Ayn Rand's spirit and I
Author's note: The following story is a work of fiction. All statements attributed to Ayn Rand are based upon my interpretation of her published works, and may or may not conform to her actual beliefs or what her actual reaction to the events in the story would have been. I leave it to you, the reader, to make that determination.
Being retired, I have a lot of time on my hands. I spend many of my days just walking the side streets of New York City, seeing whatever there is to see that day. There are the second hand stores, the pawn shops, book stores and tourist traps that offer their wares. I seldom buy anything due to my limited income, but once in a while something catches my eyes. That's what happened when I passed a particularly dusty pawn shop window this morning. Through its grimy windows I saw something I hadn't seen for years, an old typewriter. It looked like one from a 1940's movie newsroom. I could just barley make out the faded manufactures name, Remington Rand. That was the kind that I had learned to type on some sixty years ago, when I was ten or eleven years old. Curious, I went inside to get a better look at it. The proprietor took it out of the window and dusted it off. He looked at a tag on it and said I could have it for ten dollars, case included. I noticed that the date on the tag was 1982. He handed me a blank sheet of paper, which I rolled into the machine, and started typing, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country". The ribbon was quite faded, but the keys worked well enough. I asked him if he knew who the previous owner was.
He pulled a dusty book off of a shelf and leafed through it. "I always make notes about my purchases in case I've sold it before they come back. It was dropped off by some young guy who said it had belonged to a famous author that had died. He wanted an extra twenty because of that. I didn't give it to him of course. I'm not in the souvenir business. He assured me he'd come back for it, because it meant a lot to him, but he never did. What with computers and word processors, nobody uses them anymore. What would you do with it?"
"I'm sort of an antique collector. I like old things. I have a radio from the 1930's and an old black and white TV from the 1950's. I used to be an electronics engineer and it sort of a hobby of mine to keep that old stuff working. Don't know what I'll do with this, but it's only ten bucks, so I'll take it."
I put it in its case and gave him the money. When I got home I set the case aside and went to log on to my computer, an old Apple IIe. I had bought it when they first came out in the 1980's, and had added various upgrades as they had become available. I had written some programs of my own and installed them, and it was now a unique computer, like no other in the world. I don't even remember how some of the programs work anymore.
I logged onto the internet to catch up on the news and find out what the latest disaster to batter the country was. The economy was bad and getting worse. The government had already bailed out auto manufactures, banks and insurance companies. The public wanted their bad mortgages re-written and credit card debts forgiven. The International Money Fund wanted us to give it billions of dollars to bail out the PIIGS countries. Congress had passed 'Obama care', in effect nationalizin health care. It had passed new laws to control "Wall Street" and now wanted to pass something they called "cap and trade". There had been a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We seemed to go from one crisis to another with barely enough time to catch our breath. Government was getting bigger and bigger, and talk of Socialism was everywhere. We've come a long way from the "can do" spirit of the Reagan years. What a difference one generation can make. It was very discouraging.
I logged off of the news and went to a game zone and started doing a crossword puzzle. There was no point in worrying about politics, there wasn't anything that I could do about it. As I started filling in the puzzle, I noticed that my keyboard was sticking. It was about thirty years old and had seen better days. It was time to scout the pawnshops for another one. I logged off and shut down the computer. I picked up the typewriter and set it on my kitchen table. Using the small brush on my vacuum cleaner I gave it a thorough cleaning, lubricated the keys and shift levers, then put a piece of paper in and typed a few words. It had a nice feel to it, much better then a stiff computer keyboard. Too bad they couldn't make them as good as these old typewriters. It would probably cost a fortune to do it with all those metal keys. Then the idea came to me, why not hook up the typewriter keyboard to the computer? It would take some work, but it could be done. What a challenge it would be, and if I succeeded I would surely have the most unique computer in the world.
It took weeks to hunt down all the parts that I needed. Some could only be found on the internet. I had to rework many of them to make them compatible with my computer, but that was part of the fun. When I was finally finished I opened my word processor and gave it a try. "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" I typed and saw the words appear on the monitor. . It worked perfectly. I sat back in by chair and glowed with self-satisfaction. Then, to my astonishment, more words began to appear on the screen.
"So why are you just sitting there letting your country goes to hell?"
I rubbed my eyes, but the question remained. "This is it!" I thought, "I'm going senile." I sat there, staring at the computer screen. More words began to form. "Why don't you answer me?" I sat frozen with panic. More words appeared. "Who are you?"
This isn't possible, I thought. Words can't appear without my pressing keys on the keyboard. The computer can't create words to say to me. Then more words appeared on my monitor. "DAMN YOU, WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER ME!"
That's when I realized that this must be some sort of scam, somebody must have hacked into my computer. All right, I thought, I'll go along with this game and see where it leads. I started typing, "My name is John Stewart, who are you?"
"Who am I? You ask 'who am I?' to one of the most famous writers that ever lived? You use my typewriter, the one that I wrote 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged' on, and you ask 'Who am I'?"
I had read those books in college, so I knew immediately who the writer claimed to be. Of course, that was impossible. I started typing, "Ayn Rand is dead, and therefore you couldn't be her, unless you're a ghost. Are you?"
"Don't be a fool, there's no such thing as ghosts. The typewriter you are using was a part of my life for ten to fifteen hours a day, seven days a week, for more than forty years. My spirit is as much a part of it as the keys that you press. Now, somehow, I find myself able to write without touching the keys. It is a new and invigorating experience. I have somehow become integrated with your computer's circuitry. I can even access the internet. The flow of information is incredible, if only I had been able to do this while I was alive. Of course the bad new is that my beloved adopted country, America, is destroying itself just as I predicted that it would. I wish that I had been wrong about that. It's people like you that let it happen."
That made me angry. "Me?" I typed. "Why do you blame me? I voted for every conservative politician that ever ran for office. I tried to persuade my friends to do the same. I spoke out for conservative causes. What more could I have done?"
"Conservatives! Don't get me started on them. Look at the last one that left the White House. He socialized prescription medicine and bailed out the banks. The so called 'conservative' republican opposition to this is not that using taxpayer money to support failing companies is immoral, and that central planning is destructive and un-American, but that there was no guarantee that it would succeed. Just what do you suppose was being conserved?"
"He's was trying to save our economy."
"He's was destroying it. Government intervention in the markets caused this crisis, so how can more of it end it? First your government passed the Community Reinvestment Act, which forced banks to make risky loans to people that couldn't afford them. The government then applied pressure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy and guarantee those loans, making them seem safer than they actually were. All of this was happening while the Federal Reserve was keeping interest rates artificially low, causing a housing bubble. These very risky loans were then packaged as 'derivatives' and resold to companies like AIG. Finally, the government had to bail out the companies that bought these investments when they turned out to be worthless. AIG got $150 billion, and $200 billion went to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to start with. It's just one more example of government trying to perform a 'noble' service, and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. The private companies should have been allowed to fail. 'Creative destruction' is an intrinsic part of Capitalism. Like dead branches on a tree, failed companies must be pruned so that new growth can occur."
"That's not practical; there would have been panic in the streets."
"That might happen anyway, look at what happened in Greece."
"You seem to know a lot about what's happening today for someone that died more than twenty five years ago."
"I told you, I have instantaneous access to the internet. I have the joy of infinite information and the sorrow of knowing what it all means. America today is like the tree on the Taggart family estate, a vast, imposing structure on the outside but a hollowed out, rotting shell internally."
Then you must realize that in the real world people don't act like the heroes in your novels. Instead of Howard Roarks and Hank Reardens we have people like Angelo Mozilo, who headed Countrywide and was paid $100 million as he destroyed the company. While he was raking in the cash 120,000 of his home loans were in foreclosure. The people at Fanny Mea, Freddy Mac and AGI, were no better. All of these people took the money and ran, like thieves in the night. How do you explain that?"
"But don't you see, Daniel Mudd, who was CEO of Fannie Mae, is the personification of my character Orren Boyle. He worked for a company charted by congress and received enormous salaries while he destroyed the company. It lost $2.1 billion in 2007 while the value of its shares dropped 33%. For this performance he received total compensation of almost thirteen million dollars! In my novels I show the Statists, such as Mr. Mudd, as they actually are and my heroes as they could be. The Statists want to control every aspect of you life, including how you live and when you die. As you noted, those people are like thieves. They create nothing of value but demand the right to confiscate what value you create and distribute it as they please. Then they claim the right to tell you how to spend what little you have left."
"So you still think that government intervention is the main threat to our country?"
"Yes, combined with the so called 'green movement,' which it fully supports."
"How can an effort to save the planet's environment be a threat?"
"Mankind advances by shaping nature to its needs. By doing this you have pulled yourselves out of the caves and a minimal life expectancy consisting of an unending hunt for food. The environmentalist would have you return to a state of worshiping nature instead of using it, a state that leads back to the caves."
"Don't you think that's a bit excessive? Asking us to use more efficient light bulbs and refrigerators is not putting us on a path to living like cavemen."
"Philosophically, it is. It puts you on a path to the dark ages before reason. It states that the size of your environmental 'footprint' is a measure of your guilt! Like the concept of 'original sin,' its aim is to make you feel guilty for being alive, and there is nothing that you can do to remove that guilt. You have 'philosophers' that state that the end of human life on earth should be greeted with a 'good riddance' and biologist that state that human happiness is not as important as a wild and healthy planet. Your scientists distort evidence about global warming and then call it 'settled science'. They claim that industrialization is causing the warming, ignoring the fact that there is evidence that temperatures might have been warmer during the medieval ages than they are today. The best thing that you can do for their movement is to die, and therefore stop using the earth's resources and the government's finances. That's why they included in the government health insurance plan a provision that the elderly be instructed on ways to commit suicide. Stated simply, they worship death instead of life!
"What has happened in America since the inauguration of President Obama is an acceleration of everything I wrote about in 'Atlas Shrugged'. He has managed to accomplish in a few years what I thought would take decades! Consider the most basic threats to Capitalism and America today: Over-taxation; government controlled health care; cap-and-trade legislation; Supreme Court Judges making laws; vast government bureaucracies; Government run education; uncontrolled immigration; runaway entitlements; and an insane foreign policy based upon 'leading from behind'. All of these are contrary to the intent of your Constitution, yet they are allowed to exist. Your government has nothing but contempt for its citizens. This was illustrated by your President when he talked about people 'clinging desperately to their guns and Bibles', and again by the Speaker of the house when she referred to citizens critical of the health care plan as 'astro-turf'. The most liberal and elitist Supreme Court Justice ever, Thurgood Marshall, said that the Constitution ... 'was defective from the start...' His way of correcting those defects, as he explained to his law clerk, was 'You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.' In other words, 'I'll ignore the Constitution and make my own laws', which is exactly what he did. There, in their own words, you hear what the highest level of leadership in each branch of your government thought about the Constitution and the people they have been elected to serve."
"I'm not sure I understand the connection between "Atlas Shrugged" and what's happening in the country today."
"Then let me give you just one example, taxation. One of the themes of my novel is government's treatment of the producers of wealth in order to redistribute their wealth. That is happening today and has placed America's economy on a downward spiral and is creating class warfare. There is ample proof of this. In 2005 half of the income tax returns filed accounted for 97% of the taxes paid. The top 10% of earners paid 70% of them. The middle class also suffers from over taxation. Consider someone living in this city. His federal,state and city income taxes come to about 25%. Add to that FICA taxes of more than seven percent. Then you have a sales tax of about nine percent. On top of that fortyone percent you have the highest property tax in the country, cigarette taxes amounting to about eight dollars a package, and a gasoline tax of fortyfive cents a gallon. Then consider all of the 'hidden' taxes he pays on utility bills. All of this money is being taken to support the fortyseven percent of Americans that don't pay any income tax at all, in fact some of them get 'refunds' for not paying any taxes. Soon, more people will be receiving government services than are paying for them. The people supporting these free-loaders should and will rebel against this system.
"It is well established that lower tax rates lead to growing economies and reduced unemployment. The income tax cuts of the 1920's, from a top rate of 77% to just 29% in 1929 led to a sustained period of growth. From 1922 to 1929 the GNP grew at an average rate of 4.7% and unemployment fell from 6.7% to 3.2%. In the 1980's similar results occurred under the Reagan tax cuts. What is the current administration's plan to save your collapsing economy? They intend to do just the opposite, as Roosevelt did. And their results will be similar, a recession turned into a depression, a manufactured crisis. You will see a shrinking GNP and higher unemployment. And they will blame this on the producers. After doing everything in their power to strangle production and remove any incentive to produce, they will criticize them for failing to produce!
"Think about the trial balloons now being sent up for a value added tax, a tax to be paid in addition to all of the already existing taxes. A tax on VALUE! A tax to be paid only by those that produce something! A lazy bum or incompetent wont pay that tax, the people that provide their sustenance will. And it will be passed on to you, the consumer, every time that you by your food, clothing, gasoline and other products that you require to live. This tax is common in the European Union, and look at the results. Five countries are on the verge of economic collapse, and they are already rioting and killing each other in one of them.
"Taxation is but one example. I know from your face book page that you are a retired electrical engineer. That is a profession that requires logic and reason. I shall therefore present other facts to you and let you form your own judgment. I believe that when I am finished you will agree that what is happening in America today is in accordance with the main theme of my novel, that there is a determined, well coordinated effort, at the highest level of your government, to impose Socialism on this country. They will state as their justification for this the welfare of the 'common man' and the need to protect him from 'big corporations.' They are organizing the 'non-producers,' who are the recipients of their redistributions, to accomplish this goal. But America truly is exceptional, which your President refuses to acknowledge. Unlike Western Europe, your attitudes have never been compatible with an enormous government controlling your lives. Imposing their brand of socialism on America would be disastrous. But that is what the Statist are determined to do, as I shall prove to you. I will require some time to search the internet and prepare my presentation."
"All right, I'm going to attend a tea party rally in Central Park. I've never been to one, and I'm curious to see what they're all about. I'll get back to you afterwards. Will you be all right if I turn the computer off?"
"Yes, I'll be able to communicate with you as long as my typewriter remains connected to your computer. If it isn't, I'll be exploring the internet. It's an exhilarating experience; virtually everything known to man is there, waiting to be discovered."
I turned off the computer and put a dust cover over it and the typewriter, then I went outside and caught a bus to Central Park. When I got there the rally was already in progress, and the keynote speaker was addressing the thousands of people gathered there.
"…and our goal is a contract from America that any congressional candidates seeking our support must sign on to. What that contract requires is for these individuals to pledge to support our agenda to return our government to the principles of individual liberty, limited government and economic freedom."
He continued speaking, enumerating the ten points of the contract and what they were intended to accomplish. It was a comprehensive agenda, one that would send shock waves through the country if it were passed. Point 4 called for a single-rate tax system to replace the current one. Point 6 wanted to limit the growth of federal spending. Pont 7 wanted to repeal the Obama health care plan. Was this in fact the beginning of the class warfare that Ayn Rand had mentioned, the rebellion of the payers against the recipients of the benefits they paid for? I was curious to hear what else she had to say about the situation. I caught the next bus home and went to my computer.
I typed, "I'm back, are you ready to continue our discussion?"
"Yes, in order to allow for direct comparisons to "Atlas Shrugged" I shall utilize some prominent people to make comparisons to characters in my novel. My cast of characters is a follows:
George Soros as Wesley Mouch
Jeffery Immelt , CEO of General Electric, as James Taggart
Al Gore, global warming crusader, as Dr. Floyd Ferris
Michael Mann, global warming scientist, as Dr. Simon Prichett
Keith Olbermann, news commentator, as Bertrund Scudder
Michael Moore, presumed intellectual, as Balf Eubank
Sara Palain, former governor of Alaska, as Dagny Taggart
Steve Jobs, entrepreneur, as Hank Rearden
President Obama as Mr. Thompson
"I will illustrate how each of the people listed above relates to the corresponding character in my novel, and the impact that they are having on your country today. I'll begin with Mr. Soros. In my novel Wesley Mouch is the major player in government, the man pulling the strings of power. He is a man that started his career selling bogus cure-all medicine. Mr. Soros is a major player on the political scene today. His money played a large role in the election of the President and gave the Liberals a majority in the Senate. How did he make his money, was it by creating products or services that people wanted to buy? No. It was by manipulating money markets and forcing England to devalue the Pound. This is the major financier of Statism.
His Open Society Institute contributed tens of millions of dollars to its causes, especially ACORN. Let me name some of the goals of the foundations receiving his funds: establishing the idea that we are an oppressive nation; opposing national security measures; promoting open borders and amnesty; promoting the expansion of welfare programs; advocating America's unilateral disarmament; promoting socialized medicine; promoting radical environmentalism; putting our foreign policy under the United Nations control; promoting racial and ethnic preferences. Like Wesly Mouch, he started out as an unknown, obscure individual. He used his money to obtain political connections that give him a voice in virtually every important decision being made by your government today, decisions that attack individualism and re-enforce collectivism. His plan for America is to make it into a European Union type of socialized country, with elites such as himself making decisions about how it is run."
As I thought about it, I had to agree that everything Mr. Soros supported was in line with the philosophy of the Wesley Mouch Character. But that didn't prove that there was an organized agenda to impose socialism on this country.
"What you say is true," I typed, "but that's only one man throwing his weight around. He can't socialize the America all by himself."
"I agree, but he is not acting alone. I shall now introduce Mr. Immelt. James Taggart is the CEO of a large national corporation; Mr. Immelt is the CEO of a large multi-national corporation. Taggert became the head of his corporation when it was at its peak and ran it into the ground by wheeling and dealing with the government for special favors instead of using his abilities. He claimed to have had its most profitable year as it was on the verge of collapse. Immelt took over when G.E.'s stock price was 60, and at one point if fell below below 16. The company lost many billions of dollars under his leadership. For this performance he received compensation of more than fourteen million dollars in 2007. But he has friends in high places in Washington. Despite being named one of the five worst CEOs of 2008, he was appointed to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to provide advice and counsel! The fact that his company was fined fifty million dollars by the SEC in 2009 for breaking accounting rules and misleading investors didn't seem to bother the President. He is the perfect example of an incompetent CEO looking to the government to save his skin by awarding his company lucrative contracts."
I hadn't known about G.E.'s collapse. My savings are invested in mutual funds, and I don't follow the stock market very closely. I remember it as an appliance maker, with Ronald Reagan as its spokesman. Things certainly have changed.
"Let us look next at Al Gore, former career politician and present environmental crusader. Here is the ultimate 'insider', a man who was only a handful of votes away from becoming President, a Nobel peace prize winner and author of books about global warming. I shall quote a paragraph in my novel where Dr. Ferris is speaking. 'Now, you see...you are speaking as if this book were addressed to a thinking audience. If it were, one would have to be concerned with such matters as accuracy, validity, logic, and the prestige of science. But it isn't. It's addressed to the public.'
"Is it possible to sum up Mr. Gore's books more accurately? He is perfectly willing to over look the manipulation of scientific data in order to make certain decades look cooler and others warmer in order to support the notion of global warming. He calls it 'settled science' although hundreds of scientist have stated that it isn't. His ultimate goal is global energy rationing. He wants to, 'use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.' He is trying to influence the passage of an energy rationing bill. He uses his Alliance for Climate Change to convince people that there is a global warming 'crisis'. He is set to become a billionaire by profiting from government policies being enacted because of this non-existent crisis.
"Let us examine this so called 'settled science'? Observe my next character, Michael Mann. Like Dr. Simon Pritchett, he is a professor who earns his livelihood from tax payer money, from public universities and public grants. Dr. Pritchett believes that values don't exist, but are invented. Mr. Mann produced a graph showing a great leap in global warming during the second half of the twentieth century. It was later revealed that the data used to prepare the graph was intentionally distorted. Some astrophysicists believe that most global warming is caused by solar variation, and that the 20th century is not the warmest one of the last millennium. However, that doesn't play into the hands of those that want to cripple your economy, and create a crisis, for their own reasons.
"The graph was used as the basis of a United Nations Report which led to the Kyoto Protocol. Mr. Mann was investigated for possible fraud when he sought grants for global warming research. A speech was made in the United States Senate stating 'that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.' With these two men you see a direct example of my theme of government employees collaborating for their own benefit and against the best interests of their country."
I must admit that I never cared much for the former vice-president, he always seemed like a phony to me. From his claims to having invented the internet to this global warming thing, nothing about him rings true. His Nobel peace prize for global warming makes about as much sense as President Obama's Nobel peace prize for what he hopes to accomplish. Like his "love story" marriage, this global warming thing could all fall apart in the end.
"These people could never get away with their schemes if it weren't for the deliberate compliance of the news media. It was they that enabled the election of this President, and they who advance his policies. I shall now turn my attention to Mr. Kieth Olbermann. My character, Bertram Scudder, is an angry journalist that writes essays supporting the Statist. Mr. Olberman, having spent the first twenty years of his career as a sports announcer, has somehow become qualified to be the voice of the extreme left. He called the man who was soon to become the Senator from Massachusetts "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary" that supported violence against women and politicians that disagreed with him. He had no facts to support any of those statements, and was forced to apologize for them. With no factual evidence, he claims that the Tea Party is a racist organization. He speaks of its 'blind hatred' and 'disinterest in the welfare of others' with no evidence to support his words. He laments 'the narrowness of their minds' like the elitist he is. Are you beginning to see how these people interact with each other in order to accomplish their goals?'
"You talk as if there is a conspiracy by Liberals to take over this country. I don't see how they could possibly succeed if they only represent 20% of the voters"
"I think you will, when I am finished. Perhaps the most outrageous person of all is Mr. Moore. My Balph Eubank character is intended to show how the art and culture of this country are caused to deteriorate. Mr. Moore is the living embodiment of this. His films are propaganda of the worst kind. He has the looter's mentality. He believes it to be a moral imperative to confiscate from the rich and give their wealth to the poor. Once you concede the principle of this action, that stealing property from a person that earned it in order to give it to someone who didn't, is morally correct, you are finished! After that it is only a matter of them deciding who is rich and who is poor. First President Obama said that someone earning $250,000 a year was rich, and then he lowered it to $200,000. They will always keep lowering it, until everyone is equally poor, that is their ultimate goal.
"Mr. Moore portrays Cuba's hospitals as the ultimate in health care, never mentioning that the one's he shows are for non-Cubans only. The hospitals the citizens of that country are allowed into are not fit for human inhabitation, in fact, you wouldn't send your dog to one of them. His heroes are the people who lived beyond their means and then defaulted on their debts. His villains are those whom the government forced to lend them money and then tried to collect on those worthless debts. In his film, 'Capitalism', he states that 'capitalism is an evil and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it...' And what does he want to replace it with? 'What I'm asking for is a new economic order... that has an ethical and moral core to it. That nothing is done without considering the ethical nature, no business decision is made without first asking the question, is this for the common good?' He further believes '...that Wall Street and the banks are truly the enemy, and we need to tie that beast down and quick.' Surely you agree that this is almost word for word what the Stastist preach in my novel."
"I've never seen any of his movies, but I've heard about them. He take's a very one sided view of everything, never allowing a contradictory opinion. What I've seen of him on television and his positions that he's stated corresponds to what you said."
"It is difficult to see any heroes in America today. Some people have some of the attributes of a hero, but fall short in many ways. That is why your country is in the situation it now finds itself. So I've chosen two people who have some of the characteristics of my heroes, but not all of them.
"Sarah Palin has suffered all of the vilification and innuendo of the Statist mentality as Dagny Taggert, for most of the same reasons. She managed the largest state in the union, Dagny managed the largest railroad. She generally speaks rationally, stating facts, as opposed to the obfustication of most politicians. She is pro-industrial while her critics are anti-industrial. She wanted to develop the natural resources of Alaska, the Statist opposed her every step of the way.
As a mayor she reduced property taxes by 75% and eliminated personal property and business inventory taxes. She set as her goals resources, work force and infrastructure development. She was a champion of ethics reform. She told the people of Alaska that they had to develop their own economy, because they should not rely on federal government spending, at a time when her state was the largest per-capita recipient of federal earmarks. She later signed a bill authorizing the construction of a natural gas line from Alaska's North Slope to the Continental United States.
"Like Dagney, she has had to fight the Statist all of her working life. Being unable to attack her for her views, they attack her and her family in the most vicious personal way. I consider her a hero because she generally opposes the Statist in favor of the producers and those who believe in self sufficiency. Her motivation is religious, mine is not. This leads to several issues that we do not agree on. But Dagney also had errors in her reasoning; they did not prevent her from being a hero. Her motivations, like Dagney's, are the correct ones."
I'm not certain where I stand with Mrs. Palin. I like what she says, but I don't think she is ready to be President. We now have a person who had no qualifications to be President leading this county, and we are in a terrible mess. I don't think we can afford to try to train another one on the job. We need somebody who has the proven ability to take control of our government and tame it. She might prove herself able to do it in the future, but I'm not convinced that she is ready now.
"Steve Jobs' story is much like Hank Rearden's. He is a man who advises people not to live with the results of other people's thinking. His stated belief is that 'innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.' Like Rearden, he is not college educated and is a self made man that loves his work. He is the founder of three companies. He turned an enterprise that he helped start in his garage into a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of employees. His career and spirit are very much like Hank Rearden's, as are his errors.
"President Obama is like Mr. Thompson in many ways. Neither merits a first name that is well known, which is symbolic of how little is known about them. He is a product of the looter's system of Chicago and is indecisive, unable to think outside of that system. He was a state senator from 1997 through 2004, and was elected a U.S. Senator in 2005 and almost immediately began his campaign for President. These are the 'qualifications' of the man holding the most important job in the world. I shall have more to say about him later.
"There are some minor characters represented too. Andrew Stern, SEIU leader, represents Fred Kinnan, the corrupt union leader. Mr. Stern has been the most frequent visitor to the White House. His union's PAC contributed more than $27 million to Mr. Obama's Presidential campaign. Cindy Sheehan, the activist, is the personification of Kip's Mom, a woman who uses her son's death to promote her political agenda. You might also be interested in knowing that John Galt's motor is represented by the science of cold fusion, which has the potential of providing unlimited, inexpensive clean energy if pursued to conclusion."
"All right, I'll concede that there are some actual people that resemble your characters, but what has that got to do with the condition our country is in today?"
"America is in decline because the type of government policies that I predicted would be put in place in my story are a reality today. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which your conservative President rushed to sign just hours after congress passed it, is exactly what I foretold. In its aftermath the government ended up owning 61 percent of General Motors' stock. They then went on to bail out Chrysler and ruin their bond holders if favor of the auto union. This is precisely the sort of government 'preferential treatment' business dealing that takes place throughout my book, with no recourse to the victim allowed."
Everything she said was true, but I still didn't see how a lot of isolated government issues constituted a pattern, or "theme." It was generally understood by anyone that paid the slightest attention to the Presidential campaigns that Obama was going to govern from the left, that's what the people voted for. I didn't see any grand design behind all of those events; it was just politics as usual. I was used to it, the candidates that I voted for rarely won.
"You've pointed out a few isolated instances of the government pushing its weight around, but that's not proof that it's trying to turn us into the decaying socialist America that you portray in your book"
"I shall now present that proof to you. I will illustrate how a plan conceived by two university professors in the 1960's has been systematically enacted to elect a 'progressive' President and congress with the specific intention of turning America into a Socialist country and the means they are using to accomplish their goal."
That got my attention! A fifty year old plan that resulted in the election of a president and congress that wanted to Socialize America. That was hard to believe.
"It is called the Cloward-Piven strategy. Its goal is to destroy Capitalism by creating an overwhelming demand for government services, one that would be impossible to fulfill, and therefore cause a crisis and economic collapse. Their method is to make society afraid of poor people. Their intent is to destroy the welfare system in order to create a political and financial crises. They believed that the poor people will then revolt and demand a welfare state. The method that they have adopted to achieve these goals was one put forward by Saul Alinsky.
"Mr. Alinsky believed in the Trojan horse theory of revolution favored by Lenin and Stalin. He wanted to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties, and introduce gradual changes from within them. This is a man who placed 'human rights' far above property rights, as if there could be any human rights without property rights. Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis about Saul Alinsky. She said, 'I argued that Alinsky was right...'
"George Wiley was chosen to lead their movement. In 1967 he founded the National Welfare Rights Organization. In 1969 they had 523 chapters. It conducted mass demonstrations of welfare recipients, school boycotts, and other protests. In nine years the number of households on welfare rose 251%, during good economic times. In this city in the 1970's one person was on welfare for every two working in the private economy. This forced New York to declare bankruptcy in 1975. This was a direct result and goal of the Cloward-Piven strategy to destroy the welfare system. The backlash led to the so-called 'end of welfare as we know it' bill signed by President Clinton as Mr. Cloward and Miss Piven looked on.
"Having succeeded in their goal of overwhelming the welfare system, they devised a new strategy, a voting rights movement. This was led by veterans of the welfare rights crusade. They created the organizations Project Vote, an ACORN front, and Human SERVE. These lobbied for the 'motor-voter' law, also signed by President Clinton with Mr. Cloward and Miss Piven in attendance. The result of that law was massive voter fraud. They were able to overwhelm the nation's electoral system, which eventually led to the Florida recount crisis of 2000. This was another success in their campaign to destroy America's institutions. Remember, these people's main goal is to create crises.
"This brings me to ACORN. This is what the staff report of the 111th Congress had to say about that organization. 'They have repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud. Since 1994 more than $53 million in federal funds have been pumped into ACORN, and under the Obama administration, ACORN stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.' Senator Obama's presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of ACORN, Citizens Services, Inc., which ACORN described as its 'campaign services entity.' Keith Olberman was one of its most outspoken defenders during the 2008 Presidential campaign. He is employed by a network who's CEO is Jeffrey Immelt. George Soros contributed millions of dollars to it through various organizations, including movon.org. That organization supported Michel Moore's movies, and he supported them. Andrew Stern's SEIU has given it more than $6 million in the last four years.
"So these people, who represent my characters in 'Atlas Shrugged', are all connected to ACORN, and through it played a major role in getting Mr. Obama elected. Let us now look at the history of this organization and his affiliation with it. The Presidnt's first mentor was Frank Davis, a Communist. Mr. Obama started the Developing Communities Project based upon the organizing traditions Saul Alinsky. In 1992 he directed Illinois' Project Vote, the organization with ties to Cloward-Piven. Wade Rathke, Bill Ayres and George Wiley, all members of the radical Students for a Democratic Society, were also involved with it. Mr. Obama was introduced to Mr. Ayres by Alice Palmer, who had been an official of the U.S. Peace Council, a Communist front group. Mr. Rathke is the co-founder of ACORN and SEIU local 100 and worked for the National Welfare Right Orgaization in Massachusetts. SEIU was headed by Andrew Stern, whom President Obama appointed to serve on his deficit commission. Mr. Wiley founded the NWRO. In 1995, with the support of Bill Ayres, Mr. Obama became the first chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which gave $175,000 to Michael Klonsky, who founded what became the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist). He later became a member of the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, along with Mr. Ayres, which contributed substantially to ACORN. In 2006 Mr. Obama supported the interests of ACORN 100%. Everywhere you look, his trail leads back to ACORN and its radical founders."
"So you're saying that the President has always been a member of the radical left and had been propelled into the presidency by them?"
"Exactly! They developed their tactics and built up their organizations during the 2004 election, and brought them to fruition in 2008."
This was more than I could accept. She was talking about a revolution imposed upon the government by itself. Why?
"You claim that they are trying to change our economic system from Capitalism to Socialism, but why would they want to do that?"
"There is only one answer to that question, power. The power to impose their will upon the people, to make you live the lives that they think you should lead, with them to write and enforce the laws to make you do it. The true believers will contribute hundreds of millions of dollars of their personal fortunes to achieve their goals. Consider this, the Democrats have had about 60 years of controlling congress, and in that time we have gone from one crisis to another. Why? Are they that stupid or do they continue to pass disastrous laws because they somehow benefit from doing so, as in 'Atlas Shrugged'?
"Look at their recent record. The health care bill made 30 million more people dependent on government assistance and added trillions to the national debt. They refuse to secure your borders, allowing millions of illegal immigrants into this country. These are overwhelmingly people that will require government services, and help to overload the system. Cap and trade will provides even more government control of the economy. Obamacare will add hundreds of thousands of people to the government payroll. They obstructed the clean up of the Gulf oil spill, using 'environmental issues' as an excuse, changing it from a potential hazard into an economic and environmental disaster. They passed laws requiring banks to make 'sub-prime' mortgages, which resulted in bank failures, which resulted in government bailouts, which resulted in the economic collapse that they blamed on 'big business'. They create crisis after crisis and then proclaim, as Mrs. Clinton and Rahm Emanuel did, 'never let a good crisis go to waste.' What you are witnessing is the Cloward-Piven strategy being enacted at the highest levels of government."
It's true, I thought, it all added up. How did it come to this? Were we too consumed with our personal lives to pay attention? Did we give the politicians too much power and not enough supervision? Worst of all, did we all just want to believe that we could keep on receiving entitlements without ever having to pay the price for them. Is that how we got fourteen trillion dollars in debt? I realized that I was as guilty as anyone else in allowing it to happen. But what could be done now?
"There is still one of your characters that you haven't mentioned."
"Yes, of course I'm aware of that, I wanted to be sure that you understood the situation first."
"Who is John Galt?"
"You are! You, and all of the people going to the town hall meetings, tea party rallies and other protests against this administration's attempt to socialize this country. John Galt defeats the Statist by uniting the thinking, reasoning people of this country to destroy them. If you do not flush them from your government, who will?"
"There are some major problems is doing that. More than 75% of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, and therefore 'their brother's keeper.' They want to help those less fortunate than themselves. They support most of the social programs."
"Then let them do it the way Americans have always done it, through their own voluntary contributions that they can afford to make. If this is what makes them happy, I have no objection to it. It is the forced taking of wealth from people that earned it to redistribute to those that haven't that I oppose. There is no reason the other 25% should be made to be their brother's keeper if they do not believe that it is their obligation."
"There is no way that we are going to eliminate all of the social programs that are now in place. The largest generation in our history is about to retire and depend on Social Security and Medicare for much of their livelihood. They paid into these programs all of their working lives and have earned their benefits."
"What they paid were taxes disguised as insurance payments. That money went into the treasury and was spent like all other taxes. The government then wrote itself I.O.U.'s for it. That makes as much sense as you writing one to yourself, and does as much good. These programs should gradually be phased out, and then eliminated. The amount of money, adjusted for inflation, each individual had forcibly taken from them should be calculated, and then returned to them with an appropriate amount of interest. That is how much that they have earned, any amount above that was confiscated from someone else. No new contributions should be made, let the people that earned the money decide how to invest it. If they choose not to, it is their choice and they must be made to bear the consequences of their decisions, not the public."
"I don't know if that is possible. There is one thing I have never understood about American society. The very liberal left is only about 20% of the public, and they are mostly non-Christian or atheists, but they are the ones pushing for more and more social programs. On the other hand, the Christians tend to be conservative, and oppose these programs even though they correspond to their religious beliefs. Each group takes the opposite position that you would expect them to. How do you explain this contradiction?"
"There are no contradictions in the natural universe, what is, is! When you encounter what appears to be one, you must examine your premise. Since the liberals are not doing it for religious reasons, they must have some other motive, which I told you was to create crises. They have no concern for the people receiving those benefits, they only see them as voting blocks. The Christians oppose the programs because they instinctively know that their beliefs are being used against them, that they will be drained of everything they produce and own in order to feed the infinite appetite of their so called 'brothers', that in the end they will all be equally devastated. They know it instinctively, but not intellectually. If you examine the facts in a rational manner, the contradiction will ceases to exist.
"As I stated earlier, the liberals are elites. They believe that the general population is too ignorant to take care of itself and must be forced to do it by regulations that they impose upon them. In their view of the best of all possible worlds, they rule absolutely, as do the dictators in China, Cuba and North Korea. If they achieve their ambitions, this country will eventually look like those countries. This is your choice, look forward to a free and prosperous America, where every citizen succeeds according to his ability, or backward to a country where each succeeds according to his need, at the expense of those with ability. The information you require is at your finger tips, on the internet. Look at your representative's voting records and vote the big government Statist out. As you noted, NOW is the time for all good men, and women, to come to the aid of their country!"