Thursday, November 03, 2011

Finally Reading Atlas Shrugged... Wow.

I've had a copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand for about 25 years.  I purchased it a few years after graduating from college thinking I would have the time to read that massive volume but quickly discovered that the real world of career, marriage and raising a family was the priority.  I also have to admit I was very intimidated by the sheer size of the book and talked myself out of it every time I considered starting it.

A few weeks back, I was sorting through a a box of old books and pulled it out.  I took it to my chair after pouring myself a glass of Johnny Walker Black Label and started to read.  I've been reading it now almost every evening when I get home from work and I am now kicking myself for putting it off for so long.

The book is incredible.  Ayn Rand is a fantastic writer and the content of the story is relevant even to this day even though the book was published in 1957.  I keep saying to myself I need to get on THR 2.0 and blog about the book.  Today is that day.

I am about 30% though the book and ran across this passage last night that I found so true. It is Dr. Ferris explaining to Henry Rearden, the self made man of Reardon Steel, the reason government has laws as he ( Ferris) is attempting to blackmail Rearden into giving up Reardon Metal to the State Science Institute.

Did you really think we want those laws observed? said Dr. Ferris. We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.

There are many other speeches throughout the book I underlined as they are so clear in explaining the difference between free markets and government controlled markets.  Not only is Ayn an amazing writer, her ability to predict the future we are in now is astonishing.


  1. She was also on Welfare, Medicare, and Social Security.

  2. "The same moral principles and considerations apply to the issue of accepting social security, unemployment insurance or other payments of that kind. It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration."
    -Ayn Rand, 1966

  3. I will have no problem collecting social security or medicare benefits when I am eligible although I doubt they will exist. I paid into them and I expect to enjoy the benefits. Unlike so many who have never paid into it are enjoying the benefits from my labor.

    I also have no problem sending my kids to public school since I have paid taxes for them for decades. I expect a return on my money and use whatever government benefit I can.

    I won't take unemployment benefits, however. My pride keeps me from doing so even though I could have in the past. Maybe I will in the future if I felt Liberal policies caused my unemployment. Again, I've paid into it for decades and am entitled to a return. I just don't know, though.