An Idaho lawmaker recently proposed that all Idaho students read and pass an exam on Ayn Rand’s iconic Atlas Shrugged. The senator said his bill was more about making a statement. As one scholar responded, “Atlas Shrugged is not a Republican or conservative book, but an American book: a hymn to the ideals of individualism, capitalism, and the free human mind,” one scholar said in response.
The problem is that Rand’s work is a shrine to a radical, godless individualism that eschews the benefits of family, religion, and community. While Atlas Shrugged offers an important critique of big government and political collectivism, Rand’s solution of “radical selfishness” is dangerous and very, well, non-American.
Alexis deTocqueville’s masterful Democracy in America celebrated the American commitment to local, intermediate institutions like family, churches, civic groups, and local governments. These fostered virtue, personal sacrifice, and long-term thinking. Maybe that should be required reading instead.For ThePointRadio.org, I’m John Stonestreet.