Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reflections: Anthem

Adam C. Zern offers his thoughts on Ayn Rand's Anthem:

"Anthem is now the only non-scriptural book I have ever read twice.  This isn't any overwhelming accomplishment considering its brevity, but it is significant because it is one of the few books worth reading twice.  Ayn Rand is a polemic in the best way possible.  Her ideas, largely ignored by academics who should know better, are riveting and controversial and deserve to be taught, debated, refuted, and embraced.

The most horrifying truth about Ayn Rand and her philosophy, Objectivism, is not what it teaches; rather, it's that so few know anything about her and her philosophy.  Her philosophy is the absolute opposite to all forms of collectivism, an ideology and philosophy that is constantly promulgated and often heralded by academics and politicians.  Anthem is a perfect springboard to become familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy.  It presents the core and the beating heart of her philosophy.

Finishing Anthem the second time was an interesting experience since I read the book the first time when I was in my late teens.  I don't think I appreciated the nuances as much back then, and reading it at my current age, with the experiences I've had over the last decade, and with my current perspective made me squirm a little bit more than I remember the first time.  I think I appreciated to a greater extent how much in conflict some tenets of her philosophy is in relation to my own.  Having said that, I love Ayn Rand; I love her ideas, and I love what she offers to a thoughtful and rational mind.  Her writings have influenced my ideology to a greater degree than any other author I have ever read, and I believe she merits the highest of regard in academic circles and in society as as whole.

Read Ayn Rand!  If you never have, then I feel the impetus is even greater to become acquainted with a woman and a philosophy that should hold as much sway in our political and ideological debates as Karl Marx.  If you've read her before, then I would encourage a greater exploration of what she had to say and why it could matter.  The attention I have given to Ayn Rand's writing has made me a devotee, admirer, and critic of Ayn Rand, and that's the greatest compliment I could give."