Atlas Shrugged seems to be everywhere—with its movie adaptation now in theaters, many people have taken notice. Ayn Rand’s novel has long been recognized by literary enthusiasts and philosophy students—but today, the name is familiar to many for its political ideas and its consistently high ranking on Amazon’s bestseller list.
For those who’ve noticed but not yet discovered Atlas, there are two recent articles that point to its true significance, an appreciation of which is often missing in movie reviews or political debate.
In a similar spirit to our recommendation of the novel, Onkar Ghate emphasizes that there’s much more to the book than an exciting story:
But for many readers, Atlas is even more: it’s life-changing. . . . [I]n its pages Ayn Rand forces you to look at the world anew.
Before Atlas Shrugged, no one had ever thought of men like Aristotle, Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Edison, and Vanderbilt as moral exemplars. But this—the man alone in his lab or office, who chooses to exert the effort necessary to think and to create his values—is the novel’s image of a moral hero.
In “Remembering the Real Ayn Rand“, Donald Luskin reminds readers that despite her association with conservatism today, Rand transcends the traditional political divide:
Rand was not a conservative or a liberal: She was an individualist. “Atlas Shrugged” is, at its heart, a plea for the most fundamental American ideal—the inalienable rights of the individual.
It’s not just Rand’s moral and political arguments that are unique, but her entire philosophy, which underpins the drama of her fiction. For those looking for a truly different perspective, there is no substitute for picking up one of her novels.
Creative Commons-licensed picture from Flickr user !!!! scogle
Posted by Noah Stahl
on May 12, 2011. Filed under Culture, Summer 2011.
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The Undercurrent is a magazine distributed at college campuses and communities across the country. We release a print edition once per semester, and in the interim, regularly post additional articles, blog entries, and campus media responses reports to our website.
The Undercurrent's cultural commentary is based on Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Objectivism, which animates Ayn Rand's fiction, is a systematic philosophy of life. It holds that the universe is orderly and comprehensible, that man survives by reason, that his life and happiness comprise his highest moral purpose, and that he flourishes only in a society that protects his individual rights.
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