Still Some Hope in Libertarianland?by Stephen Gordon
If book sales of “Atlas Shrugged” are any indicator, the Obama administration may have just given the freedom movement a much needed shot in the arm. From the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights:
Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.
“Americans are flocking to buy and read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ because there are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day” said Yaron Brook, Executive Director at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Americans are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis and government’s increasing intervention and attempts to control the economy. Ayn Rand understood and identified the deeper causes of the crisis we’re facing, and she offered, in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a principled and practical solution consistent with American values.”
Better still, for those who might prefer other libertarian works of fiction, Glenn Reynolds reports the following from one of his readers:
Instead, bought the current slightly oversized edition of Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. I hadn’t read it in many years and was pleased (but not really surprised) at how well it holds up; the few technical anachronisms (and there are surprisingly few for a book written in 1966) are more than balanced by how very, very relevant it remains politically in 2009. I was surprised to rediscover how profoundly subversive a work it is, both politically and socially, likely outdoing all the “radical” literature that flower children and revolutionaries were inspired by in the 60s (most of whom considered Heinlein “fascist” — thus showing their profound ignorance of both Heinlein and fascism).
“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” is still one of my all time favorites.
In the meantime, rumors of a major Hollywood production of “Atlas Shrugged” still abound. From the book’s Wikipedia entry:
The film is currently in active development by Baldwin Entertainment Group and Lions Gate Entertainment. A two-part draft screenplay written by James V. Hart was developed into a 127-page screenplay by writer-director Randall Wallace.
Angelina Jolie has been confirmed to play the role of Dagny Taggart, and there are discussions with Russell Crowe to play the part of Hank Rearden. Brad Pitt is rumored to be cast in a yet unspecified role. Both Jolie and Pitt are fans of Rand’s works. The role of the mysterious John Galt is likely to be played by an unknown. Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) had been confirmed to direct, but as of June 18, 2008 is no longer attached to the project. Lions Gate Entertainment picked up worldwide distribution rights. The film was expected to be released in 2011.
As for me, I so thoroughly enjoyed David McCullough’s “1776” that I picked up a copy of “John Adams” the other day. While killing time en route to a meeting last night, I was enjoying a few pages along with a pint of Guinness when the bartender informed me of a HBO miniseries based on the same book. Chapter One opens with a quote from Abigail Adams which I find inspiring:
“You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive Spectator…. We have too many high sounding words, and too few, actions that correspond with them.”
Perhaps some of us will become inspired by the recirculation of “high sounding words” and follow up with the “actions that correspond with them.”