Going to Amazon and looking up Atlas Shrugged, I find this terrible review which is extremely popular. Titled "I overcame my addiction to Objectivism" she gives Atlas Shrugged 1 star and blames it for making her hate life, the world, and people, and wishing 90% of the people of the world would die.
Find it here
Annoyed, I wrote a response to it. If you like it, go to the site and click on it. I hope some other SOLOists might be inspired to respond to Ms. Faltermayers comments.
Ms. Faltermayer corrupted her philosophy, June 23, 2005
Reviewer: Michael F. Dickey "www.matus1976.com
" (CT, USA) - See all my reviews
I would like to respond to the spotlight review posted by Kelly B Faltermayer on Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and on Rand's novel and it's implications in general. Any deeply held belief system tends to amplify whatever our current worldview is, if you are a kind and sincere person, strongly adopting any belief structure will tend to make you more of what you all ready are. Some belief structures are very ambivalent and allow people of many different dispositions to merely feel justified in becoming more disposed to those things, such as Christianity and Buddhism. A terrible person becoming what he considers to be a devoted Christian might get turned around, or he might become a right wing neo-nazi. A young person lost in existentialism might feel comforted by Buddhism or become even more nihilistic. However, some belief systems if strongly adhered to are difficult to reconcile with pleasant dispositions, such as Nazism and Stalinism. Others, like Objectivism, are hard to reconcile with existentialism and nihilism, let alone making one more so. If you question this, visit the wonderful web site of the "Sense of Life Objectivists" or watch the beautiful documentary on Ayn Rand's life, and tell me that you came away from either `hating people'
Sense of Life Objectivist
A Sense of Life
For some reason, some people, like Kelly B Faltermayer in her review, reveal that some of the worst thing about themselves became amplified by objectivism. As she says "I was 19, during the last phase of my teenage angst and hatred of life and the world" Is it not so unreasonable that she came to hate life and the world more? Is that the fault of Objectivism or of Ms. Faltermayer's background, experiences, and choices? Just as very few people come out of Stalinism loving the world and all it's people, so do very few come out of Objectivism hating life and the world. But there are always anomalies. Of all philosophies, only Objectivism is the most rational tool for living (which is what a philosophy is, after all) Only Objectivism advocates the self and the individual as the highest value. Most every admirer of Rand would not hesitate to say "Live your life for yourself!" and yet they are called `Selfish' by people such as Ms. Faltermayer who do not know the meaning of the word. The Selfish person (with all it's negative connotations) is the person that demands you live for them! That is an exploitative and pejorative form of selfish promulgated by philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche. Rand advocates the use of the word Selfish as living a life of self-reliance and independence, of formulating your own opinions through rational evaluations of reality, of fully integrating a system of ethics based on objective reality and reason into your life. You do not demand others do things for you, nor do you let them demand it of you. For that, we are called selfish. But there is no word for living a life for yourself now that does not have the connotations of exploiting others, and this very fact is evidence that people think the very idea of living for yourself must hurt others and of the very subversive manner in which people attack Objectivism and individualism in general.
Ms. Faltermayer also makes light of Ayn Rand's disdain for Communism when she says "...human race would plummet into oblivion and forever live in a gray abyss of selflessness, worthlessness and altruism - All because of the "Commies" and their evil ways." One must point out that Stalinism and Soviet Communism has killed well over 100 million people this century. Please refer to the work of Rudolph J Rummel, a political scientist, author of 24 books, runner up for the Nobel Peace prize, and author of the most cited book in history. Rummel has studied, probably more than any man alive, how many people governments have murdered. Before Ms. Faltermayer attempts to downplay the evils of communism and altruism, she, and any readers interested, should familiarize themselves with it's monumental death toll.
Interested readers should visit Rummel's web site Power Kills
Or Buy one of his books here on Amazon
Ms. Faltermayer suggests that by hating the world and everyone in it she was behaving like Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggert, two main characters of Atlas Shrugged. That she enjoyed being hated by people indicates the profound mistake in how she integrated Objectivism, primarily a philosophy of individualism, into her life. If she enjoyed people hating her, she was no better than a second hander, defining herself and her life through everyone but herself. She should not have cared if other people hated her, she might have understood this had she read "The Fountain Head" but she could not make it through the first chapter. All of Rand's heroes exhibit strong affections for people who merely live a genuine and sincere life of self reliance and focus. Hank Rearden's affection for the `wet nurse'and Dagny's affection for Cheryl Taggert are very obvious and glaring examples that Hank and Dagny do care about people in the world. They do not care for those who demand they sacrifice themselves for them and they do not live lives dependant on how others think of them, which includes not caring if people hated them.
Ms. Faltermayer then goes on to suggest that in some manner Atlas Shrugged or Objectivism wishes "death on 90% of the world population" AN objectivist does not `wish' anything of the sort on the population, the do not wish anything except for that the world just leaves them alone to live their own lives.
Ms. Faltermayer concludes by saying "I'm glad I read Atlas Shrugged, once. I know I couldn't do it now...it is tedious! I tried reading The Fountainhead a few years later and couldn't get past the first chapter. Objectivism represents a phase in my youth...a phase I'm glad to have outgrown." There is a line in Atlas Shrugged that I am reminded of here that suggests that money does not corrupt people, people corrupt it. A murdering thief who becomes wealthy will use his wealth for murder and theft. Similarly, Objectivism does not corrupt people, people pollute its rational and honest guide for living, the best yet devised on this planet since Aristotle's Eudaimonia, with their own faults and failures, as Ms. Faltermayer clearly illustrates in telling her own story. If Objectivism results in Ms. Faltermayer hating humanity, the world, and wishing 90% of the worlds population would die, then she brought some clearly flawed premises to objectivism and corrupted it, not vice versa.
As philosophies go, nothing beats a rigid adherence to reality, the rules that govern existence and the profound sense of self worth and enlightenment that comes from Objectivism. The sense of life that Objectivism brings is far more spiritually enjoyable than any other philosophy I have studied, but this is not what makes it right. I think it is far more enjoyable ¬_because_ it is right. As a tool for living, nothing beats it. I recommend everyone read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.