About two months ago when I was in the mad dash preparing to return to school, I also started looking into scholarships. I found a few that I wanted to apply for and one of those required that I read Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged. I am sure I had heard of Ayn Rand before, but I didn’t really know anything about her or her writing until now. I would say it’s a shame I didn’t know her sooner, but I find the timing of her appearance in my life to be kismet.
I’m taking a history class, and this time I’m very interested, applying myself and seeing the relevance of events to the direction my life is going. In both books of Ayn’s that I’ve read samplings of I have encountered time periods, terms, and ideas that parallel what I’m studying in history.
I was unable to enter that scholarship contest being that the essay I would have needed to write was due much sooner than I could have obliged; it’s a sizable novel and I quickly got loaded up with school work. I did get through the first two chapters though before returning the book to my library- and I was hooked. I made up my mind to read all of her work as soon as I could and once I downloaded the Stanza iphone app that made Anthem available (its copyright is expired), I got to it.
It’s very convenient to have books on my phone to read when I’m having lunch or find myself with a few spare moments, but not enough to go digging around for something to occupy that time. Forget useless trash magazines, give me goodies from the public domain archives!
I noticed today that I’m almost halfway done with Anthem, which was surprising to me because Atlas Shrugged is so long it didn’t occur to me that all her books wouldn’t be similar in length. So I got home and looked online to verify I wasn’t getting the abridged version. I found a website that had the book posted online and included the foreword that my copy didn’t include. In Ayn’s introduction, F.9, F.10, and F.11 had me proclaiming “Yes!”.
The greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one’s eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: “But I didn’t mean this!“ Those who want slavery should have the grace to name it by its proper name. They must face the full meaning of that which they are advocating or condoning; the full, exact, specific meaning of collectivism, of its logical implications, of the principles upon which it is based, and of the ultimate consequences to which these principles will lead. They must face it, then decide whether this is what they want or not. –Ayn Rand. April, 1946