Commentary

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers leaves the field after a 24-22 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field on Dec. 25.

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers leaves the field after a 24-22 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field on Dec. 25. (Stacy Revere / Getty Images)

 By C. Douglas Golden  January 6, 2022 at 8:07am

Who is John Galt? One answer to that question is a fictional character who famous people can’t read about without liberals having a meltdown.

On Monday night, during an interview on ESPN2, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers revealed he owns a copy of “The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand’s classic 1957 utopian/dystopian libertarian novel.

The left quickly decided that if Rodgers wasn’t canceled enough before, he was double-secret probationary canceled now.

Rodgers has called out cancel culture before, of course, and he’s had other run-ins with the left — which probably made the reaction even more vitriolic. (We’ve stood up for Rodgers and other celebrities who’ve fought cancel culture publicly — and we’ll continue to do so, no matter what the cost. You can help us in our fight by subscribing.)

The quarterback was appearing on ESPN2’s “ManningCast” during Monday Night Football, where Peyton and Eli Manning announce and dissect the game with a bunch of celebrity guests. It’s a more laid-back vibe than the primary telecast on ESPN, as proved by the fact Rodgers was asked what he was reading these days.

“A lot of French poetry,” he said. “Got ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand over here.”

The internet Had Some Thoughts — and they weren’t whether the French poetry was Baudelaire or Rimbaud, surprisingly:

Aaron Rodgers, from a justified hater of awful Scott Walker to … having “Atlas, Shrugged” from nutty Ayn Rand.

YIKES. pic.twitter.com/82GlB5YYiu

— TWDTV (@TWDTV1) January 4, 2022

Aaron Rodgers brags he has Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” on his bookshelf.

Explains everything. pic.twitter.com/fYHmGeY7FX

— Marcus Hayes (@inkstainedretch) January 4, 2022

Aaron Rodgers just bragged that he has Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged on his bookshelf. Explains all his lying about being vaccinated and such. He’s one of those “screw everyone else before they can screw you” wackos. People like this are always a danger to others.

— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) January 4, 2022

When revealed to be a selfish, petulant jackass, a person can either reflect on their behavior or find a book that tells them that all their repugnant qualities are just part of what makes them special. In unrelated news, Aaron Rodgers just discovered Atlas Shrugged.

— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) January 4, 2022

For the unaware: “The Fountainhead” is a novel in which, in response to creeping totalitarianism and state control, the creators, inventors and industrial titans of society go on strike and decamp to a secret location, led by a genius inventor named John Galt. The novel was a response to what Rand saw as the slow bureaucratic slide the United States and other Western nations were taking toward socialist-style command economies like the one she emigrated from, the Soviet Union.

However, Rodgers’ exposure to the author’s work might not end there. Another Twitter user pored through other videos that show Rodgers’ bookshelf in greater detail (clearly a good use of time) and noted that it looked like — gasp! — he might have another Rand book!

i think @AaronRodgers12 has not one but two ayn rand books on his shelf which…….. tracks pic.twitter.com/2NIfjn5cgy

— Augie McGinnity-Wake (@AugustMcGinnity) November 30, 2021

As someone who’s owned both editions, I can confirm this appears to be the mass-market paperback of “The Fountainhead,” although I’m waiting for the enhanced zooms to come back from Quantico before I officially declare Rodgers an irredeemable objectivist.

No, this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In November, Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19; it turned out he was unvaccinated even though he told reporters he was “immunized” in August. While this was a bit of verbal prestidigitation that elided over what he meant by “immunized,” it wasn’t an out-and-out lie, and an unapologetic Rodgers told sports analyst Pat McAfee he was allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccine.

“I realize I am in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I think I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now,” he said during the interview.

“First of all, I didn’t lie in the initial press conference. During that time, it was a very, you know, witch hunt that was going on across the league where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn’t,” he continued.

“Had there been a follow-up to my statement that I had been immunized, I would have responded with this: I would have said, ‘Look, I’m not some sort of [anti-vaxxer]. I am somebody who’s a critical thinker.’”

Aaron Rodgers just went off on NFL media over their covid obsession and their attacks on him over being unvaccinated. Enjoy: pic.twitter.com/YXvWATWVaj

— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 5, 2021

Rodgers had previously spoken out against the woke mob mentality in both culture and sports during an October appearance on McAfee’s show.

“There’s a PC woke culture that exists,” he said, “and there’s a cancel culture at the same time, and it’s based on people’s own feelings of maybe personal [misery] or distaste for their own situations or life or just the enjoyment of holding other people down underneath their thumb.”




There were other issues, including the fact he asked his friend and podcaster Joe Rogan for advice on COVID-19 and vaccination, according to Sports Illustrated, but you get the basic idea.

Nevertheless, it’s just a book — and one we can’t even confirm he agrees with or has even cracked open. This was the freak-out on Twitter:

WARNING: The following tweets contain graphic language that some readers will find offensive.

You can’t spell “Atlas Shrugged” without “HUGE ASS” https://t.co/kO6xIEjRnU

— Dr. Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) January 4, 2022

It’s been very difficult watching Aaron Rodgers, my all-time favorite player, embrace everything I loathe.

But Atlas Shrugged? Trade him. Fuck it.

— MDV (@MDVimprov) January 4, 2022

Bragging about “Atlas Shrugged” is something emotionally crippled undergraduates do, which….explains a lot about Aaron Rodgers, who is of course in his late 30s. https://t.co/mFwYsQ48uc

— LSAClassOf2000 (@LorneEC3) January 4, 2022

“Atlas Shrugged” has never been an inaccurate red flag.

— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️‍🌈 (@cmclymer) January 4, 2022

It’s the very definition of totalitarian thought when you believe an individual cannot even own a book whose ideology you disagree with without denouncing them as odious — and, in 2022, it’s a form of totalitarianism that’s exercised exclusively by one side of the political aisle. Mere contact with knowledge incompatible with the left’s orthodoxy actively taints a person.

It’s worth pointing out we don’t even know if Rodgers agrees with “Atlas Shrugged,” merely that he owns it. (And there should have been a red flag for everyone about that in the clip, but we’ll get to that later.)

The bookshelf behind me in my office, certainly not the largest one in my house, contains numerous authors whose values are antithetical to mine, either politically or religiously. There are tomes from critical theorist Theodor Adorno, hard-left activists Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson, feminist Gloria Steinem and pop-atheist windbag Richard Dawkins. I’ve read most of them. I agree with little in them, but I’ve profited from the experience.

Here’s the thing: I’ve never had a conservative friend so much as cluck at any of these. However, I always like the reaction when a liberal espies Thomas Sowell, Ben Shapiro, William F. Buckley or, yes, even Ayn Rand on the shelf. You can watch as the eyes narrow, the face contracts and the mind closes.

Aaron Rodgers is getting lambasted for owning a book. Not “Mein Kampf,” “The Anarchists Cookbook” or “50 Shades of Grey,” either — we’re talking “Atlas Shrugged.”

Oh, and by the way: “I actually have never even read it,” Rodgers told McAfee on Tuesday.

Do you support Aaron Rodgers?

Yes, before we all began the requisite Two-Minutes Hate over what’s on Rodgers’ bookshelf (a fittingly Orwellian thing to do, it must be noted) and scanning old videos of the Packers quarterback’s bookshelf to see if there was any more of that author’s oeuvre on there, perhaps someone should have caught on to the fact he hadn’t even pronounced Rand’s name correctly. (It’s “ein,” as in the German word for “one.”)

Nary a person caught on to that or the fact Rodgers might be effectively trolling the same thoughtless social media rabblement that has shook their pitchforks at him all season long — but boy, did they ever latch onto the fact a famous person owns a book they disagree with.

To be fair, they probably haven’t read it, either. They were far more willing to make judgment values about what was in “Atlas Shrugged,” however — and what it might say about the kind of person who owned it. Curious how that works.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).

Birthplace

Morristown, New Jersey

Education

Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

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