Sales of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged are off the charts.
In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, explains the obvious reason and the deeper reason for this.
The obvious reason is that “Rand tells the story of the U.S. economy crumbling under the weight of crushing government interventions and regulations,” something that is happening to our own economy to a degree.
But why was Rand able to project an economy in which these trends accelerated? It is because she was able to see the moral basis of political economic controls and the logical conclusions of those moral precepts. In short, Rand upheld rational self-interest and renounced self-sacrifice. Rand pointed out that rational self-interest, not sacrifice, is the true path to authentic love of (deserving) others, and that rational self-interest forbids exploiting others, whereas the morality of self-sacrifice demands it.
Thus, Brook explains:
Why do we accept the budget-busting costs of a welfare state? Because it implements the moral ideal of self-sacrifice to the needy. Why do so few protest the endless regulatory burdens placed on businessmen? Because businessmen are pursuing their self-interest, which we have been taught is dangerous and immoral. Why did the government go on a crusade to promote “affordable housing,” which meant forcing banks to make loans to unqualified home buyers? Because we believe people need to be homeowners, whether or not they can afford to pay for houses.
Read the rest of Brook’s article. And, if you have not yet read Rand’s ground-breaking novel, now is the perfect time to do so.