books

Anthem – a novella by Ayn Rand (1938)

Many young men, including myself, are influenced by Ayn Rand, a flawed human being. No doubt. I doubt I could have lasted 5 minutes of her chain smoking harshness.

Not a particularly good writer.

But her her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, introduced many to a philosophical system she called Objectivism:

  • individualism
  • pursuit of happiness
  • individual rights
  • laissez-faire capitalism

We joked that Randian economic policy would be to SHOOT the UNEMPLOYED.

Academic philosophers have mostly ignored or rejected Rand’s philosophy. But it’s been embraced by some Libertarians and American conservatives. Also, impressionable young men.

Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella in an unspecified future date. The concept of individuality has been eliminated.

A young man known as Equality 7-2521 rebels by doing secret scientific research. When his activity is discovered, he flees into the wilderness with the girl he loves. Together they plan to establish a new society based on rediscovered individualism.


Anthem is hilariously simplistic. But I can see it as a precursor to The Fountainhead.

related – We  is a dystopian book by Soviet dissident Yevgeny Zamyatin, written 1920–1921.

The novel describes a world of harmony and conformity within a united totalitarian state.

It is believed that the novel had a huge influence on the works of Orwell and Huxley, as well as on the emergence of the genre of dystopia.

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