Reason Contributing Editor David Weigel charts the rise of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged along with the fall of the economy. In particular, he chronicles the mini-maybe-quasi trend people are threatening to "go Galt," following the model of the novel's hero, John Galt, who opts out of a society that treats its capitalists badly. The money quote:
"Just this weekend,” said Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) on Wednesday in an interview with [The Washington Independent], “I had a guy come up to me in my district and tell me that he was losing his interest in the business he’d run for years because the president wanted to punish him for his success. I think people are reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’ again because they’re trying to understand what happens to people of accomplishment, and people of talent and energy, when a government turns against them. That’s what appears to be happening right now.”
Another Reason contributor, Will Wilkinson, is quoted in Weigel's article with this pleasingly cynical take:
Although [Wilkinson] is “sympathetic” to the “going Galt” concept and the Rand comeback. “If we’re being honest,” he said, “it’s a right-wing version of ‘I’m moving to Canada if Bush wins.’”
I blogged about increasing Atlas sales here.