In the face of onslaught, the heroes of Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' (now in theaters) decided to stop working, retreat to a valley, and try to rebuild only when the country had collapsed. What we really need to reject, Rand advised, are the flawed moral ideals that cause our economic troubles.
"Atlas Shrugged" has finally reached the big screen and, especially among tea partiers, Ayn Rand is being hailed a prophet. How could she have anticipated, more than 50 years ago, a United States spinning out of financial control, plagued by soaring spending and crippling regulations? How could she have painted villains who seem ripped from today’s headlines?
There’s Wesley Mouch, who in the face of failed government programs screams like Rep. Barney Frank (D) of Massachusetts for wider powers. There’s Eugene Lawson, “the banker with a heart,” who like former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is ever ready with a bailout. There’s Mr. Thompson, who like President Obama seeks to rally the country behind pious platitudes. There’s Orren Boyle, who like President Bush says that we must abandon free-market principles to save the free market.
And in the face of this onslaught, what can you do? Should you, like Rand’s heroes, “go Galt,” stop working, retreat to a secluded valley, and try to rebuild only when the country has collapsed?