Friday, April 27, 2012

Literary Confession

For what it’s worth, I have to confess that I have never read Atlas Shrugged. I tried to do so and never completed the damned thing, because I regarded everything about it as ridiculous and simply could not be bothered to finish it. The plot is thin, except where it is nonexistent, the characters two dimensional, except some who are one dimensional, and the writing hackneyed, except where it is trite. I never figured out why anyone with an IQ greater than room temperature would bother to read more of this book than was required to be able to mock people who did read it in its entirety.

Such as Representative Paul Ryan, Republican, of Wisconsin.

Of course, I was prejudiced against the book because I am old enough to have been aware of her when she was alive and considered her to be a complete idiot. Her “philosophy” seemed to be to take both sides of every issue; for instance to criticize the war in Vietnam but to simultaneously condemn draft dodgers. The only issue on which she seemed to have any clarity was that one’s only purpose in life was to make one’s own self happy and that anything one did to others in pursuit of that goal was perfectly okay. She also looked and postured pretty much like a hooker, so…

I was reading, at the time, such things as Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, one of the best stories ever written and later without doubt the worst movie ever made, and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, a scenario apparently now being set into motion by James Cameron.

In Starship Troopers, written in 1959, Heinlein posits a democracy in which only citizens who have completed a tour of government service, military or civil, are entitled to vote. They cannot vote while in service, or if they fail to complete the required term, and voting is a privilege highly treasured. In a high school class a teacher asks a student why this method is employed and answers his own question, “Because it works.” He goes on to say that in the past a “ridiculous system” had been employed where everyone was given the vote and that chaos and disaster ensued. Remember, this was written in 1959.

2 comments:

bruce said...

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged, but have read the other ones mentioned, and yes they were excellent books and not very good movies. It is a way different system that what we employ, and it certainly seems the electorate is not particularly appreciate of the voting privilege as they could be.

arthur said...

Just to be clear, for those of Jayhawk's readers who haven't read Starship Troopers, EVERYONE who wanted to serve, and was mentally capable of understanding the oath, was given something to do for 2 years. There was no such thing as 4F; for folks like Bruce and I, it would have not have been as a grunt, but we could have contributed. And learned to, or at least proven that we did, place the good of the community above our own comfort & profit.
What a great idea! If only we could implement it some how...

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