“Who is John Galt?" This is the opening line to Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand, one in which the world collapses under the weight of an oppressive robber class of politicians/bureaucrats. Fraser Nelson wrote on the Spectator Blog, having linked to a WSJ article, about the similarities of this day-and-age to those in Rand’s fictional world.

The story in Atlas Shrugged isn’t quite the same, the governments of that world appropriate successful businesses so as to enable the redistribution of the profits whereas now they are bailing out unsuccessful businesses. Quite the reverse. With productive taxpayers bailing out unsuccessful business! But the underlying theme of the book is that the government isn’t there to help and in the end it is not only a hindrance but more likely to be the harbinger of failure. Rand draws into her characters the tenets of her philosophy of objectivism and how their selfish disdain for others is ultimately the driver of their success. Though she venerates selfishness to an extreme, it is understandable in the climate of hatred held towards those that achieve.

This book, though not a direct warning to us, holds within it an insight into how those on the left view the average human, and how the average human can be bribed to support their ideals. It’s a future that no rational person would want to live in, not unless they knew the way to Cactus Gulch.

If you would like to further your interest in Ayn Rand then the ASI is hosting an event on February 10th. Dr Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Centre for Individual Rights will be speaking for around 45 minutes on Capitalism without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom. The event will be from 6pm for 6.30pm, following on Dr Brook’s speech there will be the usual question-and-answer session and drinks reception. If you would like to attend then please contact Philip Salter at events@adamsmith.org.