When President Barack Obama was first inaugurated and opened the throttle on statism in America, many observed an eerie similarity between his policies and the sequence of events portrayed in Atlas Shrugged. In 2009, Stephen Moore wrote for the Wall Street Journal:
Many of us who know Rand’s work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that “Atlas Shrugged” parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.
For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs… and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.
Given reality’s continuing similarity to Atlas Shrugged, it should come as no surprise that a division has emerged among those who subscribe to the principle of individual rights between those whose methodology resembles Dagny Taggart’s and those whose methodology resembles John Galt’s.