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Atlas Shrugged 2: Shrug Harder

Voted for Dean
I don't know how many of you realize that Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's science fiction classic, is actually only book 1 of a trilogy? Hardly anybody knows this, because she never got around to writing the missing middle volume. She wrote book 1 in the series. She wrote book 3 in the series, but didn't explicitly label it a sequel to Atlas Shrugged, she and her agent marketed it as a stand-alone volume. She never got around to writing the middle volume that bridges the two. It's probably because she found it too depressing, the way that Heinlein never got around to writing The Stone Pillow, the missing volume in the Future History series that comes between "All You Zombies" and "If This Goes On."

Atlas Shrugged, for those of you who never read it, can be summarized entirely fairly as follows. Unknown to our viewpoint characters at first, an inventor named John Galt has invented a "free energy" machine, a motor that runs on ambient static electricity and the Earth's own inertia and puts out enough electricity in a fairly small unit to power almost anything, including vehicles, force field generators, energy weapons, even an invisibility cloak if you use a big enough unit. He invented this while working at a company where his contract gave them rights to stuff he invented on the clock, like most professional engineers and inventors, but he assumed that as the inventor, he was entitled to all of the profits from this fabulous new invention. The company's management and other employees, though, saw just how much resentment would happen if one company owned the monopoly on an invention this valuable, and started making plans for how to invest some of the profits into charitable ventures, so they wouldn't get the whole thing taken away from them via eminent domain. John Galt, outraged that anybody would even suggest that he or the company he worked for owed anything to the nation that provided his education, protected him from infectious disease outbreaks, protected him from Communist invasion, built the roads that got him to work each day, provided the police that kept him safe, and provided the court system that protected his property rights at all, sabotaged the Galt Engine, so nobody could have it.

Then he went further and, in a fit of offended pique, promised to "stop the motor of the world," to kill 90% or so of Earth's population by intentionally wrecking the economy. Which he then did. How? By finding every other competent engineer or manager in the US and persuading them to be just as selfish as him, just as unwilling to pay back or protect their country; he declared a covert "strike of the mind," as he called it. He hid them all in a secretive compound in the Rocky Mountains, protected by force field and invisibility cloak, and waited for the US economy to collapse, which, obligingly, it did -- because John Galt had carefully sabotaged the bridges and railroads that made it possible for fuel and seeds to make it from the coastal cities to inland farms, and make it possible for food grown on inland farms to make it to the coastal cities. And as chaos was breaking out, he and his fellow inventors hijacked every radio transmitter in the US to broadcast his manifesto: You all deserve to die, for asking us to pay you back even one nickel, because we are all so selfish we don't consider any of the things you all paid for out of your taxes and that you did with your labor to have been at all helpful to us as entirely self-sufficient brilliant inventors and managers. So die.

And that's where the series is interrupted. But from where the third book picks up, and by applying a little common sense, we can outline the main plot points, if not the characterizations, from the untitled middle volume, the one I'm whimsically calling Atlas Shrugged 2: Shrug Harder. When the previous book ran out, America was winding down to what was clearly going to be the last harvest, ever, and the Strikers were planning for the day that they, as the only people possessing any high tech or any capability of mass production of food or anything else, would ride out of their hidden Colorado fortress as humanity's saviors. They were pledging to themselves to build a new world based, as John Galt's manifesto had promised all Americans, on the virtue of selfishness. They assumed that a grateful (or at least desperately needy) and vastly reduced in number population would welcome them as liberators, chastened and having learned their lesson. Except that we know from the third book that that's not what happened, and anybody who knows human nature should have been able to predict that.

Outside the valley, the conversion to local subsistence farming and the work of scavenging the dead cities for any usable metal would have been rough. No time or energy would have been available to save even minimal technology. We're looking at a collapse all the way back to (at best) early iron age levels, maybe even all the way back to the bronze age, and nobody will even have time to teach the next generation to read and write. But one thing very clearly did happen, in every survivor's village, and became world-wide policy as soon as even minimal travel and communication made it possible for the chiefs of the scattered villages of survivors began to reunite society into any kind of a civilization, and that is a fierce determination to make sure that the next generation remembered who had done this to them, and why they had done it. They would have educated their children to remember the names and descriptions of every one of the hated Strikers who had personally murdered four and a half billion people for a political point. And they would have educated their children that one idea, one idea in the Strikers' twisted minds, had lead to those four and a half billion deaths, the greatest act of genocide in human history: selfishness. How far did they go to eradicate selfishness? They went so far as to eradicate the first person pronoun from the language.

Because she died without telling anyone, it's not entirely clear how Shrug Harder would have ended. We know that at some point, at least one of the Strikers does leave Galt Valley. He built a high-tech home, stuffed it with a library and all the wonders of the Strikers' science, and then (apparently) set out to make contact with the nearest survivors' village, assuming that they'd worship him as a god for his technological superiority, assuming they'd cheerfully feed him and provide him with anything he wanted for the products of his labor. And, rather obviously, they did what anybody would do: they executed him for crimes against humanity. His technological redoubt was never found. Did other Strikers meet the same fate, or are they all holed up in Galt Valley still? We'll never know. But that brings us to the book that would clearly have been relabeled once the trilogy was complete ... Atlas Shrugged 3: Anthem.

Anthem is actually the best book of the three. And it's a credit to Rand that she realized just how monstrous the real results of the Strike would be. Many, many so-called Objectivists and Libertarians, who only read the first book, thought they were supposed to cheer for the Strikers, believed the Strikers' personal delusion that the Strike, and the resulting mass genocide, would usher in a techno-libertarian paradise on earth. No, in Anthem we get a view of John Galt's Earth from the viewpoint of someone who grew up in the next generation, never having known a technological world, knowing only a world in which selfishness is labeled the ultimate sin. The massive die-off from John Galt's strike has resulted in the rise of the most vicious and backwards and cruelly unfair totalitarian regime in human history. And our nameless hero slowly has it dawn on him that the ruling council is so afraid of selfishness that they're retarding any attempt to restore human technological civilization, no matter how miserable and stunted low-tech life is, until they figure out some way to integrate technological progress into their civilization without anybody being able to claim credit for it. Which cannot possibly work.

Our nameless hero, having found working light bulbs and a working electrical system in the ruins of the city his farming town is built over, even offers to forgo personal credit for the discovery, offers to accept no credit for it at all. But their paranoia and terror that he's a prospective future Striker pushes them to hound him to the point where in desperation he and his girlfriend flee the city into the uninhabited wasteland ... where they find the technological trove, and the library, left behind by the unnamed Striker at the end of Shrug Harder. He and his now wife settle down to raise children, to use the subsistence farming skills they learned from their own civilization to sustain them, to gather any other stragglers who escape the cities, and to stay out of sight until they find a way to overthrow the horribly dictatorial Councils that rule the world and lead it to a saner middle ground, one that (presumably) knows to watch out for civilization-wreckers like John Galt but that also knows that giving personal credit is a prerequisite for technological advance. It is, if not an entirely happy ending, a hopeful one.

Oh, except for one thing. I made up the whole bit about the second book. I don't think Ayn Rand was aware enough of the limitations of her philosophy for her to realize that the communo-primitivist dictatorship of Anthem, not a techno-libertarian utopia, would be the inevitable outcome of a genocide of almost the entire human race by techno-libertarians. Oops. Never mind, then. Sorry!

Comments

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eggshellhammer
May. 25th, 2008 07:38 am (UTC)
Ha. Nice, Brad. :)
atomicat
May. 25th, 2008 07:56 am (UTC)
Oh man, thank you so much for that bit of summary and extrapolation. I wasn't really all that familiar with these rat-bags until one of them called me a parasite for having the nerve to force other people to save my life (Bob bless socialized medicine). In typical fashion two of them flooded my journal with over 200 comments in just a few days, each and every one of them derogatory and insulting. Just the fact that this "philosophy" consistently cranks out and attracts pure assholishness should be plenty enough to raise an eyebrow.
loosechanj
May. 25th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
one of them called me a parasite for having the nerve to force other people to save my life

Oddly enough, I remember reading an essay where Rand basically argues in favor of a form of socialized medicine, funded by the rich people paying the doctors and letting others be treated as well. Trickle-down kinda thing, which like any other philosophy works just grand in a vacuum.
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atomicat
May. 25th, 2008 07:57 am (UTC)
Hmmm.... I wonder where humanity would be right now if we'd been objectivists right from the start...
pope_guilty
May. 25th, 2008 08:13 am (UTC)
We'd have never existed; pack/herd/tribe/whatever mentality is something we inherited from our ancestors.
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caraig
May. 25th, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
... Dammit, you got me. =) You really had me going there right until the end.

Fascinating analysis. Randian philosophy is scary and offensive, but when viewed as an extreme then it's a good signpost, insofar as 'you know you've gone too far when....' When balanced against the opposite extreme, somewhere between Rapture and Communa you'll get Sanctuary: a safe, sane society.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 10th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, wow...wanting to live your own life free from coersion by other sure is scary and offensive!
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nebris
May. 25th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC)
I have felt like smacking every Objectivist I have ever met. Interestingly enough, they were all advertising people.

~M~
agrumer
May. 25th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
That's interesting. The Objectivists I've known were all computer nerds.

But Rand and Atlas Shrugged do get a couple of mentions in the recent AMC series Mad Men, about Madison Avenue ad executives in 1960.
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ladyperegrine
May. 25th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
Here via cargoweasel. Awesome. :-)
loosechanj
May. 25th, 2008 01:57 pm (UTC)
Wow, when you put it that way...I need to read Atlas again. I really liked it the first time, but I'm not as muddle headed now as I was back then.
bradhicks
May. 25th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
I like Atlas Shrugged. Still. I think it's an above-average science fiction novel, and I really like the character of Dagny Taggart; her race against The Destroyer to save the world is gripping stuff. I like Anthem even better; it's possibly the best dystopian science fiction novel ever. If nothing else, it gets its point across in better language and more concisely than more rambling (and more unpleasant to read) dystopias like Orwell's 1984 or Brunner's The Sheep Look Up. I still count Anthem as one of the 10 great science fiction novels of all time, and re-read it often.

This doesn't change the fact that Rand's philosophy is ahistoric and completely bogus, nor does it change my disgust with people who treat Atlas Shrugged as the New Testament of their secular religion. But then, it's the same disgust I feel towards people who think that Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land as a utopian novel offering his philosophy to save the human race, rather than as what he clearly did intend it as, a way of questioning the unquestionable assumptions of his society.

I mean, I would have to have liked Atlas Shrugged and Anthem to have written this piece; it's practically fanfic.
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brynndragon
May. 25th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Atlas Shrugged goes so strongly against my experience of highly intelligent competent folks that if I'd read it as a teenager I would have had to write fanfic of me and all my friends as intelligent competent geeks who are approached by Galt and fool him into thinking we're on his side while we covertly rally the world to stop the Strikers, just to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Yes, it would have been as terrible as it sounds, but frankly it'd be far more realistic than what Rand churned out. . .
wingywoof
May. 25th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Why aren't I watching you? *click* Fixed.
ceruleanst
May. 25th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
There's also this version...
warphammer
May. 25th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, precisely what I was thinking when I saw this. :>
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scentofkether
May. 25th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
Wow, did you have me going. It was a strange feeling to believe, for almost two minutes of my life, that Ayn Rand was anything other than a [string of expletives deleted] sociopath.

What really is amusing, though, is that there is ample room for someone to write that book and thus deconstruct both Atlas Shrugged and Anthem.
discogravy
May. 25th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
hint hint brad
When I got to the end of Brad's post I thought "Hmmm, I wonder if this will make it into his book of Forgotten Lore". If her ever gets around to putting it out.
kenshi
May. 25th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Funny...but WTF?
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normanrafferty
May. 25th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
There are "intentional themes", and there are "unintentional themes". You, sir, have built the mental bridge where Anthem's deconstruction of Rand's own book appears in ways she probably didn't originally intend.

The problem with being a philosopher who writes sci-fi is that you can just write a book where all your theories are true.
(Anonymous)
May. 25th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
It never ceases to amaze me the degree to which Rand's very clear writing is so thoroughly misunderstood and misrepresented, or just viciously denied. The latter group so hate the minds that a) create the things they use to make their lives better (like the computers and software they use to rage against her) and that b) provide the jobs that sustain those who have not created them.

How absurd it is, to criticize, and glibly dismiss the creations of, today's creators by claiming they merely count on 'society' to achieve their goals, when society is running on the intellectual efforts of earlier creators!?

As for Galt casting millions back to the dark ages, that is precisely where you would be if everyone accepted your views. You need only look at history, or compare Muslim or communist nations with Western nations to see. The U.S. progressed economically, faster than the rest of the World, because creators there were free to gain from their inventions. That was the true American Dream, that all men were equally free to try. Now America and Americans (of the kind I've read here, including all three candidates in the present primaries) are wrecking that dream.

"It's a Republic [respecting the individual Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property], if you can keep it." Ben Franklin. Apparently there are few left who even know what he was referring to. Then there those who do not want to live by it, those who would rather see the successful and wealthy dragged down, than to build themselves up.
(Anonymous)
May. 25th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
OOoo! OO! I bet this is..
...parody, right Mr. Anonymous Objectivist?

Go on, pull the other one, it's got bells on!
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spiritualmonkey
May. 25th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
The Sinister Folly of Ayn Rand:
Rand herself said that capitalism is the only economic system that is fully compatible with man's nature--but on the basis of what evidence?...

Today there is a very small minority of economists who take her ideas seriously. There are virtually no biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, ethologists, geneticists or evolutionary theorists who do. Her ideas about the individual simply do not fit the objective research about how our species behaves and prospers.

We are creatures with a long evolutionary history of social structure and social co-operation. This makes sense; we are predators without effective claws or teeth, and we can't run very fast. How did our ancient ancestors catch large elephant and buffalo? By working as a group, by co-operating and communicating.
Libertarianism: Because I'm meant to have it sounds better than I got mine, Jack!
brynndragon
May. 25th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
It's not just our species either - there are not a lot of mammals who don't show cooperative behavior. It's even beginning to look like most of the dinosaurs were more cooperative than we initially thought. Which strongly suggests that there are evolutionary advantages to cooperation, ones so strong they almost always show up in dominant species[1] starting from the first cells that formed colonies (or from the first organic molecules that formed into chains, depending on your perspective).

[1] This does not mean top of the food chain, this means ones that survive over the long haul. This, along with "survival of the fittest" meaning strongest, smartest, etc. (it actually means most able to adapt to our ever-changing world) are amongst the biggest misunderstandings of Darwin's theories amongst people who have never been arsed to actually read them.
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ankh_f_n_khonsu
May. 25th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Marvelous post. :)

We've acquired a Randian objectivist-Thelemic in VOMUG, and at times he definitely makes moderating discussions more difficult. I've noticed a good many shocking parallels between objectivism and Thelema, and that speaks volumes, IMO.

Namaste.
pope_guilty
May. 25th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
I've noticed a good many shocking parallels between objectivism and Thelema, and that speaks volumes, IMO.

It's as if Crowley and Rand were alternate dimension people, one coming from a secular background and one coming from a mystical/religious background.
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belgatherial
May. 25th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
Here via yendi.

I like Atlas Shrugged. I like The Fountainhead too. The former was pretty much one of my favourite books as a teen. And I am not a US-ian. I mention this, because I really think that that one fact affects how I read the book. I never read it as a "f&$k everyone else" sort of thing, the way it seems most of her supporters did. When I visited the states for the first time, I was rather surprised by the vehemence with which people I liked and respected despised her. And then I discovered her supporters, and it all made sense.

I think a great number of people read her books and see them as validation for being wankers. They don't think it through, they don't try to see where it comes from (ie: a deep-seated hatred for the Soviet Russia from which she came), they just see it as someone going, "Hey! Not only is it ok for you to be a complete asshole, but it is moral and noble to do so," and that's as far as the thought process goes.

Now that I am older and wiser (I like to think), I can see that there are a lot of flaws in her philosophy, but I can also see where it came from. And there are bits of it I still agree with. Mind you, I once wrote a paper on how well her philosophies combine with Sartrean Existentialism (taking responsibility for your own life, etc), and she apparently *hated* Sartre, so I guess I am getting it wrong, but I did want to point out that there are some people who like her books who aren't completely crazy extremists (like the anon above - Dude, own your thoughts! Rand would've expected it of you. After all, aren't your thoughts the whole frikkin' point?! Being an anonymous Rand supporter is somewhat ironic, really.).

Ahem. That was long. Sorry. ;)
pope_guilty
May. 27th, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
Mind you, I once wrote a paper on how well her philosophies combine with Sartrean Existentialism (taking responsibility for your own life, etc), and she apparently *hated* Sartre, so I guess I am getting it wrong

Rand basically hated every philosopher other than herself, so it's not really a big deal that she hated Sartre- she even hated the Libertarians for having the temerity to agree with her without worshipping her.
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belgatherial
May. 25th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Also, I thought this was a bloody brilliant post. Just for the record. :)

(Another thing about many Randian supporters is that they severely lack a sense of humour, in my experience.)
blueroo
May. 26th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
Life and the True Philosophy are Serious Business.
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(Anonymous)
May. 25th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
RnBram -the Anonymous, who doesn't want to create and account.
The sentence was a product of haste. What if I replaced "so" with "thoroughly":

"The latter group thoroughly hates the minds that a) create the things they use to make their lives better (like the computers and software they use to rage against her) and that b) provide the jobs that sustain those who have not created them.

The idea of AS2 - Shrug Harder is a fairly nifty twist on Atlas Shrugged, but it is plainly not meant simply as humor, it is meant as a smear. It is just another example of the low level to which a lot of humor has sunk these days, especially when coming from the Left.

The other comments here support that general attitude, and most are about as intelligent as those who ridicule East Indian Sveiks for their accent, supposed curry smells, and turbans. It is no more profound than a cretins bigotry.

There are a LOT of people --products of modern education (I have dealt with the absurd curricula as a teacher)-- who are very ineffective and shallow readers. When they read Rand they react just as did the character President Thompson, of Atlas Shrugged, who, after hearing Galt's speech, says, "That wasn't real was it?" Rand knew you were out there gentlemen, in droves, but you did not even notice when you were targeted! Meh. Generally, if you have a doubt about an idea or principle she espouses you can find a more complete explanation elsewhere in other works of her's. Even better, you could think it through for yourself, but few bother. It is easier to critique and to smear, than it is to think. But some people are thinking:

There are now
* 13 University Professors in USA who are graduates of the Objectivist Graduate Center.
* There is a branch of the American Philosophical Association specifically for Ayn Rand's ideas.
* One Objectivist Scholar has published a book on Ethics through the distinguished Cambridge University Press.
*Objectivist lecturers give hundreds of presentations on campuses across America, and quite a few in other nations.
*A week does not go by without a 'Randian' view presented in Letters to the Editor of major American newspapers.
* Ayn Rand Institute speakers frequently appear on radio and television programs.

The most commonly expressed argument here is that man survived and multiplied by working in groups. The assumption is that under Rand's ideas the group would not exist, and therefore man could not exist. Rand has no objection to teamwork where each member does what is rationally appropriate for the full purpose of that group. In doing so the individual gains by cooperation with others. Cooperation is utterly different from sacrificing oneself for the sake of others. The argument here equivocates between the two views to make its case. That is how shallow most of Rand's smug critics have become, even those who actually read the works they are ridiculing.

Those who say there is no 'I' in TEAM have failed to notice that the best teams are entirely composed of 'I's.

Basically, thanks to your biased disposition, you guys are missing the boat.
pseydtonne
May. 26th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)
"...who doesn't want to create and account."

I suspect you meant that you didn't want to create an account on LJ. That's fine.

Please note that you've added a new meaning with your misspelling: you do not wish to create nor account. You do not wish to posit, to place anything new into the world. You also seek to avoid the logos, the word, the accounting, the story-telling.

Unfortunately you're in a room full of story tellers. You may do the math about whether we object to getting together.
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(Anonymous)
May. 26th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
David Brin responds
Hi. I was referred to this and found it delightful, cogent, biting and on-target.

Yes, it's me, author of the Postman, my own call for loyalty to a moderate, pragmatic and evenhanded civilization uncontrolled by dogmatists of any stripe.

Actually, I've reached out to libertarians on a number of occasions, even speaking at one of their national conventions. (see: http://www.davidbrin.com/libertarian1.html ) There is much potential there... and the profound silliness of so many people so drunk on indignation that they cannot get the ironies. e.g. that Adam Smith despised aristocrats FAR more than he despised socialists or bureaucrats, for very good reasons.

Oh, I have an appraisal of Rand in a coming book THROUGH STRANGER EYES. I can be reached via http://www.davidbrin.com

Keep writing this kind o' stuff. bravo.

With cordial regards,

David Brin
http://www.davidbrin.com

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stephen_dedman
May. 26th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
Congratulations; you had me completely fooled - at least until the bit about eradicating the first person pronoun tipped me off and I guessed what 'Book 3' would be.

If you'd gone one step further and said that Rand had written the book but decided, John Galt style, not to publish it because no publisher had offered her a large enough advance, and that the ms. had only just been discovered... I probably would have swallowed that, too.

(FWIW, I haven't read any Rand for nearly 30 years, but my loathing for Atlas Shrugged remains undiminished.)
(Anonymous)
May. 26th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
This article was a waste of time.
Author of this article:

Wow, I can't believe you actually wasted the time it took to commit your thoughts to words. I don't think you understand "Atlas Shrugged" to the extent that you cleverly think you do.

And I also love all those comments "WOW you fooled me right till the end!" I could tell this article was tripe three sentences into it. For anyone not to realize it was the delusional fantasy of someone with FAR too much time on his hands; well, I can understand why you would agree with him.
(Deleted comment)
Re: This article was a waste of time. - (Anonymous) - . th, 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
I know this one. - (Anonymous) - . th, 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cozycabbage - . th, 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This article was a waste of time. - (Anonymous) - . th, 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
thphilster
May. 26th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
"Where Jarvis? Iron man need Pie!"
(Anonymous)
May. 26th, 2008 07:16 am (UTC)
You Missed the Point of Atlas Shrugged Entirely
John Galt is only a small part of the Story, The Majority of the Story is a cautionary tale of (even well meaning) Government interference with business. I give you the example of Rearden's trial -
Rearden states that he doesn’t recognize his deal with Danagger as a criminal action and, consequently, doesn’t recognize the court’s right to try him. He says that a man has the right to own the product of his effort and to trade it voluntarily with others. The government has no moral basis for outlawing the voluntary exchange of goods and services.
The government, he says, has the power to seize his metal by force, and they have the power to compel him at the point of a gun. But he won’t cooperate with their demands, and he won’t pretend that the process is civil.
If the government wishes to deal with men by compulsion, it must do so openly. Rearden states that he won’t help the government pretend that his trial is anything but the initiation of a forced seizure of his metal. He says that he’s proud of his metal, he’s proud of his mills, he’s proud of every penny that he’s earned by his own hard work, and he’ll not cooperate by voluntarily yielding one cent that is his. Rearden says that the government will have to seize his money and products by force, just like the robber it is.
In response the government passes the radical Directive 10-289, which requires that all workers stay at their current jobs, all businesses remain open, and all patents and inventions be voluntarily turned over to the government.

It's not about inventors saying Screw You to Society, but Inventors and business owners saying screw you to a Government who thinks that your life's work, your inventions and possessions are rightfully theirs - because the oppressive taxes you your parents, neighbors pay to fund the Government don't really count as services you've paid for all your life. Nope the Services were "free", taxes are irrelevant. since the services were "free" you rightly owe the government 100% of your life's work because without these "free" services you'd be nothing.

Which is just about the line of crap all these people who agree with you are spouting. News flash people - No government service is free, You pay for it your entire life in oppressive taxes. How would you like to make more than double what you do now. You could afford pay as you go health costs, you could easily also afford catastrophic health insurance incase you were injured or had serious medical issues, and you could get a family discount I'm sure. You could send your kids to private school (with both parents working) or state run public schools so mom could stay home and look after the kids after school and summers. All of the things you wish you had the money for would be a lot easier if Government weren't taxing us to the tune of over 60%.
Which is about what it is after you factor in all of the state, federal, social security, medicare, gas, property and sin taxes... ad infinitum. (and the government still has to borrow money). You want universal health care and a balanced budget? Be prepared to see your quality of life go way down for "free" health care and tax rates that will likely rise to 75% to 80% of your income. Wake up people - as bad as the occasional corruption in the free market is at least market forces can correct it when it comes to light.
Government corruption is systemic because it isn't subject to market forces or political changes in the House and Senate because once it's passed it is a beast all its own.

- Jered Talbot

(Anonymous)
May. 31st, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: You Missed the Point of Atlas Shrugged Entirely
well said. bless you, jared!
Re: You Missed the Point of Atlas Shrugged Entirely - (Anonymous) - . th, 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
sci
May. 26th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
I'm watching your journal after reading this. :)
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