Saturday, August 18, 2012

Does Ayn Rand matter?

The Major read both Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead in 1960s. He promptly forgot about both books.

The Hero of the Atlas Shrugged was John Galt, an individualistic architect who didn't want to conform to societal rules.

Wikipedia explains who John Galt is:

Galt is acknowledged to be a creator, philosopher, and inventor who symbolizes the power and glory of the human mind. He serves as a principled counterpoint to the collectivist social and economic structure depicted in the novel. The depiction portrays a society based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces stifling mediocrity and egalitarianism, which the novel associates with socialistic idealism.

Rand wrote the novels as a counterpoint to FDR's New Deal , European Socialism and Russian collectivism.

Rand's work wasn't taken that seriously in the 1960s but today it is embraced by conservatives, particularly libertarians.

After the Great Depression, the Republicans were no longer the in-crowd who controlled government. The desperately wanted their control back.

One of the means the GOP used to get back into power was religion.

On of the people who helped Republicans was Abraham Vereide.

As Wikipedia notes:

The Fellowship also known as the family was founded in 1935 in opposition to FDR's New Deal. Initially headed by Fellowship Foundation traces its roots to its founder, Abraham Vereide, a Methodist clergyman and social innovator. Vereide was a Norwegian immigrant who founded Goodwill Industries in Seattle in 1916.

This secretive group is behind the National Prayer Breakfasts and supported by many conservative politicians. It even has a boarding house for conservative politicians in Washington.

In Newsweek, Lisa Miller wrote that The Family describes themselves as people brought together by common love for the teachings of Jesus and that all approaches to "loving Jesus" are acceptable.

In contrast, Jeff Sharlet, who was interviewed on NBC News and wrote a book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, and an article in Harper's about his experience serving as an intern in the Fellowship has a very different view of The family.

The family compares Jesus to "Lenin, Ho Chi Minh,Bin Laden" as examples of leaders who change the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their "brothers".

The family views all of these men as special people who societal conventions do not apply to. This is very similar to Ayn Rand's libertarian ideas about John Galt.

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