It was first published in 1957, and its author has been dead for more than a quarter century, but Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is riding high once again. The once-and-future bestsellet occupies both the first and second spots on Amazon.com’s bestseller list for “Classic” works (representing two different editions of the book). For all of us who reject the Big Government policies of the two major political parties and of their two most recent advocate-presidents, and who remain deeply concerned for the survival of free enterprise and other indices of Freedom in the U.S., this is a small but hopeful sign.
As Yaron Brooks, head of the California-based Ayn Rand Institute correctly noted, a major factor accounting for the resurgence in “Atlas” is the fact that it has become clearer than ever in this current economic mess that government control of the country’s economy — which now includes concrete steps being implemented for the direct running of American companies and banks by the government — is causing the very catastrophe Rand described more than half a century ago.
Whether or not one accepts all aspects of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, as spelled out in her many novels, papers, speeches, interviews and non-fiction books, the essence of her philosophy is of increasing relevance in today’s world in which government control at all levels of government has dramatically reduced the sphere of personal freedom to but a small fraction of what it was even at the time “Atlas Shrugged” was written.
Even though it is good news to see “Atlas” enjoying a revival of sorts, we need to do much more than buy a few more copies of the book in order for us to have any realistic hope of reversing the trends about which its author wrote and which we the living, now suffer under.