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News Bad and Good

March 18th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 2 Comments · Link Cavalcade

The news about the Obama administration, the Reid Senate and the Pelosi House continues to be bad. Jaw-dropping bad. Obama won’t allow pilots to fly armed.

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Chinese navy harasses American ships and Secretary Clinton doesn’t have the spine to note that our ships have every right to be in international waters. Clinton and Obama want a new image abroad for America — America is compassionate and altruistic now that the cowboy Bush is gone! — so we can’t even stand up to the bullying of an aggressive dictatorship.

Meanwhile at home, Obama emulates the communists he appeases abroad by appointing someone to oversee culture in America. Just what we need — government approved culture!

Amid the bad economic news, Obama announces he has complete confidence in Treasury Secretary Geithner. A statement of confidence is always a bad sign, as presidents needn’t say such things about those who really have their complete confidence.

And politicians are outraged over AIG bonuses. But of course it takes a Republican, Senator Grassley, to make the most foolish statement — that AIG execs should commit suicide. Maybe the Senator has watched too many samurai movies.

Despite the endless cavalcade of idiocy that is the Obama Era, there has been a most unexpected development in American culture (done without the Culture Czar’s participation). The Tea Party Movement has arisen to protest Obama’s big government policies.

Ayn Rand’s ideas are, if not the underlying philosophy, then a major theme in this movement.

View the photo blogs of tea parties and you’re guaranteed to see on every one at least two Ayn Rand citations, a few Atlas Shrugged posters, more pork and bacon references than a congressional committee meeting, and lots of concern for future generations. There is commonality of conviction and cause in all the tea parties. But that’s it in the movement’s Department of Organization and Strategy.

“Going Galt” has entered the American idiom. I read one leftist sneer that no one yet has actually “gone Galt.” He is thinking of the concrete events of Atlas Shrugged, not abstracting the principles. Anyone who has worked less to remain in a lower tax bracket has gone Galt. Every wife who stays at home as a housewife because taxes penalize a working couple has gone Galt. Every small businessman who gave up because regulations and health care made his venture unprofitable has gone Galt.

Objectivists might disapprove  of Ayn Rand’s sudden popularity and the use of her character’s name by a movement full of conservatives and libertarians who disagree with her. These are the types like the conservative businessman in the ’60s who offered Ayn Rand $1,000,000 if she would believe in God. (Now, there’s a fool and his money.) These are the types who dismiss her novels for reasons ranging from “They are just novels” to “They are not novels.” Whatever.

First, we should be delighted by the publicity. You can’t buy PR this good. Atlas Shrugged, a 50-year old novel, recently topped the Amazon list. People are buying the books. Perhaps they are even reading them.

Second, we should take this phenomenon as evidence that Ayn Rand’s philosophy has entered the culture and has changed it some — not enough, but some. People understood, however incompletely, that the answer to Obama’s quest for control of the economy in the name of altruism is not any conservative or libertarian theorist, but is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I think this is one of the most encouraging developments I have seen in my time of watching.

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Benpercent

    If the news about Atlas wasn’t encouraging enough, The Fountainhead, The Virtue of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal has also been setting records of their own on the Amazon bestselling classics list! I have also heard Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson has risen as well, but I haven’t seen it.

    So not only are people buying Atlas Shrugged, but also apparently exploring the rest of Ayn Rand’s ideas as well. 🙂 How long it shall take these people to digest those ideas is anyone’s guess.

  • Jason Lockwood

    I live in Sydney and I’ve noticed that the Penguin editions of Miss Rand’s novels have been selling quite briskly in the local bookshops. Ayn Rand is not really known that much in Australia, but as things heat up in America, I think we’ll start to hear more.