Sunday, June 28, 2009

Now We Are ALL John Galt

Ayn Rand wanted Farrah Fawcett to star as Dagny Taggart.

Hat tip: The Corner at National Review Online.

If you haven't read the classic novel Atlas Shrugged, you should. The premise of the novel is to illustrate a world in which all the people of ability go on strike. The author, Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982), features prominently as heroine Dagny Taggart, the Operating Vice President of her family business, the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad. As Dagny tries to run the railroad despite the best efforts of her brother James (the company President and a big supporter of bureaucracy), she finds that everyone she needs to accomplish any necessary task quits and disappears. Soon, she starts to suspect a destroyer at work. Along the way, the novel describes not only Dagny Taggart's search for this destroyer, but also the inventor of a miraculous motor she found in the ruins of an abandoned auto plant, and also love in her own life. The government, in the meantime, grows in size, scope, and oppressiveness as it lurches from one crisis to another (while failing to admit that the government's own actions are what make the situation worse). There is a running gag through the book in which everyone seems to say "Who is John Galt?" as if nothing matters and no one can to anything to change the deteriorating economic situation.

The book is very difficult reading, as Ayn Rand frequently interrupts the plot to go on a one or two or 60-page objectivist philosophy stream of consciousness rant. Many people find that they either really love or really hate the book. However, sales of this book (first published in 1957) have been soaring in recent months, especially as the novel is rather predictive of the consequences of a growing Federal government that makes big giveaways to unions and other special interests (like we are experiencing now).

It is interesting that Ayn Rand wanted Farrah Fawcett to be her Dagny Taggart. What guy wouldn't have wanted to be her John Galt?