Recently Read: Anthem by Ayn Rand

Published in 1938 as a means to sketch out the individualist ideas that would famously render themselves in The Fountainhead, Anthem is a novella that depicts a world in which “I” is lost and “We” is king. It’s a short, but profoundly important warning of the dangers of collectivism and the false hope of state-mandated community. Protection for citizens is non-existent; in place of life and liberty is the deification of brotherhood and no choice of a life at all (forget about a pursuit of anything).

Anthem’s central character, Equality-7521, once discovering a hint of a former, more dynamic era, immerses himself in hidden research and scientific endeavor (expressly forbidden by the state) and dares to fall in love (also forbidden, though breeding is coldly calculated). Anthem, then, becomes the story of Equality’s secret rebellion against statism and his journey of self-discovery, a concept unknown to members of this dark, calculating land.

Ms. Rand’s novella is a moving account of life behind the collectivist curtain. Having been born and educated in early 20th-century Russia, the content comes from a stringently self-aware place.