I’ve never read Ayn Rand. I’ve heard about Ayn Rand and I’ve talked about Ayn Rand. I’ve made fun of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and argued with people who’ve called her a serious thinker. But I’ve never actually read a word she wrote.
I don’t think that’s necessarily the worst thing in the world. People attack Marx all the time when they clearly haven’t read any of his work (at least with any degree of comprehension). It’s okay to have opinions about things you haven’t experienced first-hand. With Ayn Rand, it’s hard not to have an opinion. Her supporters promote her work zealously and leave the uninitiated with three choices: 1. Argue. 2. Keep silent. 3. Read the books.
Well, I’m ready to go with option 3 and here’s why. Her work is powerful and it seems, based on personal experience, to have a particular power over adolescent readers. Since I try to be a writer, I’d like to understand where the power of Rand’s work comes from and since I work with teenagers, I’d like to understand what it is about her writing that pulls these folks into her orbit.
Based on some preliminary research, I determined that I should begin my study with Atlas Shrugged. Over the coming months, I’ll keep a journal of my travels into the world of Ayn Rand in the hopes that I can find and reveal the source of her power and attraction. I hope you’ll join me.