Discussion Topic

Methods of control used by leaders in Ayn Rand's "Anthem" and the truths they communicate

Summary:

In Ayn Rand's Anthem, leaders use methods of control such as suppressing individuality, enforcing strict conformity, and controlling education and information. These methods communicate truths about the dangers of collectivism, the loss of personal identity, and the suppression of intellectual freedom, highlighting the importance of individual thought and freedom.

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In Ayn Rand's Anthem, how do leaders control society?

The leaders inAnthemwere also controlled because they believed that nothing should change without everyone's consent. For example, the Council of Scholars mentioned that it took fifty years for the candle to be an accepted tool for light and for everyone to use. But initially, the society was set up to keep people in the dark both literally and mentally. When people are in the dark, they are more easily controlled. So, physical light through the use of candles was archaic and limiting; which, makes the fact that Equality 7-2521's discovery of electricity so abhorrent to the Council of Scholars. They also controlled people by outlawing friendships and relationships. In order to procreate, a Palace of Mating was used by people 18 and older once a year and familial relationships were made extinct. The Council of Vocations made the job assignments and from birth to death every choice was made for everyone. The motto was as follows:"We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great We, One, indivisible and forever"(19).

Source:

Rand, Ayn.Anthem.Student Edition. Signet Book. New York, New York, 1995.

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What methods of control do leaders in "Anthem" by Ayn Rand use, and what truths does this communicate?

In Ayn Rand's dystopia, collectivity is ruthlessly enforced and individuality is vigorously suppressed. This repression begins at birth, when babies are placed into collective nurseries. In school, while there is some attention to students' talents, excellence is largely suppressed, and originality is thwarted. When children mature, their Life Mandate, or employment path, is decided for them by the Council of Vocations. The selection criteria are what is best for society, regardless of personal preference (which would be a Transgression).

If the originality has not been sufficiently squashed and the worker complains or slacks off, they can be subjected to corporal punishment and/or sent to the Palace of Corrective Detention. This decrepit old prison is too derelict to keep anyone from escaping; but no one tries to escape, because either they are afraid of the forest outside or they lack the initiative to try anything daring.

Ayn Rand was originally Russian, but she moved to the United States when she was twenty-one. She was disturbed by many developments in the Soviet Union, especially Stalinism. Rand became an ardent laissez-faire capitalist, promoting a far right political philosophy—what today is called libertarianism—that opposed all social welfare programs and championed unrestricted individualism.

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