Finally finished Atlas Shrugged. It was slow going because I didn't really enjoy it and getting through it felt like a chore. Wanted to finish it though, to get a proper picture of why cunts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh like it so much.
Even looking at it objectively, putting aside for a moment my disagreement with it's philosophy, I thought it was reasonably well written buy FUCKING slow. Hardly anything exciting happens until the last third of the book and the romance aspect of it is doesn't stir much emotion. The first two thirds could have been condensed into one and I dare say that the whole thing could easily have been done in half the word count (the book is 1168 pages and 500,000+ words - in the same ball-park as all three books of Lord of the Rings) - as long as John Galt's speech was left in tact, you could edit much of it down considerably.
From my own point of view, getting round to the philosophy, this book is very elitist and right wing, advocating laissez-faire capitalism and plutocracy.
According to Rand:
- Greed is good
- Robin Hood is the epitome of evil
- Help should only be given if the recipient is virtuous (e.g. the "deserving" poor)
- Justice is the opposite of charity
- Forgiveness is a sin
- Only the elite are capable of achieving anything and everyone else is incompetent
- The workers owe everything to the entrepreneurs that employ them
My point of view is very much at odds with all of that, which is one of the reasons I didn't enjoy the book.
It beggars belief that certain high profile Americans can advocate Rand's philosophy and still claim to be Christian, especially considering Anton Lavey used as the basis of much of his brand of Satanism - "Rand with ritual" is how he described it.
I wouldn't recommend reading this book. I wouldn't say "don't read it" either but, if you do, be prepared for a very hard slog - this book is to railways what Lord of the Rings is to walking...but without the scenery...or the monsters...or anything particularly exciting until the last third of the book. Also be prepared for a lot of right-wing dogma which, if you're left-wing, will stir the sort of hatred usually reserved for Margaret Thatcher.
So relieved to be able to start reading something enjoyable again, gonna start on a Michael Moorcock anthology soon.
I am actually tempted to read Rand's "The Fountainhead" and "Anthem" at some point (thankfully they're much shorter than Atlas Shrugged) but that won't be anytime soon.
Probably gonna give "Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand be Damned!" by Stephen Goldstien a go soonish though.
Some consider Atlas Shrugged to be "beyond parody" so it'll be interesting to see someone having a go.