As Katherine Mangu-Ward recently noted, sales of Ayn Rand's capitalist manifesto Atlas Shrugged have been soaring in recent months. In a symposium entitled "Going Galt," National Review asked an assortment of writers and editors for their thoughts on Rand's relevance in Obama's America. Some choice excerpts follow.
Bradley J. Birzer:
Offensive, ignorant, and devoid of faith, hope, and love, Rosenbaum ends her novel [Atlas Shrugged]. Her philosophy and her reputation should have ended there as well.
Burt Folsom, Jr.:
Ayn Rand's legacy and durability may be most apparent in her nonfiction works. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal points us in the right direction in its treatment of markets. Her criticism of antitrust laws and her praise for entrepreneurs are well done. For example, she describes James J. Hill's solid construction of the Great Northern Railroad with no federal subsidies while exposing the bankruptcies of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific when they had extensive federal aid.
Taken simply as fiction and prose, Ayn Rand is something an adult reader would hesitate to shove in a laundry bag, for fear it would soil the dirty socks. William F. Buckley Jr. and National Review did the world a favor, all those years ago, by throwing the randy Randians overboard. Do we really have to let them climb back on the ship now?
Gregory L. Schneider:
Rand's relevance is not in her personality cult, but in her ideas. She was an unapologetic "radical for capitalism," which she equated to a moral and ethical system superior to any other. She was also an astute critic of collectivism in any form, including organized religion…. Her defense of capitalism and critique of collectivism is more necessary than ever today and explains why her work is seen as prescient and relevant in the Age of Obama.
Read the rest here. In March 2005, Cathy Young explained why Rand remains "more relevant than ever." In October 2007, Brian Doherty reflected on Atlas Shrugged's 50th anniversary. Click below to watch Doherty discuss Rand's legacy on Reason.tv: