Atlas Shrugged is about the collapse of America which follows the withdrawal of capitalists from American society, into a compound. Eventually the rest of the country ('parasites') have to beg them to save the nation.
Quite frankly, I'd like the capitalists to hole up in a compound. We could call it, er, um, a PRISON. Then the rest of us could look after each other and clear up the mess. The real-life capitalists are upset that Obama wants to help ordinary Americans. Haven't they noticed that a) greedy selfish capitalists caused this mess and b) that they've been helped first: untold billions to bail out banks and failed industries?
Most haven't noticed this glaring error. Rick Santelli's rant on CNBC summed up Randian philosophy perfectly. He's a former derivatives salesman turned 'journalist'. Asked for his opinion, he streamed forth this garbage from the trading floor, exhorting the traders (all working for bankrupt, taxpayer-saved organisations) to boo the 'losers' who saved them, and need help with their mortgages. The telling moment is towards the end when he describes the traders as a representative cross-section of America - despite them all being white, middle-aged men.
According to the Guardian, Republican Congressmen like John Campbell are giving out copies of the book because we're living in the early stages of the Atlas Shrugged situation. Not exactly: a combination of capitalist greed and capitalist selfishness has caused this. The central conundrum is this: efficient Randy capitalism demands selfishness - which damages the economy but enriches the individual. I don't think that co-operative capitalism would help, but the individualist version guarantees that it destroys itself. There's no motivation for keeping the system running smoothly. We need the effective capitalists to withdraw their efforts - then we can go about creating a society which believes in community rather than get-rich-quick, beggar-thy-neighbour greed. Very depressingly, one of my sisters had a copy of Atlas Shrugged. I realised then that there was an unbridgeable philosophical gap between us that made further serious symbolic pointless.
Rather than us begging the 'achievers' to save us, they've begged us to save them - and then stabbed us in the back when we've done so. No gallows are high enough for these bastards.