Watching "Atlas Shrugged II" movie. Relevant today? Politicians enact "Fair Share Law." Take from the producers and give to the - voting - non-producers.
I would ask Atlas why is he holding such an ungrateful burden? Then he might shrug. Maybe he has already.
How long will the producers keep producing?
I saw a serious change in the 1960s. Yes, there were some problems with segregation and some groups were not being treated equally. My sister's best friend was Coretta King's secretary. Martin Luther King's wife. I met him. I liked him. He had a good spirit. He told me to call him "Marty." I liked that.
But, I saw what appeared to be vote-hungry politicians promoting instant change; beginning to regulate instant change; then passing laws for instant change. Making people unhappy because they did not "have". So let's take from the "haves" and give to the "have nots."
Short term good idea? Those seeds have blossomed into a society where people are more unhappy because they feel they have a right to the goodies; a right that has become entitlement. That mere existence entitles them to rights, and these rights are not dependent on responsibilities.
Welfare was, in the 1950s - 1960s, designed for those who were unable to work, from disability or age. It was not a right that people felt they should have to support, through exploitation of the system. Out of wedlock pregnancy was a disgrace, not a right to be supported by the system.
Change was needed, I agree. Integration was a worthwhile goal. But forced integration has resulted in attitudes that, I think "Marty" would have found idiotic and absolutely polar to his intentions. Welfare has not produced needed supporting strength, but, instead weakness. And with the weakness a frustration among the recipients that they do not have more.
So what happens then? Take a look at the producers. Well, they have more, so let's take that "excess" and distribute that "excess" among the "have nots." But what happens then? What is the likely long term effect?
What happens when the producers begin to say, "Why?" "Why am I working to support the non-producers?" and the non-producers are angry and frustrated because they have been told they should have more? And they vote in a regime that promises to give more, to take more from the producers?
Ayn Rand posits a likely scenario. Business leaders, unable to operate because of regulation and heavy taxation, simply drop out. They disappear. They close their businesses. They leave behind a note, "Who is John Galt?"
What happens then? There are fewer jobs. So the situation snowballs. Politicians borrow -- loot -- from the future. How long will this continue?
There seems to be an attitude that the rich, the produces, the business leaders, stockpile their money. That because they "have" there is less to go around. This is stupid and short-sighted to me.
A rich guy drives by in an expensive car. The non-producers say, "I should have a car like that. I should have HIS car. I am mad at him because he has an expensive car and I don't." Short-sighted. Frustration because politicians have told the non-producers that they SHOULD have a car like that and if the non-producers will vote for them, the politicians will get them a car like that. Anger at the "haves".
Why do the "haves" have? It is not really from taking from the "have nots" not at all. It is from creation.
What happened to create that car? It is the result of labor, invested capital, and really results in the distribution of money. People were paid to build it. People were paid to acquire and process the raw materials that were part of the construction. And Yes, a business leader also made a profit, but this profit was spent to buy goods and services from more laborers, so the general standard of living improves.
But, instead, I am seeing the producers being taxed and regulated to support the non-producers. Nobody is happy. The system is flawed; and the economy goes downhill. It can't -- it will not last. The equation is against prosperity for everyone.
I started on a dirt-poor farm. We were poor, but I liked working, producing and became successful.
I have had to close some businesses. They could not survive in this economy. I am not alone in doing this. What can be done? I honestly don't know. I think that the system will somehow be self-righting. That the idiots will not be able to maintain the present situation no matter how many restrictive laws are passed.
I am reminded of "Lawrence of Arabia." The desert tribes through force acquired a large modern city, but they did not have the education to run it. First the electrical power quit working, they could not fix it. Then the water, then the rest of the infrastructure. Finally they abandoned the city and went back to the desert.
What can be done? I don't know. Personally I can not align with either political party. Too extreme on either side. All I know is
EDITED: I admit that Ayn Rand is/was a harsh viewpoint and I am somewhat more inclined to a softer approach. I was in a peculiar mode when I wrote the above, this is not a good story and I want to tell a different and better story.
I am trying to make this less of a political statement and more about telling a better story.
@Snow is correct that education is critical to effective and long lasting change. We need to put more money into our schools. I'd be fine with dramatically cutting foreign aid as well as overseas military budgets and putting the funds into USA education.
We are spending money abroad when we need to be spending here at home. What happens on a macro or a micro scale when you use your strength to support another?
Abraham Hicks have told us that focusing on another person's, or another country's weakness, serves only to exacerbate that weakness.
I suggest that most foreign aid and our overseas military supports weakness. Lets pull back and see other country's strengths and see them gain the ability to better solve their own problems without our support.
And for our European members who get their info from the media, I would suggest a visit to California or Detroit or deep southern USA might give a more accurate understanding.
Damn' and I was gonna try to tell a better story. I need to seriously tell a better story. Wish I had not made this post, but it won't delete!
I am going to go take a long hot shower and read something better than Ayn Rand. All this is doing is moving me away from my Joy.
I read your question soon after you posted , first thought was that is kind of a political question for IQ. Then I started thinking of political answers. Was busy yesterday with a rusty ball joint on a Volvo so had no time to sit and type that answer. Then it came to me. This is a LOA question.
answered 20 Aug '13, 02:25
I'm European and I find the obsession in the US about Ayn Rand peculiar, maybe even dangerous.
She helped establish a fatal black and white thinking, especially a dichotomy capitalism vs socialism, which is a very false one. I figure it has become quite a meme in US culture. Socialism does not mean welfare state, the term "socialism" originally meant workers to be in control of the means of production, it doesn't say anything about the state. But that just as a side note and a little history lesson.
Me, personally, I don't like big bureaucratic states either, I'd even suggest this model of societal organization should belong to the past in the information age. If you look at history, the average half-life of a typical nation state is maybe 100 years. But that doesn't mean I support the alleged opposite (which it isn't), some kind of radical capitalism, or better said, I don't believe it would be stable either.
"The Market" and "The State" are not opposites, contrary to what most US Libertarians and Tea Party conservatives would like to believe. Throughout history, they worked together hand in hand, in the interests of the privileged classes, oppressing the peasant and working classes; e.g. markets and currency were an invention by kings and emperors to get the population to support and feed soldiers. Further recommended reading: Debt: The First 5000 Years.
Adding to that, the desire for more welfare today is understandable though. Capital has concentrated into the hands of the few over the centuries, and also we live in a more and more automated society, computers and robots take over jobs much faster than new ones can be created. Some say this line of arguing is a so-called Luddite Fallacy. Fine and well, I also believe progress never ends, but it just doesn't happen fast enough (yes, maybe the cause is the State schooling systems, but that doesn't solve the problem at hand for now). This is our main economic problem today, besides concentration of wealth in a few corporations, too big and bureaucratic nation states, and a very wrong monetary system.
Ayn Rand falsely suggests that only strong and virtuous entrepreneurs can save America, or the world, for that matter. Surely some have good ideas and talent, but her views are ridiculously simplistic, and maybe Freud would be able to say a thing or two about her.
I agree it's not nation states who should provide welfare. Now back to the idea of workers being in control of the means of production: May I suggest a different idea, it's called syndicalism, and it works very well in practice:
In a more and more automated world, horizontally structured organizations will very well be able to handle these dynamics. Every human being has talents, so everyone would be engaged in a branch of an organization somewhere (i.e. everyone would get a job self-evidently and almost automatically), and everyone would naturally be owning shares of the means of production. Everyone can move around to someplace else much more easily if machines take over their job, or the organization can provide further education or retraining, or they'd simply be able to work less and less, for the same wage (as productivity didn't decrease after all), until new innovations open space again for new fields of production.
Damn. Harsh letter. Got me interested. I like it, I'll play.
On some points you're not very specific. In fact much of your letter lacks the detail necessary to actually address specific points, such as perhaps your particular qualms with which portions of social services, since you seem to be in favor of some but do not specify specifically where your dissatisfaction lies. So I'm going to have to infer what you're referring to and reply accordingly. If I'm off point please do clarify your intent. =)
What was the minimum wage 'back in your day'? To avoid any misunderstandings regarding what the figures mean: if you were to compare the spending power one earns on minimum wage from then to now how different would it be? What is the relative cost of living? Now, we know things have changed, the question now simply becomes "How far is too far?" How far along the road of argumentum ad absurdum do we have to go until your stance becomes indefensible?
Would it be acceptable to aid those in need if one minimum wage job only provided you with three quarters of the wages necessary to survive? "Just get two jobs." OK, what if minimum wage only provided half of the wages necessary to survive? "Good, your two jobs will just barely pay for you to survive." Alright, what if the person wants to also go to school so they can get a better paying job? (Even though many with higher education are working low income jobs not in their field of study) "Work some overtime." OK, what about time for school?
At what point do you have to concede there needs to be a change? If minimum wage were 6$/hr? 5$/hr? You tell me where your number is, because logically there has to be a breaking point where "Oh they're just jealous of the have's" becomes an acknowledgement that sometimes, at SOME point, people will need help. Where do you start to think help is OK?
I'm glad you asked this question, because you may have noticed a similar tone in my last paragraph. What if we pose your question in reverse? At what point in time do the jealous lazy ones become oppressed? I'm not saying they are, I'm asking where you draw your line in the sand.
This is the same exact kind of lowest-common-denominator argument which doesn't do any positive benefit to thoughtful discourse. Also I like Ayn Rand's use of the phrase "short sighted", since there is none other which more aptly describes Rand's work except perhaps one sided. Especially this particularly unusual strawman which is quite distracting as I assume it's intended to be. Can I say all rich people behave like Scrooge and are greedy and are killing our economy because of abusive, improper, and immoral business practices? Yes. Would it be true? Of course not, there are many people who are charitable and giving with and without money. Can you say all people who don't have money immediately want a fancy car? Of course not. Can you say all people who don't have money not only want a fancy car but are ANGRY at those who do have what they don't? Absolutely not. This is absurd.
We can all acknowledge there are stereotypes like this that exist. Just like the lazy system abuser stereotype, just like virtually any stereotype. But if we base our arguments only on attacking the weakest any group has to offer how is that valuable in an intelligent discussion? I can say all Christians are hateful evil cruel self-righteous judgemental narcissists who run around with signs saying "God hates fags" and "God hates America" and "Thank God for 9/11" and saying God made 9/11 happen because of the fag loving society we're going to burn in hell for embracing. [Reference to the WBC, what some might consider the least Christianity has to offer]. And what's the best part? I can even provide scripture supporting why they're actually following Biblical instructions! But what good is this? What good is not only not seeing the whole picture, but also fixating on the worst part of the picture which also happens to only correlate to the point I want to believe?
People look for arguments to suit the belief they desire to have before they consider the arguments. Similarly, people are drawn to religions or beliefs which give them a permission slip to behave or believe as they wanted to in the first place. But ultimately when it comes down to it the religions don't matter to the person, nor the argument, they just want an excuse to believe as they wish. This is why you can have a book like the Bible, which has so many opposing points it's absurd, and have one group who takes this and says "We should love everyone! He who is generous to the needy honors the maker!" another group takes it and says "It's my job to judge people and try to force them to live by the religion I chose for myself while being as polite and proper as I can be" and still another says "I need to scorn and damn those unlike me for the good of their own soul".
For us to actually make any progress in ANY topic we need to be able to be at least somewhat objective. We need to be able to say "Sure, there are some evil people flying the Christian flag, I can't blame all Christians for that." We need to be able to say "Sure, there are some corrupt and greedy people in high places, I can't alienate those who are fighting for the same things I am despite being well off." We need to be able to say "Sure, there are some lazy people and freeloaders rich and poor, but this doesn't mean I can ignore all those in need and pretend anyone who is can't also be a normal human being."
We have two figures which are increasing at different rates. The amount of money the poor are earning is not increasing at the same rate as: the amount of money the rich are making, the amount of money it takes to meet the basic needs of life, the amount of money it takes to pursue recreational needs in life. It's clear this isn't sustainable, at some point anyone who believes this is OK and doesn't need to be addressed is unarguably wrong. The question is how many years need pass at the same rate until the disparity becomes too great? When will nobody be able to consciously argue otherwise?
There are people who can look at this and say "OK, we should address this problem now." There are others who say "It isn't a problem right now, it's still easy enough to live, if it DOES get worse or bad enough to warrant my attention then we can change it." So the question is, do we really want to sweep it under the rug? Do we even care? It wont be our problem, so is there a reason out there to warrant making a change?
I might ask.. How can a country not feed, clothe, house, educate, and employ every single person who wishes to live there when its budget for war is multiple times greater than what it would take to accomplish these goals?
I propose a mental exercise. Our budget is more than the next twenty largest military spenders combined. What do you think would happen if only ONE HALF of our military budget was spent on education? Would we fall to the immediate invasion of combined forces of the next half dozen countries? What would happen to our children? Our adult education? Our universities? Our sports teams? Our extra-curricular activities? Would our employees be more productive? Would reproduction rates go down? Would intelligently informed students be more likely to prepare a life for themselves before having children? Would the "greatest country in the world" actually enter the single digit rankings in student's test scores in math, literature, or science? Maybe even the top 5?
Maybe there is priority issues among those in welfare, but it seems to me it's best that one is able to admit there are priorities askew in all levels of life, and that is why this is the era of revolution.
for history to be a lesson
answered 18 Aug '13, 18:39
Lots of writing that say the same thing. that people are blind and do not know how to love the neighbor as them self. they stand on the wide gate to the left or to the right and fee have strive to enter the narrow gate. Many are not able to walk a mile in someone else shoe. what are the producer the unproducer the have and not have. are they not the same people living on this world? Atlas you have receive enough stone from the people of the world. You made the choice to support the world. will you support it a little while longer so the children can grow? Very Good answer Atlas.
Let there be light, be the light that you can be, experience and enjoy.
answered 19 Aug '13, 06:57
My mom and dad own a security company. So from a business point of view, I'll show what increasing minimum wage does. First of all every time minimum wage goes up they are thrown into crisis. They can't afford to pay the guards. So they must go asking for a raise and hoping they don't lose the contracts. When we get approved everything is okay but these big companies have many more people to pay. Where are they going to get the money? They raise the prices of their products. Now the people that needed a minimum wage increase to pay for anything again can't afford anything, therefore needing another minimum wage increase.
Neo-tech and the 12 Visions party has the answer.
answered 19 Aug '13, 18:51
Like all of us, Ayn Rand expressed herself from what she had experienced and learned from her own life. In what I have read, and learned about her, she was shaped by the communist takeover of her country in her youth, and the losses from that. When socialism became popular here in America she saw many elements that could lead to communistic principles, destroying the democratic principles of our republic, and destroying what makes a country strong, the efforts of individuals to better themselves and an environment that encourages that. Her warning was put out in her novel, and yes, she was very strong in her view, and not unbiased but she hit upon many truths that are painful to society, therefore the controversy continues. As we become more politically correct in supporting all facets of individual "rights" it becomes apparent that some "rights" trample on others, where does it end? I sure hope it's not in handing over our human rights to a non-representative government, but that's what is happening more and more as our government grows larger in the name of "protecting" us, and given more power by those who receive the most from it. In that sense, Ayn Rand's warnings remain relevant still.
answered 19 Aug '13, 19:04
I think that Any Rand is relevant today. Before we can make an "informed" decision, we must be informed as to the probable consequences of any changes BEFORE we face them.
answered 21 Aug '13, 08:20
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