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Vital Signs

Ayn the Antichrist

“If you would know what the Lord God thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom He gives it.”
—Maurice Baring

“Who is John Galt?” again rings throughout the land.  Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s doorstop novel chronicling a general strike of the productive against the “looters,” gains resonance during times of increasing government control.  I remember the book’s popularity among conservatives and libertarians when I attended Hillsdale College (1975-77), during the middle part of the 1970’s stagflation.

On Amazon.com’s sales ranking, the novel zoomed from no. 5,000 in early 2007, before the economic crash began, to no. 33 in early 2009, higher than President Obama’s Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.  As I write in early August, it’s still no. 202 overall, no. 9 in political fiction, and no. 19 in “classic” fiction.  That’s impressive for a 1957 novel of 1,368 pages that is an “immortal work of art,” according to the introduction by Leonard Peikoff.  Peikoff, whom Rand called the “number-one man” in her “collective,” became her heir and assign and founded the Ayn Rand Institute, a tax-exempt foundation in Irvine, California.

After decades of “development hell” in Hollywood,...

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