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We The Living (Boka)

InnleggSkrevet: 03 Okt 2009, 14:16

Another Ayn Rand Novel for Our Times
by Scott Holleran (October 1, 2009)

The story, set in Soviet Russia, dramatizes the evil of totalitarianism. In her Foreword, Rand, who had lived under Communism, wrote: “We the Living is not a story about Soviet Russia in 1925. It is a story about Dictatorship, any dictatorship, anywhere, at any time, whether it be Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or—which this novel might do its share in helping to prevent—a socialist America.”

Ayn Rand saw the signs of an emerging American dictatorship over 40 years ago. She wrote that the U.S. was fast approaching the stage “where government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”

The U.S. has been heading toward totalitarianism for a long time. The government controls every aspect of an American’s life, from what car to drive to how much money one can earn. A home may be seized by the state under eminent domain. A radio or television show may be censored. Air travel must be approved by the government. Americans have been incrementally losing their rights for decades; Obama is simply and rapidly hastening the demise.

Unless we reverse course, the slow, insidious misery depicted in We the Living will soon become a reality in America. As Leonard Peikoff warns in his new introduction to the novel, when Americans reject self-interest for self-sacrifice, “the end result is thought control, starvation, and mass slaughter.”

The world is full of dictatorships—Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China—yet, because it was founded on individual rights, America stands alone as man’s best hope for freedom. America is changing from a nation based on rights to a state run by government control. If you do not know what that means, to paraphrase Ayn Rand—who lived under and escaped dictatorship, and wrote about it—We the Living will help you to know.

Re: Professor Robert Mayhew on Ayn Rand's Novel We the Living

InnleggSkrevet: 15 Okt 2009, 15:47

by Scott Holleran (October 14, 2009)

Robert Mayhew, a philosophy professor at Seton Hall University, is the author of Aristotle’s Criticism of Plato’s Republic, The Female in Aristotle’s Biology, and Ayn Rand and Song of Russia, and the editor of Ayn Rand’s Marginalia, Ayn Rand’s The Art of Nonfiction, Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living, Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Ayn Rand Answers, Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, and Essays on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. His latest book, Plato: Laws 10, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008. Dr. Mayhew earned his PhD in philosophy at Georgetown University in 1991.


When did you first read We the Living?

In my twenties. I had been on this anti-utopian kick in junior high—reading Brave New World [by Aldous Huxley], Animal Farm [by George Orwell], 1984 [Orwell], and my mom had suggested reading Anthem by Ayn Rand. So, I read it. In high school, I was reading a lot of anti-Communist literature and I became anti-Communist, but, oddly, I did not read We the Living until later. I also read The Fountainhead [by Ayn Rand] in high school and, in college, Atlas Shrugged [Rand]. A bit later, I read We the Living—I can picture the book, a used copy of the 1959 hardcover—and I enjoyed it. I saw that it was better, more effective, than the other anti-Communist literature, though I was shocked by the ending, which didn’t seem like an Ayn Rand novel’s ending.

How many times have you read We the Living?

Six or seven.