John Galt is a Useless Jerk.

Roger Ebert remains the finest film critic of the age.
Okay, I know I do a lot of hating on Objectivism, but there’s a good reason for that. It’s a really horrible pseudo-philosophy that is as anti-human at its core as the Soviet Socialism or religious fundamentalism that it decries. Before we go any further, let me make it clear that Ayn Rand’s extended essay exulting extreme individualism, compiled exhaustively in thousands of pages of breathless cardboard prose, is easily refuted in a sonnet:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

That Shelley wrote Ozymandias 87 years before Ayn Rand was even born gives it that extra ‘oomph’; there is nothing modern about self-indulgent nihilism. So refuting Objectivism is admittedly easy; there are no wily fish in that barrel. Yet her work clearly has an appeal as it has sold very well for years and has many intensely devoted adherents; this now includes several members of Congress as well as many state legislatures, and the results have not been good for democracy.

We are not here on this Earth to merely serve ourselves; the reason for our being is greater than a satiation of the desires of our ego. Everything great about humanity is to be found in individual humans, but individual humans are meaningless without being part of a greater humanity. I am a stubborn individualist and egomaniac of epic proportions but this does not preclude me from comprehending that even islands are part of the world.

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This post started last weekend and spent the week languishing on the laptop; it’s now Easter morning. I’m getting ready to move so I’ve been extraordinarily busy; even now I should be packing. Still, I wanted to check in with y’all and wish you a Happy Easter.

Also, it does strike me that Easter is a perfect day to repudiate John Galt; my own thoughts regarding Jesus are controversial in that I don’t believe that any of the magical stuff is necessary in comprehending that Christ was an extraordinarily enlightened being who transformed the world for the better through His sacrifice.  While I do not believe that Ayn Rand should be taken seriously as a thinker it is clear that many people do, and John Galt is the embodiment of her philosophical ideal; at the climax of the novel he is captured and tortured by the government but unlike Jesus he is rescued and prepares to remake the world as the collectivist government collapses for some reason. The book has a shallow understanding of humanity that can be generously described as adolescent; that Rand was traumatized by Soviet totalitarianism comes out clearly in her writing, that so many people today embrace her worldview is evidence of the spiritual shallowness of our age.

One Response to “John Galt is a Useless Jerk.”

  1. The Prof Says:

    Ooooooh boy. The worst part about Michigan and the Benton Harbor abomination is that it seems to all be part of a deal to let the guy who introduced the legislation to begin with to take over the public park on the lake and turn it into a private golf course/country club, whose membership costs about five grand a year. If that isn’t a sign of the times, I don’t know what is.

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