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Atlas Shrugged: Why is this so bad?

ShizumaruShizumaru Registered User
edited October 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Alright D&D'ers, This is an Atlas Shrugged thread. This is inspired originally by this thread:

http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=102182

In which, I stated that Atlas is a good book, and its probably a good idea to read it.. A few posters came in the thread and disagreed, which is cool.. but didn't say why, and thats probably better to keep it out of that thread.. so here is this one...

This won't be a particularly amazing OP, so bear with that. I'm more interested in having a dialogue as to why some feel its a 'bad' or terrible book. I admittedly say, that I don't agree with everything that Rand states, but I do think there is some good value in some of the things she preaches. Granted, Atlas is indeed a very polarizing book depending on your outlying belief system and world-view.

That all said, I want to keep this civil with no flaming or anything. I'm intellectually curious what people think about it, as I don't have many people within my own social circle who have in fact read it.. It is a doozy at 1k+ pages...

I originally got the book out of the recommendation of several business speakers/entrepreneurs who I've heard speak both live at seminars as well as cd's and these were all people I greatly admire. Not that that really has much to do with anything, but the book has been regarded highly amongst business owners, business professionals and entrepreneurs..

In general I'll state that its obviously a good idea to have read the book, and at least have a basic idea of Rand's Objectivist philosophy..

Heres a wiki just in case however....

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

I'll add more to the OP if people see a need for it, or it that it could add to the thread, but for now its probably enough to get some degree of discussion going..

Shizumaru on
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Posts

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    atlas shrugged is terrible because objectivism is terrible

    because it is a way for selfish people to justify being selfish

    and it came to be because Rand grew up in a horrible place and came to what she saw as a capitalist paradise in comparison, which she basically came to worship

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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    It never really grabbed me. Silly premise.

  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited October 2009
    The guards didn't know how to swing a baseball bat because they didn't believe in the free market enough.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • rational vashrational vash Registered User
    edited October 2009
    When there is no corporate regulation bad shit happens. You can talk about how consumers will switch to a different product if they find out their current one is immoral, but history has shown that isn't the case. The myth of the rational consumer is just that; a myth.

    Also, imagine the police department, fire department, military, and FDA run by private corporations.

  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Quick, someone post Bob the Angry Flower again and find the link to the made-up "second book".

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    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • ElkiElki GOBS OF PUKE!!! YES!!!!!!!Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2009
    Haven't read it. I was thinking about it but somebody told me Fountainhead was a better, shorter sampling of Rand's fiction, so I read that. It was pretty awful.

  • wallakawallaka Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    It's terribly written, and the premise and philosophy is also terrible. That's why people here don't like it.

  • ElkiElki GOBS OF PUKE!!! YES!!!!!!!Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2009
    Nobody post the flower. We've all seen the flower.

  • KhavallKhavall Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Play Bioshock for a good rebuttal to Atlas Shrugged. Now imagine instead of a little fictional city that happened everywhere.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Because its premise is more outlandish than Lord of the Rings, and it's vastly less entertaining.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • ShizumaruShizumaru Registered User
    edited October 2009
    atlas shrugged is terrible because objectivism is terrible

    because it is a way for selfish people to justify being selfish

    and it came to be because Rand grew up in a horrible place and came to what she saw as a capitalist paradise in comparison, which she basically came to worship

    I think people sometimes misconstrue 'selfishness' with 'rational self-interest' as the two are quite different.. There really wasn't a time where it was stated that you should be 'selfish' at the cost and/or potential burden of others so that you can pursue your own personal and self-fulfilling desires. It had more to do with valuing yourself and what you are capable as man, and that the pursuit of your own rational self-interest/happiness was your highest moral value.

    I do however understand, and agree that growing up in a communistic country and immigrating to a capitalist nation would largely skew her beliefs. That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country. However, I will say that I don't agree with Rand in the idea of Laissez-faire capitalism as it does need to be regulated. Rand also didn't believe in patents and copyright law either, which I don't agree with.

  • themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Two different questions. What do you think about Atlas Shrugged as a novel and what do you think about objectivism? I assume this thread is more about the latter than the former. I don't really like objectivism because I refuse to submit to another's philosophy.

    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    VeritasVR wrote: »
    the link to the made-up "second book".

    Nevermind. Found it.
    Elki wrote: »
    Nobody post the flower. We've all seen the flower.

    Apparently this guy hasn't. Or has, and didn't understand.

    CoH_infantry.jpg
    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    When there is no corporate regulation bad shit happens. You can talk about how consumers will switch to a different product if they find out their current one is immoral, but history has shown that isn't the case. The myth of the rational consumer is just that; a myth.

    It doesn't help that our media is run by corporations who have a vested interest in preventing the general public from learning the immoral actions they've undertaken.

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  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    atlas shrugged is terrible because objectivism is terrible

    because it is a way for selfish people to justify being selfish

    and it came to be because Rand grew up in a horrible place and came to what she saw as a capitalist paradise in comparison, which she basically came to worship

    I think people sometimes misconstrue 'selfishness' with 'rational self-interest' as the two are quite different.. There really wasn't a time where it was stated that you should be 'selfish' at the cost and/or potential burden of others so that you can pursue your own personal and self-fulfilling desires. It had more to do with valuing yourself and what you are capable as man, and that the pursuit of your own rational self-interest/happiness was your highest moral value.
    She stated that the ideal man didn't care about others at all, and did things solely for his own benefit without regard to how it hurt everyone else. If that's not selfish, I don't know what is.
    Shizumaru wrote:
    I do however understand, and agree that growing up in a communistic country and immigrating to a capitalist nation would largely skew her beliefs. That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    No, imperialism did.

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.
    This country was founded as a monarchy. It was turned into a republic.

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    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • JJJJ Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    What flower? I haven't seen a flower?

    Mr. Banballow was so badly maimed, he turned into a hideous monster, oozing and bleeding, snarling and growling like a beast---enraged and bent on revenge. He tracked down the kids responsible for the fire and killed them one by one----with a blowtorch. That wasn't enough for Banballow. He won't leave his inn or his memories, so there he waits....in ambush....
  • ShizumaruShizumaru Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I think the overall premise of the book, however fictional it may be isn't as important as the concept behind it, i.e., that there are people producing the things that actually contribute to the country, produce wealth,etc.. versus the looters who add no value and feel that because of their 'need' that the producers should sacrifice themselves and what they have created, and thusly earned, for the betterment of 'society'.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.
    This country was founded as a monarchy. It was turned into a republic.
    Well, by the time the Constitution was written it was a Republican Democracy. Arguably, before that it was a different country, but I can see your point.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

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  • ElkiElki GOBS OF PUKE!!! YES!!!!!!!Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2009
    OK, fine, post the stupid flower. You jerks.

    Calvin's comics is better, anyways.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    JJ wrote: »
    What flower? I haven't seen a flower?
    Google "Bob the Objectivist Flower".

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • JJJJ Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Oh wait, yeah now I remember I seen it.

    I could stand to see it again because I forgot what it is.

    Edit: okay yeah I never seen that before. I had a chuckle.

    Mr. Banballow was so badly maimed, he turned into a hideous monster, oozing and bleeding, snarling and growling like a beast---enraged and bent on revenge. He tracked down the kids responsible for the fire and killed them one by one----with a blowtorch. That wasn't enough for Banballow. He won't leave his inn or his memories, so there he waits....in ambush....
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Elki wrote: »
    Haven't read it. I was thinking about it but somebody told me Fountainhead was a better, shorter sampling of Rand's fiction, so I read that. It was pretty awful.

    I would say that Fountainhead is worse, actually, but then I'm biased what with her using an architect as the protagonist(?) of the book.

    Both of them violate some pretty basic realities, though. Fountainhead pretty much is exactly the opposite of what architecture is, and Atlas defies the second law of thermodynamics. Which is just about the only way that her 'philosophy' could work. If the laws of the universe were to just be suspended for no apparent reason.

    tea-1.jpg
  • ShizumaruShizumaru Registered User
    edited October 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.

    I'll actually retract that statement as I worded it wrongly. I didn't mean to say that this country was founded on it, but more along the lines, that capitalism in general did elevate the US, more so I'm thinking in regards to the industrial revolution.

  • kdrudykdrudy Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I've heard it's a pretty bad sci-fi novel, long winded and poorly written.

    tvsfrank.jpg
  • ElkiElki GOBS OF PUKE!!! YES!!!!!!!Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2009
    I still think about reading the book because the supposedly better Fountainhead was so bad. I'm curious how bad the cartoonish heroes/villains and monologuing gets.

  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    atlas shrugged is terrible because objectivism is terrible

    because it is a way for selfish people to justify being selfish

    and it came to be because Rand grew up in a horrible place and came to what she saw as a capitalist paradise in comparison, which she basically came to worship

    I think people sometimes misconstrue 'selfishness' with 'rational self-interest' as the two are quite different.. There really wasn't a time where it was stated that you should be 'selfish' at the cost and/or potential burden of others so that you can pursue your own personal and self-fulfilling desires. It had more to do with valuing yourself and what you are capable as man, and that the pursuit of your own rational self-interest/happiness was your highest moral value.

    I do however understand, and agree that growing up in a communistic country and immigrating to a capitalist nation would largely skew her beliefs. That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country. However, I will say that I don't agree with Rand in the idea of Laissez-faire capitalism as it does need to be regulated. Rand also didn't believe in patents and copyright law either, which I don't agree with.

    I think people sometimes mistake "Rational Self Interest" for a capacity that humans possess.

    Demanding rationality from a human being is like demanding speech from a dog. Except I suppose the dog can answer the question of what is on top of a house.

  • ElkiElki GOBS OF PUKE!!! YES!!!!!!!Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited October 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    Elki wrote: »
    Haven't read it. I was thinking about it but somebody told me Fountainhead was a better, shorter sampling of Rand's fiction, so I read that. It was pretty awful.

    I would say that Fountainhead is worse, actually, but then I'm biased what with her using an architect as the protagonist(?) of the book.

    Both of them violate some pretty basic realities, though. Fountainhead pretty much is exactly the opposite of what architecture is, and Atlas defies the second law of thermodynamics. Which is just about the only way that her 'philosophy' could work. If the laws of the universe were to just be suspended for no apparent reason.

    You're making me want to read this.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.

    I'll actually retract that statement as I worded it wrongly. I didn't mean to say that this country was founded on it, but more along the lines, that capitalism in general did elevate the US, more so I'm thinking in regards to the industrial revolution.
    That was largely a capitalist enterprise (in this country, at least), though one could make a fairly strong argument that unbridled capitalism, even in that instance, was pretty harmful to a huge cross-section of people.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    That was largely a capitalist enterprise (in this country, at least), though one could make a fairly strong argument that unbridled capitalism, even in that instance, was pretty harmful to a huge cross-section of people.

    Capitalism didn't mean it! He'd had a rough day is all...

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Shizumaru wrote:
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.

    No, imperialism did.

    Also, slaves.

    tea-1.jpg
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.

    I'll actually retract that statement as I worded it wrongly. I didn't mean to say that this country was founded on it, but more along the lines, that capitalism in general did elevate the US, more so I'm thinking in regards to the industrial revolution.
    That was largely a capitalist enterprise (in this country, at least), though one could make a fairly strong argument that unbridled capitalism, even in that instance, was pretty harmful to a huge cross-section of people.

    Pretty much what I was going to say. Slavery was pretty damn profitable, particularly when things like the cotton gin came along, and did quite a bit to elevate the country (economically, anyway...).

  • ShizumaruShizumaru Registered User
    edited October 2009
    She stated that the ideal man didn't care about others at all, and did things solely for his own benefit without regard to how it hurt everyone else. If that's not selfish, I don't know what is.

    Because I've never seen it worded this way specifically I'll have to disagree in the context of not caring at all about others.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    That was largely a capitalist enterprise (in this country, at least), though one could make a fairly strong argument that unbridled capitalism, even in that instance, was pretty harmful to a huge cross-section of people.

    Capitalism didn't mean it! He'd had a rough day is all...
    "Why do you make me hit ya, poor people? You know I love ya, but ya always make me hit you."

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

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  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Elki wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Elki wrote: »
    Haven't read it. I was thinking about it but somebody told me Fountainhead was a better, shorter sampling of Rand's fiction, so I read that. It was pretty awful.

    I would say that Fountainhead is worse, actually, but then I'm biased what with her using an architect as the protagonist(?) of the book.

    Both of them violate some pretty basic realities, though. Fountainhead pretty much is exactly the opposite of what architecture is, and Atlas defies the second law of thermodynamics. Which is just about the only way that her 'philosophy' could work. If the laws of the universe were to just be suspended for no apparent reason.

    You're making me want to read this.

    I got a copy for free at a book trading shindig.

    Every day I contemplate burning it.

    sig.jpg
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Elki wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Elki wrote: »
    Haven't read it. I was thinking about it but somebody told me Fountainhead was a better, shorter sampling of Rand's fiction, so I read that. It was pretty awful.

    I would say that Fountainhead is worse, actually, but then I'm biased what with her using an architect as the protagonist(?) of the book.

    Both of them violate some pretty basic realities, though. Fountainhead pretty much is exactly the opposite of what architecture is, and Atlas defies the second law of thermodynamics. Which is just about the only way that her 'philosophy' could work. If the laws of the universe were to just be suspended for no apparent reason.

    You're making me want to read this.

    The main character basically invents a perpetual motion machine, but doesn't want to share his free energy.

    tea-1.jpg
  • KhavallKhavall Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Elki wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Elki wrote: »
    Haven't read it. I was thinking about it but somebody told me Fountainhead was a better, shorter sampling of Rand's fiction, so I read that. It was pretty awful.

    I would say that Fountainhead is worse, actually, but then I'm biased what with her using an architect as the protagonist(?) of the book.

    Both of them violate some pretty basic realities, though. Fountainhead pretty much is exactly the opposite of what architecture is, and Atlas defies the second law of thermodynamics. Which is just about the only way that her 'philosophy' could work. If the laws of the universe were to just be suspended for no apparent reason.

    You're making me want to read this.

    Yeah, the guy comes up with a way to get infinite free energy. And then other people think that such a discovery should be shared by the people instead of either restricted to only the rich or all the money flowing directly to this guy when he wants to sell it.

    How dare those other people!

  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    atlas shrugged is terrible because objectivism is terrible

    because it is a way for selfish people to justify being selfish

    and it came to be because Rand grew up in a horrible place and came to what she saw as a capitalist paradise in comparison, which she basically came to worship

    I think people sometimes misconstrue 'selfishness' with 'rational self-interest' as the two are quite different.. There really wasn't a time where it was stated that you should be 'selfish' at the cost and/or potential burden of others so that you can pursue your own personal and self-fulfilling desires. It had more to do with valuing yourself and what you are capable as man, and that the pursuit of your own rational self-interest/happiness was your highest moral value.

    I do however understand, and agree that growing up in a communistic country and immigrating to a capitalist nation would largely skew her beliefs. That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country. However, I will say that I don't agree with Rand in the idea of Laissez-faire capitalism as it does need to be regulated. Rand also didn't believe in patents and copyright law either, which I don't agree with.

    now, I haven't read the book myself, but I believe I read what was supposed to be a trustworthy summary of the premise and the events that trigger the plot in the book, so I must ask: doesn't that completely undermine Galt's whole little tizzy?

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  • ShizumaruShizumaru Registered User
    edited October 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Shizumaru wrote: »
    That said, I still see nothing wrong with capitalism in general, as it is what founded this country.
    This country was founded as a Socialist Republican Democracy.

    I'll actually retract that statement as I worded it wrongly. I didn't mean to say that this country was founded on it, but more along the lines, that capitalism in general did elevate the US, more so I'm thinking in regards to the industrial revolution.
    That was largely a capitalist enterprise (in this country, at least), though one could make a fairly strong argument that unbridled capitalism, even in that instance, was pretty harmful to a huge cross-section of people.

    To that end I agree, and feel that it does need and should be regulated and not all left to free market as there are those who it can potentially hurt.

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