“The movie ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ adapted from Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel by the same name, is a triumph of cinematic irony. A work that lectures us endlessly on the moral superiority of heroic achievement is itself a model of mediocrity. In this, the film perfectly reflects both the novel and the mind behind it.” Michael Gerson, Adolescent ‘Atlas’: Ayn Rand’s bad philosophy makes for bad politics, too’, The Washington Post, April 22, 2011
Wisdom advises us that those who can, write major books, whether fiction or non-fiction, and that those who cannot, scribble unpleasant newspaper columns. I wonder whether Michael Gerson’s mean little columns will make headline reading 50 years on? Atlas Shrugged was the nation’s best selling book in 2009! So much for where the market-place pinpoints mediocrity! Should The Washington Post persist in hiring columnists of the calibre of Michael Gerson, it will not survive, even in its natural habitat of Washington, DC.
Let Michael Gerson tell us in his own words what rattles him in Ayn Rand’s famous message:
Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. The Objectivist ethics, in essence, said Rand, ‘hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.’ If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence.” Michael Gerson, ibid.
Well, I have news for Michael Gerson, who clearly is unaquainted with the words of the Founding Fathers:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying down its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
It is not at all surprising that Ayn Rand, a Jewish immigrant who had fled the tyranny of the USSR, would develop a philosophy that closely mirrors the philosophy of the American Founders, as expressed in the golden words of Thomas Jefferson. It is equally unsurprising that a Washington Post progressive columnist, writing for a readership that thrives on the unconstitutional evolution of big government would pour contempt on her philosophy. For this is a back- door route to pouring scorn on the Founding Fathers whose wisdom challenges the very nature of the progressive movement that supports his livelihood.