Thursday, May 15, 2008


I must confess, I love reading other blogs from people of all walks of life. I recently read one from a Tibetan freedom fighter who just happens to live down the street from me (never knew that until I read the blog). Tibet has been occupied by China for a very long time and the Tibetan people are fighting to keep their culture alive while the Tibetan government is in exile. His blogs about the long and winding journey are really quite moving.

Sometimes I feel like we, like Tibetans, are losing our own culture and the principles that we were founded on. However, no matter how disenfranchised I feel with the government and the people in power who have dark motives, I still believe in America. I still believe in Freedom.

Uber Blogger Bill Hobbs had a great piece today that is really a comment on a political statement that recently made the headlines, however, I thought I would share anyway.


From the moment I was old enough to understand the concept of a country, of nationhood and of America, I have always been proud of my country. I have not always agreed with everything my country's government - local, state or federal - has done, but I have never not been proud of my country.

My pride in my country does not rest on a certain candidate or party. being ahead in the polls or drawing large crowds, or winning elections. I was proud of my country when the inept Jimmy Carter occupied the White House and shredded the country's economy, military and spirit while retreating around the world in the face of expanionist Soviet communism. I was equally proud of my country when Ronald Reagan saved it from economic ruin, rebuilt the military, revived the American spirit and faced down Soviet communism, leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years after he left office.

Why? Because America has always been more than a country, more than a nation, more than a territory with borders and a flag. America is an idea, that all people are created equal and deserve to live in freeom. It is the only country on Earth built on that foundation. Has it always lived up perfectly to those ideals? No. Will it in the future? No. Because while the American ideal is great, America is made up of people, and people make mistakes and do things they shouldn't do.

I do not have to look out on the campaign trail and see large crowds cheering for my favorite candidate in order to be proud of my country

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Who is John Galt?

I recently got a wild hair to read Ayn Rand's 1957 Novel "Atlas Shrugged" and let me tell you I could not put that 1100+ page book down. As I struggle daily with news of more government regulations being legislated, handed down from the bench or unjustly enforced, this book gave a "what if" fictional view of a group of people that fought a very unique way. Below is a great article I found on the premise written post 9/11.

Where Is John Galt?

by John Bottoms

. . . now that we really need him? In her brilliantly prophetic 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand portrayed a hero who vows to "stop the motor of the world," calling on America's most productive men to go on strike against an entrenched parasitical power elite and their myriad hangers-on. This important work of classic science fiction envisioned a future or alternate reality in which a morally bankrupt America is suffering through the final stages of collapse. In the book, business, industry, science and the arts have been co-opted by the growing fascist state apparatus, and the deepening "national emergency" is used to justify ever more government control over people's lives, which inevitably exacerbates the crisis. At the intellectual heart of the corruption is the philosophy of collectivism. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, military adventurism was not included, probably because Rand wanted to concentrate on events at home. But other than that, America today is to a shocking degree spiritually, economically and politically (but not culturally) similar to Rand's portrait of a great society in decline. While the novel's fictional Americans manifest their anxiety and resignation by rhetorically asking, "Who is John Galt?", today we just wait for the next "inevitable" attack. The American people wear a shallow patriotism like bad face paint to hide their knowledge of the government's lies and the nature of their society.

Industry is increasingly dedicated to making weapons of war and otherwise dependent on government contracts, subsidies and bailouts. High tech companies writing database software for the government, and especially Oracle's Larry "Your Papers Please" Ellison, come to mind. Corporate top brass with close ties to government use accounting tricks to enhance the short-term bottom line at the expense of the long-term health of the company, its employees and shareholders, cashing out and moving on before the damage is revealed. Dick Cheney's Halliburton and of course Enron are at the top of the list. The airlines, energy companies, corporate farms and steel companies are increasingly subsidized and controlled by government, while schooling is being effectively nationalized by the Department of Education. Scientists, sequestered in the black world of secret programs, are dedicated to developing new weapons of mass destruction, the existence of which will only become public when they're trotted out for the next war or civil insurrection. As in the novel, Europe's decades of socialism have made them economically weak and politically irrelevant.

The recession which followed the collapse of the high-tech stock bubble refuses to subside, and may worsen as the long-term effects of the government's inflationary police/welfare/warfare state settle in. Some economists are predicting a flight from the dollar over the next few years, accompanied by a spiral into an Argentina-like financial collapse. Time will tell.

Like all fictional heroes, John Galt is a distillation of the heroic potential in each of us. While Galt actively organized the strike of "the men of the mind," many other characters just quit their jobs and effectively divorced themselves from a society that treated them as slaves. Is this happening today? The media tell us that fewer people are flying commercial airlines due to the weak economy and concerns over terrorism, but clearly some of the thousands of people who choose to drive long distances or just stay home are really "on strike" against the subsidized airlines, unreliable service, and demeaning treatment they'll receive from both airline employees and federalized security guards. Families who homeschool their children are on strike against the government's youth drug-and-propaganda camps. Americans who grow, sell or trade marijuana as medicine or for recreation are on strike against the government's discredited drug war. And how many people out there have simply chosen to retire early or work fewer hours or not as hard, simply because they no longer care to support a nation dedicated to death, destruction and despotism.

It's not hard to envision "Dubya" Bush as Mr. Thompson, Head of the State, deluding himself that his latest power grab will get us (and him) out of the mess which he and his predecessors caused by decades of irresponsible and shortsighted actions. "But can we get away with it?", Mr. Thompson nervously queries his fellow thugs before rolling out some particularly outrageous new set of regulations, while our president organizes secret meetings in bunker-offices under the White House to design the new Department of Homeland Security.

Even terrorism is introduced in the novel. One of the chief strikers is the infamous pirate Ragnar Danneskjöld, who steals from the government and destroys their tax-funded creations. Like real-world terrorists, Ragnar uses violence to change the political climate, but unlike our brutal real world, he's careful not to hurt anyone.

Predictably, upon its initial release, the book was received by the press with universal derision. Reviewers were unable to see beyond the book's limited character development and unfortunate preachiness to a wonderfully drawn apocalyptic dystopia more powerful and insightful than Orwell's famous 1984. But the book quickly became a bestseller, and can still be found on the shelves of most bookstores 45 years later. While the rustbelt industrial setting, as well as the sexual morality and limited cultural diversity of the characters is very 50s (and very Rand), the heart of the story shines through as an unheeded warning from the past, and a roadmap to a better future.

Where is John Galt? Maybe he's right here, on the internet, in the hearts and souls and minds of the thousands of writers, editors, publishers, and of course readers of pro-freedom websites.

June 13, 2002