If the devil could produce human offspring, Ayn Rand would be one of them.
The Anthem is set in the future in which a global government rules the people, and where the use of the word “I” has nearly completely fallen out of existence. For the most part, the characters remain loyal to the world order. But the protagonists in the story like to do things their own way, and eventually rediscover the use of the word “I”. They flee from the city and find their own house.
“This is our home and the end of our journey. This is your house, and ours, and it belongs to no other men whatever as far as the earth may stretch. We shall not share it with others, as we share not our joy with them, nor our love, nor our hunger. So be it to the end of our days.” Lest any believe that Mrs. Rand doesn’t have a bone to pick against religion, she throws this line in after the above dialogue: “Your will be done.”
Essentially, they rejected love for mankind for love of themselves. Dare I say that this is un-Christian? The Gospel of Matthew has Jesus saying, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
Certainly humans will always have the freedom to choose what they want and act in their own self interest. But isn’t there something more noble in this world than self interest? Do we not have some greater ideal to look to than man’s own history, marred by self interested despots? There may be an invisible hand in economics, but that same metaphor should not apply to life. In a few thousand years of existence, wars have been incredibly prevalent and bloody. Millions upon billions have felt the wrath of ‘self interested’ individuals acquiring as much as land, wealth, and women as their circumstances and position in life allows them to. And it is essentially self interest that is fast destroying the precious resources that we have.
Self interest cannot be held above morality. There are certain things which we must submit to—laws being one of them. There is a greater good than that of egoism, and there is no greater way to lead a spiritual life than search for this greater good.
That being said, there may be an element of truth in what Rand says about man: “Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth. It may sleep, but it will awaken. It may wear chains, but it will break through. And man will go on. Man, not men.” But she is deliberately and intentionally missing the biggest piece of the puzzle: Christ. There is good literature in the world that does not make mention of Christ. But with Anthem, Rand is out to get religion. And as a Christian who firmly believes in the concept of Zion and allowing our wills to be swallowed up in God’s, Rand is just dead wrong.