I finally started Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and I am absolutely enthralled. Ayn Rand is great at taking an idea about humanity in her books and turning it inside-out to show us the side we don’t usually see. For instance, in Atlas Shrugged, the people who are stealing from the rich and giving to the poor are the villains and the money hungry capitalists are the heroes you find yourself cheering on. The Robin Hood mentality takes on an entirely new perspective when you see how the talented and ambitious people in society are enslaved to silly regulations like limiting your steel production to the same amount as everybody else. Just because this regulation is “fair” to competitors it doesn’t fulfill the nation’s demand for steel.
The question of freedom and individual rights continually get brought up throughout Atlas Shrugged and has made me think about how I would react in the world that Ayn Rand created. I believe in serving others and leading a life dedicated towards that belief. I’ve always felt those who are better off should help out those in need yet at the same time I am very ambitious and pursue all of my goals with every talent and asset I have to offer. My results and successes warrant what I deserve; my needs warrant nothing. Ayn Rand is showing me that my views don’t necessarily match each other and, in fact, they almost contradict each other.
In my little fantasy world, I envisioned everybody helping each other in beautiful harmony. Ayn Rand challenges my little dream by bringing to light that most people don’t want to give freely and therefore we would have to force them. If we are in a world where people must give what they earned, then does that make them slaves to the laws and regulations? It’s funny…I always felt that we were slaves to the dollar but here is a woman who has touched thousands of lives by writing about how the dollar, when earned for yourself by yourself, gives freedom.