2.20.2009

One Mind on Strike

From this week's Objectivist Roundup, I found one of the more compelling blog posts I've read in a long time. It's the story of one man's decision to go on strike because of government involvement in his work. Jim Woods writes:
We live in a time when billions of dollars of market capitalization can be wiped out by a single political speech, statutory command, or regulatory decree; and those politicians consume our lives as much as our dollars, a problem my friends have heard me complain about for decades related to my industry. ...

For me, the end started when the Democrats retook Congress in 2006. ... our public servants made it impossible to raise capital to finance new business; consequently, the America taxpayers, without much attention in the media, took over liability for tens of billions of dollars in financing and risk. The Bush Administration and Congress followed this formula later that same year, when the chickens of failed public policy came home to roost throughout the financial services industry.

It is illegal for me to be profitable in my trade, so I am on strike as I refuse to be a slave. [all emphasis added]

Read the whole post. It's tragic and inspirational at the same time. In the final (full) paragraph, as I noted in the comments on his blog, Jim not only sounds a call to arms, but comes up with an analogy I had never considered before, and I think it's perfect:
In the novel _Atlas Shrugged_, each striker chose different guises to wear in their Strike: one became a playboy, another a pirate, and another a modern Harriet Tubman. I won’t make decorative light switch covers nor will I become a hobbyist. I have been educated in politics, divined the intricacies of federal regulation, and by profession I am an Integrator, who sees the whole picture from the smallest detail to the broadest perspective, all at the same time. I will choose my own strike path… [emphasis added]
I had never considered John Galt a modern Harriet Tubman, but what a great comparison! The Underground Railroad and Galt's strike, both delivering man from slavery; the former from an immoral system, and the other from a corrupt morality.

I don't think it's time for a full-scale strike of the men of the mind... not yet. But it's clear that for some individuals, the time has come to turn their backs on a world that makes it impossible--or illegal--to live freely and productively.

4 comments:

Roy Fuller said...

The strike question is an interesting one. We all have to live, yet it is so galling to have to put up with the moronic ideas and policies foisted upon us.

My son is a teacher in the public schools. He is carefully working as a "mole" in the system, trying to not create too many enemies while working to change the thinking of his students. He is now using Anthem as a teaching tool.

There may come a time when I too will go on strike, but I have decided for now to follow my son's example and fight back in every way I can with whatever means are available to me.

In my case I have decided to politely but firmly reject the nonsense whenever the opportunity arises, such as discussions with friends and acquaintances.

I also write letters to the editor and I have created my own website (radcap.org).

The Radical Capitalist

Burgess Laughlin said...

Mysticism, altruism, and statism are destroying the world. These are not moronic ideas. Morons have ideas of only the least abstract sorts of things.

Mysticism, altruism, and statism are very abstract. They are not objective, but that doesn't mean they are moronic. I have never met anyone of low intelligence who could even begin to articulate mysticism, altruism, and statism.

Our enemy is intelligent and intellectual and few in number. The winning strategy is philosophical, intellectual, and, to some extent, political activism--preferably in-line activism but many options are available.

C. August said...

Roy, thanks for leaving a comment! I hadn't seen your blog before, so I'll be sure to check it out. It's good to hear that there is at least one rational public school teacher out there.

Burgess, I agree with you about the fundamental nature of the ideas we're fighting. I do wonder if you're concentrating too much on one word in Roy's comment, though. It didn't sound to me like he was taking mysticism/altruism/statism lightly, but was focusing on the more political aspect of the subject of my post.

If you take the word "ideas" out of his sentence, you're left with "it is so galling to have to put up with the moronic policies foisted upon us" which is a true statement. Many of the policies enacted by our government are range-of-the-moment, disconnected concretes, and are truly moronic--and it was the impact of those moronic policies that apparently led one man to conclude he could no longer work in his chosen profession.

But as you say, there are plenty of options for trying to spread the right ideas -- some of which Roy and his son are employing -- and it's always good to be reminded of ideas at the core of all the things we see going wrong.

Roy Fuller said...

While the originators of ideas may or may not be properly described as "moronic" (i.e., a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment), those who casually adopt such ideas most definitely are.

Radical Capitalist