Atlas is shrugging again – and he is us!

March 2, 2005 at 10:41 pm 7 comments

One of the feisty fellows over at The Claire Files Forums put up a searching entry tonight. He had been reading a Murray Rothbard piece from 1993, exhorting freedom-lovers to fight the system, loud-and-proud, and never to say die.  Then NMC_EXP wrote:

“I am teetering between ‘fighting the long defeat’ or hunkering down and waiting for leviathan to collapse and die of its own weight. Rothbard says continue to resist. My heart and mind tell me this fight will only serve to make me ‘crazy and old before my time’.”

I read the Rothbard piece and found myself rather angered by it, actually. So I replied to NMC_EXP:

What it comes down to is…what does it mean to “do battle against that evil?” And that’s what each of us must decide alone.

I have come to the choice to gulch because…I have realized that most people don’t WANT freedom. But I do, and I must have it. I may only have it for a few days or weeks or years yet. There’s no way to know.

Shall I use these most productive years of my precious life striving to convince those who don’t wish to hear such a message? Shall I use my life’s energy fighting to be heard, in a political system that is intent upon crushing those who think like me and yearn for real freedom? Shall I stick my neck out among them, so that they may better reach it with the blade of their guillotine? I think not.

But…Don’t confuse leaving the political fight with giving in. I haven’t given in, I’ve merely chosen to specialize, to focus my efforts toward achieving the life I want with people who want the same. The fight isn’t less real just because others don’t see or hear you fighting, or aren’t converted to your side.

Have you read Atlas Shrugged? Many of us are, right now, at the point of choice that Dagny and Rearden faced. What is right? How do I know? Only through our own individual, deep knowing and understanding can we make the choice and decide the timing and details. Even Rearden kept going for quite some time after he realized the economy was in a hopeless state.

Those of us who want freedom must take it, because if we wait for others to grant it to us, we will be waiting ourselves into our graves. But…that doesn’t preclude us from fighting in a very different way, as Galt and Francisco and Ragnar did…reaching out quietly, with passion and fellowship, to those who want what we want and can grasp what we’ve grasped.

As for the others, they may never be able or willing to grasp it, much less to embrace it. Your life is yours. You choose your own fight, you choose where to put your precious energy. You don’t sound like one to give in or to give up.

I really like what Claire Wolfe added:
“There are plenty of ways to do battle. And one is to ‘contend without contending.’

We can hurl ourselves at the walls of evil until we’re beaten and bruised and can do no more. Or we can center ourselves, focus, and quietly burrow through or beneath … or fly over the walls.

Think of the state as the Maginot Line. Impregnable, but …”

I’m intrigued by this whole line of thinking because…it’s occurring to me tonight that the heroes of Atlas Shrugged – John Galt, Francisco d’Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjold, Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, and others – are outstanding fictional examples of the kind of Outlaw I think we need to be – the kind I want to be.

They did not choose to live above the law. They chose to live outside of it – outside the reach of that which sought to ruin, maim, muzzle, mooch off, defraud, and kill them. They chose to be Outlaws. Smart. Sensible. Independent. Free. And cheerful.

And I’m more and more convinced lately that we are capable of just the same, in attitude and in action. Our scale may be smaller, our budgets tighter, our struggles less epic than theirs. And…we might not win in the end in the way they did.

But we truly, truly are seeing that book come true in our time. It’s frankly rather eerie just how pat it all seems, like a spoof that’s actually not a spoof. And that means, to me, that it isn’t farfetched at all to imagine ourselves doing the sorts of things they did, with the same kind of style and success.

Kinda cool, actually. And, come to think of it, I could get into that black satin gown and black velvet cape thing as part of my Outlaw costume.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Fear itself “It’s like I’ve been sleepin’ for years”

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Unstructuredreality  |  March 8, 2005 at 1:26 am

    I wish I had a dime for every book that is seemingly coming true for good or bad. Good work Lightning. What’s in your heart and soul will ultimately be your reality.

  • 2. H. Rearden  |  March 20, 2005 at 8:35 pm

    One day I might meet you in the gulch.

    H. Rearden

  • 3. H. Rearden  |  March 27, 2005 at 12:59 am

    I read the post again. Again I may meet you in the gulch one day.

  • 4. Taran Jordan (Lightning)  |  April 14, 2005 at 11:29 am

    Un, thanks for the support. H., I’ll hope for that day!

  • 5. Fransisco Dánconia  |  May 23, 2005 at 3:00 pm

    Very nice text about Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand! Good to see that someone fights for freedom in these days of collectivism.

  • 6. MJ Taylor  |  June 7, 2005 at 1:19 pm

    We concur! We posted a similar piece back in March.

    Is Atlas Shrugging?
    Truman West – 3/11/05

    At 100 years since Ayn Rand’s Birth, is someone stopping the motor of the world?

    M.J. Taylor
    from Reason to Freedom–>

  • 7. lemme howdt  |  April 12, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    If you would like to visit my thoughts on the topic – you are welcome to swing by the zone. thanks for editing STR – i did it once and decided it was not the best means to communicate. good luck in future endeavors


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