Sunday, June 04, 2006

Nocera Replies

Dear Mr. Reisman-- I enjoyed reading your blog just now, but if you go back and read what I wrote, you'll note that I specifically set a parameter: to qualify a book had to be published in the last two decades. Atlas Shrugged was published, I believe, in 1959. The point I was trying to make is that over the last two decades, as business has become more central to American life--or least a more central topic now that Americans invest their 401Ks etc etc, and as business stories have become a part of the front page as well as the business page, and the subject of many non fiction books, where are the novelists? My point still stands, I believe.

Dear Mr. Nocera:

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, I believe it merely serves to dig you deeper into the hole of an indefensible position.

The “parameter” you set of books published in the last two decades was purely arbitrary, and so I chose to ignore it. You could not possibly have chosen it if you had read and appreciated Atlas Shrugged. This is a book of such importance that it automatically dictates a time period long enough to include it.

And your notion that it is such things as 401Ks that are significant in determining the importance of business to people’s lives is incredibly myopic. The importance of business is manifested in the difference between the standard of living in the United States and that of the Third World and the pre-industrial era. Where do you think the advances of the last two centuries or more have come from if not from the continuous innovation and the saving and investment of businessmen? This is an essential part of the message of Atlas Shrugged. It is a lesson that you and your colleagues at The New York Times, and most of the rest of the contemporary intellectual establishment, have not learned and refuse to consider.

George Reisman