Make Them Read Rand!

Michael Moynihan exposes the newest effort of the GOP to keep government out of our lives. Read the complete article …

Make Them Read Rand! A Scheme in Idaho to put Objectivism in Schools

Ayn RandAn Idaho State Senator’s threatened bill mandating that all students read Ayn Rand before graduating, caused a storm on the left. But why not, asks Michael Moynihan, it might just rid us of her noxious prose for good.

Writing in the pages of William F. Buckley’s National Review, Whittaker Chambers, a former communist turned vigorous anti-communist, offered what would become the most famous criticism of novelist Ayn Rand: “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To a gas chamber—go!’” Fifty years later, Buckley would tell Charlie Rose that this was, perhaps, unduly harsh, though Chambers distaste for Rand’s was on target. After all, Atlas Shrugged was, Buckley said, “a thousand pages of ideological fabulism.”

Not all who read Rand, even those who would seem her natural constituents, are transformed into foot soldiers in the Objectivist army, despite what Idaho State Sen. John Goedde might think. Sen. Goedde caused a minor media storm this week when the Spokesman-Review reported on a bill he sponsored requiring Idaho high school students to read the lumpy and ideological prose of Rand and pass a test on its contents—or run this risk of not graduating. Sen. Goedde chose Atlas Shrugged, he said, because it was the book that “made my son a Republican,” and would likely do the same for many of Idaho’s children.

Missed in the subsequent outrage, and buried beneath the Spokesman-Review’s provocative headline (“Bill requires all Idaho kids to read ‘Atlas Shrugged’”), was Goedde’s clarification that, well, he wasn’t entirely serious. As the Spokesman-Review explained, he was merely “sending a message to the State Board of Education, because he’s unhappy with its recent move to repeal a rule requiring two online courses to graduate from high school, and with its decision to back off on another planned rule regarding principal evaluations.” Goedde told the paper that he was firing “a shot over their bow just to let them know that there’s another way to adopt high school graduation requirements.” The Rand bill will go forward, though Goedde will not schedule a hearing on it.

Thankfully, the children of Idaho won’t be consigned to Galt’s gulch. …

But what Moynihan goes on to consider is that even as the Idaho State Senator is admitting he was not fully serious, there is still an implication that the education curriculum is open to interpretation and manipulation by a government official with a less-than-universal agenda.

I see two important parts of our culture where there is no place for any form of control by ideologues and both, it appears, have been lost to the greed of corporatism … the once free press and the diminishing open discovery of education. We’re up against the wall.

6 thoughts on “Make Them Read Rand!

  1. I find there to be many positive and many negative aspects of Atlas Shrugged, but the irony would be obvious if a government tried to force kids to read a book that advocates freedom from government force. I’m glad to see attempts to educate kids in good economics, but I would disagree that Atlas Shrugged (especially as a requirement), would be the way to do that.
    -Ben

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  2. So if corporations are not to be required “to fund anything” — to pay for their own costs, especially in terms of infrastructure like roads — am I to assume that you expect government and taxpayers to foot the bill? It seems to me that if you don’t see that as a subsidy, then you don’t know what subsidy means. Corporations are clearly “takers.”

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  3. Let’s do away with public schools and get the government out of the business of forced indoctrination. Then parents can demand a good education from private schools who compete with each other to provide it.

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    1. As long as the corporations are required to fund their own future prospective employees, the for-profit model of education is not unreasonable. However, if in the future the parents or the student are to be burdened with the cost of education, the last thing we want to do is to turn the task over to the greedy plutocrats.

      The real question is why the taxpayers of this country are subsidizing the welfare-queen-corporations by providing them with a steady stream of educated and trained workers?

      By the way, while the parents are demanding a good education for their children they can also demand a decent wage from their employers, right?

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      1. ‘As long as the corporations are required to fund their own future prospective employees…’

        Corporations shouldn’t be “required” to fund anything.

        ‘…the last thing we want to do is to turn the task over to the greedy plutocrats.’

        If you think that the “greedy plutocrats” are so bad, perhaps you would be better off moving to a country that has eliminated them, such as Haiti or Cuba.

        ‘welfare-queen-corporations’

        I’m against all government favors to anyone, businessman or blue collar. But if you consider voluntary, private employment a “subsidy” then I don’t think you know what “subsidy” actually means.

        ‘By the way, while the parents are demanding a good education for their children they can also demand a decent wage from their employers, right?’

        Certainly. But I want to make clear that “demand” in this context means “require as a condition of voluntary trade” not “require at the point of government guns,” (i.e. by force of law.)

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  4. When I was in college there was an organization called something like the New Romantics and they were huge advocates of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Although curious at first, I had to study for an Anthropology exam and never got to a meeting. Now I learn that I might have missed the birth of the modern Republican Party. Who knew?

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