A Clunker of a Year: But Not for a Book from 1957


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What's interesting is how many conservatives have come around to Rand in the last year or two: Limbaugh, Beck, Mark Sanford and Amity Shlaes all come to mind in addition to Will. Looks like the old Rand vs. National Review debate is over. As Inhofe said to Boxer, "we won, you lost, get a life."

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Media references to Atlas Shrugged keep multiplying.

Here's a positive one from George Will:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/228952

Robert Campbell

"Sales exceeded 400,000, double the total in any of the 52 years since it was published."

I like George Will since he can actually structure an argument with real intelligence. Anyone know a way to fact check that 2x number about Atlas?

By the way Reidy, Beck and Limbaugh have been taking about Rand for 4 years and 15 years respectively.

Adam

Edited by Selene
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I was aware that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have been showing a favorable interest in Rand's ideas for some time.

But I hadn't seen anything like this from George Will before.

He's come a tremendously long way from looking down his nose at Ronald Reagan (specifically, for being way too free-market) and writing Statecraft as Soulcraft.

Robert Campbell

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I was aware that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have been showing a favorable interest in Rand's ideas for some time.

But I hadn't seen anything like this from George Will before.

He's come a tremendously long way from looking down his nose at Ronald Reagan (specifically, for being way too free-market) and writing Statecraft as Soulcraft.

Robert Campbell

Yes. As I have thought about Brant's statement about 2-3 generations, I realize how correct he was.

This is a great find, something I will mention as I proselytize. Just looking for some hard independent verification of the 2X number.

Adam

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I was aware that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have been showing a favorable interest in Rand's ideas for some time.

But I hadn't seen anything like this from George Will before.

He's come a tremendously long way from looking down his nose at Ronald Reagan (specifically, for being way too free-market) and writing Statecraft as Soulcraft.

Robert Campbell

I attended a Cato book forum for George Will's latest book "One Man's America" and brought the book. I just checked the index and Ayn Rand is not mentioned.

I must add that I believe that in the early months of 2009 ARI stated that sales of Atlas had already matched those of the year before (2008). 2008 being the best year for Atlas.

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This piece by David Paul Kuhn of Real Clear Politics gives a somewhat lower 2009 sales figure for Atlas Shrugged in 2009, but also claims that it was double the 2008 sales figure:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/01/08/conservative_libertarianisms_comeback__99823.html

Robert Campbell

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This piece by David Paul Kuhn of Real Clear Politics gives a somewhat lower 2009 sales figure for Atlas Shrugged in 2009, but also claims that it was double the 2008 sales figure:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/01/08/conservative_libertarianisms_comeback__99823.html

Robert Campbell

The significant fact to me is that Atlas is the largest best selling book from 1957.

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Reidy wrote:

What's interesting is how many conservatives have come around to Rand in the last year or two: Limbaugh, Beck, Mark Sanford and Amity Shlaes all come to mind in addition to Will. Looks like the old Rand vs. National Review debate is over. As Inhofe said to Boxer, "we won, you lost, get a life."

End quote

I have heard Rush speak favorably about Rand for about five years, and I may have missed other times earlier when he spoke well of her. Bill Buckley of National Review was Rush’s primary hero, until Buckley died, yet Rush has labeled himself a libertarian republican for as long as I have listened to him.

I recently posted a page of Rush’s topics to show that many Objectivists or fans of Rand have a bias against, The Right Wing, that is not well founded. I actually have two more pages of pro-freedom transcripts/articles from Rush’s site. I subscribe and have access to it, and supposedly my email gets closer attention. Occasionally he will quote or paraphrase something I wrote to him.

Does anyone know of a sliding scale of values for judging a political candidate, or an individual like Beck or Rush? If we all used the same or similar scale then misperceptions would be less likely to occur.

How about:

Zero is Totalitarian. One hundred is Randian Government. Beck is an 89.

I like this idea better than the litmus test the Republican and Tea Party supporters have put out. I will print it in its entirety at the end of this letter:

The Republican litmus test is: if you are against three of the ten points, you won’t get the Republican Primary Nomination.

My choice for President in 2012 will need to support ALL OF THE TEN except these two:

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

Because I am for equal protection under the law.

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion;

I am against number (9) because there is an implied disparaging of all abortions. While I am against abortions for moral reasons and I am against the public funding of abortions, I support Roe v. Wade WITH the ADDITION of the policy statement of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (Say ah 8-)

If I remember correctly, they insist a member of the College, only perform late term abortions to save the life of the mother, and that a physician should not be required by a hospital, if it goes against his morality, to perform abortions as a requirement for his employment, and lastly, the mother DOES NOT have the right to a dead baby. That’s their Doctor’s Philosophy. And the philosophy of Ron Paul. I published his report to congress somewhere else on OL, that proves my contention.

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

Here is the full litmus test:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further

RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further

RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

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Peter:

Good post. Similar to the concept behind the Gingrich Contract with America which codified by the rule of ten (10) and took back the House.

Six (6) is a middle level problem which primarily is in the phrasing. I understand what you are trying to say, but that would be unacceptable to a large numer of people.

Here is the full litmus test:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership;

Good start though.

Adam

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Adam wrote about the Republican litmus test:

Six (6) is a middle level problem which primarily is in the phrasing. I understand what you are trying to say, but that would be unacceptable to a large numer of people.

End quote

Here is number six.

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

Of course we are moving out of Iraq at a quick pace. So, let’s change it to:

(6) We support victory in Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

I don’t like the way that sounds either - open ended, but Iraq proved the way to fight a counterinsurgency, is with *enough* boots on the ground. We could change it to reflect President Obama’s call for an 18 month pullout, like this:

(6) We support victory in Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges; until 18 months is up. Then we will pull back within our own borders until there is another mass murdering of Americans.

Now the above, new wording might become a high level problem in phrasing for a lot of Objectivists. I DO LIKE President Obama’s, drones-blowing-them-to-bits strategy. It is almost Randian in its bloodthirstiness. 8-) If the President is consistent, after our next mass murdering of Americans, and I think it will happen, then Obama will use tactical nukes. After all, it is what Sol Alinsky, Obama’s hero would do.

I mentioned this previously but it bears repeating. Glenn Beck had a picture of Obama teaching law. Glenn brought the blackboard into focus. Professor Obama was teaching the philosophy of Sol Alinsky.

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

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That's right, David. Also, if you read his column, the whole thing is a list of bad things which happened last year - and the sales of Atlas appears right in the middle of that laundry list.

So it seems likely that Mr. Statecraft as Soulcraft was not intending to view that as a good thing but as anathema to him.

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