I finished reading Atlus Shrugged
a few days ago. Much like my completion of The Last Remant, I have been working my way through the book since at least March. If you're unaware, AS is Ayn Rand's largest work on Objectivism. The book itself is a novel describing a sort of dystopian evolution of the United States wherein "collectivist" and what could probably be called "socialist" ideas have taken hold within the population to an extreme extent. Especially prominent is the idea of people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions or to try to better themselves--such people being generally implied to having arisen from the advance of the "collectivist" state. Honestly, there is a lot to this portrayal of Objectivism that I am sympathetic to; however, I am still wholely unconvinced as to the feasibility of many of her ideas. Completely unfeasible is the notion of a return to gold and silver coinage for everyday use. There simply isn't enough of either on the planet to be used in daily exchange. Also, the thought of a system in which consumer protection, even in its most basic forms, seems severely problematic.
Regardless, the book is something of a beast. My copy weighs in at over 1100 pages of somewhat dense prose. Most of it is well written, but there is one entire chapter which basically boils down to a 40 page long mini-lecture on Objectivism. It was what caused me to put the book down for an extended period of time until I finally decided to just skim it rather than trying to force my well through perhaps the single least interesting point of the book. I don't think I'd recommend it generally; it is simply a huge commitment to get what one could otherwise find in an overview on Rand's philosophical ideals. I read it so that I could tell if people who were comparing our current recession to "Atlus Shurgged moments" had any idea of what they were talking about. I'd say there are some parallels that can be drawn, but I'm not convinced that we were ever in the sort of terrible world that Shrugged presumes.
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