Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ayn Rand and the Tea Parties

From Adam Kirsch's book review at the New York Times, "Ayn Rand’s Revenge" (via Memeorandum):

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.’ ”
Actually, Ayn Rand's influence on the tea parties wasn't all that strong over the summer, outward influence at least. (As measued by the popularity of Ayn Rand paraphernalia at the tea parties and town halls.) Of course, Rand's philosophy has been prophetic this year, and current interest in objectivism is record-breaking (which explains why some neo-communists are strangely trying to expropiate her work). And some argue we're living the state-socialist wrecking ball. See, "We Are Living in an Ayn Rand Novel." Leftists can spin all they want. Atlas Shrugged is not a slip cover for what's happening today, but its accuracy in so many other ways in mind-boggling.

Image Credit: From the
Orange County Tax Day Tea Party, April 15, 2009.