Anthem by Ayn Rand
I’ve just finished reading “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. It is a novella that was published in 1938 in England, but was unable to find a publisher in America until 1946.
The story is set in a distant future in which humans have undergone a revolution. In this revolution, humans have learned the value of society as a whole. They’ve learned to work and live for their brethren and forget to live for themselves. Through the now existing mandate, excessive emotions are suppressed as well as ideas–if you are not chosen to fulfill your life in the House of Scholars.
Through many, many years, technological progression is deterred, control over human will is essential, and love cannot be. The dystopia that is presented is highly exemplary of Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy in which,
“the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness or rational self-interest; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez faire capitalism.” ( Wikipedia )
I can go into the negative aspects of pure laissez faire capitalism, but I don’t want to bore you. And it is beside the point.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of George Orwell’s 1984–which I absolutely love. Anthem is much less in-depth as far as describing the workings of the future society. And this makes it a much shorter story. An easy read, but confusing at first, as to who is “we,” that Rand keeps writing. A good read, nonetheless.
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley