I read an article on the Huffington Post about legislation that was introduced in Idaho to make Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged required reading for all high school students. Students would then be required to pass a test on the book in order to graduate. (Click here to read the article.)
Now, I will confess that I have never read Atlas Shrugged, but I have read other books by Rand, most notably Anthem and The Virtue of Selfishness. I found both of those books to be utter garbage, and for that reason decided not to waste my valuable time reading any of her longer works. In fact, The Virtue of Selfishness is one of just a handful of books that I can think of from which I feel I got nothing of value from reading, and I have read some pretty bad books over the years.
I know that a lot of people admire Ayn Rand’s books, and I respect that. Everyone should be allowed to read books that appeal to them. But I am suspicious about the motivation of anyone who tries to force ideologies on young people and then threatens them by expecting them to mindlessly regurgitate that information before they can advance in their lives.
But in all fairness, I must state that John Goedde, the state senator who introduced the legislation, claims that: “It was a shot over their bow just to let them know that there’s another way to adopt high school graduation requirements.” He went on to state that he has no intention of scheduling a hearing on the issue. OK, so that brings up the question: Why spend time and money to introduce legislation that you do not intend to pursue, just to make a point? Something doesn’t seem right here.