Ayn Rand Selfies Are The Best Selfies

Ayn Rand, ever the purveyor of selfish smiles.

Ayn Rand, ever the purveyor of selfish smiles.

Danish philosopher Kierkegaard and American mythologist Joseph Campbell share a home next to books on Lincoln, World Wars I and II and early Southern Baptist leaders on my dad’s sprawling wooden bookcase in south Louisiana. What I respect most about his eclectic collection is not that he has amassed hundreds of books on a wide variety of thought-provoking topics. What I respect most about the contents of his bookcase is he does not shy away from works that challenge his beliefs. For instance, when I moved to Portland he loaned me his copy of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian. My dad is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. I would venture to guess few ordained Southern Baptist ministers are comfortable enough in their beliefs in Christ to own, much less read and contemplate, such a book.

When I visited my parents in south Louisiana a few weeks ago I picked out one of my dad’s heavier books – Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged – to build my biceps and attempt to understand why her beliefs are so popular among right-wing politicians who seek to cut social safety nets for the poorest in our society while providing tax breaks for the wealthy. Before I move on: Yes, right-wing and left-wing politicians pander to and receive money from the same corporate interests but, in general, right-wing leaders worship at the altar of Rand while left-wing leaders do not.

Rand, a Russian-American novelist, founded the concept of objectivism, which encourages personal selfishness in order to achieve maximum happiness. On its face I flat-out reject Rand’s worldview as narcissistic horseshit and view it as the antithesis of Jesus’s teachings (Rand was an atheist). Yet, I planned to bring my father’s copy of Atlas Shrugged back to New York. I mean, I could be wrong and she could right, right?

Did I mention this book is 1,088 pages?

No?

Yeah, it’s 1,088 pages. When I packed my luggage with clothes, Mardi Gras beads, my laptop and an extra pair of shoes there was no space for Rand’s massive tome/doorstop. And now that I think about it, it is for the best. I don’t need to spend hours upon hours reading a novel to enhance my narcissist bonafides. I can take a selfie instead. Ayn Rand selfies, ftw!

John Oliver’s take on Ayn Rand is gold. You should watch it.

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