Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand ( real name Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum), published in 1957 and at 1168 pages, about 1,000 pages too long. Posing as a novel, it is really an exposition by Rand in favor of  unregulated and untaxed capitalism, a philosophy she dubbed objectivism. Rand was born in 1905 in Russia and emigrated to the US at age 21 in 1926 from the newly formed USSR. I believe that she was traumatized in her formative years by the Russian Revolution which occurred in 1917.

Who is John Galt? He is the hero of the book and embodies Rand’s philosophy. He does not appear in the book for the first 700 pages. Toward the end of the book, he explains Rand’s philosophy to the world in a radio address beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time that I imagine lasted all night (she says 3 hours). Only Fidel Castro among world leaders currently alive could have rivaled Galt for wordiness. If he had been cast as an US Senator rather than an electrical engineer, Galt could have sustained filibusters by himself.

Rand’s characters are not believable, being less than two-dimensional. They scream rather than speak or shout and they are always smoking cigarettes. The novel? takes place mostly in the US, while the rest of the world is ruled by people’s states. The picture she paints of the US is a nation in decline and resembles the Soviet Union that she left. It is a shame that many of the current GOP leaders subscribe to her vision and philosophy. Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan among others are her disciples.She favored Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest, starvation and extinction for the rest.

Rather than read this book, I recommend reading or re-reading Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. In my opinion, more is to be gained from Orwell than Ayn Rand, and Orwell is more pertinent to our present situation. Orwell’s two books are available in one volume from Amazon.com at $15.00. Their combined length is only 400 pages, 1/3 the length of the Rand book which has the weight and size of a brick, and the readability too IMHO.

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9 thoughts on “Atlas Shrugged

  1. As someone who is trying hard, harder, hardest to read through this truly monstrous so called literary work, I would certainly recommend reading this book, if it can be done without someone pointing a gun at the reader’s head forcing them to continue reading. With the candidate for the next vice presidency of the US and the leader of the Republicans as far as their economic policy is concerned being a follower of Ayn Rand and her economic philosophy, I think reading the book is an absolute must, because only that way you find out how truly muddle-headed that economic policy is.
    I must admit, though, that frequently it’s not easy for me to go on reading, but I’m stubbornly determined to work my way through.

    • Good luck. I am retired so I have lots of time. It took me about 10 days and I am a slow reader. Now I am starting on a condensed version of Marx. The GOP keep calling Barack a Marxist, so I thought that I had better reader Marx so that I can answer them.

  2. Ayn Rand and her vicious, extreme individualism have caused great harm to the psyche of the American people. Not just that, this very bizarre philosophy and lifestyle, which is now in vogue, unfortunately, in other countries such as India, denies and takes advantage of the society — at the expense of the society especially the poor and working class men, women and families. If we reject communism for its extreme rigidity and regimentation, we must also reject the Ayn Rand-variety libertarianism, a philosophy that denies the society and working class their dignity and also refuses their history of struggle for rights and justice.

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