Skip to comments.The Political Surf on why Ayn Randís surging today
Posted on 05/01/2009 7:04:53 AM PDT by Red Badger
The number are in, and paleo-capitalist Ayn Rands hot again. Atlas Shrugged is selling at a pace not seen since the novel was published in 1957. Sales of her other major novel, The Fountainhead, are up as well. Its clear that the recession and a very liberal political leadership have caused the renewed interest.
Economist Stephen Moore recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the Obama strategy mirrors the plot of Atlas Shrugged. The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you, Moore said.
I recently re-read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Both, particularly Atlas Shrugged, are maddeningly compelling polemics in novel forms. Atlas is about the worlds talented withdrawing from a dystopian society and the chaos that results. Fountainhead is about an architect hated because he wont embrace a mediocre norm. In Atlas Rand articulated a belief, objectivism, which depicts personal happiness as mans sole moral pursuit and reason as the only acceptable absolute. Pure capitalism, objectivism teaches, is the sole moral economic system. Anything else is a leech on society full of second-handers.
Rands novels in 1991 Atlas Shrugged was judged the second-most influential novel in America are very seductive and demagogic. Her ideas appeal to so many because the characters she creates are polar opposites. They are either perfect examples of reason and competence or corrupt, shallow, even homicidal parasites. As a writer, Rand deserves no censure for creating powerful polemics, but real life is more complex.
I am amused by the Rand adoration from many social read religious conservatives. Rand, and objectivism, detests religion and its call for individual sacrifice. In Fountainhead, the reader is urged to run away from any organization that urges sacrifice for others. When it comes to faith, Rand is more Bill Maher or Christopher Hitchens than Mitt Romney.
I have a great deal of respect for Ayn Rand, but its for her literary and polemical skills, not the rigidity of her economic beliefs. Who else can write a novel where a character, John Galt, speaks for 60 pages and you cant stop reading. And I admire her life, where she escaped communism, lived life on her own terms and created an economic ideal.
But objectivism is not a practical ideology. Still doubt me? Read the late Whittaker Chambers devastating but on-target critique of Ayn Rand, published in the Dec. 28, 1957 edition of National Review. Its at:
Couldn’t locate my old copy, so I purchased a new one a few weeks ago. Soon as I finish reading Paine’s “Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings”, it’s next on my list for a refresher...
I read it about two years ago. I’m trying to get my 22 year old daughter to read it, but she’s only interested in having fun.............
“Who else can write a novel where a character, John Galt, speaks for 60 pages and you cant stop reading.”
I skipped most of the romantic musings and this rant. I recall it 40 pages in the typeface of my copy, but I didn’t need the point driven home quite that much.
My copy arrived yesterday. I’m going to get into it today. It’s all rainy and cold , keeping me from working on my garden. Good day to curl up with a good book. ;)
Don’t let the size of it intimidate you. It’s like Gone With the Wind with a plot..................
If you start reading A-S now, you will be amazed at what she wrote is actually happening in reality. You can practically name the characters’ real life personae............
I won’t. I love to read, used to get scolded by my siblings for always having my nose stuck in a book. Mom would tell them they could do some good picking up a book themselves. ;)
I read Atlas last year (finally got to the task). It is very scary to see the real world parallels. Henry Waxman, Barney Frank and others are lifted from the pages.
Reading Shrugged right now! Great book!
Rand was against coerced sacrifice not sacrifice given freely. Big difference.
I read Atlas Shrugged in one long day while holed up in a hotel room in a strange city waiting out a storm. It was one of a very few books that I can really call life-changing. Ayn Rand was not a particularly admirable person, and I have some problems with her critique of altruism, but her insight into the human economic condition stands alone. Her characters, the looters and moochers and noble industrialists, are admittedly two-dimensional, but perhaps this makes it easier to correlate them with figures in public life today.
yeah, it’s scary isn’t it?
BO-Pelosi-Reid, et al are all ONE dimensional..................THIEVES!............
A person who truly loves His God might act in ways that appears to be sacrificing but in reality there is no sacrifice at all.
Most conservative Christians would agree with Rand that too many churches manipulate behavior rather than fomenting a relationship with God that ends up changing the person.
Rand's professed atheism was certainly not something I admired about her. But her insight into human nature (base and noble) and the need for moral absolutes stand in stark contrast to today's pablum that everything is relative and there is no objective right or wrong.
“You will be AMAZED at “ Wrong. You will be SCARED OUT OF YOUR MIND when you realize that what Rand wrote is truly happening now. Step by step by step. Yes, one can read Atlas and mentally change the names as per today’s headlines. The same “ideals”. The same “hopes”. The same hypocracy. The same lies etc etc etc. The times are dangerous and people don’t see it.
Its story is preposterous. It reports the final stages of a final conflict (locale: chiefly the United States, some indefinite years hence) between the harried ranks of free enterprise and the "looters." These are proponents of proscriptive taxes, government ownership, labor, etc., etc. The mischief here is that the author, dodging into fiction, nevertheless counts on your reading it as political reality.I guess, about as wrong as one could have been.