Philosophical Thoughts in English
By: Bre Moulder, East High School
This past week, Mrs. Knutsen’s Honors English 11 classes have been reading “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. It is a dystopian fiction that takes place in the unspecified future when mankind has entered a dark age as a result of evils of irrationality and collectivism and the faults of socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the word "I" has disappeared from the language).
This novel is still extremely relevant today as this nation’s economic recession continues and the government struggles with deciding to what extent it can take care of its citizens. This novel got me thinking.
Rand published this book in 1938 when Hitler was coming into more and more power. She warned of collectivism and how in extreme cases it can lead to the loss of individuality. As is common in her work, she draws a clear distinction between the "socialist/communal" values of equality and brotherhood and the "productive/capitalist" values of achievement and individuality.
Apart from enjoying this novel in the same way as “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, it was thought provoking. It made me wonder how governments (especially the U.S.) attempt to find the ideal balance between laissez faire capitalism and socialism.
Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth and the means of production of that wealth are privately owned.
Socialism in political thought refers to economic theories of social organization advocating collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals.
Is the current recession due to too much capitalism? I’m not saying the government should take care of us from the cradle to the grave but when its own citizens are being evicted from their own houses and losing jobs on a massive scale, is that not a sign that the current system is flawed?
Everyone is worried about the economy and trying to fix it. The media is so negative today all that people can do is focus on is the bad. They forget that Americans are problem solvers. We are an ingenious people who have simply lost faith and forgotten the generations before us who have gone through this before. If America made it through the Great Depression, we can make it through a recession. If the solution is a little less capitalism to make it through this then I say let it happen. FDR did the same thing.