In this world, and in the world of Ayn Rand’s imagination, there are two kinds of people: those who live to create, and those who wish to live as parasites feeding off the benefits of those creations. In Atlas Shrugged, she explores what might happen when the creators of the world stop creating; the parasites are left to try to live on their own. The novels that Miss Rand writes always reflect this sort of thing. She writes of the battle between the two types of people as some write of the battles between good and evil. In reality, each side of the battle can be equated in such terms. These writings provide a detailed analysis of the two forces, and leave the reader with a profound sense of vitality and inspiration.
The group of parasites, or as the novel labels them, “looters,” live futile lives. The looters are those who prefer not to think, not to act, not to truly exist if at all possible. They attend trivial social gatherings and follow, like a mindless herd, the latest fashion trends. In Atlas Shrugged, the primary social concern among these second-handers is that of equality in capitalism. They cannot provide, so they attack those that can. They pretend to act as champions for the underdog in an economy that seems to be falling apart. They believe that anyone who works solely for the sake of success is evil, and must be stopped. Those looters, who ride on the backs of such people, completely believe that they are owed a life because they exist. They feel they should be loved because they are alive, not for any accomplishment or display of worth on their part. To these people, the existence of anything innovative, strong, or fearless is a slap in the face, so they adjus...
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...She writes of the type of person that one can only hope exists in this world still. The message of her writing and philosophy is contained in a single phrase from the novel: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine,” (731). This is an inspiration, awakening an inner voice and drive that impels each person to do their absolute best. It implores the soul of the reader to awaken, to become the ideal of the human spirit, and to rise until it can rise no higher. It is a call to anyone with reason, anyone with the strength to be an Atlas, and it is reminding him or her of their duty to live up to the individual potential. For as long as there are those who would hear the message, there will still be hope for mankind.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Signet, 1957.
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