Tuesday, July 21, 2009

America Shrugged

Just a year ago I was doing some random surfing when I came across a blog comment "Who is John Galt?". I wasn't the only one not to get the inside joke as several comments followed trying to describe who was John Galt. I was then introduced to the book Atlas Shrugged. A website cited a poll listing it as the second most influential book in peoples lives, behind the Bible. So I thought I should add this to my list of things to do before I die. Luckily I didn't do what I typically do with items on that list; I usually forget them. I acquired the book read it over several weeks (I must be a slow reader as it is only 1200 pages of light reading). I found it a good read, and I might say even influential and slightly life changing. As the Fall election fever ramped up I started to have déjà vu. It seemed the political ramblings and foreboding of Obama's potential election were scenarios right out of Atlas Shrugged. Then Obama won. The prescient political ramblings were coming to pass. However, it wasn't the modern media that appeared prophetic, but a book written over fifty years ago. While you may not be an Ayn Rand Objectivist, please tell me if this doesn't send a shiver up your back:
Panel member Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said his concern goes further...

"Every day I guess I get a little more concerned about what the administration is doing in regard to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies. It seems to me that literally the administration is declaring war on capitalism," Smith said.

Smith said a friend of his in Florida owned three thriving dealerships and was told to close the Chrysler dealership, a $2 million dollar investment, with a three-week notice. "Then the dealership was transferred to his competitor across town, and no one can figure out why one person was being rewarded and another punished," Smith said.

So I need to pick up the book again, but gosh this sounds a lot like the "Equalization of Opportunity Bill" or the "Anti-dog-eat-dog" rule. Either example demonstrates what happens when control of business is passed to the government. Favors are passed to the players.
Prodigiously Prophetic! But who will be our John Galt?
PS I am good friends with the former Chrysler dealership owner in my small town. After 75 years of profitable service he was shut down. Now it is a 250 mile trip north or 200 mile trip south to get warranty work completed. The new service locations are so nice that if the car breaks down in this previously serviced city, they will come tow it to their distant service center (Meaning they pay someone to drive 400-500 miles roundtrip in a tow truck to pickup your car). The bad thing is you have to find transportation to the service center to pick up your repaired car. The former dealership in town is willing to do warranty work, but is not allowed. Tell me how this will save anybody money. 10 bonus marks for the parallel narrative in Atlas Shrugged to my personal story.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, too bad! It's been too long since I've read the book to guess. I can't remember many of the details any longer, and it is a very long book. But yes, the longer I live the more I realize that "Atlas Shrugged" is not a work of fiction.

    I expect more and more of Ayn's predictions to be coming true in the coming months and years. For more scary reading, check out "America's Great Depression" by Murray Rothbard and "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg, especially the chapter on Woodrow Wilson.

    Scary stuff. Nice post!