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Jun 2, 2012

Atlas Shrugged; fiction, philosophy, or prophesy?

Anyone who starts reading the novel Atlas Shrugged is struck by the feeling that it has already arrived. Almost all human activities in business and commerce have long been regulated and taxed and increasingly the state is moving into our private lives. The boards and regulatory authorities are all in place, very much as Rand postulated.

What we see and hear in the media and in books has been under some form of censorship for a long time and while this has been wound back by public demand, the Internet is in the firing line as the next cab off the blocks. Our foods are governed, rules on content are in place, some elements such as fat and sugar are being banned, and the jury is still out on whether the government can make us eat broccoli.

In the following video clip the question is asked, Is Atlas a historical novel or a prophetic one? Rand provides something of an answer in a rule she made for herself during the writing, “The purpose of this book is to prevent itself from becoming prophetic.”

The reality is most likely that having been born in Russia, coming to America and developing a deep and abiding love of the nation and its liberty, she understood that the US is as much a state of mind as a physical presence. Having the eyes of an outsider looking in, she was better placed to see the way in which the very thought process of the nation was being corrupted from within.

The belief that the future as seen in the novel is already here is not a new phenomenon, it has been around for a long time. Back in 1975 it was well enough established enough for a group to write the book, “The Incredible Bread Machine and produce the short movie of the same name. The movie is available on YouTube lasting about 30 minutes and is still worth watching. A longer clip is also available with an introduction and critique.

The book is still available from Amazon, or can be downloaded here.

The movie is getting quite dated although it is still a good resource, but there may be some benefit in updating it. Perhaps one of the larger libertarian groups like FEE could adopt such a project.

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