Written on Sunday, October 21, 2012 by Ralph Barker
Who is John Galt? This is the question raised in the first sentence of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and continues to be asked throughout the novel. Who is this mysterious man and why is he so critical to the novel’s message? The reader discovers his importance as the story unfolds over its 1100 plus pages.
Most readers are probably already familiar with Atlas Shrugged. Many of us read it in school. Rand’s book has returned to a high level of popularity today and is once again in much demand. Sales jumped by 250% the year Barack Hussein Obama took office in 2008. This said a lot about where people feared America was headed at the time. The last four years have served to confirm their fears.
Why has this book risen again to such popularity? It is because Rand’s fiction has become today’s reality. It prophetic message is proving true.
The book was first published in 1957, fifty-five years ago, when America was a totally different, less regulated, much freer country than it is now. Americans were not fearful of a nanny state in those days. America offered fertile ground for investors and entrepreneurs. America offered hope and opportunity to those willing to work hard. But Ayn Rand was able to discern where we were headed even then. We now see her view of the future taking shape.
Not everyone will be as aware of the book or movie titled Logan’s Run. It is a good sci-fi story that also, like Atlas Shrugged, contains some prophetic themes that we can currently identify in our culture. Allow me to share a brief synopsis of each of these unique books in order to make some points about our current state of the union.
Atlas Shrugged is about a society that is so “fair minded” and heavily regulated that it becomes increasingly difficult and finally impossible for producers to be successful. In the story, Congress levels the playing field in a way that would make Obama proud. Redistribution is almost a holy word. By law, wealthy, successful people are forced to share what they have worked so hard to acquire.
The elected officials went so far as to limit the number of businesses a person could own to only one. Business owners were forced to give up any additional businesses in their portfolio. Congress continued to pass additional legislation in the spirit of fairness and to redistribute whatever the successful people owned. As these measures continued society began to fall apart. Decay set in everywhere.
Finally, society’s producers, led by John Galt, go on strike and begin to disappear. Where they go no one knows. As Galt and his followers bow out, society continues to crumble at an increasing rate. Eventually, everything comes to a grinding halt.
This book is wordy, but very well written. For those who cannot conquer a tome of this size I recommend they watch the Atlas Shrugged movies. Part one was released in 2011. Part two was recently released and part three is scheduled for release sometime in 2013. There is also the Cliff Notes which is as long as some novels, 133 pages.
Logan’s Run, written by A.M. Putnam, is a book and film that depicts another future society. It was written in 1967. In this story, that takes place in the year 2274, society is almost perfect. Citizens live in a domed city, isolated from all that is outside. In fact, no one really knows what is outside. People work little and enjoy all the pleasures of life. There is one little hitch though. Life ends at 30. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Social Security isn’t an issue.
The main elements of both these futuristic novels are finding uncanny fulfillment in 2012. We have a government that heavily regulates every area of society and the regulations are coming out at a growing rate. In 1936 there were only about 3,000 new regulations issued. In 2011 there were over 80,000 new regulations.
Like in Atlas Shrugged the flood of regulations and massive government regulatory agencies monitoring us, cause us to lose more and more freedom each year. Businesses find it increasingly hard to be profitable while they try to comply with all the red tape. Today’s producers are already holding back and in some cases cutting back as they prepare for higher taxes and Obamacare.
In Atlas Shrugged, at the end of the book, the lights of New York go out. There is little motivation for people to try any more. The over regulation and oppressive legislation has taken its toll. Basically, the society is destroyed. Those who could save it are nowhere to be found. John Galt and friends lay low.
Likewise, today producers are really good guys even though our government, the media, and many brainwashed citizens see them as villainous, greedy, evil people. This attitude, if it continues, will eventually usher in our own pervasive stagnation as it did in Rand’s novel.
Whether you personally like them or not, our country needs the Donald Trumps, Steve Wynns, and Steve Jobs. They are our John Galts. It is likely that because of these people or people like them that you and I have a job. Someone has to take the risks and invest the capital. We should be thankful that they still do.
Socialism or Communism does not appeal to those of us who know what this country can offer. Who of us wanted to move to the “workers paradise” in the Soviet Union or to Cuba or other communist countries?
I’m not a psychiatrist but it makes me wonder about the mental health of liberals who still drool over communist Cuba. I don’t see them moving there or having medical procedures performed there. I don’t think they vacation there either. So, what is the attraction? It must be that in Cuba leaders have the ability to totally control everyone else. This is the dream of liberals who think they are smarter than all us “little people,” we who can’t make good decisions on our own.
Logan’s Run depicts a culture of youth. There are no old people since everyone dies at 30. Therefore the young people didn’t have to support the elderly with social security or Medicare. We, on the other hand, are an aging population. The younger generations are stuck with supporting the older ones. There are less and less workers today available to maintain the system. Plus, people are living much longer than when Social Security first appeared.
One solution to the problem of the elderly, a radical one, is to eliminate as many of them as possible. How could this be done without raising too many eyebrows or holding anyone accountable? Obamacare is one way to eliminate some of the old folks with little public notice or outcry.
I don’t care what the politicians say or the President says more people are going to die under Obamacare. It is a system that requires rationing. By definition rationing is distributing limited resources. Everyone will not be able to get what they need. This is already true in Canada and other socialistic nations. Some people have to pay with their lives. Americans will have to get used to this new reality.
There hasn’t been much said recently about the “death panels.” There is much debate about whether or not these do or will actually exist. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter whether there is a panel or not, rationing means that there aren’t enough doctors or treatments to go around for everyone. Whether decisions are made by one person or a group of people, someone will have to decide about who can get what treatment. They must decide who lives and who dies. You better hope you know someone who makes these decisions.
I believe that Obamacare probably would not be a reality if abortion had not been legalized in 1973. Life has been devalued. We murder millions (pronounced MIL-YUNs) of our children by abortion. As a nation, we are more concerned with quality of life than life itself. This same concern with quality of life is bleeding into the health care system and will influence decisions as to who will live or die.
Even though Ayn Rand and A.M. Putnam had a good sense about the future and we see it happening, all is not gloom and doom. We are where we are, but we do have options.
I apologize for suddenly waxing spiritual here, but answers are ultimately not to be found in politics, programs, or charismatic leaders. Our hope cannot be in the next election as important as it is.
Please understand that Gov. Romney can’t save us and neither can President Obama. Legislation alone can’t turn things around. We must be turned around. Simply returning to a full capitalistic system or lowering taxes won’t save us either, but God can. Nineveh repented and God granted them another hundred years. They turned around in three days. There is hope.
I know that we are trained to rely on government to solve all our problems. We call on Washington before we call on God. Personally, I don’t think there is any hope for tomorrow unless our country returns to God today. The Bible teaches this is true. History proves this is true. The question is what will we do? How will we respond? I pray that God grants us revival and reformation. I pray to that end and hope you will too. I know of no other answer for our time.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (II Chronicles 7: 4 KJV)