My rare readers, who have been paying attention and can decipher my turgid prose, know that I have been wandering my little stretch of the People's Republic of China reading Atlas Shrugged. It is a long novel (1,000 pages with small print and no pictures) and having Tony and work to do, I have been seemingly reading if forever.
I suppose if you read a novel long enough you will come across an article about it on the Internet. The one I have linked asked the question is Rand relevant? More and more people seem to think so since the novel's sales are better than ever.
Do I think Rand is relevant? I find her novels have lots of things to say to defend capitalism that are universal and for all time. She does seem to portray the mindset of Socialists in a realistic light. But there is something flawed in her outlook. Her protagonists seem two-dimensional and not realistic. They represent an ideal but one that is rare in this world even among the geniuses that make the world a better place.
Her novels are full of blind spots. Florence King noted that Rand had nothing to say about Jews and yet Rand had escaped from a place where anti-semitism was ripe. Rand talks about a spirit but has little to say about the idea of a transcendent god that is so important in America. There are no religious figures in Rand's novel, let along mention of a church.
Rand is not fascist as someone said to me when I mentioned I was reading Atlas Shrugged. In deed, her heroes don't want anything to do with government. For example, the character Rearden paid someone to deal with government so he could look after his business - he stayed away from the politicians and bureaucrats like the plague.
So I am of two minds about Rand. In a perfect world, we would aspire to do business as Rand's characters do. But we wouldn't be so fixated on business as to forget the transcendent and the other loyalties we need to make life worth living.
At the rate I am getting through Atlas Shrugged, this current recession may be a memory provided President Oprah doesn't go too far.