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Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand that was first published in 1957. Rand created her own sociopolitical philosophy called objectivism. Anyone can research what it is, but for now it will suffice to say that objectivism is a more disciplined form of libertarianism. I don’t agree with all of what Rand’s followers believe. Most troubling to me is their elitism, but in principle I agree with enough for objectivism to be interesting to me.
I first read Atlas Shrugged when I was 19 or 20 years old. The title comes from ancient Greek mythology. According to the Greeks, the sky was held up by a titan named Atlas. In the novel, Rand’s modern-day analogy to Atlas literally shrugs, and causes social and economic collapse.
I’ve read the book probably five or six times. I’ve always enjoyed reading it but I’ve also always thought Rand was a little over-the-top with her characters. Everyone in her book is either the perfect model of what she considers virtue or they are the lowest class of welfare bum. (Those who Rand refers to as “looters”) I know that Rand was merely trying to make a point, so the one-dimensional characters never have bothered me much. I just always assumed that no one could be as stupid as the people in her novels.
I’m having second thoughts on that now.
A couple days ago a Virgin Atlantic jet bound for the United Kingdom was forced to make an unscheduled landing before it left the United States due to weather conditions. There were over 300 people on this jet, and they were forced to wait in a dark aircraft with no power or air conditioning for over four hours. Why? Because there were no customs officers available at the airport and the people couldn’t be allowed off the aircraft until they were available. Even after the customs officials were available, some mind-numbingly stupid delays followed.
The official statements concerning this sound exactly like one of the looters in Rand’s books. “We did the best we could, considering the circumstances.” “No one is to blame.” “What were we supposed to do?”
Listen, you retarded idiots. You DO NOT leave people sitting in an aircraft with no power on the tarmac for four hours. In what world do you think that’s ok? Would you have waited for the customs officials to arrive had the jet been on fire? Or if there was a chemical or biological contamination? When you go through customs at an airport, everyone is herded into a big room to wait. PUT THE PEOPLE THERE. Let them have something to eat. Let them have some LIGHT. You don’t just leave them sitting out there, trapped and ignored.
But no one is willing to take responsibility for what has to be done. They would rather just sit on their thumbs while everything is done “properly”. Guess what? This wasn’t a “proper” situation. So do what you have to do and take care of the problem. I am strongly opposed to the way people in this country are encouraged to sue everyone else all the time. But in this situation I hope all 300 and some of those passengers sues the airport and the weasel in charge who was afraid to make a decision. This situation was beyond absurd.
And it’s not only the looters who are making appearances in our world today. The government is doing its damndest to live up to Rand’s expectations. The state of Louisiana finally has a governor who is willing to act and not wait on Washington to bail out the state. So, Louisiana began dredging sand to build barriers to protect the Louisiana marshes from the oil spill. Washington put a stop to that. It seems the federal government just isn’t too sure what that dredging would do to the fish and other sea creatures off the coast of Louisiana. I just want to knock on the door of the White House. Hey, stupid! There are over a hundred million gallons of oil in the Gulf right now. Whatever the dredging would do to the cute and cuddly fishes, the oil is going to do far worse.
But it gets worse. Louisiana was again showing her leadership and showing the qualities that made this country great and sending oil-scooping barges out into the gulf to clean up some of the oil. Those barges were turned away by the Coast Guard. It wasn’t because the Coast Guard didn’t need help. It’s because they didn’t have enough life jackets on board the barges. This is a national emergency. It is a horrible catastrophe. And we’re worrying about life jackets on barges and fish that are as good as dead.
The Obama administration has said we need a six month moratorium on oil drilling in the gulf to figure out what happened and to prevent it from happening again. That’s on the one hand. Yet their other hand has been slapping down BP and holding bogus hearings and inquisitions into BP’s wrongdoing. Wait a minute. I thought you just said we don’t know what happened. If it’s BP’s fault all we have to do is not permit BP to do any more deep water drilling. Problem solved.
The careless and stupid words and thoughts coming from the mouths of Obama and the other politicians on Capitol Hill have managed to destroy a company as well as the lives of tens of thousands of BP retirees. They have managed to cost the gulf coast states thousands of oil jobs. And for what? Because they have an agenda. A political agenda.
Ayn Rand was right. The looters are here. And they are even more ignorant and stupid than what she ever imagined they could be.
This is my third attempt at starting a blog. Hopefully this one will work. I’ve started my others with a fiery post, and that usually turns people off. So, I’ve decided to start this one with something a little more benign. I’ll tell everyone a little about me.
My name is Patrick, and I am 36 years old. I live in northwestern Pennsylvania. I’ve been married for eight years and I do not have children. I do have five cats and one dog.
I work as a restaurant manager. I can’t tolerate sitting down for long periods of time and I cannot stand to do the same thing day after day. It’s not a perfect job but I like being in charge and I like the success I experience daily. The hours are horrible and most times I feel like a babysitter, but I’m well compensated for a babysitter.
Some weird things about me:
I don’t think in words. I think in pictures and numbers. It’s difficult for me to explain and I don’t usually attempt to do so. The closest I can get is that my mind has a picture or a number for every word or idea and that’s how I associate and compare thoughts. I know that sounds crazy, but I’m not a psychologist and I’m not particularly interested in why I’m like that. It’s just how I am.
My senses sometimes work in ways they shouldn’t. Every color has a smell, days of the week have visual shapes, and so on. I read something about that a while back and supposedly it’s not normal, but that’s how my mind works so it’s normal to me.
I am interested in personalities and why people act the way they do. If you put any stock in it, I am an INTP in the Myers-Briggs personality sorter. Most descriptions you’ll find for an INTP fit my personality pretty well.
I am intensely interested in theoretical physics. I always have been. I try to read all the papers as they come out. I am proficient in most branches of math but I do sometimes get bogged down with all the math in the more technical papers. But that doesn’t really bother me because I can still muddle my way through.
I enjoy tasks that are challenging and painstaking, so long as I am doing it because it is something I want to do and not something I am required to do. I love computer programming. My favorite language is assembly. I like assembly language because when I use it I am truly talking to the machine itself and not a compiler that translates my commands. I like manipulating data one bit at a time.
I whistle to relieve stress. So if I am whistling it means I am stressed. It annoys most people and I really don’t care. It’s better than what my alternative stress relievers could be.
I am a Christian. I am also an agnostic. Many people consider that a contradiction, but it’s not. It means that I have faith in certain things, and it means that I also believe that other things cannot be known. I get frustrated with many Christians for taking something so simple and turning it into something complex, and for attaching all these conditions on to what it means to be a Christian when Jesus never said those things. I get even more frustrated with atheists. When what we don’t know about the universe is for all intents and purposes infinitely more than what we do know, to say with certainty that there is no Creator is naive and foolish. There is a saying that out of the three primary branches of science, (physics, biology, and chemistry) only a physicist can speak about God without blushing. Physics lays bare the mysteries of what we call reality, while the other two branches are concerned with only our own little blue ball wandering the cosmos. Yet the atheist uses those two branches of science, and especially biology, to “prove” there is no creator. So while the atheist bothers me more, both sides of the issue are annoying. Trying to prove of disprove the existence of a being who, by definition, exists outside of our universe is futile. It is a matter of faith. And that’s all it should be.
Politically, I am a libertarian. I believe in small government. I am not an anarchist. I know many people would argue that libertarians and anarchists are one and the same, but that’s not the case. I believe in law and I believe in justice. I believe in a strong national defense as well as a strong national identity. I also believe that the only legitimate function of the federal government is the defense of our nation and the defense of our way of life. Law enforcement should be left up to the individual states. Crimes that do not harm another person or another’s property are not crimes. I’m not heartless, and I do think it’s ok for the government to step in and help someone when there is a legitimate need. But I think that far too many people survive on the government teat, and that is a major problem.
I ride a motorcycle. I drive a truck. I am interested in bicycles, travelling, scuba diving, kayaking, and reading. I love to mow, and I am thankful I have a big yard because I can basically mow as much as I want.
There’s a lot more about me, but I think that’s enough for now.