Everyone from Michelle Malkin to Rush Limbaugh to the Wall Street Journal to The Economist to Instapundit to Forbes to Steven Levitt at the New York Times has been talking about how the world is turning into an Ayn Rand novel – and that novel, as I’ve been reporting, is Atlas Shrugged, whose sales now are skyrocketing. A U.S. Congressman even declared that “We’re living in Atlas Shrugged”—and gives copies of the novel to his interns.
Just this week, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, rising Republican star Paul Ryan outlined what he says are the causes of the current crisis and denounced the Democrats' "audacious scheme”:
Set off a series of regulatory blunders and congressional meddling, blame the free market for the financial crisis that follows--then use this excuse to impose a more intrusive state.
“Sounds like something right out of an Ayn Rand novel," he said (not to mention a little conspiratorial*).
For some perspective on all the talk, check out this superb interview in the latest issue of The Objective Standard with Ayn Rand Institute head Yaron Brook, in which Dr. Brook explains why, more than fifty years ago, Rand was able to project the kinds of crises we are seeing today.
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* Sure, the statists will always take every opportunity to advance the power of the state. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," says the Obamessiah’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."
But to ascribe intention to the regulatory blunders and the congressional meddling … is to suggest more ability than the statists really have.
They’re certainly capable of taking advantage of a cock-up created by the culture of statism, but they’re utterly incapable of setting off a successful conspiracy to that end.
I grew up with the Left and what this looks like to me is a power grab: a seizing of the moment by the forces which always believed in state domination. The Left sees an opening here, first for telling a critical lie about the historical origins of this crisis, which was propelled as much by the Left-liberal determination to spread prosperity through easy credit to the poor, as by the greed of bankers. And then, out of the wreckage, to restructure the economy along the lines that it always wanted, complete with central controls over the pay levels in private financial institutions.
We are being led to believe that public debate should be all about economic mechanics when it should really be about political principle: just how many freedoms do we want to lose while governments pretend that they are the solution?