Custom Search

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

It is funny as Beth, a contributor and moderator and frequent commenter here will tell you, I have asked her to read this book, I did this months ago.

The fact that it is still being talked about 50 yrs after it was written should be all the recommendation needed to get it and read it.

The New York Times has a piece on this book which I am going to show excerpts and then I am going to tell you a bit more about the book from one who has read it multiple times.

One of the most influential business books ever written is a 1,200-page novel published 50 years ago, on Oct. 12, 1957. It is still drawing readers; it ranks 388th on’s best-seller list. (“Winning,” by John F. Welch Jr., at a breezy 384 pages, is No. 1,431.)

The book is “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s glorification of the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest.

For years, Rand’s message was attacked by intellectuals whom her circle labeled “do-gooders,” who argued that individuals should also work in the service of others. Her book was dismissed as an homage to greed. Gore Vidal described its philosophy as “nearly perfect in its immorality.”

But the book attracted a coterie of fans, some of them top corporate executives, who dared not speak of its impact except in private. When they read the book, often as college students, they now say, it gave form and substance to their inchoate thoughts, showing there is no conflict between private ambition and public benefit.

“I know from talking to a lot of Fortune 500 C.E.O.’s that ‘Atlas Shrugged’ has had a significant effect on their business decisions, even if they don’t agree with all of Ayn Rand’s ideas,” said John A. Allison, the chief executive of BB&T, one of the largest banks in the United States.

“It offers something other books don’t: the principles that apply to business and to life in general. I would call it complete,” he said.

More excerpts:

Shortly after “Atlas Shrugged” was published in 1957, Mr. Greenspan wrote a letter to The New York Times to counter a critic’s comment that “the book was written out of hate.” Mr. Greenspan wrote: “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”

Rand’s magazine, The Objectivist, later published several essays by Mr. Greenspan, including one on the gold standard in 1966.

Rand called “Atlas” a mystery, “not about the murder of man’s body, but about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit.” It begins in a time of recession. To save the economy, the hero, John Galt, calls for a strike against government interference. Factories, farms and shops shut down. Riots break out as food becomes scarce.

Rand said she “set out to show how desperately the world needs prime movers and how viciously it treats them” and to portray “what happens to a world without them.”


“Rand believed that there is right and wrong,” he said, “that excellence should be your goal.”


“There is something in your inner self that Rand draws out,” Mr. Stack said. “You want to be a hero, you want to be right, but by the same token you have to question yourself, though you must not listen to interference thrown at you by the distracters. The lawyers told me not to open the books and share equity.” He said he defied them. “ ‘Atlas’ helped me pursue this idiot dream that became SRC.”

Mr. Stack said he was 19 and working in a factory when a manager gave him a copy of the book. “It’s the best business book I ever read,” he said. “I didn’t do well in school because I was a big dreamer. To get something that tells you to take your dreams seriously, that’s an eye opener.”

I first read this book when I was bed bound after giving birth to my son, 24 years ago. My mother gave it to me and since then I have read it more than once and I will tell you why.

In the opening of the book, which you must remember was written 50 years ago, this woman, Ayn Rand had an incredible grasp on what the world would become.

If you read it when it first came out or if you read it today, as you read it you cannot help but to start comparing it to the world around you today and THAT is why it is still being talked about 50 years later.

She described walking down streets and seeing stores that have been closed, she described, accurately, those that would say your brain, according to the Hillary Clinton's of todays world, should be owned by those that cannot create and produce and employ thousands, by virtue of their "need" not their competence. People should be given jobs not based on their ability but based on the fact that they "need" it more than the people that were better qualified.

When I wrote Agenda for the Common Good be Damned, it was Ayn Rand I was thinking about.

This is what I wrote in October 2006:

If any of you have read the book "Atlas Shrugged", you know what I mean. For those that haven't, go take a look at that link I just hooked up to the name of the book and you will get a basic idea of what I am ranting about here.The book was published in 1957, by Ayn Rand, yet when you read it, you see todays world in it, almost on every page. How she managed to accurately describe our world, how it is now, in writing it back then, I will never understand, but she did.

The Common Good.... That burns me to no end. The Democratic party is using it as their mantra now.

At a San Francisco fundraiser in 2004- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., told wealthy supporters the government will need to take money away from them for the "common good."

Clinton headlined an appearance with other women Democratic senators in San Francisco, where donors gave as much as $10,000 to California Sen. Barbara Boxer's campaign.

"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Clinton said, according to the Associated Press. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you.

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

Link to the story here.

The common good be damned if that is how they are going interpret it. Since when is it acceptable to "punish" people that have worked hard to earn good money, for the common good? Since when is it unobjectionable to take from the rich by simple virtue of them BEING rich or well off? Since when has any Democrat ever, ever cared about the common good of the people, except when it benefits them politically? To top it off, she dared say that to people that were taking their hard earned money and donating to her.... the woman must have borrowed her husbands balls for that speech.

The term is "common good," and it's catching on as a way to describe liberal values and reach religious voters who rejected Democrats in the 2004 election. Led by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, party activists hope the phrase will do for them what "compassionate conservative" did for the Republicans.

"It's a core value that we think organizes the entire political agenda for progressives," said John Halpin, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "With the rise of materialism, greed and corruption in American society, people want a return to a better sense of community — sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty."

So, the basic concept here is that "materialism" is bad, people earning the wealth to enjoy some of the finer things in life is "bad", they object to "greed", but in their self righteous world, greed is defined as those that work their asses off to EARN MONEY, wow, wanting to earn more money is a BAD thing again...ok so I am bad!!!! "Shared sacrifice", what the hell does that mean? Does that mean that if I am capable of earning a good living, because I am good at what I do for a living, the "Democratic Government" should be able to take more from me? How the hell do they justify THAT?????? For the Common Good be damned and so should the Democrats.

To be fair, the people that originally created that phrase many decades ago, did so with good intentions, but the way the phrase has been corrupted by the Democratic party is disgusting.
To use the catchphrase, "common good" to justify atrocities, is beyond comprehension. To think the American people will sit still for it, bend over and take it, is sheer stupidity.

The Democratic party and their definition of "Common good" can go to hell.

To some, Capitalism is bad and by virtue of being capable of creating and producing, which in turn employs hundreds of thousands as well as providing healthcare to hundreds of thousands, by virtue of having "ability", the party of "common good" demands that those with ability be punished (more taxes) instead of rewarded for helping our economy, keeping people working instead of being on welfare and providing people an opportunity to earn their own income and not be supported by our taxes.

In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, provided a thought of what I call, Capitalists against Communism.

Those that could provide jobs, create and produce and kept the economy running, simply said NO to the communistic idea that because they could produce and employ hundreds of thousands, they should be punished for it.

The heroes of the book said ENOUGH and believed if they were going to be punished by moochers and leeches then they would simply STOP, stop producing, stop creating, stop employing those hundreds of thousands of people, stop giving their brain to a world that wanted to punish them for being "capable" and productive.

They quit. They went on strike.

The men of minds simply withdrew their minds from the world and watched as the world was left to those that could NOT produce, could NOT create, could NOT manufacture and could NOT run the world without the men of mind.

It was a lesson and by the end of that book, I felt good. I felt that someone understood the meaning of the word "competent" and appreciated those that were competent.

The woman must have had a crystal ball because the world she described 50 years ago, is the world we live in now.

Read it, then look around you at the world we live in and compare for yourself.

I am glad that 50 years after being written, this book is still being talked about because although she did not believe in"politics", she understood what they would become and although she denied it was a political statement, if you read it and compare politics to her intellectual ideas, you will see that she predicted almost everything that has happened.

Except the strike of the men of minds.

QandO speaks about Ayn Rand's non fiction works, go take a look.

RELATED: The Liberal Communist Manifesto.

Tracked back by:
Atlas Shrugged Reaches 50th Anniversary from Liberal Values...

LinkShare  Referral  Prg