Objectivism In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

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Atlas Shrugged has been a big point of controversy throughout the last 60 years.Although many have criticized it for its "immoral and radical views," (Simpson) a survey by theLibrary of Congress and the Book of the Month Club found that many consider Atlas the“second-most influential book in their lives, behind only the Bible.” (Moore). How can thereviews of the book be so different from each other? The answer lies in the strength and non-conformity of the views in the book.Ayn Rand is well known for her unique views on moralism, reason, and capitalism. Herphilosophy is known as "Objectivism," and was created by thinking not about current socialstandards, but by thinking about what we value and why these values are needed. This mindsetstarted…show more content…
Herphilosophy of Objectivism can be split into 4 essentials: reality, reason, self-interest, capitalism(Ayn). Objectivism treats reality as an absolute; facts are facts, regardless of everything. Realityis not affected by beliefs or the supernatural (The Atlas). Reason, which facilitates the use ofobservation and logic, is also present throughout the book. Objectivism looks at reason as theonly means to knowledge and rejects any sort of emotion or faith (Biddle). Self-interest, inRand's eyes, is the product of morality; it produces happiness and makes us feel fulfilled. Thisgoes against the conventional approach of leaving your own interests and happiness to helpothers (Ayn). Rand's capitalism, the fourth fundamental to Objectivism, believes that a laissez-faire structure is the ideal social system. It is a system that separates government and economycompletely, and supports individual right completely. Some other themes presented in the storyare power and fear, achievement, good and evil, love, and language (Shmoop). At the time of itspublication in 1957, these ideas had never been presented before.It is because of these themes that Atlas has been challenged and severely criticized. Somehave…show more content…
Giving a wide impression of the themes found throughout Rand’sObjectivism and her other works, whether one liked it or not depended on whether they acceptedor rejected her viewpoint. The reason why her philosophy is eminently disputed is that it goesagainst traditional morals. Many have been taught their whole life that being selfless anddedicating yourself to others is correct behavior. However, Objectivism thoroughly contradictsthese ethics with the ideas of self-interest and reality, stating that one's happiness cannot bebrought by altruism due to the fact that altruism, by definition, demands self-sacrifice. Rand,instead, promotes "rational egoism"; following your own happiness, but to a rational and non-detrimental level. There are those who continue to believe in the old teachings, but others haveaccepted this more contemporary view of "realistic morality" (Biddle). However, in recent timesAtlas has become much more accepted compared to when it was released due to the change intolerance and acceptance standards along with the fact that the newer generations are gearedtowards being "unique," leading to biased acceptances.Overall, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has been one of the most influential books of alltime. The philosophy presented had never been expressed before, leading to a risky, yet highlysuccessful, gamble on the readers. Although

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