- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 17, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

American traitor and Stalinist spy Whittaker Chambers, who, like a minor villain in a Rand novel, betrayed Alger Hiss to save his own neck after becoming fearful following Josef Stalin’s assassination of fellow Soviet spy Ignatz Reiss. Mr. Galupo only succeeds in showing that Miss Rand’s books weren’t written for people like Mr. Chambers.

Like other great works of literature, “Atlas Shrugged” can act as a stealth Rorschach test, with readers’ reports of what they see inadvertently revealing their own psychology - especially when those reports are contrary to what actually appears in the book. Mr. Galupo sees “Atlas Shrugged” as wrongly sanctifying big business as incapable of doing wrong - oblivious to the easily verifiable fact that most of the big businessmen in Miss Rand’s books (e.g., James Taggart) are portrayed as villains. While Miss Rand admired Ludwig von Mises and others who made the utilitarian case for capitalism, she made her mark by brilliantly making the moral case for capitalism as the only political-economic system compatible with freedom and individual rights.

What else need be said of Mr. Galupo’s buffoonish criticism of a novel for being, well, fictional? Miss Rand’s aesthetics were explicitly Romantic. She didn’t report factual trivia. Instead, she dealt with timeless, fundamental and universal problems and values of human existence. In keeping with the tradition of her philosophical mentor, Aristotle, Miss Rand’s fiction was not concerned with things as they are but rather with things as they might and ought to be. This is not a failing; it’s what makes her fiction glorious. It is also what makes it art, and it explains why it is still sought out by millions of freedom-loving, thinking individuals a half century after its publication.

MICHAEL CRAWFORD



Great Falls

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