Not long ago, Ayn Rand was considered a niche author, popular only with a small sub-culture of conservative intellectuals. But now, tea party mania has sent Atlas Shrugged soaring up the sales chart, the Daily Telegraph reports. The 1957 novel, which imagines a dystopian future in which the government has seized control, sold 500,000 copies last year, briefly topping Amazon’s fiction best-seller list. (As of this writing it’s down to #5 among Literary Classics, and #310 overall.)
“People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in [the novel],” says one Republican congressman. “We’re living in Atlas Shrugged.” Other conservative (and in some cases esoteric) tracts have shot up in popularity as well, including Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, an 1850 book arguing that taxing the public to pay for roads and schools was theft.