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Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books of all time (right up there with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.) While I’m not a hard core mega-Objectivist, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead both spoke loudly to me at critical points in my life and have had a hand in shaping the way I think about the world.
Atlas Shrugged just turned 50 and I expect there will be plenty of chatter about it. There’s an update on the continued effort to make a movie about it and an excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Brian Doherty titled Rand and the Right. It’s short, pointed, and ends strong:
“Why does she matter to modern politics? It’s not like she is around for conservatives to seek her endorsement. But it is worthwhile for political activists to remember that Ayn Rand was utterly uncompromising on how government needed to respect the inalienable right of Americans to live their own lives, and of American business to grow, thrive, innovate and improve our lives without niggling interference.
Her message of political freedom was enthusiastic, and optimistic, and immensely popular. No major American political party has embraced her message in full. But millions of Americans have voted for her with their pocket books, and hundreds of thousands continue to do so every year.
On the 50th anniversary of her greatest novel, her advocacy of the still “unknown ideal” of truly free market capitalism is something that America, and the conservative movement, needs to reconsider.”
If you’ve either never read Atlas Shrugged or haven’t read it in a long time, you might give it a shot before the next election cycle gets into full swing.