Obama: Bad For America, Great For Ayn Rand


From Slate (via Alan Vanneman, the Moriarity of polymath bloggers):

From 2000 through 2008, the 50-year-old 1,088-page tome sold about 166,000 copies a year. Since Obama was sworn in, more than 600,000 copies have been sold. That's 530,000 more than it sold in its first year of publication, when it was reviewed by more than 100 literary outlets.

More here. Emphasis in original.

The latest (not encouraging) on the slow-moving film version of Atlas Shrugged.

Reason on Rand.

Check out's recent series Radicals For Capitalism, which explores the enduring legacy of Rand's ideas and influence on pop and political culture. First of 10 segments below; click here for full playlist.

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  1. The problem with Ayn Rand’s view of capitalism is that she overlooks that there are a lot more corporations being run by James Taggert types than by Hank Rearden types.

    1. I think its pretty clear that she finds the Reardon type unusual and the Taggert type the norm.

      Did you read the same book I did?

      1. And it’s Taggart, folks.

      2. The Children of Light are largely operatic caricatures. In so far as any of them suggests anything known to the business community, they resemble the occasional curmudgeon millionaire, tales about whose outrageously crude and shrewd eccentricities sometimes provide the lighter moments in Board rooms. Otherwise, the Children of Light are geniuses. One of them is named (the only smile you see will be your own): Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Antonio. This electrifying youth is the world’s biggest copper tycoon. Another, no less electrifying, is named: Ragnar Danesjold. He becomes a twentieth-century pirate. All Miss Rand’s chief heroes are also breathtakingly beautiful. So is her heroine (she is rather fetchingly vice-president in charge of management of a transcontinental railroad). So much radiant energy might seem to serve an eugenic purpose. For, in this story as in Mark Twain’s, “all the knights marry the princess” ? though without benefit of clergy. Yet from the impromptu and surprisingly gymnastic matings of heroine and three of the heroes, no children ? it suddenly strikes you ? ever result. The possibility is never entertained. And indeed, the strenuously sterile world of Atlas Shrugged is scarcely a place for children. You speculate that, in life, children probably irk the author and may make her uneasy. How could it be otherwise when she admiringly names a banker character (by what seems to me a humorless master-stroke): Midas Mulligan? You may fool some adults, you can’t fool little boys and girls with such stuff ? not for long.

        1. And indeed, the strenuously sterile world of Atlas Shrugged is scarcely a place for children.

          There were children at Galt’s Gulch.

          Homeschooled, obviously.

          PS Anyone know where Whittaker Chambers’s grave is? I feel a bowel movement coming on.

        2. Didn’t they have condoms in the 40’s? I imagine a smart businesswoman or businessman would use them if they didn’t want children.

          1. That just makes it consciously sterile, rather than subconsciously.


            1. I point to this quote “Yet from the impromptu and surprisingly gymnastic matings of heroine and three of the heroes, no children ? it suddenly strikes you ? ever result.” as if someone is surprised that lots of energetic sex might not result in children.

  2. From obscure wierdo to fringe wierdo in just one short year.

    1. Give it up, dude.
      Grow some balls and find a handle you want to keep.
      If you can’t find a reason to disagree, then either leave, or join us. First posted 5/21/10

      1. At first, I thought this poster was talking about Vanneman.

    2. Such hubris. You’re not anywhere close to ascending to fringe weirdo.

  3. she overlooks that there are a lot more corporations being run by James Taggert types than by Hank Rearden types

    I don’t know that you can say that when the book we’re talking about is dominated by the very villains you’re saying she fails to perceive.

    1. I wonder which of us Slap will fail to respond to?

  4. For those who’ve seen Iron Man 2:

    We want to work with Tony Stark, but we always end up working for Justin Hammer.

  5. I don’t remember Mr. Thompson being black, though.

    1. I don’t remember him being white, either.

      1. Good point.

  6. Related: I’ve noticed that HuffPost has had at least one article per day for the last 10 days or so, that talks about how bad Libertarians are. You know, the party that holds no office, has no power, and never gets more than about 5% of the popular vote.

    Seems like Liberals are terrified of Libertarians.

    1. Thats because they’ve beaten the dead horse of “neo-cons” to a pulp.

      1. It’s because the tea party folks claim to be libertarian.
        Except that they don’t want to cut entitlement programs they’re on and that they approve of, of course.
        But apart from that, they want to ban gay marriage and abortions, so they’re not really libertarians at all.
        Although they claim to be, so who am I to doubt them?

        1. Like the media, you make the mistake of regarding the Tea Party folks as adhering to one single ideology. The protest I attended was a coalition of conservative and libertarian elements. Rather than standing back and pointing fingers, perhaps you should get involved and try to influence the direction of the movement so that it doesn’t end up being dominated by the religious right.

    2. Seems like Liberals are terrified of Libertarians.

      Why do, judging from the comments of our resident trolls here, liberals hate libertarinas so much?

      1. Because their preposterous economic fairy tales have served as the philosophical framework for the plutocratic looting that has nearly destroyed the American economy.

        1. No, as with most government or government-assisted malfeasance, the philosophical framework for the plutocratic (& socialist) looting that has nearly destroyed the American economy was: “because we can.”

    3. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      It looks like we’re going from stage 2 to 3 now.

  7. No, it’s because you guys turn otherwise kind social conservatives into dicks like yourselves.

    1. “Otherwise kind social conservatives”? Like that guy who headed the organization to turn gays straight while shelling out for a Rentboy?

  8. “Atlas” should be a miniseries not a movie.

  9. “kind social conservatives”? Oxymoron much?

  10. i tried to read atlas shrugged but after 400 pages of yawning at the author saying the same thing over and over again, i just gave up and thew it in a dumpster.

    1. I can understand your boredom, bugsy. I pushed my way through the turgid, poorly written tome, wondering all the while why there are people who take what Ayn Rand wrote seriously. Someone suggested that Atlas Shrugged should be made into a movie, or even a miniseries. I cannot imagine actors trying to make all of the ridiculous speeches Rand give her one-dimensional characters without cracking up. I admire you, bugsy, for not wasting your time trying to get to the end.

  11. Any country where one of the parties is in a state of slavish devotion to one of the most unspeakable hags who ever put on a crone suit, is by definition suffering from a poisoned democracy.

    1. Are we talking about Rand? Because I’m pretty sure neither major party gives a flying fuck about her overall, and the Libertarians don’t really count.

  12. Funny how Reardon paid his workers more than any other steel mill workers out there. Insinuating and stating in the book, that he paid his staff the best because he expected the best. Reardon couldn’t exist today, and it wouldn’t be the fault of Obama and the socialists, whoever they are, i doubt going third world and banking off of government force to keep his employees in check would be a winner in his eyes either.

  13. It’s really unfortunate people start off with “Atlas”. I recommend they first read “The Virtue of Selfishness” ,the most important thing she ever wrote, followed by “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”. Then “Anthem”, “We the Living” and “The Fountainhead” before tackling “Atlas”.

    1. I tore the pages out and used them for toilet paper in that order, and you’re right, Trey, I do feel better!

      1. Really? You enjoyed wiping with those rough pages? Well I guess that proves the point that every asshole has an opinion.

        1. Nicely put. I have read the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and I think she has some very good principles for the most part, but if everyone got the gist that this is how our government thinks of us, we might just start to get our heads out of our asses and stop voting for the bigger campaign chest.

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