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.
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