Gut Rumbles
 

January 26, 2007

Don't get me started

Originally published June 30, 2005

I could talk for hours on this topic. I believe that I've read everything Robert Heinlein or Ayn Rand ever wrote, and both have affected my personal philosophy a GREAT DEAL. In the end, after thinking long and hard on it all, I agree more with Heinlein than I do Rand.

Rand saw things in pure black and white--- no room for compromise in there. Heinlein posited ideas and welcomed debate. Both thought a lot alike, but they were completely different in how they framed their philosophies.

Don't get me wrong--- I admire both of them. But Rand was like a strict school marm and Heinlein was more like a Socrates. Rand was ready to beat you over the head with her ideas, and she did exactly that in her books. They were GOOD ideas, but she was a battle-axe in the way she expressed them. Some of her work reminds me of screeching fingernails on a blackboard.

Heinlein, on the other hand, was more the type to laugh when you disagreed with him and ask, "Well, my son... WHY do you think that way?" And he wanted to hear what you had to say. He might puncture every one of your arguments with the skill of an expert swordsman, but he'd give you the chance to speak.

If you want to read Ayn Rand, start with We, the Living, then read Anthem and THEN read The Fountainhead. Only after that tutorial on Ayn Rand should you jump into Atlas Shrugged. If you DON"T do it that way, you'll never grasp what Ayn Rand spent her whole life saying.

(That's just MY humble advice as an English Major.)

Heinlein is someone you can read at ANY time in your life and you don't need to take his books in order to "get" what he meant to say. I still believe that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a POWERFUL book, speaking about what made America great and how that greatness slipped away when people sacrificed their individualism for the "comfort" of government control.

Read 'em both. But don't say the two were alike.

They weren't. And for all you people who think I'm a red-necked. moonshine-making, gun-owning, cat-hating sumbitch, you're absolutely right about me. But I read some, too.

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