The Fountainhead: Know Thyself

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 2When Peter Keating returns to his mother's house in town that night, Howard Roark is sitting on the porch. The two of them are roommates; Roark is renting a room in his mother's boarding house.The two of them are friends (frenemies?), of a sort. Roark congratulates Keating for his graduation, utterly indifferent to his own expulsion. Meanwhile, Keating thinks that Roark is "the one person whom he had wanted to see tonight". He tells Roark that he … [Read more...]

Some Right-Wing Christians Enthusiastically Promoting a Form of Genocide

This column was originally published on AlterNet.In 2014, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled "Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic" [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that "every true follower of Mohammed" wants to "subjugate and murder" non-Muslims, and therefore it's impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.Cass proposes three … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: No Man Is an Island

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 2It's graduation day at Stanton, where Howard Roark has just been expelled. A line from the previous chapter fixes the date as 1922:WELCOME TO THE CLASS OF '22! GOOD LUCK, CLASS OF '22! The Class of '22 of the Stanton Institute of Technology was holding its commencement exercises that afternoon.The graduating students are crowded into an auditorium for the ceremony. Among them, we meet the second major character of The Fountainhead, Peter … [Read more...]

Can Married Christians Go to Heaven?

Christians today are known for obsessively policing people's sexual behavior. But hard as it is to believe, their ancient predecessors were even more strict. To see how this can be so, let's examine a surprising, little-known Bible verse.In this New Testament passage, Jesus is being interrogated by the Sadducees, a Jewish sect skeptical of resurrection. They ask, if a woman's husband dies and she remarries, which one's husband will she be in heaven? Jesus' astonishing response is that the … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: A Very Bad Architect

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 1As we've learned, Howard Roark has his own idiosyncratic style which is the only way he'll design buildings. He even refuses to do schoolwork that requires him to sketch a building in a classical style. Because of this, he's dropping out of college to launch his career. But with an attitude like that, what makes him think he's going to fare any better in the working world?"Look here, Roark," said the Dean gently. "You have worked hard for your … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Out With the Old

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 1Last week, we learned that Howard Roark had been expelled from architectural college for refusing to do his homework. In this installment, he explains just why he finds it so objectionable to design buildings in classical style:"But I don't understand. Why do you want me to think that this is great architecture?" He pointed to the picture of the Parthenon."That," said the Dean, "is the Parthenon.""So it is.""I haven't the time to waste on … [Read more...]

On the Morality Of: Punching Nazis

I wasn't anticipating I'd ever write a post with a title like this, but here we are. Welcome to America in 2017.This past weekend, neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was giving an on-camera interview in Washington, D.C. when this happened:Richard Spencer got punched in the face during the protests at Trump's #inauguration pic.twitter.com/oQAwtbtEeT— Gender-Professecs (@MrTrunney) January 20, 2017If you don't know who Richard Spencer is, here are the highlights: He founded an online … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: We Don’t Need No Education

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 1Last time, we found out that Howard Roark, Randian superman, was being expelled from architectural college. In this installment, we'll find out why. Try to form your own guess before reading on!When Roark returns to his rented room in town, there's a message from the dean asking to meet with him. Instead, he spends an hour sitting and doodling, reworking some of his old sketches. He later makes the excuse that he lost track of time; although since … [Read more...]

When Should a Humanist Forgive?

In "The Ashes", I wrote that we should stop trying to help Trump voters who are about to suffer the consequences of getting what they voted for. This drew a rejoinder by Dragoness Eclectic:And this, I fear, is the difference between the compassion preached by Jesus, and secular humanist compassion: "We'll only be kind and compassionate to our friends and allies" vs. "Love your enemies; for even sinners love their friends. You are called to do much more."I thought this critique … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Our Hero

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 1The Fountainhead begins with nudity:Howard Roark laughed.He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone — flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion.Howard Roark will be our hero for this novel. A … [Read more...]