Why did Atlas shrug?

Ok, it probably wasn’t a good idea.  He was holding up the sky at the time and, well….oops.

But the thing is, he’d been reading Ayn Rand’s famous novel for about three days now, and it was beginning to look like the damn thing would NEVER end!  He was reading it on a kindle, so he just kept flipping and flipping…’his weak, drooping chin…her fearless ice blue eyes…the outline of her flawless body in that sharply tailored business suit..’ yeah yeah yeah but who did she shack up with in the END?


So he shrugged.  What he SHOULD have done was press the Go To button on his kindle and then skip straight to the end, replete with vision of capitalist saints marching back into the world to restore the rule of righteous self interest.

Atlas Shrugged is the novel that apparently serves as the right wing economists’ bible.  Novel? I always thought it must be an economic tome along the lines of Das Kapital or whatever Milton Keynes wrote – but no, it’s a novel, and not only that, but something of a bodice ripper.  It concerns the life and times of one Dagny Taggart, lissome railroad heiress, who’s loved by three (or it could be four) ruggedly individual, stupendously handsome, fearlessly competent entrepreneurs.  And of course, she is one herself.

It’s set in maybe the late 20th century, when the big end of town is under siege from puling bureaucrats and do-nothing incompetents, who keep making rules to stifle business under the guise of serving the public good.  They insist on passing things like the ‘Equality of Opportunity Bill’ legislating that rich businesspeople have to produce less (so that less successful businesspeople can have a go) and enforcing the establishment of model workers’ factories while the real ones stagnate and die, leaving humanity hopeless and starving.

If that’s not enough, there’s also the mystery of the disappearing billionaires – where are the rich guys going, one by one? Atlantis, that’s where – a hidden valley with a big golden dollar sign as its monument, in which former bank chiefs happily grow and sell cabbages and the word ‘give’ is outlawed.

Fair enough.  I see what she means.  Give any entity a line of unearned credit (ie, taxes) and they’ll abuse it, a bit.  Competence isn’t forged by working in a sinecure (the public service) though it isn’t precluded there, either.  On the other hand, no ideology is completely true, and this one is no exception.  The unfettered pursuit of self-interest isn’t going to bring about a capitalist paradise any more than ‘to each according to his need, from each according to his ability’ worked out in communist Russia.

Anyway it was a long, dull, silly and not particularly well-written book, and I STILL don’t know who Dagny ended up shacking up with!


  1. Never read Atlas Shrugged. But I did enjoy The Fountainhead.
    And she probably shacked up with whoever clubbed her on the back of her head and dreagged her back to his cave.
    It is Ayn Rand after all…

  2. I haven’t read this one….and I don’t think I will based on your review. (there’s just nothing better than a good book to me and I’m always so disappointed if I don’t like it)

  3. I so agree with your last paragraph. Never understood the obsession with any rand and her illegible irritating prose!

  4. Somehow, I think people forget that critics considered her to be somewhat of a hack, and her two “great works” were just means for advocating her insipid philosophy. Besides, how do you get the name “Ayn” out of Alisa?

      1. Atlas would be a draw to me if it was some kind of classic tale of gods and history maybe, but I think that story has been told before. But each to their own and it takes more than a title I think to sell a book, at least for me, CS

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