In a clever critique of libertarian novelist Ayn Rand, Eric Hague
McSweeney's imagines what it would be like to raise one's child based
solely on Rand's Objectivist principles. The work of satire begins with a
proud parent explaining why her child, Johanna, won't share on the
The thing is, in this family we take the philosophies
of Ayn Rand seriously... Since the day Johanna was born, we've worked
to indoctrinate her into the truth of Objectivism. Every night we read
to her from the illustrated, unabridged edition of Atlas
Shrugged—glossing over all the hardcore sex parts, mind you, but
dwelling pretty thoroughly on the stuff about being proud of what you've
earned and not letting James Taggart-types bring you down. For a long
time we were convinced that our efforts to free her mind were for
naught, but recently, as we've started socializing her a little bit,
we've been delighted to find that she is completely antipathetic to the
concept of sharing. As parents, we couldn't have asked for a better
The parent is explaining this because Johanna just
made another child cry after the child asked to play with her ball. The
parent's justification for Johanna's behavior is pretty terrific:
Now let me explain why your son was wrong.
little Aiden toddled up our daughter Johanna and asked to play with her
Elmo ball, he was, admittedly, very sweet and polite. I think his exact
words were, "Have a ball, peas [sic]?" And I'm sure you were very proud
of him for using his manners.
To be sure, I was equally proud
when Johanna yelled, "No! Looter!" right in his looter face, and then
only marginally less proud when she sort of shoved him...
see, that Elmo ball was Johanna's reward for consistently using the
potty this past week. She wasn't given the ball simply because she'd
demonstrated an exceptional need for it—she earned it. And from the way
Aiden's pants sagged as he tried in vain to run away from our daughter,
it was clear that he wasn't anywhere close to deserving that kind of
remuneration. By so much as allowing Johanna to share her toy with him,
we'd be undermining her appreciation of one of life's most important
lessons: You should never feel guilty about your abilities. Including
your ability to repeatedly peg a fellow toddler with your Elmo ball as
he sobs for mercy.
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