What doth it profit a man to attend Latin Masses, but not live like the Good Samaritan?
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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Atlas Shrugged ... but Frodo Didn't

There is a new movie of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and I was watching Charles Adler waxing eloquent about it and Ayn Rand in general. I think it was his comments on the virtue of selfishness and the falsehood of any sense of altruism that stuck in my craw. There is something profoundly disturbing about it that gets under my skin in a way that the most doctrinaire Marxist cannot. After all someone once remarked that anyone who is not a socialist in their twenties has no heart but anyone who is still a socialist in their thirties has no mind. So perhaps such misguided altruism is at least comprehensible to a Catholic who also understands the error of the dialectical materialism that underlies the sentiment. The total negation of altruism that underlies Ayn Rand's work is something else again. I was pondering these things when I ran across this delightful quote on the net.

-- There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. Kung Fu Monkey

I smiled. I was one of those caught up in Tolkien's profoundly Catholic vision though if any had pointed out his faith at the time I would have scoffed. Many still do today. I give thanks for the seeds that were planted in my teens in a heart that was in open rebellion as well as for the smile it brings to my face some 45 years later. Deo gratias.

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