The American Individualist

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Atlantic Attacks Egoism

By Joseph Kellard

"The 100 Most Influential Americans of All Time." Thus reads the
headline on the cover of the December issue of The Atlantic

I curiously flipped through this magazine's pages and found that
Abraham Lincoln tops the list, according to a group of modern
historians. The article also contains sidebars of other influential
Americans, runners-up from poets to musicians to architects. And,
to my surprise, one architect listed, alongside Frank Lloyd Wright,
is Howard Roark.

TA notes that Roark is fictional, but that Ayn Rand's character was
nonetheless very influential. Well, that's good, right? But wait!
"Influential," like the word "controversial," doesn't necessarily
connote something positive. I mean, when Abraham Lincoln is
listed above such political prime movers as Thomas Jefferson and
George Washington--since he saved the Union that TJ and GW
otherwise established--then these historians obviously have their
priorities (or hierarchies) screwed up. And so there's a good chance
this mention of Roark will be negative. Well, my suspicions were
right, particularly after I read The Atlantic's awful summation of
Roark's character.

Turns out, according to The Atlantic, Roark is responsible for
influencing some of today's worst architects, who go unnamed.
Specifically, it's Roark's egoism that is responsible for these
reprehensible moderns. Yep, the hero of The Fountainhead was
"influential" alright, but primarily for promoting such despicable
things as individualism and selfishness.

Recall that this is the magazine (also known as Atlantic Monthly) that
once featured the essay "Thomas Jefferson: Radical or Racist," by
Conor Cruise O'Brien, in which the author of the Declaration of
Independence was attacked as a radical and racist, and described
as the spiritual father of the Ku Klux Klan, Timothy McVeigh and
the modern militia movement, according to Robert Tracinski (see
TIA July 1997).

Jefferson did make the top five on The Atlantic's list, since he
wrote those all-important political words: "All men are created
equal." Certainly these are important words. But consider that The
Atlantic is a leftist magazine, and so these words can, and have
been, twisted to mean that all men are created to possess equality of
results, needs, values--not that they all equally have the liberty to
"pursue" their own happiness. No, that would be individualistic and


Post a Comment

<< Home