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'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years

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  • #16
    Hmm, mixed reviews

    Well, since all this controversy I just have to go and get myself a copy :)


    • #17
      Originally posted by Bigfella View Post
      In principle is this significantly different from the actions of devotees to other organizing principles such as religion or 'the market'? Seems to me that the solution they often provide to problems of their own making is found within the ideas that got them there in the first place.
      Agreed B/F , ;)


      • #18
        I recommend her highly. She had a first hand experience of government run amok. Her
        views are regarded as extremist by many, described as 'me first'. I believe she saw that
        mercantilism, or capitalism if you prefer, involved a buyer and a seller. For government to insert itself as a middleman was a capital crime in her eyes. The Libertarian party
        appears to borrow much from her philosophy.


        • #19
          Skip John Galt's radio address. If you didn't get the message by reading the rest of the book, a 100 page monologue isn't going to do it either. It was a good book, she's no literary genius but she was in a unique position at the time to know creeping communism when she saw it.


          • #20
            Ayn Rand of course, like all the other prophets of either utilitarianism or individualism, never quite took their work too seriously, at least when it came to living their lives. The ridiculous way that the Objectivists were run in the 1950s is quite amusing.


            • #21
              'Atlas Shrugged' author sees resurgence

              # Story Highlights
              # Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" has sold hundreds of thousands in last 18 months
              # Book's sales have been sparked by financial crisis
              # Rand's free-market philosophies still a hot-button issue

              (CNN) -- "Where is John Galt?" reads a sign in the back of a vehicle heading down Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Georgia.
              Ayn Rand, shown here on a 1999 stamp, is finding new readers thanks to the economic crisis.

              Ayn Rand, shown here on a 1999 stamp, is finding new readers thanks to the economic crisis.
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              1 of 2
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              The quotation is wrong. As any reader of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" can attest, the correct line is "Who is John Galt?" but the point is well taken.

              In the midst of the credit crisis and the federal government's massive bailout plan, the works of Rand, a proponent of a libertarian, free-market philosophy she called Objectivism, are getting new attention.

              "If only 'Atlas' were required reading for every member of Congress and political appointee in the Obama administration. I'm confident that we'd get out of the current financial mess a lot faster," Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore wrote in early January.

              It's obviously getting attention from the general public. Rand book sales are "going through the roof," said Yaron Brook, the president of the Ayn Rand Institute. According to Brook, "Atlas Shrugged," her most famous novel, has sold more copies in the first four months of 2009 than it did for all of 2008 -- and in 2008, it sold 200,000 copies. It's been in's top 50 for more than a month.

              Not bad for a 1,100-page doorstop of a book that came out in 1957, by an author who died in 1982. Video Watch why Rand is so beloved

              "So many people see the parallels with actually what's going on, with the government taking over the banks, with the government kind of taking over the automobile industry, a president who fires the CEO of a major American corporation. These are the kind of things that come out of 'Atlas Shrugged,' " Brook said.

              Even Hollywood is said to be interested, which is only fitting, since Rand was once a screenwriter. But developments have come in fits and starts. "Godfather" producer Albert S. Ruddy once wanted to make a film and talk of miniseries adaptations emerged in the '70s and '90s.

              In 2006, Angelina Jolie was said to have been signed to star as Rand's heroine, rail magnate Dagny Taggart, and names such as Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt have also been floated. However, as of early 2009, the status of the film remains unknown.

              "Atlas Shrugged" concerns a group of corporate chieftains and individualists who go on strike in protest of government intervention in business. Among those trying to figure out what's happening are Taggart and steel tycoon Hank Rearden. Eventually they meet John Galt, an engineer who had been elevated to legendary status by "stopping the motor of the world" in encouraging other individualists to drop out, and who delivers the novel's showstopping 50-page speech -- an expansive summary of Rand's philosophy.

              Upon the book's release it divided critics and readers, some of whom praised its message of self-sufficiency. More, however, disliked Rand's politics and atheism, not to mention her writing.

              "Is it a novel? Is it a nightmare? Is it Superman -- in the comic-strip or the Nietzschean version?" Time magazine asked in its review, adding that Rand's "philosophy must be read to be disbelieved. ... She deserves credit at least for imagination; unfortunately, it is tied to ludicrous naivety."

              But Rand's book -- which followed 1943's "The Fountainhead," about a Frank Lloyd Wright-like architect determined to follow his own path -- was a best seller and has continued to be significant. In 1991, a Library of Congress/Book-of-the-Month Club survey named it No. 2 among respondents' most influential books, after the Bible.

              Her philosophy of selfishness and her love of pure capitalism (she used to wear a dollar-sign brooch) has earned her many followers, particularly on the right. Rush Limbaugh is a fan; former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was a Rand acolyte in his younger days and a member of her New York salon.

              But Rand critics are equally fervent, questioning her belief in pure free markets.

              "What I find so remarkable about it is if capitalism can work on its own without any government regulation, then we wouldn't be here," said economist Heather Boushey of the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

              Boushey points out that even Greenspan has reversed course, to an extent, in his admiration of laissez-faire economics.

              "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity -- myself, especially -- are in a state of shocked disbelief," Greenspan told a congressional hearing in October.

              The Rand Institute's Brook points out that, to Rand, selfishness did not mean disengagement from the world or sociopathy. "Rational self-interest, egoism, in Ayn Rand's perception is not being Bernie Madoff, not thinking short-term and satisfying just whims, and cheating and lying and stealing," he said. "It is about pursuing what's truly in your rational, long-term self-interest, figuring out what's good for you, without exploiting, taking advantage, without stealing from other people, without sacrificing from other people to yourself.

              "But also," he added, "without sacrificing yourself to other people."

              It's that debate over shared sacrifice that will likely continue to fuel Rand's critics, as well as her admirers. At bookstores, it will likely keep cash registers ringing, which could only have made the dollar-sign-wearing author very happy, indeed.
              Bahh, hopefully the price of the book won't go up :P


              • #22


                The image supplied in your post #1 is reminiscent of a Rodchenko piece or an Obama campaign poster.

                When we fathom the deeper ramifications of Leftist Constructivism inverted as Rightist and/or Libertarian Constructivism, it does not particularly flatter Rand and her cause.


                Last edited by Swift Sword; 27 Apr 09,, 23:13.
                Pharoh was pimp but now he is dead. What are you going to do today?


                • #23
                  Speaking of "Atlas Shrugged," I got the DVD set of the movies just last week and watched them for the first time. Despite the difficulties they had in production of the 3 films, I quite enjoyed it.

                  What makes me most nervous about this story, and all the other libertarian stories that I can think of, is that it requires a benevolent, fabulously wealthy protagonist to make it work. That's quite discouraging, and I suspect puts off a huge chunk of the potential audience.


                  • #24
                    Holy necroposts, Batman!


                    • #25
                      Oops. Was there an expiration date on interest in Ayn Rand's work?

                      OK, seriously, should I have started a new thread? It seemed best not to split the topic among multiple threads.


                      • #26
                        Sanjac your doing good. A chance for me to post the HDC that everyone loves


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Sanjac View Post

                          OK, seriously, should I have started a new thread? It seemed best not to split the topic among multiple threads.
                          Yea you should have, Or put it in the random thread. Reviving 6 year old threads is normally a bad idea


                          • #28
                            It's not intuitively obvious to me why that would be the case. Are ideas expressed in the past no longer of interest to anyone?

                            After all, the book "Atlas Shrugged" was published 57 years ago, but there do seem to be folks interested in reading it.

                            (Behind all that, the real truth here is that I didn't notice how old the thread was. I suspect it was an interesting topic that just got dropped because something else attracted the interest of the members who were active back then.)