Today we see a serious threat to the very core values of America and its demonstrably successful free-market capitalism with run-away government bail-outs of financial institutions, and now, seemly every business that comes calling to Washington. This is a massive slide away from American democracy towards Socialism with the US government becoming the owner or partially owner of a number of our large companies and/or nearly whole industries (ex: Auto).
One of my favorite books is Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. She was a US resident that fled the oppression of the Communist USSR. With that life experience, she wrote with great moral and literary clarity on the flaws and lies that were inherent in the Communist ideology in her fictional stories based on her philosophy of Objectivism. She was especially adept at describing the devastation that could be visited on a society by a group of relentless wealth redistributionists/Leftists.
To read Rand’s skewering of Communism’s failings in a fictional story setting was one thing, but to see it actually happening in the real world, especially the US, is surreal. A recent WSJ article describes her book:
Many of us who know Rand‘s work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that “Atlas Shrugged” parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.
Ultimately, “Atlas Shrugged” is a celebration of the entrepreneur, the risk taker and the cultivator of wealth through human intellect. Critics dismissed the novel as simple-minded, and even some of Rand‘s political admirers complained that she lacked compassion. Yet one pertinent warning resounds throughout the book: When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear — leaving everyone the poorer.
For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.
If you’ve never checked it out, I urge you to look up “Atlas Shrugged” at your local library or go buy a copy. It is an incredible story and illustration of the horrible, practical outcomes of the Leftist/Collectivist world view. That it almost prophetically describes some of today’s current political and economic scenarios makes it an extremely relevant and enlightening read.