As a result of America's more socialist nature arising out of economic turmoil, http://www.newsweek.com/id/183663 and http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/14/books-news-ayn-rand-sawday
the sales of Atlas Shrugged soared.
by News Wire (February 23, 2009) Washington, D.C., February 23, 2009--Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008.
This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold. “Americans are flocking to buy and read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ because there are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day” said Yaron Brook, Executive Director at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.
“Americans are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis and government’s increasing intervention and attempts to control the economy. Ayn Rand understood and identified the deeper causes of the crisis we’re facing, and she offered, in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a principled and practical solution consistent with American values." "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."
Not only did Atlas Shrugged outsell Obama's best seller, the late author's book is going to hit the silver screen.
Only rumors have it that Angelina Jolie will be playing the part of Dagny Taggart.
If any one actor/actress who campaigned for Obama's campaign is casted, I will boycott the movie. Obama voted for the bailout and enacted a stimulus package with quite a bit of pork that will be cause many young adults (many who were not a part of the housing problem) to pay off trillions of debt for someone else's crime. Not that there was much on the menu during the election, however I detest anyone who shoved this propoganda down my throat for his own purposes, not ours.
With that being said... Ayn Rand is an angel. She was an immigrant to America from a totalitarian Soviet Union and preached the goods of a free market in America. I'm posting her quotes below.
"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Aconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?"..."When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor-- your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?"..."that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth."..."Money is your means of survival. The verdict which you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?
"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?
"Or did you say it's the LOVE of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money--and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it."
"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
"So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."..."Then you will see the rise of the double standard--the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money--the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law--men who use force to seize the wealth of DISARMED victims--then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'..."When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.
"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while your damning its life-blood--money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor"..."To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a COUNTRY OF MONEY--and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being--the self-made man--the American industrialist.
"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all the others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to MAKE money.' No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality."..."Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns--or dollars. Take your choice--there is no other--and your time is running out.""
Those words, so profound and true, never cease to shake, inspire and terrify me! I would print it all, the whole book, but its not mine (this section was and is often released free).
Those prophetic and wise words are now coming to pass, if not the whole saga of Americas, perhaps the worlds dissentigration.
A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom. Ayn Rand A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. Ayn Rand A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving. Ayn Rand A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. Ayn Rand Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Ayn Rand Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Ayn Rand Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth. Ayn Rand Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. Ayn Rand Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. Ayn Rand Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. Ayn Rand Every aspect of Western culture needs a new code of ethics - a rational ethics - as a precondition of rebirth. Ayn Rand Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. Ayn Rand Evil requires the sanction of the victim. Ayn Rand Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins. Ayn Rand From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man - the function of his reasoning mind. Ayn Rand God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive. Ayn Rand Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off. Ayn Rand Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. Ayn Rand I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build. Ayn Rand 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. Ayn Rand If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. Ayn Rand Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Ayn Rand Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law. Ayn Rand 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. Ayn Rand Just as man can't exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one's rights into reality, to think, to work and keep the results, which means: the right of property. Ayn Rand Love is the expression of one's values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Ayn Rand Man's unique reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself. Ayn Rand Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason. Ayn Rand Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. Ayn Rand Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. Ayn Rand Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth, the man who would make his fortune no matter where he started. Ayn Rand People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it - walk. Ayn Rand Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. Ayn Rand Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. Ayn Rand So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money? Ayn Rand The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see. Ayn Rand The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. Ayn Rand The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap. Ayn Rand The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Ayn Rand The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live. Ayn Rand The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Ayn Rand The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it. Ayn Rand The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt. Ayn Rand There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. Ayn Rand There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions to an individual, but permitted to a mob. Ayn Rand There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist. Ayn Rand Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. Ayn Rand To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing and that's real power. Ayn Rand To say "I love you" one must first be able to say the "I." Ayn Rand Upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future. Ayn Rand We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. Ayn Rand Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Ayn Rand When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is. Ayn Rand When man learns to understand and control his own behavior as well as he is learning to understand and control the behavior of crop plants and domestic animals, he may be justified in believing that he has become civilized. Ayn Rand
'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years
By STEPHEN MOORE
Some years ago when I worked at the libertarian Cato Institute, we used to label any new hire who had not yet read "Atlas Shrugged" a "virgin." Being conversant in Ayn Rand's classic novel about the economic carnage caused by big government run amok was practically a job requirement. If only "Atlas" were required reading for every member of Congress and political appointee in the Obama administration. I'm confident that we'd get out of the current financial mess a lot faster.
The art for a 1999 postage stamp.
Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.
Rand, who had come to America from Soviet Russia with striking insights into totalitarianism and the destructiveness of socialism, was already a celebrity. The left, naturally, hated her. But as recently as 1991, a survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club found that readers rated "Atlas" as the second-most influential book in their lives, behind only the Bible.
For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created
-- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.
In the book, these relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs are disparaged as "the looters and their laws." Every new act of government futility and stupidity carries with it a benevolent-sounding title. These include the "Anti-Greed Act" to redistribute income (sounds like Charlie Rangel's promises soak-the-rich tax bill) and the "Equalization of Opportunity Act" to prevent people from starting more than one business (to give other people a chance). My personal favorite, the "Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act," aims to restrict cut-throat competition between firms and thus slow the wave of business bankruptcies. Why didn't Hank Paulson think of that?
These acts and edicts sound farcical, yes, but no more so than the actual events in Washington, circa 2008. We already have been served up the $700 billion "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act" and the "Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act." Now that Barack Obama is in town, he will soon sign into law with great urgency the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan." This latest Hail Mary pass will increase the federal budget (which has already expanded by $1.5 trillion in eight years under George Bush) by an additional $1 trillion -- in roughly his first 100 days in office.
The current economic strategy is right out of "Atlas Shrugged": The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That's the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies -- while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to "calm the markets," another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as "Atlas" grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate "windfalls."
When Rand was writing in the 1950s, one of the pillars of American industrial might was the railroads. In her novel the railroad owner, Dagny Taggart, an enterprising industrialist, has a FedEx-like vision for expansion and first-rate service by rail. But she is continuously badgered, cajoled, taxed, ruled and regulated -- always in the public interest -- into bankruptcy. Sound far-fetched? On the day I sat down to write this ode to "Atlas," a Wall Street Journal headline blared: "Rail Shippers Ask Congress to Regulate Freight Prices."
In one chapter of the book, an entrepreneur invents a new miracle metal -- stronger but lighter than steel. The government immediately appropriates the invention in "the public good." The politicians demand that the metal inventor come to Washington and sign over ownership of his invention or lose everything.
The scene is eerily similar to an event late last year when six bank presidents were summoned by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to Washington, and then shuttled into a conference room and told, in effect, that they could not leave until they collectively signed a document handing over percentages of their future profits to the government. The Treasury folks insisted that this shakedown, too, was all in "the public interest."
Ultimately, "Atlas Shrugged" is a celebration of the entrepreneur, the risk taker and the cultivator of wealth through human intellect. Critics dismissed the novel as simple-minded, and even some of Rand's political admirers complained that she lacked compassion. Yet one pertinent warning resounds throughout the book: When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear -- leaving everyone the poorer.
One memorable moment in "Atlas" occurs near the very end, when the economy has been rendered comatose by all the great economic minds in Washington. Finally, and out of desperation, the politicians come to the heroic businessman John Galt (who has resisted their assault on capitalism) and beg him to help them get the economy back on track. The discussion sounds much like what would happen today:
Galt: "You want me to be Economic Dictator?"
Mr. Thompson: "Yes!"
"And you'll obey any order I give?"
"Then start by abolishing all income taxes."
"Oh no!" screamed Mr. Thompson, leaping to his feet. "We couldn't do that . . . How would we pay government employees?"
"Fire your government employees."
Abolishing the income tax. Now that really would be a genuine economic stimulus. But Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Washington want to do the opposite: to raise the income tax "for purposes of fairness" as Barack Obama puts it.
David Kelley, the president of the Atlas Society, which is dedicated to promoting Rand's ideas, explains that "the older the book gets, the more timely its message." He tells me that there are plans to make "Atlas Shrugged" into a major motion picture -- it is the only classic novel of recent decades that was never made into a movie. "We don't need to make a movie out of the book," Mr. Kelley jokes. "We are living it right now."
Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page.