By Kurt Saxon
You need a specific set of attitudes to keep you on course toward any goal. You must feel right about what you are doing. Otherwise, you might feel guilty about going your own way while people around you are united in doing nothing and suffering from it.
But why should you survive, and even prosper, when your fellows are dealing with a standard of living which gets lower all the time? Why shouldn’t you share their situation and even deprive yourself or your survival program so that a few others might have a little more comfort in the hard times ahead?
After all, things might change for the better. Those who maintain confidence in their appointed leaders might be right.
The climate is said to be changing but there are still bumper crops here and there. Fuel is said to be getting scarcer but the big gas guzzlers are even more in demand. The population is still growing but the welfare system seems to be keeping up with it.
Pollution is getting worse. Herds are dying or being slaughtered because of chemicals misapplied. Resorts are being closed because fish caught by vacationers cannot be eaten. Whole populations of people are endangered and many groups sicken who work at certain factories.
But the government is cracking down. Laws are being written and penalties are being applied.
If we only stand together in common trust, our leaders can turn us toward a new era of progress. All they really ask for is our trust. If we could only drop our selfish egos for a while, we could pull together and solve our problems. But without trust and submission to the social ideal, we are to blame for any lack of success in the system.
The above are common reassurances and admonitions fed to the public by the politicians and their stooges in the news media. Most people swallow such garbage by the bucket. After all, it is a lot easier to put your faith in someone besides yourself, if you do not have much of a self to begin with.
But if you have a well-developed feeling of self-worth, you will reject any plea to unite around anyone, especially those urging you to sacrifice your own interests to those of the majority.
As any system begins to decline, there are always those who are ready to take it over “for the common good”. Their appeal is always to the poor, the disenfranchised, the helpless, the weak. They plead for your trust and cooperation and while you tighten your belt, they tighten their stranglehold on the economy.
After all their public assurances that they are working on the problems, you notice that they are not really doing anything. But they share a philosophy you have not been let in on and the philosophy they have dosed out to you just makes you feel guilty for not trusting them more.
You have got to have a philosophy which combats theirs. You have got to stop feeling guilty for their failures. You have got to see where they are taking the sheep-like populace so you can head in the opposite direction.
I have my own philosophy of life and, of course, you have yours. Our philosophies seldom deal with the whole picture. So it is convenient to borrow a philosophy which puts us in the picture concerning how we will, or will not, be used by our political and bureaucratic manipulators.
A dandy philosophy I chanced on a few years ago was that by Ayn Rand. This philosophy was beautifully expressed in her story, ATLAS SHRUGGED. The title illustrates Atlas, holding the world on his shoulders. He finally gets fed up with the dummies he is supporting and so simply shrugs, sending the world crashing to the floor.
ATLAS SHRUGGED is 1168 pages long. I do not say this to discourage you from tackling it. Actually, once you get into it and find you like it, you will be overjoyed that you have so much good stuff ahead to read. And fine reading it is. I am into my fifth reading and find I get more out of it every time.
ATLAS SHRUGGED concerns the total breakdown of society due to the demanding parasites allowed to thrive as a system becomes more affluent. Those bringing about the affluence in the first place, are condemned for having a higher standard of living than those who do nothing to deserve any living at all.
In the story, as pressure mounts for the producing class to share the wealth, more producers are put out of business. Then the hero, John Galt, goes visiting the most productive members of society. He assures them that it is useless to fight people who have nothing but needs and the socialistic laws to force their betters to cater to those needs. They are advised to drop out of the system and retire, even if all they take with them is their ability to begin again once the parasites’ game has collapsed.
Well, able people in critical areas of the economy start dropping out nationwide. They close their factories and the Liberals in control find that they and their parasitic constituents cannot make the factories go. Poor babies!
Then the rule of the Liberals becomes even more oppressive and they begin trying to force the able to stay and produce. Drop-outs are considered criminals and enemies of the people.
The most able of the drop-outs are hidden in a super-secret hideaway known as “Galt’s Gulch”. It is a neat village with all the comforts of a metropolis. All the best people are there, the smartest, the most skilled, the most fun be with.
Galt’s Gulch is located somewhere in Colorado. It has some sort of refraction shield emanating from it. From the air, it looks just like another part of the forest. But a pilot actually seeing Galt’s Gulch and trying to land there would only fetch up in the branches of some tall trees. Galt’s Gulch would be about seven miles away from its refracted image.
Most of the characters in ATLAS SHRUGGED are sort of overblown composites of types. They are either totally good or totally evil, refreshing in these times of lovable rapists, gentle child abusers and well-meaning politicians.
One of my favorite characters is Ragnar Daneskjold. He is a pirate who high jacks aid sips carrying goodies to this or that Peoples’ State. He is generally misunderstood.
Anyway, ATLAS SHRUGGED is the only book which describes the complete collapse of a system, with all the details. This alone, makes ATLAS SHRUGGED highly instructive to Survivalists who know little about how our socioeconomic system is balanced.
As you read the story, published over thirty years ago, you will realize that the government-imposed terrorism of ATLAS SHRUGGED is being implemented all around us today. You will recognize our modern politicians in action page after page, as if they had memorized the book and adopted the villain’s roles.
You do not have to believe long-range forecasts of shortages, bad weather, over-population and other calamities in THE SURVIVOR. You do not have to be far-sighted to compare the chaos of ATLAS SHRUGGED with the chaos we see even today.
You do not have to be a social scientist to see how penalizing the productive on behalf of the non-achievers leads a system to ruin. You can see it happen in example after example and compare Ayn Rand’s descriptions with what comes over your nightly TV news.
After reading ATLAS SHRUGGED, you will know why you should survive and prosper regardless of the suffering going on around you. You will not share a crust with someone who thinks your sacrifice is his due.
You will stop looking for morality and ability in politicians or seeing them as leaders in any sense. Forget climate change, if that doesn’t register with you. You will see food production being cut by inefficiency and government interference.
It does not really matter whether or not our planet is really running out of fuel. Shortages are guaranteed by political manipulations we see today which could have been copied from ATLAS SHRUGGED.
Government restrictions against business and industry “for the common good” and to break up monopolies, is strangling our economy and, even now, putting it in the hands of the least competent. ATLAS SHRUGGED details how such things happen. Now you can look around you and see how these very same practices are costing the jobs and livelihoods of millions today.
You will also see how uniting in trust around a grinning do-gooder will put you in lock step with a bunch of morons, marching into an economic abyss. Submitting to the common will today is the same as walking up the slaughterhouse ramp after the Judas goat.
You may not be as neurotic as I or share some of my more extreme anxieties. This is probably for the best. But you should at least know what is going on around you and relate it to what forces are shaping your own future.
ATLAS SHRUGGED will tell you what those forces are and show you, by fictionalized examples, just what happens when they are applied.
When you finish the book, you will not have a new philosophy, necessarily. It will be your own philosophy, but clarified and put into a usable pattern by one of the greatest social philosophers of our century. You can then put your own words and observations to some of the most rational ideas of our age.
You will then find not only comfort, but purpose in knowing that your motivation toward survival is the greatest strength in our nation today. If you have ever had fantasies of being great and extremely worthwhile, they will be realities long before you have finished ATLAS SHRUGGED.
Although ATLAS SHRUGGED is an indictment of our whole parasitic system, libraries have not gotten around to banning it. It seems too long for the average reader to tackle so they let it be. I do not think it would be banned, anyway, but I am sure it will not be on the “recommended books” list of any Federally funded library.