Robert Tracinski in Real Clear Politics
October 10 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand’s classic novel Atlas Shrugged, so in the coming week we can expect to see a flurry of articles about the novel–many of which will, unfortunately, offer highly inaccurate descriptions of its meaning and significance.
That’s a shame, because Atlas Shrugged is a novel that everyone ought to discover and grapple with, because it succeeds at something too few artists and intellectuals have had the courage to do.
The purpose of art and philosophy is to show us truths about human nature, about the nature of the world and our place in it. Philosophy names these truths explicitly, in literal terms; literature dramatizes these truths in concrete terms, revealing its insights through the actions and statements of the characters created by the novelist. A philosophical novel, like Atlas Shrugged, is supposed to do both of these things.
But too often both the philosophers and the artists have simply repeated or project their own prejudices and pre-conceived notions.