior companies go to the wall. A cursory view would show this to be somewhat nave.
Anyone remember Betamax? Commodore Amiga? Their products were far superior in their day to the competition - yet the inferior product with the most marketing muscle left them rotting in the dust.

Yes, socialism sucks, no one is denying what it did to Eastern Europe. I don't think anyone here is in favor of rewarding the incompetent either. But capitalism is no bowl of cherries either.
If you don't believe me, take a good hard look at Windows Vista.

If Rand were right, and free trade makes for the best to survive, Vista would undoubtedly be the most stable and fast computer operating system the world has ever seen. As opposed to the festering pile of junk most people have forced down their throats.
Never mind, there is always a Mac, at a considerably higher price to the comparable Gatesmobile. Not many games for it though - but hey, you can always purchase and install Windows Vista.

Looks to me like Rand is turning in her grave.

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#21742 - 03/08/09 01:14 PM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Meq]
Fist Moderator Offline
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Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 1453
Loc: B'mo Cautious MF
 Quote:
Also bear in mind that your country's populace are armed.


Indeed. In a nation of 300 million nearly 100 million are legally armed (to say nothing of the scofflaws!). We have over 4 billion (legal) guns in circulation.

Just food for thought...

As to greed, that is a simplistic distillation of lazie faire economics. Rand does not promote greed for it's own sake, but rather a respect for enlightened self interest - a rising tide that lifts all boats.

Truth be known, for most of America's expansion we have never been a truly 'capitalist' society. Lazie faire economics only lasted a very short while after the Revolution. Since then, both the Right and Left have used the force of govt leverage things in their own favor.

Corporations influence govt to pass laws that favor corporations over individual citizens. This is not lazie faire. Think of the RIAA. Our Constitution does provide for a 20 year copyright and patent protection. But corporations have gamed the govt to extend these protections far past the Constitutional limits. In a lazie faire model Disney's copyright to Mickey Mouse would have long since expired. Sony-BMG could make no claims to the music of "The Beetles."

And in many cases, the companies themselves work against their own efforts. Sony and Apple do this all of the time by trying to force the market to accept their vertical integration plans and proprietary devices.

VHS won over Beta because Sony wanted a monopoly on Beta. The porn industry could easily buy VHS equipment and nearly all porn was on VHS. That is why two head VHS won over the 3 head Beta. Of course, it was only a few years latter that VHS released a 4 head version that nailed Beta's coffin for good.

Apple had the same problem. Apple wanted a monopoly from tip to tail in the production cycle. Well, they got it - along with a 10% market share! Gates 'won' because MS only makes software that can be used on any 'IBM clone.' In fact, I would argue that IBM was smart to allow Gates to keep DOS. If IBM tried to adopt the Apple model and control everything they would have ended up with the worst of all possible worlds.

The market likes variety and options. Money is a liquid. It follows the path of least resistance. The market does not care if the obstacles are from the govt or from corporations. History is filled with great products that failed because of bad business.

If it were not for the business genius of Westinghouse, the nearly autistic Tesla would have never been able to bring AC power to world. Good design alone does not bring things market.

One of the great mistakes people make with Rand is to try to link her to American Conservatism. In her own words:

"Being atheists, were anathema to the right. Being capitalists, were anathema to the left. Being absolutists, were anathema to the middle."

Objectivism, like Satanism, is it's own monster.

 Quote:
Bear in mind that the crisis did not start in socialist Europe, but in the free economic climate of Bush's United States. Is socialism somehow to blame for the current crisis?


Fiat money is cause for this problem - printing money out of thin air and then lending it to people who may not pay it back.

In the Austrian school, none of this happens. First and foremost, you don't throw basic banking tradition out the window. Traditionally, a bank is leveraged about 9:1. It has $9 lent out for ever $1 in deposits. Traditional bankers also know their customers, understand their circumstances, and have properly vetted their ability to repay the loan.

In this current fiasco, banks like Citi were leveraged 47:1 and were simply giving loans to just about anybody for just about anything. Why? Because the Federal Reserve Bank was lending them 'free money' with rates as low as 1%.

The US presidential candidates Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan, and Ron Paul all have been warning about this day for almost 20 years.

The Left at the moment is in a fit to drag America further in that direction. The current crisis is being used as an excuse to do it. They point to Rand, and Lazie Faire and say "See, it doesn't work!" If only they would actually let it work...

Anyone ever actually try to start a business? It is govt involvement that retards commerce. Legally, you cannot open a lemonade stand without applying for about $5000 in licensing fees.

Today I learned an interesting fact. New York City has a population of over 8 million people. 40,000 of them pay fully HALF of the city's 59 BILLION dollar budget. 25% of the city's commercial real estate is empty. When a company leaves NYC they usually move to DE or NC because they have low corporate tax. Every year, several hundred 'rich' people leave NYC and move to Florida (with no personal income tax).

Is John Galt in Florida?
_________________________
I am the Devil and I am here to do the Devil's work.

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#21867 - 03/11/09 11:19 AM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: Fist]
KaosKrieg Offline
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Registered: 03/04/09
Posts: 30
Loc: NYC, USA
 Originally Posted By: Fist
Well the fact of the matter is that socialism does suck. Do you disagree?

At the moment, we have an actual Marxist as President and a cabinet of Bolsheviks. Do you disagree?

Rand escaped here from the USSR where they were practicing the genuine article. She saw that many in the US were easily swayed by collectivist thought. Here books were a warning to the US based on what she was seeing unfold.

Um, does my post still count even though it's about 4-5 days late?

I don't think her books could be any more timely than right now. When the Dow hits 3000 a lot of people may be actually asking "Who is John Galt?"


Yes, Socialism does suck and the book would seem appropriate in this day and age. I was just offering a critique of her general writing style, of what I perceived it to be even if I do agree with most of what she was attempting to convey.

Does my post still count even though it's about 4-5 days late?


Edited by KaosKrieg (03/11/09 11:22 AM)
Edit Reason: To make pretty...
_________________________
"Without order nothing can exist - without chaos nothing can evolve." -- Roger von Oech.

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#22257 - 03/19/09 11:28 AM Re: Atlas Shrugged [Re: KaosKrieg]
icu4whatur Offline
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Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 21
Not only her writing style, but her personality was just as sweet as tree bark. She routinely held those she disagreed with up to be publicly crucified and psychologically stripped down to their naked essentials... and in some cases, causing severe psychological trauma. All the while pompously smoking cigarettes in one of those long cigarette holders, piercing her poor philosophical victims with those sharp, black, beady eyes of hers. I wish I could have seen that :P Utterly ruthless.

She convinced a whole generation of followers who did not read her material carefully enough that emotions held no value whatsoever... And so they repressed them.

But that's the real message here. It's not enough that you start a business and call yourself a Capitalist, while screwing everyone in sight. It's not enough that you claim to agree with most of what she wrote, therefore you call yourself an Objectivist while repressing the emotions that you need to enjoy life or warn you of danger... That's not Objectivism.

You also have to apply those principles in the real world without alienating yourself completely. Even the Satanic Bible states; "Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit!". No one is going to do it for you. How well you adapt to your own set of circumstances is directly related to the degree of success you will have in accomplishing your goals.

The beauty in all of this is that you are free. It's just you. You are your own God.

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