Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Atlas Shrugged at 50...

...makes one wonder how the characters would have fared in the real world....

John Galt would have put his miraculous motor into production. Two weeks later, the design would have been copied by a Chinese company that then sold exact copies for 10% of Galt's asking price. After the bankruptcy court finished with him, Galt would have taken a job selling house siding produced by Hank Rearden's mills;

Dagny Taggart and her illegitimate children -- at least one each from Francisco d' Anconia and Hank Rearden, who were in such a rush to bop her that they neglected to use any birth control devices -- would have become Galt's sole support after his motor idea unwound, but Dagny would soon have tired of this and moved in with Francisco, at least until she found out that he really did enjoy messing about with the chicks from his "worthless-playboy" days. Her railroad, unable to compete with other forms of transport, took aid money from the reconstituted US government and now operates a line between Milan, Michigan and Kankakee, Illinois;

Hank Rearden, too, would face the bankruptcy process. Cheap imported steel, lax safety standards and complaints about the pollution spewed by his mills did him in. Besides, most people didn't want blue-green houses;

Francisco d'Anconia, an illegal alien, would have been deported. After returning to Spain, he went big into leveraged buyouts, destroying all the businesses run by Galt's admirers and making himself a fine pile o' money;

The American public, realizing that Galt and his pals had never run for office or established their legitimacy as dictators, would have demanded their arrests. Trials would be pending, though most vanished back to Galt's Gulch, where those unable to think big thoughts were employed as gun-toting guards to repel any unwanted visitors;

The American government, crippled by a lack of revenue, shut down. Then, someone noticed that private companies run by Galt's cronies were billing them individually for each fire extinguished, each pothole filled, and they were now helpless against foreign invaders since the Galtists had no interest in supporting any military, met in Washington to demand that a limited government be imposed;

Pollution from the unrestrained manufacturing envisioned by Ayn Rand grew so bad that the new government imposed severe restrictions. Several former Galt followers attempted to do penance, setting up a campaign to plant trees, tear down unnecessary structures and break up highways-to-nowhere built to satisfy the Galtists' need to make Nature vanish;

The sole survivor of the Galt debacle was the cigarette factory established by the Galtists. It turned out that these were vile weeds indeed, and all who smoked them are currently on respirators.

9 comments:

sundary said...

I really hate the feeling that I'm completely lost. . .its one of those things that went straight over my head. . . :( Damn to be of my generation! I may have no clue what your talking about but I know the name of Lindsay Lohan's rehab center! :)

MrScribbler said...

Not to worry about it, Sundary. You haven't missed much at all.

I couldn't tell you where Lindsay Lohan dried out if you held a gun to my head.

becomingkate said...

I have had that book for a year and have not read it yet. I fear I never will.

MrScribbler said...

Kate -- can you get a refund?

betty said...

Cigarettes are evil, indeed. Wish I'd never smoked. I don't think I want to read this book!

joan said...

i read it but clearly didn't retain much - still took me a minute to get what the heck you were talking about.

MrScribbler said...

Joan -- Guess I read too many tributes to the book today...just couldn't take it no mo'.

emd said...

I could never get through it by reading; but I did listen to it on tape. Something like 8 cassettes. I went through a stage where I thought it was great...a long time ago.

DAL said...

I have never read the book, but I understood everything you wrote here and knew what you meant. I guess I can skip that book altogether...