Friday, October 05, 2007

Atlas is begining to shrug

There is a great piece by Robert Tracinski on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged here. In it is this gem:

"It may be easier to recognize the central role of the mind when looking at advances in high technology. But Ayn Rand grasped the role of the mind in all aspects of business. Late in the novel, Dagny Taggart observes the reign of a kind of railroad czar empowered as chief regulator of the industry and surveys the havoc that his arbitrary decrees wreak on the rational planning of private businesses. That the central "planning" of government actually consists of the disruption of rational planning by millions of private individuals is a point that had already been made by pro-free-market economists like Ludwig von Mises. Ayn Rand grasped that these economic principle were not dry, academic abstractions, but dramas played out in the real world—that the laws of economics are a matter of life and death, of triumph or tragedy. Here is one episode of the tragedy that plays out in the novel's later pages:

Six weeks ago, Train Number 193 had been sent with a load of steel, not to Faulkton, Nebraska, where the Spencer Machine Tool Company, the best machine tool concern still in existence, had been idle for two weeks, waiting for the shipment—but to Sand Creek, Illinois, where Confederated Machines had been wallowing in debt for over a year, producing unreliable goods at unpredictable times. The steel had been allocated by a directive which explained that the Spencer Machine Tool Company was a rich concern, able to wait, while Confederated Machines was bankrupt and could not be allowed to collapse, being the sole source of livelihood of the community of Sand Creek, Illinois. The Spencer Machine Tool Company had closed a month ago. Confederated Machines had closed two weeks later.

The people of Sand Creek, Illinois, had been placed on national relief, but no food could be found for them in the empty granaries of the nation at the frantic call of the moment—so the seed grain of the farmers of Nebraska had been seized by order of the Unification Board—and Train Number 194 had carried the unplanted harvest and the future of the people of Nebraska to be consumed by the people of Illinois. "In this enlightened age," Eugene Lawson had said in a radio broadcast, "we have come, at last, to realize that each one of us is his brother's keeper."

So given America’s seeming unending appetite for Hillary care, $5,000 baby bonds, open borders, “free” college tuition, sub-prime housing bail outs, welfare, food stamps, HUD, ADC, each coming with central government control and huge price tags, how long will it be before the government starts to seize Nebraska corn and ships it to Illinois? We are headed down a treacherous path.

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