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Atlas Shrugged
buzzed, B&W
hairylunch
The NY Times has a piece today about the influence of Rand's Atlas Shrugged upon business leaders.

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I read a lot of Rand's work when I was in high school. I managed to get through Anthem, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, The Virtue of Selfishness, For the New Intellectual, and a collection of her short essays over the course of one summer (of course, working at a reservoir where I basically read all day sort of helped). She and I get along greatly when it comes to her ideas about the importance of rationality and individualism. My disagreement with her comes at the very point where she attempts to classify what is an entirely individual thought process as a "system of ethics" or morality.

With the amount of energy she spends harping on the importance of reason and self-interest in the individual it is so inconsistent to claim that an individual's thought process can somehow magically morph into an ethical system that can save a failing society from itself. The NYT piece you link to demonstrates this to a certain degree: namely, the business leaders who cite Rand as a huge inspiration to them are certainly important figures (Greenspan, hello), but they are a relatively small minority of the population. Lets say we take Rand's utopia of a society filled with these types of individuals...everyone wants to be a business leader who "morally" crusades on behalf of a failing economy. Okay, now what? A society filled with Fortune 500 CEO's is impossible. However, a perfect Randian system would envision nothing less.

-shea

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