As you were supposed to do, I read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” in the late-sixties when I was young, dumb, and pretty much an all-in lefty college student. OK, it was an interesting story – sorta. But, it was so foreign and so into some indeterminate but clearly to my perception future time, that I really did consider it far-fetched. Despite the best efforts of my mostly marxist professors most of us were still more the “the torch has passed” sort who were still going to “pay any price” and “bear any burden,” and all that stuff. A World that had just lapsed into an intellectual, moral, and even physical stupor was incomprehensible.
So, in the spirit of the times, I decided to re-read with forty years older eyes. I’ve made it to page 190 and I think I’m done. We’re there. It has all come true. We have reached the place where the conversation between Dagny Taggert and Dr. Stadler is not only familiar to us but accepted by many of us.
Stadler: How can one deal in truth when one deals with the public?
Taggert: I don’t understand you.
Stadler: Questions of truth do not enter into social issues. No principles have ever had any effect on society.
Taggert: What then, directs men’s actions?
Stadler: The expediency of the moment.
I made it a couple more pages but I think I’m done. The Orwellian language is our everyday vocabulary. The fuzzy circular thinking is what we teach in schools. Some of us continue to try to find truth, to make and do new things, simply to make things work, but we are shouting against the rising of the tide. Who is John Galt?