Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Conquering Ayn

So, I've gotten into the habit of amassing what will comprise my reading for the summer. I've got this weird little habit, actually, of balancing a book which is perhaps less up there on the hardcore intellectual fare with one that actually does carry some weight so that I don't get weird looks from the cashier at the book store. It's dumb, but somehow, purchasing a comic book about zombies seems less dumb when it's paired with an introduction on Heidegger. Who knew.

This summer, I've decided via my last few purchases, is the summer I'm actually going to sit down and figure out what the hell Ayn Rand was on about. Having read Atlas Shrugged and not being able to force myself to read Anthem, I've got a taste of her ideals, but it always seems like any kind of moderate stance that's been presented has been taken to the extreme by some, particularly the Ayn Rand Institute, which, to me, seems to warp what could be reasonable philosophies into ultra-right nutjobbery. So, in an effort to finally come to an opinion on Ayn that stands up to intellectual scrutiny, I've gone and bought The Fountainhead and Philosophy: Who Needs It?. We'll see how long that holds itself together.

A bit about this development. I, for one, think that the Senate could probably be doing better things with their time than making English the "national language." I'm not confusing the terms there. The vote is to make English the "national language", not the "official language", which appears to afford it a similar status to the "national bird". I just don't see a need for it. It's already obvious that in order to attain much success in the United States, you're going to need to be pretty good with English anyway, and not knowing English is probably going to relegate you to a service role. Everyone acknowledges this. That said, I can't imagine what voting English "the national language" is meant to accomplish, as it doesn't actually do anything. Then again, I'm not a big fan of making English the official language (as I don't see the point seeing as how English is the de facto official language, will be for the forseeable future, and bilingual and polylingual states do just fine, it seems, even when they're officially polylingual) and can't understand why one should not know at least two languages functionally.

Similarly, this kind of stuff is nonsense. I actually dig on the metric system, but it's absurd to fine people for selling produce by the pound.


Becca said...

Actually, Anthem isn't entirely batshit crazy... it's almost 1984-esque in its approach of government control Given its length, it's worth the read.

Rory said...

I also like to balance books. Only I do it by drawing lines on the back cover to find the center of mass and then spinning them about my finger furiously.


-Murphy said...

Becca: I had a feeling it wasn't, and have been meaning to get to it, as I've owned it for a number of years, but I can't seem to force myself into reading it. This summer though. Conquered.

Rory: I thought you used a pencil to spin books.

Incidentally, eigcq. I like that my verifications always seem so much easier.