Who Is John Galt?

After months and months of a start-stop relationship with Ayn Rand’s 1,000-page novel Atlas Shrugged, I no longer have to say that I’m reading it. Nay, I have trudged slowly and surely towards its climax and can now state that I have finished it. Though pedantic at times, the story was a good medium for Rand to present her libertarian socio-political ideal of Objectivism to the world despite the significant time and mental faculties required to digest a book as heavy, both in weight and verse, as Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas was published in 1957 to mostly negative reviews. The political right lambasted it for its “godlessness” and the political left attacked it for its apparent celebration of greed. It is claimed that Ayn Rand cried everyday reading the reviews… perhaps because the pinnacle of her life’s work was being treated so poorly, perhaps because she felt it had been largely misunderstood. It’s too bad she couldn’t live to see its popularity soar in recent years. Amidst the charged partisan atmosphere of modern American politics, the book is experiencing a resurgence. Even if wrongly so, a growing number of people identifying themselves as libertarians, like the Tea Partiers and more traditional Republicans, are contributing to an increase in sales, seemingly drawn in by its pro-business, anti-government message, while the more secular political left is attracted to the book’s renunciation of religion and glorification of reason. Funny how that works out, eh? (more…)