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Objectively speaking...

Re-read Atlas Shrugged (warning: link has spoilers!) over the past couple of weeks. The first time I read it was during Christmas break of my senior year in college and I still remember feeling like an enormous explosion had gone off in my head, a "Wow, so that's how it works!" Now every time winter sets in I get the urge to revisit it. It's better every time I go back to it which to me is the sign of a Really Good Book: only something with a lot of substance can stand up to repeated re-readings. (Though Glenn Beck also reportedly likes it, and I must admit to vast annoyance that Glenn Beck and I agree on ANYTHING.)

Ooh, and I read it on the Kindle, which means a) I didn't strain my wrist and b) I was able to mark ALL MY FAVORITE QUOTES as I went and then -- hold onto your hats -- view them ALL AT ONCE! Now that is cool. Most of them are too long for this venue (John Galt's speech LOL!), but here's a sampling of my favorite short ones:

"If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception."

"There are no evil thoughts except one: the refusal to think."

"When one acts on pity against justice, it is the good whom one punishes for the sake of the evil; when one saves the guilty from suffering, it is the innocent whom one forces to suffer."

"What greater wealth is there than to own your life and to spend it on growing? Every living thing must grow. It can't stand still. It must grow or perish."

"Whether it's a symphony or a coal mine, all work is an act of creating and comes from the same source: from an inviolate capacity to see through one's own eyes–which means: the capacity to perform a rational identification–which means: the capacity to see, to connect and to make what had not been seen, connected and made before."

"People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, comdemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person's view requires to be faked."

"Love is the expression of one's values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another."

It's a shame that the book's message has been so misunderstood; from her phrase "rational selfishness" everyone remembers the "selfishness" but forgets the "rational" part even though that's a critical component. I'm pretty sure Rand would have been horrified at the banking collapse and probably at much of modern finance, since it consists largely of merely shifting bits of paper around (and a lot of it is automated these days). After all, it's the value you add to something that entitles you to compensation for your effort, whether mental or physical; if you add nothing, you deserve nothing.

She'd have been Ron Paul supporter, no doubt :D



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