Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Crazy-Net Argument: Rich Kids Should Read Ayn Rand to Learn How to be Rich!

Today's crazy-net argument: kids in school in a wealthy town should read Ayn Rand instead of reading a book about poverty because you want med students to be mentored by a medical doctor, not a PhD in "Urban Studies". In other words, kids in school in a wealthy town should read Ayn Rand so they can learn how to be rich.

Such an argument was made in a Facebook "discussion" (I use the term lightly) about this LA Times online article:
Should students read Ayn Rand instead of a book about poverty?

I guess broadening young minds by having them read about experiences outside of their own is a foreign concept to some people. Actually, it might just be a threat to the philosophy of Randian self-interest.

I bet one of the objectives of having kids in school in a wealthy town read a book about poverty is to have them read about things outside of their own experiences so they can explore a wider spectrum of ideas and possibly develop a broader outlook. I'm not sure having them read Ayn Rand would have the same outlook-broadening effect. As a matter of fact, I worry about the whole idea of indoctrination of kids in a certain philosophy/political mindset, which is probably what both the parent-in-question and the Facebook commenter truly want.

Personally, I am a fan of a well-rounded liberal arts education (say the member of Phi Beta Kappa). I went to college for science. I earned an A.S. and then went on to earn a B.S. in Biology. However, during my time at college, I took more than just science courses, and I'm glad I did. I took some creative writing courses and some history courses. Even when it came to taking science courses, I took more than just biology.

I worked in science for a while, as lab tech, but now I'm an artist/illustrator who creates art inspired by history, myth, and legend. I'm also a published poet and writer (published in small presses, but published nevertheless).

During my time working in science, I ran across some brilliant scientists who were woefully lacking in broader general knowledge. For instance, I knew a mycologist who, when it came to dinosaurs most third graders can identify, did not know the difference between Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops.

I truly believe that broader education leads to broader minds.
Conversely, an education focused too narrowly on one thing may lead to narrow-mindedness. Such narrow-mindedness may lead to prejudice and intolerance.


Richard Fay said...

More about a broader education...

When I was in high school, way back in the early-mid 1980s, I took four years of art classes. I did not need to take those classes I was not required to take those courses to graduate from high school, and a that point in time I had few aspirations of becoming a professional artist. However, I'm glad I elected way back then to take four years of art.

I am now a published artist/illustrator. My cover artworks have appeared on a the covers of a number of small-press publications. My interior illustrations have adorned the pages of numerous zines. I also sell merchandise featuring my art internationally through three different on-line retailers.

Richard Fay said...

Now I've been accused of coveting Ayn Rand's success. Oh, boy! The crazy-net has reached a new level of crazy.

The more I read about Ayn Rand, the more I despise her philosophy of self-interested selfishness. The more I find out about her as a person, the more I think she was a despicable human being. I would much rather admire Warren Buffet than admire her. Such feelings have nothing whatsoever to do with coveting her success.

Richard Fay said...

What if I said, "well, money isn't everything?"
(I know, surely a radical concept!)

I doubt I will ever become rich being an artist, or a poet, or a writer.

Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime.

Edgar Allan Poe died penniless.

Are the Koch brothers' contributions to Western society of greater importance than those of Vincent Van Gogh?

Are Donald Trump's contributions to Western society of greater value than those of Edgar Allan Poe?