Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Essay 2011 Essay Headers
I was prepared to dislike Patrick O’Connor intensely, based upon his association with a writer I considered odious. Patrick O’Connor nursed a black coffee in a white ceramic mug he’d walked off with from the college cafeteria.
At the same time, he proposes tax cuts up to 30 percent for the nation’s wealthiest corporations.I was an insecure young professor of philosophy at a conservative evangelical college, with a troubled marriage and two kids.Cedarville College was four miles from Antioch, but so distant ideologically from the famously radical Antioch that it might as well have been four light years.The performative contradictions in that last sentence continue to astonish me. By the time I met Patrick O’Connor, I was itching for a fight about Ayn Rand. Both were Econ students, promoting Rand as an apostle of free market capitalism and suspicious of my muddle-headed liberalism which harped about the growing chasm in Reagan’s America between the rich and the poor and the need for distributive justice. Never mind that Jesus was a Jewish Mediterranean peasant, probably illiterate, with a biting critique of the rich and possessed of peasant humor — “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven” — my students weren’t buying it. Publishers almost never give in to these kinds of demands, but we did. And I agree with O’Connor that Rand wrote children’s literature.It was not “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do) for these students, it was more like, “What would John Galt think.” I didn’t give a tinker’s damn about what John Galt thought. I wanted to know just how well Ayn Rand sold, really. The lights, the gas, the heating bills, the Christmas bonuses. The problem is that a lot of these people have grown up, put on colorful colonial uniforms, and are trying to shrink the nation’s budget to the size where it can be dragged into the bathroom and drowned in the bathtub.A small man with a round face, he had a sly smile and a direct manner.We regarded each other from opposite ends of a picnic table.Paul Ryan and his followers have solidified the connection between Ayn Rand, the Tea Party, and the Grand Old Party, with nary an outcry from the “religious right,” Karl Rove’s “base” that put George W. No one that I am aware of in the religious right has called attention to the words of the Hebrew prophet Isaiah in the Bible: Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims — laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children. In lecture tours around America, Ayn Rand defended “the virtue of selfishness.” She had a long term love affair with Nathaniel Brandon, a young psychologist, who later established the Nathaniel Brandon Institute to promote Rand’s philosophy.What will you have to say on Judgment Day, when Doomsday arrives out of the blue? Though it was reported that she did so with her husband’s full knowledge, it is generally acknowledged that Frank O’Connor (no relation to Patrick) found the experience to be “difficult.” I don’t know if Patrick O’Connor got himself laid in Yellow Springs, Ohio. On the day that opened in theatres, someone tweeted, “Republicanism is crumbling of its own avarice, lust for power, excesses, and hypocrisy. O’Connor challenged their hypocrisy: You’ve been living off this woman for years. The philosopher Jurgen Habermas spoke often of the “legitimation crisis” that plagues late capitalism, as core communication functions in society become disabled or “colonized” by money and power.It meant nothing to him any longer, only a faint tinge of sadness — and somewhere within him, a drop of pain moving briefly and vanishing, like a raindrop on the glass of a window, its course in the shape of a question.A drop of rain pain in the shape of a question: “Who is John Galt.” That’s some raindrop. I don’t remember what I said to deflect Patrick O’Connor’s question — something short and inane.