Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quote of the Day II

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
-- A reader comment to The Daily Dish quoting screenwriter and producer John Rogers

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have never read Atlas Shrugged (sadly nor have I finished The Lord of the Rings) but it is a book that I plan to read at some point. I picked this quote because it made me giggle.

Here’s another quote from another reader on that same post. This one just makes you go hmmmm.
Your posts on Objectivism reminded me that for years I meant to - and never did - write an article that illustrates the remarkable alignment between the personal ethics of Ayn Rand’s outlook and those of Anton LaVey’s “Satanic Bible.”

Lest you think I’m being intentionally provocative, understand that this idea came about as I was reading LaVey’s text in preparation for a class I now teach on New Religious Movements. The course deals, in part, with organized Satanism (not the “Satanism” of evangelical paranoia lurking in record albums and body piercings). I was struck by the fact that individual happiness and the full development of the individual at the expense, when necessary, of the “weak” and conformist, with all its Spencerian/neo-Darwinian implications, rests at the heart of both ideologies. LaVey dresses it up in fantastic ritual and comical magic aimed at undermining the authority of Christianity, but the handbook on how to live a life does not differ substantially. Neither ideology celebrates willful, arbitrary cruelty, but both take an aggressive stance to those who advocate submissive ethics and meeting the needs of the collective before meeting the needs, and desires, of the self.

Do yourself a favor and pick up LaVey’s book. You may have to hide the cover in the subway, but the parallels are uncanny.

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