The Ayn Rand Resurgence

Those of us that are foolish enough to spend more than 5 minutes per day watching cable news channels can’t help but to have noticed that Ayn Rand has become very popular among conservatives again. They particularly point to her novel Atlas Shrugged and suggest that maybe all the great capitalists of the world should start disappearing as they did in Rand’s novel.

Now, I’m a liberal, so I don’t agree with Rand’s philosophy. But based on the TV talk I’ve seen recently, I think I understand Rand much more than they do. (It doesn’t hurt that I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged a mere two months ago.)

One major difference between the situation in Rand’s novel and the situation we find ourselves in today is that the capitalists in Rand’s novel actually produced things: copper, railroads, steel, metal, electricity, etc. The capitalists in the middle of the economic crisis today merely spent the last couple of decades shuffling paper around and literally creating wealth out of thin air. No wonder it has vanished into thin air.

Second, in Rand’s novel, the capitalists are profitable. They are doing well in their industries, and the government is trying to take their money and force them to do the same job with literally no resources. In our current situation, the government is giving the financial institutions money because they cannot remain solvent on their own. In Rand’s novel, the problem is too much government regulation. In our current crisis, the problem has been too little government regulation.

And, of course, we can’t forget that Rand was an atheist. Capitalism was her religion. She saw Christianity and all other forms of religion as useless because she wholeheartedly disagrees with the idea of self-sacrifice for anything or anyone. I’d like to hear a conservative Republican politician, whose very election often relies on the conservative Christian vote, explain how brutal, unregulated capitalism fits in with the Christian notion of “laying down your life for others.”

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