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Is Atlas Shrugging?

In this 1964 lecture, Ayn Rand answers a question frequently posed to her after the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957: “Is Atlas Shrugged a prophetic novel — or a historical one?” Using material from what she called her “Horror File” (clippings of current events and pronouncements which illustrate the debased intellecual state of the culture), Rand analyzes such topics as the “brain drain” of scientists that plagued Britain in the 1960s; socialized medicine in Britain, Belgium and Canada; real-life examples of legislation similar to the fictional laws featured in Atlas Shrugged; the union practice known as “featherbedding” in the railroad industry, and the possible influence of Atlas Shrugged on the reception accorded to “Robin Hood” festivals in England.

Atlas Shrugged,” Rand observes in closing, “is not a prophecy of our unavoidable destruction, but a manifesto of our power to avoid it, if we choose to change our course.” This talk appeared in the August 1964 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter and was later anthologized in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966 and 1967).

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Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand

Originator of the philosophy of Objectivism.

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