Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Need To Get Around To Reading "Atlas Shrugged"

As anyone who grew up listing to Rush - the Candanian prog rock band, not Limbaugh - knew, drummer-lyricist Neil Peart was a huge follower of Ayn Rand and her libertarian-objectivist philosphies. "Atlas Shrugged" is her signature work, having been named as the 2nd-most-influential book (after The Bible) in polls.

I had a bear of a time tracking down a used paperback for some reason - I always assumed that those who'd read it had moved to Montana and joined a militia, but I finally secured a copy and it has sat unread on my shelf for many years. I call it "The book I'll read while recovering from being hit by a bus."

Well, I came across this quote in a post at SlashDot and it certainly seems to cover a lot of what's going on these day, doesn't it?

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to 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 nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957
Forget Nostradamus, Rand saw the future.

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