I think because I’m excited about going to school, I’ve also been excited about reading some really smart books lately. I have some thoughts.
A little while ago I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I did this in three weeks, and let me tell you, that is a feat. It’s 1100 pages long, with teeny tiny print. This is an interesting story and written in a compelling fashion, but does boil down to being a piece of objectiviest propaganda. The theory set forth in this dystropia is that the best thing you can do for humanity is to be as selfish and self-seeking as you can. That by doing that you will work hard, acheive great things, and humanity will benefit. I have heard it said that after reading Atlas Shrugged you become a complete jerk for about three weeks. This is not entirely inaccurate.
I was glad that not long after reading Atlas Shrugged I read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (possibly misspelling his last name). While Atlas Shrugged comes at the world from the point of view of the great industrial giants, The Jungle comes at if from the point of view of the lowliest laborer in the industrial factories, the immigrant. The Jungle sets forth the ugliest consequences of unrestricted captalism. From house-buying swindles to adulterated, poisoned food, to deadly working conditions and unrestrained sexual harrassment, The Jungle hits almost everything you could imagine going wrong for a working-man, and many you couldn’t. In the last tenth of the book the Sinclaire decides that his story is pretty much over and he might as well use this extra time to write some socialist propaganda. While it is easier to agree with Sinclaire, I have to admit that Rand makes her point better. While I could see why the protagonist became a socialist, I never considered becoming one myself. Sadly, Sinclaire is far more greatly based in reality.
Now I am reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. So far Margaret Atwood reminds me of Toni Morrison; she’s hypnotic, but she uses her powers for evil. After this I’ll have to read something a bit less political.