Monday, November 02, 2009

Ayn Rand’s relevance in the 21st century

Reason TV kicks off its Ayn Rand retrospective this week with a look at how suddenly relevant the philosopher and novelist has become. A-list Hollywood stars want to make a movie from Atlas Shrugged, and suddenly “going Galt” * has become a popular catchphrase for producer strikes. Who would have guessed that the era of Hope and Change would have produced Rand as a counter-cultural phenomenon?

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Well, perhaps Rand herself would have foreseen it — and in fact she did, in Atlas Shrugged:

Just how much has Rand and her Objectivism returned to the fore? Her book, with no particular marketing campaign is just outside the top 100 books on Amazon, at #103. This is a perfect example of what Nick Gillespie calls “the long shelf life of Ayn Rand,” which springs from the natural impulse of a free people when confronted with statism, even so-called benevolent statism. In the novel, the producers of the world act individually, but eventually all reach the same conclusion.

Rand may wind up being more relevant to this century than she was to the last. Rand’s message got a little lost as a result of the Cold War and its aftermath; the focus was on Soviet statism as an external threat rather than progressive statism as an internal threat. At the moment, there is a clarity on that point that Americans have never quite had in the previous 50 years.

John Galt is a fictional character in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. Although he is absent from much of the text, he is the subject of the novel's often repeated question, "Who is John Galt?", and the quest to discover the answer.

As the plot unfolds, Galt is acknowledged to be a creator and inventor who embodies the power of the individual capitalist. He serves as an idealistic counterpoint to the social and economic structure depicted in the novel. The depiction portrays a society based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces the stifling mediocrity and egalitarianism of socialistic idealism. In this popular mass ideology, the industrialists of America were a metaphorical Atlas of Greek mythology, holding up the world, whom Galt convinces to "shrug," by refusing to lend their productive genius to the regime any longer. - Wikipedia

6 Opinion(s):

Viking said...

I happen to be almost halfway through Atlas Shrugged at the moment, and I can't put it down. There a huge amount of wisdom stored in its 1000+ pages, and her ideas are even more relevant today than when the book was first written. Brilliant.


Time is long overdue for whites in South Africa to shrug the tax load.

Doberman said...

Indeed. Ordered Ayn Rand's book today actually, Atlas Shrugged. Want to know what the fuss is about.


@ Doberman

Atlas Shrugged is a account of how the mindless masses usually screw
everything up. It was written in the early fifties i think , yet it is more relevant than ever. If you would change some names and places you would have the perfect scenario that is going down in South Africa right now. It is absolutly relevant for all countries infested with government parasites.

Viking said...

clear you diary for the next week or two, then - it's a massive tome. Rand explains brilliantly how corruption works, how the masses are duped into believing that the businesspeople are the problem, and that "fairness" is a codeword for looting.

Whiteadder says it right, the book speaks about what is happening in SA now, and also what Obama is doing in the US.

FishEagle said...

Her books had a huge influence on me since I was a teenager.