A rather surprisingly negative review from Whittaker Chambers. Apparently the Marxist ideology that he once loved wasn’t completely washed out of his system.
Whittaker Chambers, William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, all had Christianity at the center of their worldview. Ayn Rand’s atheistic materialism would have been foreign to them, despite her anti-communism.
Whittaker Chambers didn’t like absolutes and preferred relativism to justify the fact he was once a Communist spy.
Just because he flipped shouldn’t make him a darling of the right. Chambers is the flip side of the David Brock coin.
As for Chambers’ particular attack on Ayn Rand, find it interesting that he infers objectivism is similar to Nazi ideology. Loses credibility on that front alone without taking into account the rest.
There’s a simple reason why Chambers didn’t like Rand...blowhard relativist looters don’t produce much except hot air.
If Chambers were alive today, he would be pontificating about the evils of the Tea Party as part of the wine and brie Beltway faux conservative “ruling” class.
In contrast, you will find Rand’s legacy in the Tea Party movement.
What I had been fell from me like dirty rags. The rags that fell from me were not only Communism. What fell was the whole web of the materialist modern mindthe luminous shroud which it has spun about the spirit of man, paralyzing in the name of rationalism the instinct of his soul for God, denying in the name of knowledge the reality of the soul and its birthright in that mystery on which mere knowledge falters and shatters at every step. If I had rejected only Communism, I would have rejected only one political expression of the modern mind, the most logical because the most brutal in enforcing the myth of mans material perfectibility.
The main character's silioquy at his trial was the summation of the book, and probably makes a stand alone theme without the rest of the book.
Caveats: This was a book with an array of characters such that not one of the characters had a single redeeming feature.
The hero generally despised the human race. His idea about the proper way to feel and foster 'love' included, no, was in total, forceable rape.
The heroine obviously loved money above all else while she craved love by some definition. In the middle and the end she invited in, encouraged, then 'loved,' make that lusted the man who forceably raped her.
These two were the closest in the book to functional people. Everyone else was so utterly dysfunctional that it was as though Rand was racing herself to the bottom of the barrel. She wanted to see how depraved she could make her characters, hence, humanity.
I had no problem reading the book from start to finish. I would never be tempted to read it a second time.
The majority of the posters here are right, that it is materialism at the heart of Randism that makes it an evil proposition, no matter how much Randites swear at communism.
Can libertarianism be also Christian? Certainly we understand that the socialism of the early Christian communes, and the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount social message, all were about voluntary renunciation of the possessions, and voluntary charity; it is the tragedy of 20c that the line between voluntary charity and top-down egalitarianism was blurred. Surely statism is not preached anywhere in the Gospels (respect for God-fearing authority, cf Romans 13 is). Of course a Christian cannot possibly think that he owns himself -- God does. But leaving that aside, there is nothing un-Christian about loving personal freedom.
But this is where the rub lies. Libertarianism of every kind means primacy of a market over use of uninvited force. So far so good, so long as the market does not become the only force. That is because a market is by definition a machine, and people should not serve a machine, no matter how well built. Here's an example, from real life: a market tells a farmer to sell his land and become a hired worker. But a farmer is free even though poor. A hired worker is not equally free, he is in fact substantially unfree, no matter how big his salary is. So here the machine ate the free man and produced an unfree one. Indeed, it is the destruction of the Metaphysical Village by the Metaphysical City that gave us socialism.
(This thought belongs to the formidable Igor Shafarevitch, whose Socialist Phenomenon should be in every Freeper's browser; the though itself however, was in his interview in Russian and I have a difficulty locating it).
Bfl. I’ve always enjoyed Whittaker Chambers.
It’s just bad writing, regardless of the politics expressed.
What an incredibly boring review. I just watched the recent documentary, “Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged,” and it presents this article as the “most scathing review” the novel ever received in the months following its publication in 1957.
So I googled it, hoping to be humorously entertained by some stubborn, grumpy old geezer screaming insult after insult — line by line — but all I got was a boring mumbo-jumbo lecture with a worldview opposite of mine. The only valid point he makes is about the novel’s characters being too black and white (i.e., all-good or all-evil), but actually, Rand created them for dramatic effect.
Anyway, I want my 15 minutes back, so I can go spend it with my fellow atheistic, individualistic friends here in lovely capitalist China, where I’m happily building my life and living my values!