Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We The Living by Ayn Rand

Another communism book but one worth thinking about. I think the whole love triangle thing was a bit much but I found her political views to be very enlightening. She not only goes after the Communist but all dictatorships, socialist schemes and fascists in the world. It is a book about Man against the State. I am always so surprised how much was hidden from the rest of the world, especially Americans, when the communist parties came into power. They sure got away with a lot of evil things in the name of something supposedly grand and better. I think through books like these we can remember the past and be prepared not to fall into the same traps in the future.

Leonard Peikoff gives an excellent introduction to the book. Here are a few ideas that were interesting. The three forms of destruction that Ayn Rand gives to the characters in her book are: The higher and stronger individual is broken, but not conquered. The one with less resistance is broken and untouched. Those who believed in the ideal are broken by the realization of what that ideal really means.
One character gave his life to a lie and commits suicide. One lives for his values but in the end his life is so unendurable and he can't find the balance between mind and force. He ends up drowning in his mind and doesn't care or know what is being done to him. That is like a living death, a drawn out suicide. The third is to flee. This is what the main character eventually is able to do just as the author did in her own real life. (she imigrated to America from Russia in 1926.)

I also loved the way the plot was twisted, usually the virtuous girl sells herself to the villain in order to save the hero. Ayn Rand thought: Wouldn't it be interesting if the man to whom the girl sells herself is not a villain but a hero and the man for whom she makes her sacrifice is a villain in the end? hmmm, very unpredictable when reading along then wham that isn't how you think it will be. BUT I would like to add that Ayn Rand's standards are not the highest nor does she have a reputation for Christian morals or anything like them so what I find even more ironic is the fact that the virtuous girl isn't even virtuous but in Rand's world maybe she was. In my real world she is way below the virtuous mark and I wouldn't have put her in that category or even used that word to describe her. I certainly wouldn't want my girls to aspire to be like her. So my point...the book is a bit on the BENT & BROKEN side. Bad is good and good is bad.

Ayn Rand said that she wrote the book so that it "might do it's share in helping to prevent a socialist America".

Broken - Bent-- Healing

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by June Chang

I can not stop thinking about this book. It was very well written and it was organized in such a way that you can get a bigger, more complete picture of the History of China back three generations. There is this really powerful awful leader called Mao Zedong that is worse then Hitler! Why doesn't the world know this? He is responsible for over 70 million deaths during peacetime in China. He did some really horrendous things in China and was a master of brainwashing an entire Nation! I didn't know this until I read this book. What is even more surprising is that I was alive while this was happening in China or at least my parents were.

I never really understood Communism and how people could fall for such a bad plan but from the insight in this book, it helped me understand that there can be something worse then communism and that would make it seem better then whatever there was to choose from at the time. Communism was better then what they had! What a weird thought! Oh, and if you didn't know of anything better then communism then you could completely embrace it and feel no guilt. That is what her father and mother did but in the end it turned completely around and bit them on the tail, so to speak. This is awful! I can't comprehend so much evil and hope I never experience it in my lifetime.

I have never starved. I have never worn the same outfit because I didn't have anything else to wear. I have never lived in fear of all my neighbors. I have never been tortured or even had a gun pointed at me. I have never been denied medial attention. I have never been married to a stranger. I have never been hated by others or spit on because of the class my family is labeled in. I have never been afraid to speak my mind or write a story or even read any book I want. I have never had to walk really far and I have never planted rice. I have never seen someone tortured or killed. I have always had clean water and clean food. It was never rationed. I take so much for granted!

This book gives a very good and honest portrayal of China in the 20th Century. I thought it was worth reading. It is long but worth it to understand History a little bit more and the world around us.

Whole Book