November 15, 2009


I am closing in on the end of my 2009 Reading Challenge. Unfortunately, all I want to do is read Atlas Shrugged again, but I ain't tackling a 1200 page book when I'm up against Karl Rove. So I was happy to pick up For the New Intellectual, a gift from Amritas. I have long wished I had access to a searchable Atlas, but this has the next best thing: excerpts of some of the best monologues from the book. I read them on the plane and got all embiggened yesterday.

And also nervous:

And, paving the way for Attila, the intellectuals are still repeating, not by conviction any longer, but by rote, that the growth of government power is not an abridgment of freedom -- that the demand of one group for an unearned share of another group's income is not socialism -- that the destruction of property rights will not affect any other rights -- that man's mind, intelligence, creative ability are a "national resource" (like mines, forests, waterfalls, buffalo reserves, and national parks) to be taken over, subsidized, and disposed of by the government -- that businessmen are selfish autocrats because they are struggling to preserve freedom,while the "liberals" are the true champions of liberty because they are fighting for more government controls -- that the fact that we are sliding down a road that has destroyed every other country, does not prove that it will destroy ours -- that dictatorship is not dictatorship if nobody calls it by that abstract name – and that none of us can help it, anyway.

Quite nervous:

Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

Reading Rand always reminds me of this Daniel Quinn quote: "We know that the pious don't go to church every Sunday because they've forgotten that Jesus loves them but rather because they've not forgotten that Jesus loves them.  They want to hear it again and again and again and again. [...] there are truths, of a different human order, that must be enunciated again and again and again -- in the same words and in different words: again and again and again."

I like to be reminded that someone like Rand lived, and wrote, and thought.

Posted by: Sarah at 09:40 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Thanks for mentioning me. I last reread For the New Intellectual on a plane almost exactly a year ago (26 November 200 . So it's neat that you also read it on a plane. At the time, Obama's election was still fresh on my mind and the book made me cry. I've had the book by my side for the last year, and I may reread it when I board a plane next month.

I come here for reinforcement. I like to be reminded that someone like you lives, writes, and thinks.

Posted by: Amritas at November 15, 2009 12:45 PM (G4Rx6)

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