Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson, FloydReports.com
According to a 1991 Book of the Month Club/Library of Congress survey that asked what book had most influenced their lives, the two top picks by respondents were the Bible and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Coincidentally, this is a big week for both Christians and Randians. The former are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the latter, the long-awaited release of the film version of Atlas Shrugged (part one of three).
On the eve of the film’s April 15 release, I was half of a panel discussion on Atlas Shrugged at a gathering of young professionals in Pittsburgh. I focused on economic and political themes in Rand’s writings. As a former socialist who now espouses genuine free-market capitalism (not today’s counterfeit version), I esteem Atlas Shrugged as a brilliantly insightful work of politico-economic fiction. Rand’s grim depiction of self-serving political opportunists progressively destroying the economic motor that sustains human life is uncannily accurate, astute, and timely, despite having been written over 50 years ago.
The other speaker at the Pittsburgh event was a very kind, gracious, and bright professor—a philosopher who is an adherent of Rand’s comprehensive philosophy, called “Objectivism.” For those of you not familiar with it, one of the fundamental tenets of Objectivism is atheism. Consequently, dialogs between Christians and Objectivists are relatively rare, so I am glad to report that the Pittsburgh panel shared by a Christian economist and Objectivist philosopher was friendly and respectful.