Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

The thought of actually reading Rand’s gargantuan tome, Atlas Shrugged, a book you could use as a cornerstone, filled me with apprehension. And while the novel resonated with me far more than expected, it is fair to wonder if someone who didn’t agree with anything Rand was trying to say – she is not subtle – might find it tough to get past the first couple of hundred pages. But by that point I was hooked on the story, which chronicles the final decade of the descent of the United States from capitalism to communism. To discuss everything noteworthy about Rand’s novel would go well beyond the scope of any brief review. For example, Rand exposes the hypocrisy and futility of communist ideology quite well, but doesn’t bother to dilute the purity of her alternative vision by explaining that its consequences are genuinely altruistic. Rand never explicitly acknowledges that encouraging people to pursue their individual self-interest, through lower taxes and limited government, enables more wealth creation and hence more prosperity for everyone. One key admonition Rand makes is of concern here, however, because it has immediate and urgent relevance to California’s citizen’s initiative political season, a fight being waged right now, that hangs in the balance.

The biggest sin of Rand’s good guys in Atlas Shrugged – the businessmen – was that these businessmen never defended themselves, much less took the offense. They practiced appeasement with the “peoples” interests, and acceded to big government regulations, apparently hoping they would be [...] Read More