After way too long I finally finished The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It took me forever since I only really read when on vacation, and the book clocks in at over 700 pages. I really liked the book and plan on re-reading it one day, but closing in on the last 100 pages or so I came across a diatribe by the main character, Howard Roark that I felt should be shared.
Howard Roark Talks about Government Housing Projects
A little background about the lengthy quote: In this ‘scene’ one main character Howard Roark, an architect, is talking to another main character, Peter Keating. Howard Roark is accepting Peter’s plea to help him design a public housing unit,
‘what architect isn’t interested in housing?’ I hate the whole blasted idea of it. I think it’s a worthy undertaking – to provide a decent apartment for a man who earns fifteen dollars a week. But not at the expense of other men. Not if it raises the taxes, raises all the othe rrents and makes the man who earns forty live in a rat hole. That’s what’s hapening in New York. Nobody can afford a modern apartment – except the very rich and the paupers.
Have you seen the converted brownstones in which the average self-supporting couple has to live? Have you seen their closet kitchens and their plumbing? They’re forced to live that – because they’re not incompetent enough. They make forty dollars a week and wouldn’t be allowed into a housing project. But they’re the ones who provide the money for the damn project. They pay the taxes. And the taxes raise their own rent. And they have to move from a converted brownstone into an uncoverted one and from that into a railroad flat.
I’d have no desire to penalize a man because he’s worth only fifteen dollars a week. But I’ll be damned if I can see why a man worth forty must be penalized – and penalized in favor of the one who’s less competent.
I added the paragraph splits to make it easier to read online.
It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that I more or less agree with Howard Roark, but forget me the quote has to illicit some sort of emotion out of you, I’d I love to hear it!