Ayn Rand’s Revenge
By ADAM KIRSCH
Published: October 29, 2009 -- New York Times Book Review:
"A specter is haunting the Republican Party — the specter of John Galt. In Ayn Rand’s libertarian epic “Atlas Shrugged,” Galt, an inventor disgusted by creeping American collectivism, leads the country’s capitalists on a retributive strike. “We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who had always been the givers, but have only now understood it,” Galt lectures the “looters” and “moochers” who make up the populace. “We have no demands to present you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.”
“Atlas Shrugged” was published 52 years ago, but in the Obama era, Rand’s angry message is more resonant than ever before. Sales of the book have reportedly spiked. At “tea parties” and other conservative protests, alongside the Obama-as-Joker signs, you will find placards reading “Atlas Shrugs” and “Ayn Rand Was Right.” Not long after the inauguration, as right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck were invoking Rand and issuing warnings of incipient socialism, Representative John Campbell, Republican of California, told a reporter that the prospect of rising taxes and government regulation meant “people are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ ”
It is incredible how successful Conservatives have been in getting so many people who earn $30,000 a year to identify with Ayn Rand's fictional Super-Heroes and to believe that they, too, can become Masters of the Universe even as Ayn Rand's political and economic philosophy stacks the deck against them.
Conservative propagandists have convinced their followers to oppose any government intervention in the economy, claiming that any government intervention constitutes Socialism, citing as their gods Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan. However, as President Obama announced today, the government stimulus programs of his administration have averted a new Depression and have started the American economy growing again.
If the Ayn Rand policies of non-government intervention had been followed, our economy would now be a wreck, and all the dreams of these $30,000 a year Conservatives ever becoming Masters of the Universe would be gone forever. Indeed, their $30,000 a year jobs would be gone, too.