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"Who is John Galt?"
What happens to a society that punishes people who work hard and rewards people who don't? Where the value of the group is placed above higher that of the individual? Where profits are evil and businesses are expected to exist for the "public good"?
Ayn Rand, the author of "Atlas Shrugged" escaped from communist Russia in 1925 to the United States. Although she loved American capitalism, eventually she began to see events paralleling those in her home country.
"Atlas Shrugged" not only follows this collectivist ideology to it's only logical conclusion, it also develops Ayn Rand's philosophy of "objectivism". The fundalmentals of objectivism have intrigued readers for over 50 years. It is based on the idea that a human being's ability to reason is his only means of survival and that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest.
Ayn Rand asserts that America was the only country to be founded on the celebration and protection of individual liberty and of limited government. That a person's happiness was his to pursue without government intrusion so long as it did not interfere with another person's right to pursue theirs. This liberty was the driving force of the most advanced civilization in the history of mankind.
In "Atlas Shrugged" Rand continues to challenge social and political movements today. As our society strays from our original founding documents' intent, we must decide our fate. The rewards of liberty and personal responsibility or the percieved security of a collective society.
I am very excited that after over 50 years, the movie version of "Atlas Shrugged" will be in theaters on April 15th! For more information about the book and the movie, here are some links that you may enjoy:
Ayn Rand: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_ayn_rand_aynrand_biography