Skip to comments.Atlas felt a sense of déjà vu
Posted on 02/26/2009 11:09:51 AM PST by NewJerseyJoe
From The Economist print edition
BOOKS do not sell themselves: that is what films are for. The Reader, the book that inspired the Oscar-winning film, has shot up the bestseller lists. Another recent publishing success, however, has had more help from Washington, DC, than Hollywood. That book is Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged.
Reviled in some circles and mocked in others, Rands 1957 novel of embattled capitalism is a favourite of libertarians and college students. Lately, though, its appeal has been growing. According to data from TitleZ, a firm that tracks bestseller rankings on Amazon, an online retailer, the books 30-day average Amazon rank was 127 on February 21st, well above its average over the past two years of 542. On January 13th the books ranking was 33, briefly besting President Barack Obamas popular tome, The Audacity of Hope.
Tellingly, the spikes in the novels sales coincide with the news (see chart). The first jump, in September 2007, followed dramatic interest-rate cuts by central banks, and the Bank of Englands bail-out of Northern Rock, a troubled mortgage lender. The October 2007 rise happened two days after the Bush Administration announced an initiative to coax banks to assist subprime borrowers. A year later, sales of the book rose after Americas Treasury said that it would use a big chunk of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Programme to buy stakes in nine large banks. Debate over Mr Obamas stimulus plan in January gave the book another lift. And sales leapt once again when the stimulus plan passed and Mr Obama announced a new mortgage-modification plan.
Whenever governments intervene in the market, in short, readers rush to buy Rands book. Why? The reason is explained by the name of a recently formed group on Facebook, the worlds biggest social-networking site: Read the news today? Its like Atlas Shrugged is happening in real life. The group, and an expanding chorus of fretful bloggers, reckon that life is imitating art.
Some were reminded of Rands gifted physicist, Robert Stadler, cravenly disavowing his faith in reason for political favour, when Alan Greenspan, an acolyte of Rands, testified before a congressional committee last October that he had found a flaw in the model of securitisation. And with pirates hijacking cargo ships, politicians castigating corporate chieftains, riots in Europe and slowing international tradeall of which are depicted in the bookthis melancholy meme has plenty of fodder.
Even if Washington does not keep the books sales booming, Hollywood might. A film version is rumoured to be in the works for release in 2011. But by then, a film may feel superfluous to Rands most loyal fans; events unfolding around them will have been dramatisation enough.
Hollyweird will probably have Sean Penn as a gay John Galt.
I read it recently for the 5th time (first time in the early ‘70’s) I always knew that full fledged liberalism would produce the results described in the book. We are there.
Who is John Galt?
I think Carrie-Ann Moss would play a great Dagny Taggart.
It is the current topic of the FR Book Club. Anyone interested in joining the discussions is welcome to participate. The ping list and the threads themselves are in Publius's keeping. Come join us!
If upper-tier voters predominantly voted for Obama, why do I care if they get stuck with the bill?
I’m not sure I want to waste my time carrying their water.
If only the feed had been cut out on tuesday night and we heard a voice say “Mr. Obama will not be speaking with you tonight...”
He would do well as Dagney’s brother.
It’s the upper tier who didn’t create their own wealth that vote for the zero.
For 12 years you have been asking the question; “Who is John Galt?”.
I am John Galt and I am taking all the men of thinking ...
Well, the wealthy wont get stuck with the bill because people don't primarily pay taxes on wealth -- they pay taxes on income.
High income earners will pay the bill -- the well-paid professionals. The wealthy that built their fortunes on easy money during the boom will just continue to enjoy their wealth. They won't pay very much at all.
lol, that would have been sweet.
Please, oh please tell me where I can get that bumper sticker.
One for $5, three for $12.
I bought some used books yesterday. Asked the lady if she had any copies of Atlas Shrugged. She not only said NO—she said she gets at least one request a day.
Hollyweird will probably have Sean Penn as a gay John Galt.”
Don’t look now—Angelina Jolie has the movie rights to Atlas Shrugged.
Makes me wonder if she spent that money to PREVENT anyone else from producing this movie???
The Democrats want the economy to get worse.
It’s much easier to enslave a frightened, cynical and uncertain population.
You would think that this would beg the question: “If we have to scare the people to get our agenda implemented then what’s wrong with our agenda?”
The hard-left is asking no such question.
All great leftist leaders had to first break the will of the masses before they could take power.
It’s happening to Americans right now.
They scare you then they rape you.
But Americans aren’t doing much about it so, have at it Dems! Your sheep are ready for the slaughter house.
Don’t worry about a thing, Kenyan, they won’t resist you, far too passive, far too flimsy these modern-day Americans.
Do whatever you want to them.
Americans, just go about your day like nothing is happening to you and your family.
Just pretend someone will save you.
Just pretend the money and the freedom was never really yours in the first place—this makes it much easier.
You might have your doctor prescribe some Xanax, Zoloft or Prozac to help you adjust to your new life.
It’s much safer for you to do nothing.
Other people will suffer along with you—at least you won’t be alone.
After all, there nothing you can do about it.
Listen to the Kenyan’s soothing voice and just let it go.
Be at peace in your new environment.
Everything is beautiful.
Slavery is not so bad.
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