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Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 28 Feb 2009, 08:21
Vegard Martinsen
Denne tråden kunne bli flere steder men siden Atlas Shrugged er så omfattende legger jeg den her. The Economist nå har en stor artikkel med bakgrunn i Atlas Shrugged treffende beskrivelse 50 år i forkant av det som skjer nå i USA, og at salgstallene nå går til himmels. ... d=13185404

Ayn Rand
Atlas felt a sense of déjà vu

Feb 26th 2009
From The Economist print edition

The economic bust has caused a boom for at least one author

BOOKS do not sell themselves: that is what films are for. “The Reader”, the book that inspired the Oscar-winning film, has shot up the bestseller lists. Another recent publishing success, however, has had more help from Washington, DC, than Hollywood. That book is Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.

Reviled in some circles and mocked in others, Rand’s 1957 novel of embattled capitalism is a favourite of libertarians and college students. Lately, though, its appeal has been growing. According to data from TitleZ, a firm that tracks bestseller rankings on Amazon, an online retailer, the book’s 30-day average Amazon rank was 127 on February 21st, well above its average over the past two years of 542. On January 13th the book’s ranking was 33, briefly besting President Barack Obama’s popular tome, “The Audacity of Hope”.

Tellingly, the spikes in the novel’s sales coincide with the news (see chart). The first jump, in September 2007, followed dramatic interest-rate cuts by central banks, and the Bank of England’s bail-out of Northern Rock, a troubled mortgage lender. The October 2007 rise happened two days after the Bush Administration announced an initiative to coax banks to assist subprime borrowers. A year later, sales of the book rose after America’s Treasury said that it would use a big chunk of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Programme to buy stakes in nine large banks. Debate over Mr Obama’s stimulus plan in January gave the book another lift. And sales leapt once again when the stimulus plan passed and Mr Obama announced a new mortgage-modification plan.

Whenever governments intervene in the market, in short, readers rush to buy Rand’s book. Why? The reason is explained by the name of a recently formed group on Facebook, the world’s biggest social-networking site: “Read the news today? It’s like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is happening in real life”. The group, and an expanding chorus of fretful bloggers, reckon that life is imitating art.

Some were reminded of Rand’s gifted physicist, Robert Stadler, cravenly disavowing his faith in reason for political favour, when Alan Greenspan, an acolyte of Rand’s, testified before a congressional committee last October that he had found a “flaw in the model” of securitisation. And with pirates hijacking cargo ships, politicians castigating corporate chieftains, riots in Europe and slowing international trade—all of which are depicted in the book—this melancholy meme has plenty of fodder.

Even if Washington does not keep the book’s sales booming, Hollywood might. A film version is rumoured to be in the works for release in 2011. But by then, a film may feel superfluous to Rand’s most loyal fans; events unfolding around them will have been dramatisation enough.

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 28 Feb 2009, 14:24
Artig vinkling. For andre forfattere er det venstrevridde Hollywood som løfter salgstallene, mens for Ayn Rand er det virkeligheten. Passende!

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 06 Mar 2009, 00:59
John Galt Effect

A hidden effect of the November 4 elections and the national events that preceded them during this past year is perhaps best called the “John Galt Effect” in honor of Ayn Rand's famous character in Atlas Shrugged. It is occurring to a very significant extent.

Our technological civilization stands upon the shoulders of many generations of free Americans and the great accomplishments that they bequeathed to us. Among those Americans and their counterparts in other countries have been a small special group of people whose unusual genius, work ethic, and love for their specialties were especially outstanding. These men, by their examples, their creations, and their leadership of free enterprises, have led our civilization upward. One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to know a few such people.

Without this small group of people, the technological attainments of their generations would not have taken place. We know the names of a few of them, but there were many more -- constituting perhaps one person in a thousand. Ayn Rand called these people the “men of the mind.” In Atlas Shrugged, under the leadership of John Galt, they withdrew their services. They would only work in freedom. They would not work under tyranny.

In reality, most men of the mind never withdraw. They love their work too much to stop and -- most of them -- love their fellow men too much to desert them. The forces of tyranny depend upon this. Without these people, even the small technological advances required by Marxist and Socialist societies would not occur. Yet, while the men of the mind do not fully withdraw, they have families and other loved ones for whom they are responsible and to whom they are more devoted than to the state.

As the pendulum of politics now swings toward tyranny in the United States and dangers to those whom they love increase, these men and women partially turn their talents more toward their personal responsibilities. Part of their thoughts, efforts, and ingenuity are lost to society -- and this loss cannot be recovered by either negative or positive incentives.

Throughout our country today, the men of the mind (women, too) are watching the awful scene in Washington and its reflection in state and local capitals throughout the United States. They understand the consequences of the government oppression that has dogged their own footsteps for many years and that will grow much worse in the near future. So, they are taking actions to protect themselves and their families.

We have no way to measure the societal effects of this distraction of the men of the mind. There are immediate effects upon our well being and long term effects from the things that they are no longer working full time to create.

What is the cost of the distraction of our real leaders -- of the men of the mind -- of the John Galts among us? I estimate that it is greater than the trillions of dollars being lost on government printing presses. Call this Y2009K -- and this time it is very real.

Our existing power plants are still operating; our petrochemical plants are still producing; our military defense is still performing; our food supplies are still flowing; and the rest of the technological infrastructure upon which our lives depend is largely still in place. But the key people -- not those we see but those we do not see because they are constantly engaged in real work -- are seriously distracted and now partially engaged in personal survival.

Of one thing we can be certain. When the essentials of our civilization begin to seriously falter and this causes real harm, those who would be our masters and their fellow travelers in the media, academia, business, and politics will cast blame upon some of these men of the mind -- and drag them before us for punishment. Our John Galts know this, too, and it is a further distraction for them.

Some of these people are leading great enterprises. Others are in the basements of our power plants and other heavy industries. Some are closeted away in universities quietly at work on the next generations of possible advances in science and engineering. They are easily recognized -- by their genius and by the love of their work that permeates their whole beings.

One way to recognize them is that they constantly talk about their work to anyone who will listen.

Now they are distracted.

What are they talking about today?

Dr. Arthur B. Robinson - President and Research Professor of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 09 Mar 2009, 08:53
Vegard Martinsen
Fra bakvendtland


Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 09 Mar 2009, 09:05
Vegard Martinsen

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 09 Mar 2009, 21:06
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who gives his departing interns copies of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” told me today that the response to President Obama’s economic policies reminded him of what happened in the 52-year-old novel. “People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’” said Campbell. “The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit the rest of us, are going on strike. I’m seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth, who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they’ll be punished for them.” In Rand’s novel, creative people (the “Atlases” of the title) are hounded and punished for their labor by an oppressive, socialistic state. In response, they retreat from society to a hidden enclave where they watch civilization’s slow collapse. How far, I asked Campbell, are we from the final chapters of the novel? “We’re still a ways away,” he said. “That will happen when people expect that there ought to be a recovery going on, and it isn’t going on” - Congressman: We’re Living in ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 10 Mar 2009, 10:21
Vegard Martinsen ... s-shrugged

Congressman: We’re Living in ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who gives his departing interns copies of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” told me today that the response to President Obama’s economic policies reminded him of what happened in the 52-year-old novel.

“People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’” said Campbell. “The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit the rest of us, are going on strike. I’m seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth, who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they’ll be punished for them.”

In Rand’s novel, creative people (the “Atlases” of the title) are hounded and punished for their labor by an oppressive, socialistic state. In response, they retreat from society to a hidden enclave where they watch civilization’s slow collapse.

How far, I asked Campbell, are we from the final chapters of the novel? “We’re still a ways away,” he said. “That will happen when people expect that there ought to be a recovery going on, and it isn’t going on.”

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 15 Mar 2009, 19:45
Vegard Martinsen ... s-shrugged

Look out for number one - America turns to prophet of self-interest as crash hits

• Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged catapulted up sales charts
• Fans say tale of economic Armageddon coming true

Some products do comparatively well in times of recession: alcohol, chocolate, cinema tickets, cigarettes. But one surprise bestseller of the economic Armageddon is a decades-old science fiction novel about an imaginary economic Armageddon - popular now, its fans insist, because the collapse of civilisation it describes is on the verge of coming true.

Sales of Ayn Rand's 1957 book Atlas Shrugged - a hymn in praise of radical individualism, extreme self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism - are surging as the crisis deepens, according to TitleZ, a service that tracks sales trends on Amazon.

As of yesterday, the book's 30-day average rank on the website was 110, far above its average rank of 542 over the last two years. On 13 January it even briefly outperformed Barack Obama's wildly popular work The Audacity of Hope. Yesterday it was in 55th place, between The Reader and a book on cultivating very small gardens.

Atlas Shrugged tends to inspire either cult-like devotion or sarcastic mockery in readers, who are either thrilled or appalled by Rand's vision of a world in which the "men of the mind" - inventors, entrepreneurs and industrialists - withdraw their labour from a society intent on bleeding them dry with taxes and regulations.

Furious at being exploited by the government on behalf of the masses, who are described as "parasites" and "moochers", the striking capitalists retreat to a camp in the mountains of Colorado, protected by a special holographic shield.

Starved of their genius, society collapses and wars break out until eventually bureaucrats are forced to beg the rebels' leader, John Galt, to take over the economy.

There is a reason, then, that Amazon categorises the book as fantasy. But Rand adherents see looming parallels in today's Washington.

The Obama administration's support for beleaguered homeowners and banks, they argue, smacks of tyrannical socialism, forcing the strong and successful to prop up the weak, feckless and incompetent. "The current economic strategy is right out of Atlas Shrugged," the commentator Stephen Moore wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal. "The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you."

Obama's frequently expressed view that the crisis demands that all Americans make sacrifices - and that those earning the most will need to "chip in a little more" - would have disgusted Rand, who believed that altruism was evil.

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master," she wrote.

Some even predict a Rand-style revolution, in which those tired of supporting their fellow citizens decide to "go Galt", withdrawing their labour or refusing to pay taxes.

In cities around the US, conservative activists have been organising street protests known as "tea parties", inspired by the CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli, who in a high-profile rant last month called for direct action by taxpayers in the manner of the 1773 Boston Tea Party, the anti-British protest that helped trigger the American revolution.

Rand, who emigrated from the Soviet Union to the US, considered her thousand-plus pages of overwrought prose to be the ultimate statement of her philosophy of objectivism, but mainstream philosophers have largely ignored it. Noam Chomsky called her "one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history".

The notion of a Rand rebellion has its sympathisers on Capitol Hill, however. "People are starting to feel like we're living through the scenario that happened in Atlas Shrugged," John Campbell, a Republican congressman who gives copies of the book as gifts to his interns, told the Washington Independent.

"The achievers are going on strike. I'm seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs ... who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they'll be punished for them."

The book's peak sales days on Amazon seem to correspond to major events in the attempted rescue of the economy, including the bailout of Northern Rock, the US decision to buy shares in nine major banks, and the passing of Obama's stimulus bill. The Ayn Rand Centre for Individual Rights claims that US-wide sales almost tripled over the first seven weeks of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

But sceptics have described the threats of Galt-style tax boycotts as the rightwing equivalent of "moving to Canada".

Many liberals claimed they would emigrate northwards if George Bush won the 2004 election. But when he did, they didn't.

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 17 Mar 2009, 09:49
Vegard Martinsen

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 18 Mar 2009, 21:43
Atlas Shrugged topper bestseller-listene på Amazon: ... d_ts_b_nav

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 19 Mar 2009, 14:09
Joda, men Atlas Shrugged har lenge vært på topplisten over "American classics." Det er ingenting nytt. Det som er nytt er at den også er nær toppen på ALL amerikansk litteratur, inkludert nyutgitte bøker: ... _b_bcrm_17

Her er den på 15. plass på "litterature & fiction"-lista. Og på lista over ALLE bøker er den i skrivende stund på 66. plass. Det høyeste jeg har sett den er på 29. plass.

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 04 Apr 2009, 09:39

In 1782, replying to James Monroe about calls for Jefferson to abandon plans to retire from public service and return to his personal life, Jefferson wrote:

“In this country…since the present government has been established the point has been settled by uniform, pointed and multiplied precedents, offices of every kind, and given by every power, have been daily and hourly declined and resigned from the Declaration of Independence to this moment….If we are made in some degree for others, yet in a greater are we made for ourselves. It were contrary to feeling and indeed ridiculous to suppose that a man had less right in himself than one of his neighbors or indeed all of them put together. This would be slavery and not that liberty which the Bill of Rights has made inviolable and for the preservation of which our government has been charged. Nothing could so completely divest us of that liberty as the establishment of the opinion that the state has a perpetual right to the services of all its members. This to men of certain ways of thinking would be to annihilate the blessing of existence; to contradict the giver of life who gave it for happiness and not for wretchedness, and certainly to such it were better that they had never been born….”

Had he pursued the thought further, Jefferson might have concluded that neither the state nor society nor “others” had any right or claim to the services of any of its members. Had he done that, and in deference to his incomparable stature as a political thinker and child of the Enlightenment, Jefferson would have attained the heights of Aristotle and his philosophical heir.

One hundred and seventy-five years later, Rand, in Atlas Shrugged, completed that thought:

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

It is as simple as that.

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 09 Apr 2009, 08:12
Vegard Martinsen

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 10 Aug 2009, 18:44
Atlas Still Shrugs

Terry Savage, Monday, August 10, 2009

Who is John Galt?

If that doesn’t ring a bell—or even if it slightly jogs your memory—I have a summer reading recommendation for you during this lazy month of August.

I’m in the midst of re-reading Atlas Shrugged, the legendary novel first published in 1957 by Ayn Rand. It reads as if it were written this month—and that’s only the first shocking thing that will strike you if you’re brave enough to attempt this 1,100-page work of art.

I remembered its influence it had on me when I read it as a teenager, and it strikes with new force as I read it today in the context of Obamacare, wage and car “czars,” and multibillion-dollar “cash for clunkers” payouts, and amid headlines decrying profits, bonuses, speculation, and well, financial success.

If the comparisons don’t strike you within the first 100 pages, you can stop reading. But if every page leaves you wondering how this novel could have been written 50 years ago, when it so perfectly depicts our own times, then I won’t have to exhort you to finish.

I’m about one-third of the way through, and as I reread through more mature eyes and in today’s context, I find it even more compelling. I’m sure I will have more to say on this blog in coming weeks.

The book tells the story of Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden, two unrepentant capitalists who are determined to make an unapologetic profit by using a new kind of steel to build a new railroad line to the West, where the last remaining entrepreneurs are creating an economy built on free market principles.

They are thwarted at every turn by the “establishment”—formerly wealthy businessmen who have co-opted government to save their uncompetitive businesses, while around them the infrastructure crumbles and society focuses on spreading the remaining wealth to the least efficient competitors. And there’s sex, too.

It is not your imagination that the public discourse has taken a turn that should make you uneasy. Strange things are happening in our politics, in our economy, and in the growing belief that the government can solve all our problems—either by taxing away our money or printing money.

Today’s Congressional rhetoric echoes the novel, where the “Equality of Opportunity Bill” was passed to “distribute” opportunity to unsuccessful people by forcing those who had built thriving businesses to sell portions of their companies to losers, financed by the government.

Ayn Rand’s entire philosophy, called “Objectivism,” has been the subject of much debate over the years. In her own words: “Man must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”

Rand believed that laissez-faire capitalism was “the ideal political-economic system.” She called for “a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.” Rand, who died in 1982, must be rolling in her grave at today’s headlines.

At the website of the Ayn Rand Institute,, you can learn more about her philosophy. But don’t prejudge her philosophy before you read the novel. Don’t deny yourself the experience of translating her writings into today’s realities. Read the book first!

By the way, although rereading Atlas Shrugged has become my summer project (after completing work on a new edition of The Savage Number, which will be published this fall), I’m not alone in this quest for fresh air. The Economist reported that the 52-year-old novel ranked #33 among's top-selling books in January, 2009.

Re: Atlas Shrugged

InnleggSkrevet: 10 Aug 2009, 22:56
Why Ayn Rand Is Still Relevant

Gloria McDonough-Taub, Monday, 10 Aug 2009

More than 25 years after her death - we are still in love with and obsessed by all things Ayn Rand. Visit a book store and you'll still see plenty of that precious shelf space devoted to her and her novels. Two of her books, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead combined have sold more than 12 million copies in the US.

And a new book, "AYN RAND And The World She Made" by Anne C Heller (Doubleday/Random House is coming out this fall in October.

Rand, a Jewish immigrant from Communist Russia grew up to become a literary giant, cultural idol and cult hero whose ideas changed the American cultural and political landscape.

Her influence over the Reagan White House is legendary and now her ideas are again front and center as a new White House faces its this current economic crisis. Earlier this year in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal editorial, a writer said basically everything you need to know about how to fight a recession can be found in Rand's novel, "Atlas Shrugged."

I reached out to the folks at the Ayn Rand Center to ask them write up a guest blog about one of the 20th century's most significant individuals - asking them to try to explain - why are we still so drawn to her, her characters and her ideals.

Atlas Shrugged and Today’s World by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins.

Those who haven’t yet picked up Ayn Rand’s 1957 classic novel Atlas Shrugged may be wondering why so many people are invoking the book in discussions of today’s events.

Well, the short answer is: because today’s world is strikingly similar to the world of Atlas Shrugged.

Consider the government’s affordable housing crusade, in which lenders were forced to make loans to subprime borrowers who allegedly “needed” to own homes.

    “We must not let vulgar difficulties obstruct our feeling that it’s a noble plan motivated solely by the public welfare. It’s for the good of the people. The people need it. Need comes first...”
Those might sound like the words of Barney Frank, but in fact they belong to Eugene Lawson, a banker in Atlas Shrugged who went bankrupt giving loans to people on the basis of their “need” rather than their ability to repay. In the quoted scene, Lawson is urging his politically powerful friends to pass a law restricting economic freedom for the “public good”--long-range consequences be damned.

Or consider this cry from Atlas Shrugged villain Wesley Mouch, head of the “Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources”:

    “Freedom has been given a chance and failed. Therefore, more stringent controls are necessary. . . . I need wider powers!”
This mirrors the incessant claims by today’s politicians and bureaucrats that all our problems would disappear if only they had more power. They tell us that health care is expensive and ineffective-not because the government has its tentacles in every part of it and forces us to pay for other people’s unlimited medical-care wants and needs--but because there is no bureaucrat forcing us to buy insurance and dictating which tests and treatments are “necessary.” They tell us that American auto companies failed to compete-not because they were hamstrung by pro-union laws and fuel efficiency standards-but because there was no government auto czar. They tell us that we are reeling from a financial crisis-not as a result of massive, decades-long government intrusion in the financial and housing markets-but because the intrusion wasn’t big enough; we didn’t have a single, all-powerful “systemic risk” regulator.

Atlas Shrugged shows us an all-too-familiar pattern: Washington do-gooders blaming the problems they’ve created on the free market, and using them as a pretext for expanding their power. And more: it provides the fundamental explanation for why the government gets away with continually increasing its control over the economy and our lives. The explanation, according to Atlas, is to be found in the moral precepts we’ve heard all our lives.

From the time we’re young we are taught that the essence of morality is to sacrifice one’s own interests for the sake of others, and that to focus on one’s own interests is immoral and destructive. As a result, we want the government to protect us from doctors and businessmen out for their own profit. We want the government to redistribute wealth from the successful to the unsuccessful. We want the government to ensure that those in need are given “free” health care, cheap housing, guaranteed retirement pay, and a job they can never lose. We want the government to take these and many other anti-freedom measures because virtually everyone today believes that they are moral imperatives.

This view of morality, Atlas argues, inevitably leads to the disappearance of freedom.

A free society is one in which the individual’s life belongs to him, where he can pursue his own happiness without interference by others. That is incompatible with the view that morally his life belongs to others. So long as you accept that self-sacrifice for the needs of others is good, you will not be able to defend a capitalist system that enshrines and protects individual freedom and the profit motive.

The only way to stop the growth of the state and return to the Founding Fathers’ ideal of limited government is to recognize that individuals not only have a political right to pursue their own happiness, but a moral right to pursue their own happiness. This is what Ayn Rand called a morality of rational self-interest. It is a selfishness that consists, not of doing whatever you feel like, but of using your mind to discover what will truly make you happy and successful. It is a selfishness that consists, not of sacrificing others in the manner of a Bernie Madoff, but of producing the values your life requires and dealing with others through mutually advantageous, voluntary trade.

It’s no accident that, at the very instant Washington is extending its grip over our lives, Atlas Shrugged is selling faster than ever before. Americans sense that Atlas has something important to say about this frightening trend. It does. If you want to understand the ideas undermining American liberty--and the ideas that could foster it once again-read Atlas Shrugged.