Pics of Atlas Shrugged
En route from our honeymoon in Disneyland to our regular moon in Cincinnati, I hit upon a brilliant idea to make the 15-plus hour car ride more enjoyable: get a book on audio. Before we left, we found a miniature mecca in the form of Borders at the Florida mall. After a much delayed parting, my new husband and I left with a copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (my idea) and Spock v. Q (his idea). When it was my turn to drive, I insisted on putting my choice, especially as we were both tired and I wanted to indulge in my own whim. What followed gave us the opportunity to reexamine our own ideas of the economy and government involvement.
Atlas Shrugged, in the words of one of my longtime friends from high school, is incredibly conservative and has a baseline argument that amounted to disfavoring those who just couldn't get a break while approving those whose sole aim was to just make money. The material was so offensive to her mind that she stopped reading several chapters in. This isn't too surprising. According to Wikipedia, when Atlas Shrugged was first published, critics generally disliked it and thought it was very hate-filled. One critic said it was a "nightmare." Yet the book remains a classic and, according to my husband, it usually sells more during times of economic downturn. And in view of the events happening today, it seems chillingly relevant.
One of the main problems this book tackles is government intervention. It is the "boys in Washington" who are responsible for causing so many of the problems. For instance, one of the acts that is passed is the fair share act, which mandates that each company put out their own fair share of a product and no more than any other. This is done to discourage monopolies from forming. In the context of the story, this is ridiculous because Reardon Metal is so superior to the product that his competitor puts out. Yet as the government becomes increasingly extricated with businesses through the laws it passes, leading industrialists begin to quit or go on strike to protest. This then causes a dearth of capable industrialists who play more integral roles in the economy than their opponents would like to admit. In many ways, some of the situation presented parallels some of the situations in the U.S.
Unless you are living under a rock, you can't escape hearing debates about the new health care plan that Obama is seeking to implant. Whether or not you agree with the plan or Obama, some consequences can't be overlooked regarding this. Firstly, if the health care plan does go into effect, many of the doctors claim that they would quit because they wouldn't get paid enough to compensate for the years of schooling that they will have gone through. Without the doctors to provide treatment, what good is national health care? Also, should the government become involved in something else when it has shown that it is more often than not incapable of doing so?
To better understand the government's inability to achieve its goals, take a look at its role in the education system. Specifically, the No Child Left Behind Act is a piece of legislation that fails to really help all the students that it intends to. One of the basic problems with this act is its emphasis on the school district producing progressive test scores each year. So theoretically if a school were to produce 100 percent results in every subject, they would need to improve that the following year. Otherwise, they would be under watch.
This is not to say that government intervention is entirely bad. Yet after entering Ayn Rand's chilling distopia and seeing the problems that U.S. citizens are facing today, the question then is just how much should the government be involved and in what capacity? Can government involvement really produce the solutions to the problems it attempts to solve?
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