Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Atlas Shrugged" Is Really Scary

I've dedicated myself to reading Ayn Rand's book "Atlas Shrugged". It is a classic of conservative literature. But beyond that it is truly scary.

The book was written in 1957. But it could have been written last week. So many of the characters and plot points come right out of the pages of the newspapers today: Folks with a sense of entitlement to the earned wealth of others, folks who view their jobs as being the shrewd evasion of responsibility, and a government that is totally hell-bent on punishing success under the rubric of it isn't fair that someone has succeeded when others haven't.

The book is scary enough that it is hard to read for any length of time. I find myself wondering how close we are to this dark, dreary existence where "need" triumphs over "achievement", where those who have achieved find themselves facing punishment by a government that claims to want to "spread opportunity" and then cannot understand why business after business fails. Of course, the government declares the reason for its failures is that it didn't try to regulate enough.

"Atlas Shrugged" is a long book. The paperback version that I'm reading is over 1100 pages. Don't let that stop you. There are also lengthy sections of some pretty stiff philosophical discourse. But if you don't wade through it you don't grasp what happens next. Although the book is an expertly written mystery, Ayn Rand was first and foremost a philosopher.

Take the "Atlas Shrugged" challenge today. Just don't read it before you hit the hay. Trust me, it will keep you up all night worrying!

No comments: