By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Sales of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged are up, which is saying something given that it reportedly sold more copies last year than ever before.
According to my friend and former colleague Scott Galupo in the Washington Times, sales of the book had tripled through April as compared to the same time period last year. I can't say that I've ever read Rand, and Scott's assessment of the book doesn't increase my interest:
That this turgid, tedious novel, published in 1957, has continually found fellow travelers on the right is a great oddity of American intellectual life. In his dismissive review of the book, Whittaker Chambers, then at National Review, called it "remarkably silly" and "preposterous" — which no doubt suited Miss Rand just fine.
Before he is dismissed as a fellow-traveler liberal freak, understand that Scott Galupo is an authentic, God-fearing, state-distrusting conservative of the thoughtful variety. And he's a good writer, so usually when I cite him it's with a proviso along the lines of He's wrong of course, but his piece is worth reading anyway.
Well this time I can say that I can only assume that he's right, and his piece is worth reading anyway.
Conservatives' embrace of "Atlas Shrugged" today is nothing more than blinkered escapist fantasy — rather like a besieged army turning to Norse mythology or J.R.R. Tolkien to boost morale.
He notes that American conservatism has shown great adaptability in the face of 200 years of federal governmental expansion, but that it nonetheless still suffers fringe-nuttery, as evidenced by the Rand/ Atlas resurgence.
Mired in fantasy, intoxicated by legend, embittered in non-reality: This is no way for an opposition party to act.
At least not one that has any hope of relevance or vitality.
Like I said, the whole thing is worth a read.
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