"I Had To Flog Myself To Read It"

Buckley on Ayn Rand, whose appeal continues to mystify me utterly: Nietzsche for Dummies. He quotes Whittaker Chambers' review in 1957 as saying his review of Atlas Shrugged that he'd never encountered anything so utterly devoid of goodness. Precisely.

Why anyone finds Rand to be an alternative to the State I cannot understand, as she is herself nothing but a totalitarian. Chambers has her number:
Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind which finds this tone natural to it shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber — go!”
She really believed this (as the last line of AS tells us), as witness what Buckley says about her refusal to go anywhere he was because he dared to disagree with her.

I would say the world in which we live: sterile, childless, post-Christian and under the tyranny of "experts" is precisely what Atlas Shrugged asked for....though not perhaps what she thought it would look like.