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Thread: The Novel "Atlas Shrugged" By Ayn Rand/Dystopia And Objectivism

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    The Novel "Atlas Shrugged" By Ayn Rand/Dystopia And Objectivism

    Has anyone ever read this novel? Your thoughts as to if/how it might apply today?

    Ayn Rand was born in Russia in 1905 and she came to the United States in 1926. Growing up, her father owned a pharmacy that the Communists eventually confiscated, displacing her family and forcing them into near starvation.

    She also wrote a similar book titled The Fountainhead, which came out in 1943.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged

    Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. Rand's fourth and last novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. Atlas Shrugged includes elements of romance, mystery and science fiction, and it contains Rand's most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction.

    The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry. The book explores a dystopian United States where many of society's most productive citizens refuse to be exploited by increasing taxation and government regulations and go on strike. The refusal evokes the imagery of what would happen if the mythological Atlas refused to continue to hold up the world. They are led by John Galt. Galt describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the minds that drive society's growth and productivity. In their efforts, these people "of the mind" hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where every person is a slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society.

    Setting

    Atlas Shrugged is set in an alternative dystopian United States at an unspecified time, in which the country has a "National Legislature" instead of Congress and a "Head of State" instead of President. Writer Edward Younkins noted, "The story may be simultaneously described as anachronistic and timeless. The pattern of industrial organization appears to be that of the late 1800s — the mood seems to be close to that of the depression-era 1930s. Both the social customs and the level of technology remind one of the 1950s." Many early 20th-century technologies are available, and the steel and railroad industries are especially significant; jet planes are described as a relatively new technology, and television is a novelty significantly less influential than radio. While many other countries are mentioned in passing, there is no mention of the Soviet Union, no reference to World War II or the Cold War. It is implied that the countries of the world are converting to big government statism, along vaguely Marxist lines, in references to "People's States" in Europe and South America. Plot elements also refer to nationalization of businesses in these "People's States", as well as in America. The "mixed economy" of the book's present is often contrasted with the "pure" capitalism of 19th century America, wistfully recalled as a lost Golden Age.

    Dystopia

    A dystopia is a place in which "people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives" or in which "everything is unpleasant or bad, typically....totalitarian or environmentally degraded." Common elements of dystopias may vary from environmental to political and social issues.

    Objectivism

    Objectivism's central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness (or rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans' metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.

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    No but I saw the Hunger Games! Does that count?

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    Never heard of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonhomme Richard View Post
    Never heard of it.
    *shrugs*

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    Never read it, probably never will.

    For Dystopian Future style writing, there are vastly better and more entertaining/though provoking writers out there, especially in Sci-Fi.

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    People that rely on books to define their philosophy are weak minded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2® View Post
    People that rely on books to define their philosophy are weak minded.
    That's gross. Collectivism is better with books than it is with people.
    Last edited by HessStation; 11-11-2012 at 11:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2® View Post
    People that rely on books to define their philosophy are weak minded.
    You should read Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

    "Atlas Shrugged" has sold 7 million copies and sales of the book have picked up since Obama took office.

    Ayan Rand devotees include Steve Jobs, Clarence Thomas, Melanie Griffith, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kurt Russell, Cal Ripken Jr., Marc Cuban, Hunter S. Thompson and Alan Greenspan.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbanyJet View Post
    You should read Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

    "Atlas Shrugged" has sold 7 million copies and sales of the book have picked up since Obama took office.

    Ayan Rand devotees include Steve Jobs, Clarence Thomas, Melanie Griffith, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kurt Russell, Cal Ripken Jr., Marc Cuban, Hunter S. Thompson and Alan Greenspan.

    No way he was serious...

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2® View Post
    People that rely on books to define their philosophy are weak minded.


    Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, Das Kapital and
    Rules For Radicals work great for you...

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    I think so... Bernie Madoff was the books hero?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2® View Post
    People that rely on books to define their philosophy are weak minded.
    Totally.

    I rely solely on fortune cookies and internet messageboards.

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    I agree with the troll, we most certainly should NOT read History or Economics or Social Science or Political Science or Phillosophy or other silly books in forming out viewpoint.

    What kind of fool does that?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Never read it, probably never will.

    For Dystopian Future style writing, there are vastly better and more entertaining/though provoking writers out there, especially in Sci-Fi.
    Never read it either.


    For any of you (I'm sure Fish has read them) wishing to read some definitive sci-fi books on dystopian society, I'd recommend Orwell's 1984, Wells' The Time Machine and most definitely Huxley's Brave New World.

    I just finished writing a paper on dystopian societies and in doing research I found myself really interested in the philosophy of John Stuart Mill (the man who coined the term "dys-topia) and the writings of Walter Lippmann. But who bases their philosophies on what they read?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    Never read it either.


    For any of you (I'm sure Fish has read them) wishing to read some definitive sci-fi books on dystopian society, I'd recommend Orwell's 1984, Wells' The Time Machine and most definitely Huxley's Brave New World.

    I just finished writing a paper on dystopian societies and in doing research I found myself really interested in the philosophy of John Stuart Mill (the man who coined the term "dys-topia) and the writings of Walter Lippmann. But who bases their philosophies on what they read?
    Some of Sinclair's (a hardcore socialist) dystopia stuff is interesting. The Millenium was cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Never read it, probably never will.

    For Dystopian Future style writing, there are vastly better and more entertaining/though provoking writers out there, especially in Sci-Fi.
    Such as?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jungle Shift Jet View Post
    Such as?
    The Windup Girl was hard for me to read but it's very good. You'd probably hate the premise...the world is flooded by global warming etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by HessStation View Post
    The Windup Girl was hard for me to read but it's very good. You'd probably hate the premise...the world is flooded by global warming etc...
    I named three classics, he's just baiting Fish for an argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    I named three classics, he's just baiting Fish for an argument.
    LOL

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