Atlas Shrugged

This is going to be a strange post, and one that most of you will not want to read.  I would not have read a post with this title a month ago.  However, I have a friend who read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and considered it life changing.  In an effort to understand my friend more, and in a quest to not be seen as a person who refuses to broaden her horizons beyond “turn-of-the-century, coming of age” novels, I took on this hefty challenge.


That would be 1,168 pages--I believe it's the longest book I've ever read.

So that you’re not confused by the pictures that are about to follow, I took the girls to Mount Vernon, Washington for the annual Skagit Valley tulip festival.


A couple of you sweet blog readers suggested that I go, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to drag the chicken wings an hour north to see some tulips.  Then, I ran into some women who had travelled all the way from TEXAS just to go to the tulip festival, and I thought, “Well, wouldn’t it be a shame to not see it while we’re here?”  Consider me a stupid fool for ever considering NOT going.  It was one of the most breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen.  I went expecting to spend a couple of hours, and I drug myself away five hours later.  Y’all aren’t even going to believe how gorgeous these tulips are.  I figured if you’re going to plow through this book review, you deserved to look at something pretty along the way.  And if you’re not going to read it, at least this post has some pretty pictures for you to scroll through.


Ok, Atlas Shrugged.  I expected to hate it.  I expected to feel like a martyr the entire time I plowed through those thousand-something pages, just gritting my teeth and reading a bunch of Sci-Fi propaganda.  I mean, really, what could be worse?  I also expected it to be full of liberal spin.  Not sure where I got that idea, because it’s totally the opposite, but I expected to be wanting to vomit into a liberal garbage bag the whole time.

Well, instead I found myself totally enthralled in a well-written story that was even more “conservative” (at least in some respects) than I am.  It’s also a little racy, at least compared to the types of books I normally read.


On the whole, would I recommend it?  This is hard.  I think it’s a fascinating point of view and a good read, but if you’re not a Christian, or are a believer but are new to your faith, or are a believer but struggle with doubts–I would say, “Please don’t read it!”  It’s not that I wavered while reading it, and it’s not that I don’t believe that real truth will prevail, but Ayn Rand is extremely persuasive and this book is a long journey.  Telling a new believer to read this book would be like telling a recovering alcoholic to spend 30 minutes each night in a bar.  Chances are good, that’s not going to end well.


The primary theme of the book is that the best way for a society to thrive (or even survive) is for each person in that society to serve themselves above everything else.  If I am considering capitalism alone, I would agree with that statement.  I think that a country is most likely to prosper financially if each individual in that society is working hard to better themselves–even to the point of selfishness.  I don’t think that a business owner should hire someone based on that person’s need, but their ability, if he intends to run a profitable business.


I can even accept Rand’s view of me as a mother–That it is still a selfish act for me to care for my children well, because ultimately I am serving my own desire.  It is not a sacrifice, she argues, if I give my last crust of bread to my child and then die myself.  I want to see my child live more than myself, and therefore, that act is selfish, not a sacrifice.


I would even follow her so far as to say that I think that the “have-nots” should benefit from the “haves” self-service.  If a big business owner does not do what is best for his business to survive, then there won’t be jobs for the people who need them.  If there aren’t jobs, then there’s not enough money in the economy to stimulate economic prosperity and stimulate the abundance (however slight it may be per family) to support those who cannot support themselves.


And if we want to get really political up in here, I don’t think the government should have the right to decide who I give our hard-earned money to.  I believe it should be our right–those who earned it–to decide how to spend what we make.


Wow, those statements sound pretty taboo in our society.  Nobody feels like they should come out and say, “I want to make money, and I want to do that well!”  That sounds disgusting to us…Why?  For a book written in 1957, I feel like this statement relates frighteningly to where we are today:

This greatest of countries was built on my morality–on the inviolate supremacy of man’s right to exist–but you dreaded to admit it and live up to it.  You stared at an achievement unequaled in history, you looted its effects and blanked out on its cause.  In the presence of that monument to human morality, which is a factory, a highway or a bridge–you kept damning this country as immoral and its progress as “material greed,” you kept offering apologies for this country’s greatness to the idol of primordial starvation, to decaying Europe’s idol of a leprous, mystic bum.


Ok, so I could get fired up by some of this.  I could start to justify some of my selfishness as “right.”  It felt kind of good…but something in me quavered at the same time.  Something felt in direct contrast to what I believe in my heart of hearts.  Because, while I can believe in capitalism, I can’t believe in the hearts behind the people running our capitalistic society.  Can you?  I can’t even trust myself.


If I believed that, in my selfish state, I would still desire to help others in need; that if I was only looking out for my best interest, that my heart would continue to yearn to care for others who cannot care for themselves, then I think we could adopt this doctorine…but I don’t think I would.  And I believe in a God who charges us to do just that.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:37-40

[And these words from the lips of Jesus himself.  If I take His words as truth, it’s hard for me to argue that it would be ok with Him for me to live a life devoted ultimately to myself as Rand sugests.]


What Rand worships, is production.  When she looks out over the city of New York and sees the skyscrapers that have risen from the ground by man’s effort, or a long stretch of railway that has been laid to facilitate production, or a business running smoothly under a capable hand, her reaction (or the reaction of the character that is thinly disguised to represent her in the book) is very similar to my reaction…when I see the work of God’s hands.  But what is the worship of production if not the worship of money, and I’m afraid the Bible speaks very clearly on the worship of money:

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:9-10


There were a lot of instances on my journey through this novel where I ached for Ayn Rand and the misguided plight of her soul.  She often roused feelings in my heart that were familiar, feelings–only stirred by my Heavenly Father,–but the problem was that she was seeking the same ecstasies from the wrong source.  Dagny Taggart (the heroine of the novel who represents Rand) cries these words in her heart at one of her lowest points of the book:

You–she thought–whoever you are, whom I have always loved and never found, you whom I expected to see at the end of the rails beyond the horizon, you whose presence I had always felt in the streets of the city and whose world I had wanted to build, it is my love for you that had kept me moving, my love and my hope to reach you and my wish to be worthy of you on the day when I would stand before you face to face.  Now I know that I shall never find you–that it is not to be reached or lived–but what is left of my life is still yours, and I will go on in your name, even though it is a name I’ll never learn, I will go on serving you, even though I’m never to win, I will go on, to be worthy of you on the day when I would have met you, even though I won’t…


And there is a description of finally meeting her god, John Galt, that made me want to cry–because something right was obviously stirring in her.  A longing for someone greater than herself to put her trust in, but instead of Jesus…she invented a guy named John Galt:

She was looking up at the face of a man who knelt by her side, and she knew that in all the years behind her, this is what she would have given her life to see: a face that bore no mark of pain or fear or guilt….He was looking down at her with the faint trace of a smile, it was not a look of discovery but of familiar contemplation–as if he, too, were seeing the long-expected and never-doubted.

This was her world, she thought, this was the way men were meant to be and to face their existence–and all the rest of it, all the years of ugliness and struggle were only someone else’s senseless joke.  She smiled at him, as at a fellow conspirator, in relief, in deliverance, in radiant mockery of all the things she would never have to consider important again.  He smiled in answer, it was the same smile as her own, as if he felt what she felt and knew what she meant.


Does it make anyone else feel queasy–how close she is to the feeling of seeing our Savior face to face, while at the same time finding the wrong man?

The final dichotomy that holds me from joining the ranks of so many other Christians who support this book, is Dagny Taggart’s ultimate belief that to accept or give anything as a gift is reprehensible.  She demands to do everything in life by her own strength and would spit in the face of someone offering her a “hand-out.”  She believes that she has earned rewards and the right to a deep pride in herself through her own abilities and hard work.  I can get caught up in that pride feeling.  I can start wanting to scream “Amen!” to hard work and effort.


But what about the fact that our life and abilities are themselves a hand-out?  Who gave Ayn Rand her life to begin with?  Who gave her the mind she has to think and strategize?  Who gave her the strength for her tasks?  Did she conjure them up herself from the dust of the earth?


No, she did not.  I’m afraid that all the things she is most proud of are a hand-out from our Creator, and no matter how she balks at gifts, she has already accepted the ultimate gift.  While I think Ayn Rand has some wise ideas about capitalism, I choose to abandon her ultimate message–for the message of the One who gave her her mind and her ability.


{I know y’all didn’t read that.  I don’t blame you.  And it really is ok if you just want to leave a comment to tell me the tulips are pretty :)}

30 Responses to “Atlas Shrugged”

  1. Angie J. says:

    I think my mouth just flew open. I read the first sentence of the review and quit. It went directly against the Word of God. It went directly against the Jesus we serve. I’m shocked.

    • Abby says:

      Angie, I’m not saying that you won’t still disagree, but I think you should read the whole post before deciding.

      • Angie J. says:

        Abby, the following is the sentence that stopped me cold. “The primary theme of the book is that the best way for a society to thrive (or even survive) is for each person in that society to serve themselves above everything else”

        I re-read this sentence today and I see what the author is saying. It’s true, the WORLD will thrive like this for the here and now. As Christians, our future is what’s important, the future after this world is long gone. We are IN this world but we don’t have to be OF this world.

        One day every one of us will be standing in that place face to face with Jesus Christ and personally (my opinion, gracious or not Alison) I want to hear “Well done.” Not “Why didn’t you tell them about Me, why did you only care about yourself?”

        I don’t understand what your post is about, Abby, because I haven’t read the whole post. However, I do know your heart and your position on Jesus. I know that you have a sweet sweet spirit and you have the peace that only comes from knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

  2. Taylor says:

    Abby, Your description and viewpoint are spot on. As people, we are all selfish and it is only because of Jesus that our selfishness can ever be seen as “good” for each other or the world 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  3. Melissa says:

    Fabulous post, Abby. Thomas is rereading Atlas Shrugged right now, and this review has made me want to snatch it out of his hands 🙂 I’ve read The Fountainhead, and I must say, I’ve read very few books that have been more compelling.

    I think your review was spot on. I love your criticism of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy and I appreciate your struggle with her captivating words.

    After I read The Fountainhead, I found this article {} by John Piper to be a worthwhile read. I think you’ll love it, too. I must admit, I spent my alone time reading your post and not rereading this article, but I’m pretty sure it will be applicable. Here’s the first paragraph…

    “In the late seventies, I went on an Ayn Rand craze. I read most of her works, fiction and non-fiction. I recall sitting in the student center at Bethel College as a young professor of Bible reading Atlas Shrugged. An Old Testament professor from the seminary walked by and saw what I was reading. He paused and said, “That stuff is incredibly dangerous.” He was right. For a certain mindset, she is addicting and remarkably compelling in her atheistic rationalism.”

    He goes on to describe Rand’s work as “amazingly perceptive and tragically provincial.” Yet by leaving God out, reality cannot exist. I agree.

    Oh, how I am thankful for the Word of our God that is and has and will always be True.

    OH, and the tulips ARE pretty. Ha!

  4. Allison says:

    Wow, Angie really jumped to a conclusion there. Gracious response.
    So starting a post with, “This is going to be a strange post, and one that most of you will not want to read,” really made me want to read the whole thing…every word, and I loved your review! I thought your perspective was analytical and mature. Thanks for sharing your insight with the www. I might just have to read this one.

  5. Cap'n says:

    Good post Abby – great synopsis. I started reading the book after i watched the movie but stopped after a couple hundred pages. Don’t think i’ll finish it though. Loved the movie, but your review here enables me to see that i don’t really want to read the whole thing. I knew she created her own philosophy/religion called objectivism but hadn’t overly researched it. Thanks for taking one for the team!!

  6. Caroline says:

    I’m a new reader of your blog, and I wanted to say thanks for posting this review… I’ve had a copy of “Atlas Shrugged” gaining dust on my shelf for a year now. I’m still not sure if it’s the amount of pages or the position of the author that makes starting it so daunting.

    As a fan of the C.S. Lewis books, I can’t help but wonder if, like you said, John Galt is her version of Our Creator… which, in my opinion, exemplifies everyone’s need for Christ/salvation.

    Regardless, thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouraging words!

  7. Thomas says:


    It’s a little ironic to juxtapose tulips with Ayn Rand. Before the housing bubble, the dot-com bubble, the S&L bubble, before all of our rather drastic failures of market, came the Great Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637. Prices for tulips skyrocketed (seriously) and then collapsed, causing enough of a stir and enough hardship that we still remember it.

    It’s a fitting tribute to Rand, a picture of excess and little truths exalted beyond their station. She got that we must live in total commitment to the truth, and she worked hard at applying what she thought was true to her entire life, no matter the consequences. But her truth was a lie – a lie that can be particularly intoxicating.

    Also, there’s no room for children in Rand.

    • Abby says:

      Thomas, I still want to call you Thomas Aquinas in my mind–for some reason that I cannot explain. You crack me up. I thought these words by your namesake sum up your comment nicely:
      Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.
      Thomas Aquinas

      Because nobody on God’s green earth remembers the Great Dutch Tulip Bubble besides you, but what would we people with normal brains do without you to give us food for contemplation? 🙂

  8. Nancy says:

    I love these tulips! I love your beautiful posts!
    You don’t know me from Adam, but you are so gifted!
    The purple & white are my favorites.
    Happy Mother’s Day!!!

  9. Zach says:

    My wife told me i should read this particular blog post and I have to say it was VERY well written. I found your views very thought-provoking and I am highly impressed by the fact that you were willing to read and 1,000+ page book that you didn’t totally agree with and still be objective enough to finish it and share your thoughts with us. I definitely do not want to come across as argumentative, because that is not my intention, but i did want to offer a few “devil’s advoocate” type of statements to consider. First of all, I am a Christian also, however I do not believe that Ayn Rand’s ideas are contrary to my faith. In your post you said, (i am paraphrasing) “if i believed that if i was only looking out for my best interest, would i still yearn to help otthers who cannot help themselves?” Why do we want to help others? I think that if we are honest with ourselves it is because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Why does it make us feel good about ourselves? I believe it is because of our faith and that we know that God smiles on those who look out for others that we do such. Also, by doing right through God (among other things, i know) are we not ensuring our place in heaven and isn’t that selfish by definition? I personally do not think this is a bad thing. Later you say that she despises anyone who would give her a “hand-out” even though her life and gifts are a “hand-out” from God. Very good point. But God is not a “man”, and he gave us ability and if we do not use our gifts and abilities and instead choose to take “hand-outs” and have others support us and not use these gifts, then is doing so not like the parable of the man in the Bible who did not use the gifts God gave him and he therefore took them away?
    Basically while I somewhat agree with your post, i think although it often makes us feel good to say that we help others because we are good people, we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that we do so for our own selfish purposes as well. Also, on a side note, I think that capitalism is as much in line with Christianity as anything.

    • Abby says:

      Zach, I love a good respectful debate, and you’ve sparked one. Thank you for your thoughts!

      I agree with you that there are a lot of selfish ambitions behind many acts of service we perform. I also believe that Rand would have no problem supporting this type of “selfish charity.” What I do question is my heart–if I adopted Rand’s totally self-serving philosophy, would I eventually become desensitized to the joy of serving others? I don’t know, but I kind of think I would. I feel like it is only Christ in me that makes my heart long to give my time or money or abilities to others. If I fill His throne with myself (as I feel Rand implies), I’m not sure I would serve anybody else.

      Also, we may have a slightly different views on Christianity. I believe that good works serve to give God pleasure, but I do not believe they effect my place in heaven. If giving God pleasure brings me joy (as it should), then I guess you can argue that that is selfish. However, I don’t think acts of service are selfish by “ensuring our place in heaven.”

      I think that the parable you’re referring to is Matthew 25:14-30, and I think I agree with part of what you’re saying. It seems to me that the Church (along with most of America) today is fearful of talking about making profits. The closest we come is using the phrase “good stewardship.” In reality, by working hard in our jobs (as unto the Lord) and being shrewd with our money (as in the parable you mention) we are able to better serve others and further the Kingdom. We also offer security for our families…and some fun. Let’s be honest! Money, when it is not loved but seen as the tool or the blessing that it can be, can offer some fun. All that to say, I totally agree with you that Jesus does not mean for his people to be lazy and just take hand-outs. He addresses that a lot. However, I do believe there are times when we all suffer. How about Job? Job was a good steward and a wise man, but Satan sifted him. If you were Job’s neighbor, would you not desire to help Job if you could? Wouldn’t that be a handout? Or when our parents get too old to care for themselves–parents who have worked hard and provided for us throughout our lives, won’t we want to help them? Won’t that be a handout? Or Jeremiah and I, at this point in our lives when he has been in medical training for years–we’ve both been working hard, but our parents have given us an abundance of “hand-outs.” And I struggle with it!!! However, what I feel like I have been learning is that there are times when it blesses others when you allow them to bless you. That I will have the opportunity one day (I hope!) to provide small luxuries for my children at times when they can’t afford them. Not because they’re lazy or expect that their need demands that I serve them, but because I love them…and I want to.

      I have gone on WAY longer than I meant to, but I do appreciate your thoughts.

  10. Susannah says:

    Abby, as usual I loved your blog post and the pictures! My mom was/is still a big Ayn Rand fan!! Her favorite was The Fountainhead! Have you tried that one yet?

  11. Emily says:

    Abby ~
    You don’t know me. I don’t know you. However. This post was fascinating! Thank you for reading and reviewing a tricky read. You’ve provided a thoughtful and critical analysis, particularly noteworthy in that you uses the One true Word as your Source to juxtapose Rand’s work. I really appreciate your thoughts. It’s given me a lot to ponder. Because whether we end up reading Rand’s works or not, her thoughts reflect a large portion of our current culture’s framework. So it helps me to know how better to communicate truth to those who are deceived if I know the points of deception. One more curiosity: I’ve always been puzzled by those who perceive cities and edifices more beautiful than mountains, lakes, plains, and oceans. Perhaps when we reduce God’s creation to asphalt and concrete and then reflect on man’s creations as amazing . . . well perhaps then it’s easier to view man to be larger than real life.

  12. Alli says:

    Abby, I love your blog.

    While currently attending a liberal university, I am often grateful that you post about Christianity, our Lord, and include your personal thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs. You always help open my eyes/clear doubts and you are inspiring.

    However, I wanted to ask if you have a response to Zach’s comment (above) because his comment tangled my thoughts all up…

    Thanks for sharing! I always love seeing your new posts!

  13. Megan says:

    This is why I love your blog . . . royal wedding one day and deep theological debate the next! Good stuff. Thanks for going there.

  14. Lucy says:

    Hi Abby! I’m a newbie to this blog, but I just wanted to say that your writing style is quite outstanding. I especially appreciated this post. It was challenging and provocative. Although I can’t say that I agree with all of your political views (I am undoubtedly a Christian but tend to lean towards the political left), I truly respect and value your perspective. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  15. Lucy says:

    I also wanted to comment that my Mom is from British Columbia and I have enjoyed looking at your pictures that remind me of her home. Thanks again!

  16. Zach says:

    Alli, sorry, didn’t mean to tangle any thoughts. My comment could definitely have been a incomprehensible jumble of what I was actually trying to say! 😉
    Abby, maybe I worded that wrong. I don’t believe that good works get us into heaven either, just that if you are a Christian (which is how you get there, being saved) then that is why Christ “lives in your heart” and therefore is what gives you the desire to help others and makes doing so a good feeling thereby giving you some benefit when you help others. To your point about handouts – touché!

    • bp says:

      i hear you and am glad to read such debate! i was a student at a tiny christian university some years ago and was challenged to write a paper about “altruism” in a sociology class…
      and it changed my entire world view.
      i decided as i dug and watched myself and searched my heart honestly that most of what we do, even the most gracious, kind, and UNSELFISH acts never-endingly bring into our lives good feelings, happiness…. we even walk away saying “ah, that felt good” out loud… thus not altruistic by definition, no? and round and round and round we go…
      good conversation..

  17. Meredith says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Your posts are always so thoughtful and well written! I haven’t read the book, but I don’t think that I would agree with anything in it. I love the Matthew 25 scripture that you quoted. That is more my speed! Even though I don’t think we would agree politically speaking (and wouldn’t it be boring if everyone agreed?), your blog is one of my favorites. I love the tulips too! Thanks for sharing. Meredith

  18. Gail says:

    We had to read this in 1961 English Class. I tried! You have turned me back in time…and, now….I seem to want to try again! I don’t feel you have to agree with Rand’s philosophy to apreciate it. It does strike a good question…What is your view of life? I recall, that— the book was about communism. We were scared to death of that word in the 50’s and 60’s as I grew up. Ann’s philosophy seem to point to….there has to be a reason, purpose for everything you commit. I don’t think we are called to question that deeply? I can allow myself to go “there” in my natural mind. Trust in our God with all our hearts and minds……Pray about all things and keep your mind set on things that are good. Zach, I feel….that when I do good things and, set my mind on such—“Good Deeds” comes through me via…. The HOLY Spirit. I myself, my flesh— fights to take control and receive words of “HOW GREAT I AM” when I try to do “good” I agree with Abby. I can not earn my way into heaven by doing “good deeds” And, it’s not the money that is evil…it is the LOVE of it that is so…Hmmmmm Abby, I believe…you have start a lot of us to think! LOL… As you can see…..I have MUCH running through my head….Now…I must give it ALL up to God and through his grace…I find…PEACE…..peace of mind and soul!!! Soooo enjoy this book for what it is…Someone’s thoughts….we don’t have to agree with it…and, we should be strong enough in Christ to not allow it to control our thoughts in a wrong way. Thanks for all the great picture’s, too! I know– our daughter—- will have to return to Seattle one day…You at least give me HOPE to find something breathtaking there! :O)

  19. Brooke says:

    I love your blog and your pictures are always so beautiful. You did bust me at the end…I looked at the tulips – absolutely breathtaking!
    P.S. – we live in Dothan and our puppy (Salvador) absolutely loves your dad…he’s a great vet! 🙂

  20. Great post, Abby!
    I read Atlas 3 years ago and I love your perspective.
    I recently read a review written by a believer. Here’s a link:
    Look forward to discussing more when I’m in Seattle in 3 weeks!

  21. Leslie says:

    Kudos…very well written.

  22. Anne says:

    Abby, Being a Christian, I ached for Dabny’s misunderstanding throughout reading Atlas Shrugged. Wholeheartedly agreeing with the premise of the book to promote capitalism, I also believe that when the government gets involved and tells us what we “should” do, that the individual person becomes invisible.

    Being a southerner, I have often stated that in the south, people used to take care of those in need out of the goodness of their hearts. Now, we have been programmed to think all we need to do is write a check instead of coming face to face with our neighbor.

    But what the heroes and heroine of this book lacked were hearts. And life with no feelings is a robot.

    Great review and great pictures!

  23. Marisa says:

    Hey Abby,
    I only have about 2 hot seconds to write but I want to thank you for point of view and indepth response to this book. I was not in the best place when i read Atlas Shrugged and I became very depressed by it. I agree that if your gonna read it, wait until you are in a strong, clear headed place. She does make some brilliant points but ultimately the book removes all credit from God which was so disheartening. Thanks for your eloquent wording and reminder of all of the things I appreciated and disagreed with about this book and her views.
    Congrats on baby #3!

  24. Ray Todd says:

    I bumped into your blog while looking around and was intrigued so I stayed and enjoyed the read. Your pictures are beautiful. What a photographers dream. If you are using some kind of digital SLR, pictures of these flowers would be incredible using the HDR process. They are beautiful none the less. And what beautiful baby girls.
    Your statements about sacrifice and children I agree with completely and that the “have-nots” should benefit from the “haves” self service. The logic of this statement can be applied much closer to home. Your sweet babies are given to you as complete “have-nots.” We all, hopefully, use whatever talent and intelligence that we have to feed, develop and care for the precious packages we have been given. This to me and I think you, is viewed in the bigger picture as a primary responsibility and not sacrifice on any level. In thinking on this, I even question that this the proper term. It would be like saying that a plant is sacrificing itself to grow a branch. We can see how the sacrificial ideas pervade and infuse life and our thinking. I think that I became aware of this concept through Mrs. Rands writing.
    I think that we can all agree with your statements about our government and the way they spend our money. I don’t thing it very closely represents us , our views or the vision of the founders. Although, if I can interject a thought. It has been said by the French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville that “In democracy we get the government we deserve” If this gives pause, we must consider how our personal choices every day are either feeding or starving this destructive monster. On the note of Jesus instructions to feed the poor. I don’t think there has ever been another culture or nation that has contributed more energy, money or resources toward caring for the poor and down trodden in this nation and in the world. Seems like the poor are multiplying faster than the resources to care for them. Maybe time for a little tough love.
    Your quote from Rands book :
    This greatest of countries was built on my morality–on the inviolate supremacy of man’s right to exist–but you dreaded to admit it and live up to it. You stared at an achievement unequaled in history, you looted its effects and blanked out on its cause. In the presence of that monument to human morality, which is a factory, a highway or a bridge–you kept damning this country as immoral and its progress as “material greed,” you kept offering apologies for this country’s greatness to the idol of primordial starvation, to decaying Europe’s idol of a leprous, mystic bum.
    You should “get fired up by this!’ If through your actions, the training/raising your daughters to use/develop their intelligence and natural talents came to built that building, factory, bridge or tulip farm. you would be exploding with pride and rightfully so. Is this the morality that Ayn Rand speaks of? And frankly, when/if I were to have occasion to stand in admiration of your daughters creation with my children, I will be right there to explain to them that this factory, highway, bridge, car, iPhone is not magic but the amazing creation of a man or a woman. You and I participate daily in the re-creation of this process every minute of every day. You and I are standing in the same relative position as our creator and enjoying the same pride. Is this “moral”? Yes, I think that it decidedly is. Is this diminishing the Creator’s position in any way? I think that the opposite is true. Now, do these things get “worshiped?’ Some surely would, but not if all parents and educators have done their job, properly educating and presented this incredible world of applied science and its possibilities to their children.
    The history of the world is replete with the records of the intellectual poverty along with the death and destruction that has existed in the not so recent past. And what about the history of humanity that was not recorded? I think that Mrs. Rand is trying to get us to question/explore our nostalgic feelings that are based on some of the faulty ideas that have come to us from our fore fathers. She is reporting these threads if ideas that got Europe , Russia and parts of the orient into difficulty in the early 1900s. Her early years were spent in Russia during that time period. I think that she is standing witness.
    “What Rand worships, is production.” NO! This word would only be used to diminish what she is trying to show us. These types of words are only used to promote a narrative. If by using a word like worship this makes her opinion/ideas seem sacrilegious and therefore to some a throw away. The creator gave us tulips and mountains to grow them on. There is no way we can best that. But don’t you think that He would flip with pride when we take some of these materials that, to the uneducated brain, are only dirt and through the power of the intellect we are given by God, turn this dirt into a iPhone.( All the raw materials that went into making a iPhone were dug out of the ground). This, so you can have face time, in full color, with your daughter 4000 miles away. Ayn Rand, through the power of reason is trying to get us to question the morality that gave us the dark ages and worse. She is contrasting the system of production with the sacrificial system. She is supplying/offering us an alternative view to help us see our world differently, maybe more clearly. Seeing, doing, producing, not worship. I think that there are probably very few men who are so arrogant or stupid as to try to maintain a pure atheist position.
    About Dagny’s muse. I didn’t get at all that she was reaching out for a God. Given Rands logic she was describing Dagny’s crying out under the restraint of her intellect. In other word she was not settling for what was available in men. She is a smart girl and wants to find her equal. It is my profound hope that my baby girl (20 years old now) will digs so deep into her intellect and experiences and have a similar experience. I hope she uses this as part of the judgment process that helps her choose an amazing person that will care for her and her children and be part of that incredible journey, that incredible gift, life. Is this selfishness? I’ve spent years to prepare her so she will have the proper conceptual resources so this judgment, that only she can make, will have a productive outcome. There is a saying; Two things we should never get emotional about is getting married and buying houses. I hope you understand what I’m saying. Your daughters and mine, Us all, are completely dependent on the Ideas and concepts that we gather and use to make these judgments and their outcomes. This is why we don’t let cannibals raise our children.
    You question this “morality” in your “heart of hearts.” I think that “our hearts” are the child left residing in all of us. Your intellect will always listen to the voice of your children or your heart, but the influence of the intellect will usually hold sway. This is the voice of a father. For instance, when I/we see, come to know your amazing children, I may also want to freely invest some capital into her/their talents. For instance, so she can design and span my local river with a bridge. It is possible that I’ve already lost a child to drowning because of the lack of one. And whether we, you and I, (US) directly invest in or if is done by our elected representatives isn’t the point I wish to pursue. The judgments that we make and our energy/capital that we invest is good, is moral, in all its implications.
    I think that the larger point that that Ayn Rand is trying to make is that in America, a Steve Jobs or a Einstein, left to, or forced to, dig potatoes in obscurity by a political regime or religious system is a sin any way you look at it. A parent without the insight to see the value in the child’s engineering talents and encourages or forces this person into something unsuitable is a shame and a waste of God’s gifts. This goes for that person and the “have-nots” that do not get the benefits of say a cheap system to provide a sanitary water source.
    I think that to over look or dismiss Ayn Rands Ideas, or any ideas is a mistake. She is as you say “extremely persuasive.” Her appeal is to the intellect, this balanced against our feelings. She is demonstrably not a god. I think that I’m correct in saying that lung disease due to smoking shorted her life. She did not believe that tobacco was harmful and paid a hard price.
    I think that Ayn Rand was a bit of a reaction to her personal experiences with Soviet Russia and the Bolshevik revolution. The fact that sees that happening here and did that in the 1950s or before should more than give us all pause. Frankly, It wakes me up at night. If You would like to do a book review read her book – We The Living- about early Soviet Russia. It should remind us (US) what a Disney Land in the world we, especially our generation, have had the privilege to live and raise our children in. These people have sworn to bring their ideology to us (US). And it seems that they are doing exactly that! She may be the voice crying in the wilderness……….
    Just Thinking
    Ray Todd

  25. Abbie says:

    Hey Abby–I stopped by your blog today to look for this very post. Thankfully it was easy to find when I went to the “books” category.
    I read an article about VP candidate Paul Ryan. Apparently he’s a big fan of Atlas Shrugged. The article compared/contrasted his enthusiasm for the book with his Catholic faith.
    This blog post came to mind & I wanted to re-read it. I’m bookmarking it now to come back when I have a quiet minute to re-read your thoughts.

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