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Atlas Shrugged: Its Philosophy and Energy Implications (Part II: The Book)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 19, 2011

[Editor note: With the Atlas Shrugged movie (Part I) opening this week, MasterResource is examining the book (Part II–today), the philosophy behind the book (Part III–Wednesday), the moral obligation of capitalists according to Rand (Part IV–Thursday), and Atlas shrugging in the energy market (Part V–Monday).]

Ayn Rand’s first major novel, The Fountainhead, is the story of a lone architect struggling against the altruistic, collectivist norms of his profession. Atlas Shrugged describes the process by which men and women of accomplishment and honor withdraw their talent to defeat a parasitic, collectivist society.

Rand described her major plot device, an anti-Industrial Revolution:

Reverse the process of expansion that goes on in a society of producers: Henry Ford’s automobile opened the way for industries: oil, roads, glass, rubber, plastics, etc.

Atlas Shrugged: Its Philosophy and Energy Implications (Part I: Overview)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 18, 2011

Atlas Shrugged (Part I) had a strong debut weekend despite the effort of its philosophical critics, including some leading movie reviewers, to pan the effort and to discourage attendance (see the Appendix below where Walter Donway challenges Roger Ebert).

This movie and the classic 1957 book are important for today’s energy debate in a variety of ways, beginning with Enron and continuing with Obama energy policy. And how Rand undressed Richard Nixon with the energy crisis of her day(Part V–see schedule below)!

“Ah, Ha!”: Interpreting Enron/Ken Lay

For me personally, Ayn Rand’s philosophy was the key that unlocked the mystery of Ken Lay and the magical new energy company, Enron. I had once studied Objectivism but lost interest in Ayn Rand, finding it too dogmatic for my taste. (In retrospect, I ‘threw the baby out with the bath water’.)…