I’ve been re-reading Ayn Rand’s fiction and philosophical essays in preparation for teaching the six-lecture Objectivism 101 course at the 2002 Summer Seminar of The Objectivist Center. It’s been a while since I’ve read Ayn Rand’s writings in full. Usually I’m just looking up particular paragraphs here or there to find a quote.
So it’s been particularly delightful to re-acquaint myself with her work. I particularly enjoyed reading The Fountainhead again after so many years. It has a light touch, giving it much more psychological realism than found in Atlas Shrugged. But perhaps AS is simply more direct, more blunt than The Fountainhead. Given what I regularly hear on talk radio and read in advice columns, people’s thinking is often so much worse than we tend to charitably assume.
For example, check out the second letter in this Ann Landers’ column. The woman is feeling guilty over modest punishment for her son’s stealing and wondering whether to return the stolen property. That’s silly enough already. But then Ann Landers’ suggests fixing the problem by lying, by telling the store manager that her son “took the cards by mistake.” (The phrase “to take something by mistake” indicates confusion about whether you were in possession of an object or had paid for it, not stealing!)
Call me crazy, but lying just doesn’t seem to be a good remedy for the problem of theft! Confused thinking indeed!
Update: Due to serious philosophic and moral objections, I am no longer associated with The Objectivist Center in any way, shape, or form. My reasons why can be found on my web page on The Many False Friends of Objectivism.