Atlas Blogged #30: A very Libertarian apocalypse

November 14, 2010

Part 30 of blogging my way through my first reading of Atlas Shrugged. You can find the first part here.

Chapter 30: In The Name Of The Best Within Us

Oooh, the final chapter. This isn’t over yet – I’ll do two final posts on Atlas Shrugged to sum up. In the mean time, let’s abandon the principles we’ve maintained throughout the book!

John Galt, Rand’s monetary messiah, has been imprisoned and tortured by dreadful socialists. Her noble titans of industry, upholders of the principles of not initiating violence or achieving advantage through deception, set out to free him by lying to guards and then shooting them.

Seriously. Dagny et al free Galt by shooting and pretending to represent the Government. I suppose the ardent Randroid could claim that the Government initiated force so they’re justified in doing so, but the Government initiated force against Galt, not them. It may be advantageous to the industrial titans to free him, but that doesn’t justify breaking Rand’s principles to do it. I’ll be discussing this further in the next post.

After the ultimate victory of the Atlasocrats, they fly back to Galt’s secret mountain valley to watch civilisation collapse in comfort. Civilisation obliges.

Dagny’s faithful companion and employee, Eddie Willers, takes the last train to New York, having exhausted himself saving the last outpost of her railway. The train breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and the remaining passengers join a convoy of horse-driven carriages to seek their fortunes in what now counts as a post-civilisation world. Willers makes a last desperate effort to repair the train, and collapses sobbing in front of the engine, his tears reflecting the gleam of the train’s headlight.

Yep, the good and faithful servant of capitalism is left to die as soon as his masters have no use for him any more. Libertarians are lovely folk.

The Atlasocracy, content that civilisation has collapsed now that only poor people are left in charge, prepare for their return to the now-empty world. They rewrite the US Constitution to preclude democracy impinging on business, read Aristotle and plan their investments. Millions of people are dead – the world is mostly empty. Galt stands above the valley to announce their return, and draws the sign of the dollar over the Earth, damning it to capitalism for the rest of eternity.

Quite how they’ll construct an industrial civilisation when all their workers are dead is not quite clear. But hey, at least the ones left alive won’t be pushing for higher wages any time soon.

Part 31 is here.


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