I feel sorry for people who feel this way. The reviewer simply can’t relate. They have no concept of having the kind of passion for something where sleep, rest and comfort are secondary concerns. They don’t feel those kinds of things, so they think good characters are the type of people who strive to have faults, where they work simply to eat, drink, rest, and have sex. People like that are like monkeys at a zoo looking at human visitors across a gulf of intelligence, beyond the barriers of a cage, and can’t understand why zoo visitors have drinks, and strollers, and small humans in their arms with sunglasses shielding their eyes from the sun. They are primitives, sad and left behind lost forever to faulty thinking and stupidity.
That was a comment I made to an article published on Atlas Shrugged is a Ridiculous Book posted in the Galt’s Gulch site where I have quite a few friends. I read the review linked below and thought that the author Robert Nielsen did a good job citing his opinions, that he did thoroughly read the book and made an effort to have pointed comments. I thought the author was a generally curious person of above average intelligence. However, I also thought that the author might be a radical left winged oriented socialist (Democrat) who was a staunch Keynesian and after looking into the guy a bit, that is exactly what he was. He was a European born and raised amidst the socialism of Europe and simply had no mental mechanisms that could relate to the novel Atlas Shrugged and believed that through democratic consensus that just because a majority of the population on earth does not think like the characters in Atlas Shrugged, that the book is ridiculous and should not have an audience. Nielsen had a number of opinionated passages in his article, but the one below struck me as being the most revealing.
“All of the heroes have this absurd element to them. They don’t stop to eat or rest a single time in the book and it is casually thrown in that they haven’t slept for two or three days as though that would have no effect on them. They have no hobbies or interested (sic) outside work. Even when they are bleeding they don’t feel any pain. In other words they are soulless robots, machines good for working and nothing else. Atlas Shrugged bears a strong resemblance to Fascist propaganda in its treatment of heroes. There is a strong emphasis on the cult of personality, of worshipping men of action in contrast to the masses who are too stupid and cowardly to achieve greatness. Democracy destroys accountability whereas dictatorship is the only system where anyone is responsible. All of the best firms in the book are named after their owner and collapse without them.”
Nielsen says a lot here and represents a large portion of the world who have grown up for generations under kings, princes, fascist rulers, and tyrannical dictators who to them represent the “right” on a political spectrum and democratic socialists, communists, labor unions, and religious collectivists on the other representing the “left.” Yet for me personally, I don’t even consider any of the categories on that scale relevant and long ago designated Europe and its history to be corrosive to the human experience. My ideal of a good time is not sitting in a “pub” with my mates watching a socialist soccer game and thinking that James Joyce was an intellectual giant as the benchmark of good literature. The guy could write complicated metaphors—but to what end—to be haunted by dreams of a fragmented past as in Finnegan’s Wake or to visit a brothel in Ulysses. Nielsen is from Dublin, and so was Joyce and because of my experience with those works, I feel I have a pretty good feel for life in Ireland and what it represents—and none of those things are concepts that are attractive to me.
I find it utterly disgusting that so many Americans have been bred through the education system to believe that the cities of Europe are exotic destinations of culture and sophistication. To me the entire land mass from the shores of France to the end of Russia protruding out into the Bering Strait is a corrupt embodiment and continuation of The Dark Ages. The people from those lands have been conquered and beaten so many ways by so many tyrants that the only way out of the cycle was “democracy” through majority rule. And if the majority are idiots, than so be it. Visiting a BW3’s on a Friday night disgusts me as much as it would if I were in a Dublin Pub with a bunch of socialists banging mugs of beer together in communion around a soccer match—so my feelings are not specific to Europe. And before I say any more, one of my son-in-laws is from England, just outside of London on the eastern side. My other daughter dated a guy from the boarder of Scotland. I have family members from Europe, and I deal with people almost every day in every time zone from London to New Zealand, so I have a very good understanding about the lifestyle of Europe which leaves me shaking my head when Americans seek to mimic that cold landmass with a history of oppression extending from here to the dawn of man shown in the Caves of Lascaux. America was founded by people seeking freedom from Europe and they were willing to die to leave that place. In a lot of ways the pilgrims were the original Gaultchers from Atlas Shrugged they were looking to be free of the religious and political persecution of Europe, which still exists to this very day in Keynesian economics. The thought process moved from churches into the economy but the mentality is very much the same.
Once America was founded and Europe saw that they could visit without being killed by natives, they settled the New England area and brought their stupid European socialism with them in the form of “progressivism,” and started voting for Democrats while encourage America to give up football and making “soccer” the national game…………………………..NO. In many ways Europe is still stuck under the veil of tyranny that they have been confined with since there was an Ice Age and it is utterly disgusting. Atlas Shrugged is one of the first great American novels produced under a relatively new country with a new way of thinking. Now of course the jealous European trained in the liberal schools of Ireland, England and France will scoff at the characters of Atlas Shrugged because they are clearly outside of the European experience.
In reference to many of the successful Americans that I know, it is true that if they do not come to work, or leave a company after they have led it, the company does collapse. Making money is their hobby. I remember a lunch meeting that I had in downtown Cincinnati with some very influential financiers and patent attorneys where the bill was $11,000. These guys did this every day of the week. They made their money under an American capitalist system and could not have done what they were doing in Europe because people like Robert Nielson would think that they had equal rights to that money just because their mothers gave birth to them in Dublin. The people I had lunch with had a hobby that was “making money” which is why they had it. The wealth they produced carried over into every aspect of society from the nice waitress who tended to them daily to the people who imported the food required to feed them. If those types of people didn’t show up for work one day, or decided to go on a vacation, their businesses fell apart because “the people” working for them lost focus and drifted without proper leadership. That is not fascism that is leadership. Fascism is where such a human trait is taken advantage of.
America has created its own definitions and fascism is not even an option. A business leader of an industry is not a fascist, they are a job creator. People are free to leave that job if they discover they don’t like the direction of the company. But to allow a fascist to rule over the entire nation of America—that simply isn’t going to happen. Europeans can’t wrap their mind around that ideal; it doesn’t fit with their history and their foundations of education. To them the political “right” is fascists like Mussolini and Hitler and the “left” are people like Lenin, Stalin, and Marx. America rejected all those idiots because they are collectivists, and in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged she is introducing an entirely new way of looking at the old problems so that Americans can understand why their capitalist system is so superior to European socialism. Those in love with “democracy” (majority rule, even if a majority are fools) is to commit a political and economic structure around collectivism. In America where individualism is the foundation concept, collectivism is a curse. It is a waste of time to achieve group consensus because not everyone is capable of making proper decisions. The reason for this has been explored by Robert Pirsig in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, another revolutionary work of philosophy done specifically in America. Slowly the old philosophers of Europe, people like Nietzsche, Marx, and Descartes are being replaced by Rand, Pirsig, and Adam Smith.
The characters of Atlas Shrugged are my kind of people. They represent my daily life and I do feel sorry for those who can’t relate. It must be terrible to wake up each morning in such a fog that human faults are the first area of focus. It must be terrible to even consider if “group consensus” is something to measure before taking action. I once went to Disney World with a large group and watched everyone standing in Tomorrow Land for an hour arguing about which thing to do first. Finally, I got sick of it and gathered up a crew who wanted to go with me and I left to explore the park. We had a blast because most people just want to have someone give them direction in life. They don’t want the burden of thinking, they just want to follow—and that’s fine so long as they don’t get in the way. But if they try to hold things up with indecision and personal insecurities, then it is unacceptable to me. The primary question explored in Atlas Shrugged is if the majority should be allowed to hold up the few, when it is the few who move the world, and the answer is no.
People like me do not reach out to the “democracies” of the world trying to sell Ayn Rand or Atlas Shrugged because I really don’t care if people like Robert Nielson accepts it or rejects it. I just don’t want Nielson in a position through his Keynesian economics to hold me up when I want to do something. If he wants to hang out in a Dublin pub watching soccer matches instead of being productive, that is his decision—but he does not have a right to hinder me. The point of Atlas Shrugged is that when this process happens, people like Nielson do suffer. Europe sucks…………..most everyone is stuck somewhere between fascism and communism. The topless beaches of France and Spain do not give culture to a society—it does not make them enlightened. French wine is not better than California wine and the Caves of Lascaux are representative of the same tribal collectivism as the Navajo of the American Southwest—both represent primitive collectivist cultures mired with a basic premise of tribal sacrifice. The America that took Adam Smith’s lead, and John Locke and was first commented on by Ayn Rand, then Robert Pirsig is one that exists outside of European definitions for things. It is not my task or those of my friends in Galt’s Gulch to “sell” Rand to anybody. Her books have sold for decades quite well on their own—people come to her work in their own time in their own way. The difference between a republic and a democracy is that a republic is supposed to represent different people as a representative as opposed to a democracy with majority rule. America is a republic not a filthy democracy! A group of thugs do not have a right to impose on me their beliefs just because they outnumber me. The stupid will always outnumber the intelligent—so the stupid should not have power over the intelligent. The intelligent should not be hampered by fools, lowlifes, and insecure collectivists. That is what Atlas Shrugged is essentially about and why it offendshttp://youtu.be/bWebZ_OqU_c so many people. I can understand that many people don’t like the book or the movies if they identify with the villains—nobody likes being called names. But for years in every movie and book that has attacked capitalism, they have attacked my values, which is what the artists have done to people like me—so Atlas Shrugged is art that I can relate to. I don’t expect the democratic masses to enjoy it—it wasn’t written for them.
It is sad that people like Robert Nielsen are stuck behind on an island of Keynesian economics, socialism, communism, and soccer matches over beer in 200-year-old pubs that smell like dirty feet and swamp ass stained to their wooden chairs after 50 years of use. Like monkeys stuck on an island display at a zoo designed to contain them they can only look across the void at America and wonder why we have it so good, why we have so much money, so many tools at our disposal. But they never get to the answer of why because they are lacking the intellectual tools to step across the barriers which contain them. If they knew how to swim or were not afraid of the water they could free themselves—but instead they spend their days grooming each other and beating on their chests in memory of their primitive ancestors and call those who have left them behind—cultists driven by “selfishness.” I would love to help those people, but not by coming to Europe to copy off them, to play their stupid soccer matches where the game resembles socialism with their ridiculous off-sides rules—where a forward cannot be behind a defense—give me a break! That makes for a boring game and a boring economy, and Europe has both. Atlas Shrugged, an American story, is about productivity, individualism, innovation, and the corruption of the masses and their need for leadership. John Galt is certainly not the next European fascists. He is beyond that kind of thinking—he is all about total independence where individuals are not compelled into imprisonment by the weakest links of society—because those weak links chose to be stupid, perilous, or otherwise reckless with their lives—then expect others to shield them from reality through collectivism. Atlas Shrugged philosophically is a divorce from Europe, and obviously in such divorces there are hard feelings and one side will always try to make the other look bad. But in the end, Atlas Shrugged is a change in thinking that the spouse left behind resents and in this case it is Europe and all its faulty past. Robert Nielsen might feel the chill of abandonment and call after their former lover with disdain and envy, but the merit is rooted in jealousy. The proclamation that some people, some economies, and some ideals are better than others, and that people who love Atlas Shrugged are willing to go off and do their own thing is a reality that the European and the Americans who love the dank culture of that haze covered land is simply too much to comprehend.
Atlas Shrugged is about a new way of thinking where the roots of productivity are not explored through mystical hocus pocus balancing limited resources against equal distribution to the world. It is about what makes resources in the first place so that new things can come to be which ultimately benefit everyone. The question must first be asked, who is responsible for productivity—is it the democratic masses or the few who possess leadership and ability? My trip to Disney World is confirmation that Atlas Shrugged is the only artistic work to properly identify the answer. At the end of that day, a majority of the people in the argument of what to do were still there. They had simply sat down at a few tables and ate food most of the day stuck in inaction driven by their indecisiveness. Me and my group, we rode Pirates of the Carribean—5 times, road the Thunder Mountain Railroad, did the Swiss Family Robison Tree House, saw a number of shows including the Presidents Showcase, ran all over Tom Sawyer Island, did everything in Fantasy Land, shopped, road Space Mountain—3 times and still had time to do more. The rest of the group had not even left Tomorrow Land except to get a place on Main Street to watch the fireworks. That is what has happened to Europe and every single Keynesian economist and every political socialist. They are still stuck in the politics of Europe and are chained to its dismal fate where America has moved on. The philosophy of that “moving on” is chronicled in Atlas Shrugged and is only growing as more and more of those monkeys on the zoo island learn to swim and discover a big bright world outside of their intellectual confinement.