As most lovers of free-market economics know by now, “Atlas Shrugged,” the movie is coming out this week. Just two years ago, I wrote this piece on Rand’s philosophy, called Objectivism.
To sum up: I believe, after reading “Atlas Shrugged” and recently re-reading “The Fountainhead,” that Ayn Rand celebrates selfishness, although her heroes become literary Christ symbols. So Rand seems to recognize that self-sacrifice is a good thing, but then rails against it at the same time. Personally, I find this aspect of her philosophy pretty confused.
The gospel teaches us that voluntarily giving to others is the highest possible achievement. Rand sees giving to others as taking away from yourself and creating a society of parasites. I couldn’t disagree more.
However, having said that, Rand’s celebration of free-market economics and the wonders of humans who better the world through their hard work is spot-on. Her reminders that the state has no right to your personal property are important and especially timely (charitable giving should be voluntary, not forced). The world she creates in “Atlas Shrugged” is in many ways the modern world, where legions of covetous people look at ways of taking from others without producing anything of value themselves.
So, I will be watching “Atlas Shrugged” soon after it comes out, even though Rand’s celebration of selfishness is not compatible with the Gospel, in my humble opinion.