I know, I know…I said I was reading Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism first and I started it. Then I picked up Atlas Shrugged just to take a peek…now I’m hooked and can’t quit reading it. Ayn Rand is quite wordy…I must confess to getting tired of the in depth descriptions and so sometimes I just kind of scan over them so I can move on in the plot. But I do love how deeply she portrays her characters.
I must say this book is dark to the point of evil (speaking of human nature) and depressing to be downright frank. The evil I am speaking of is the inordinate and continued willful control exercised by corrupt governmental characters and their cronies in the book. And it’s not like a little control is satisfactory. It’s a bit like a cat that has a mouse cornered. No matter which direction the mouse goes, there’s the cat, waiting, watching and salivating, ready to take a bite. The human impulse is to survive and that’s why the entrepreneurial people in the book keep trying, but like the mouse, there is no way out, no matter how hard they try. That’s what I mean by dark and depressing.
The other characters in the book are those who contribute nothing…they are the whiners and complainers, who live on the good fortune of others, but all the while imparting no thanks, no compliments, no gratitude for what those who work do for them; they actually spend their time degrading and debasing their benefactors. The class warfare system is in full play. The characters from the government accuse the entrepreneurs of “selfishness” because they work to make a profit. The prevailing mindset of the society is that the profits are for your “neighbor” and that is the purpose of your work, to support the others…the others who don’t work, won’t work, or can’t work. The whiners and complainers repeatedly make speeches throughout the book to this effect, all the while heaping guilt upon those who work because they must; they have something to give, and they wish to make money.
I am half way through and at this point, I do get how the title came about…but I won’t share that just yet.
This book, to me, shows the end result of the path our current administration would like to lead us on. Government takes increasing control over all of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of its people by taking control over all the industry and business. It is a dark and depressing world Ayn Rand has portrayed. Things break down and can’t get fixed, no one has any pride in what they do, because doing right is no longer rewarded; people’s lives are at stake as a result. I have been wondering when that would be coming in the book and now I have just read about the really big train accident that didn’t have to happen…but it did because no one took responsibility for anything. Yes, it’s a very dark world Ms. Rand paints. I don’t ever want to live there.