Introduction to Atlas Shrugged and Freedom from Bureaucrats
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books. Like another one of Rand’s works, The Virtue of Selfishness, it is a paean to free-market capitalism and all that the great minds among us can accomplish when they’re free to prosper. Many people, even communist leftists like Bernie Sanders who hate the book, know that. Atlas Shrugged and freedom from bureaucrats might seem like an odd title at first. But, if you read an understand the book, it will make all the sense in the world.
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One aspect of Atlas Shrugged that’s oft-forgotten is that the main antagonists in the book aren’t socialist provocateurs and fighters like Che Guevara or Antifa, nor are they incompetent politician like AOC. Sure, characters in the vein of both of those categories appear, but they play a secondary role to the true enemy of capitalism. That enemy is bureaucrats, exemplified in the book by men like Wesley Mouch. Those men are the real enemies of entrepreneurial spirit and prosperity.
So, when I stumbled across an article from RealClearPolitics, one of my favorite sites, called “Who is Wesley Mouch,” I knew I had to read and review that article. The title, based on the famous “Who is John Galt” saying spawned by Atlas Shrugged, drew me in and underscores the wit of the author, John Stossel. In his wonderful article, Stossel points out just how bureaucracy and overbearing bureaucrats are strangling the American economy. The whole lesson of Atlas Shrugged is that we should have freedom from bureaucrats.
Summary of Stossel’s Article on Atlas Shrugged and Freedom from Bureaucrats
Stossel begins by pointing out that Atlas Shrugged is just as relevant today as the day it was written, if not more so, because bureaucrats still inhabit D.C. and enforce their ridiculous rules on the American citizenry:
Even though Rand published “Atlas” in 1957, her descriptions of intrusive and bloated government read like today’s news…
The novel’s chief villain is Wesley Mouch, a bureaucrat who cripples the economy with endless regulations. This sounds familiar.From: Who is Wesley Mouch
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Then, Stossel gives an example of how bureaucrats strangle any potential innovation or growth because change and risk scare them. The example he gives might seem irrelevant to the grand scheme of things, but it is quite telling as to the mindset of the average D.C. regulator because it shows how they will ban anything rather than just letting the market deal with it. Hence, it shows why we need freedom from bureaucrats:
Instead of scraping dead skin off their feet, people have little garra rufa fish gently chew on them.
Fourteen states have banned fish pedicures, claiming they are unsafe, and other local governments have proposed bans. OK, compared to the assault on entrepreneurship described in “Atlas Shrugged,” this is sort of a dumb example, but look — I work in television — dumb examples can make good points.
The bureaucrats say the fish can’t be sterilized without killing them. They say customers will get infections. People could die! It’s not safe! And it’s cruel to the fish!From: Who is Wesley Mouch
Finally, Stossel describes why bureaucracy and regulation are the antithesis of freedom and says he’d much rather live free than live a life under the microscope of the overzealous regulator. Jefferson’s “tumultuous sea of liberty” and the freedom from bureaucrats that it brings is far better than any bureaucratic policy:
The free market sorts such things out far more efficiently than bureaucrats. It’s just not good business to hurt your customers. My 30 years of consumer reporting taught me that businesses rarely do this, and — here’s the market’s self-regulation — those that do don’t stay in business long. That’s not a perfect system, but it’s much better than central planning. Had today’s bureaucrats been in charge decades ago, they would have banned things like aspirin, cars and airplanes.
Sadly, they are in charge now. That makes the “Atlas” message important today…From: Who is Wesley Mouch
So, what do you think, who is Wesley Mouch?
Personally, I think it’s the FDA. That Big Government agency is acting just like the bureaucrats who regulated the Turkish fish now that it has been tasked with dealing with e-cigs and vaping. We need to get rid of the FDA, or at least radically change it, if we are ever to have the freedom from bureaucrats that America so desperately needs.
If left unregulated, the free market would sort that problem out on itself. In fact, it likely never would have been an issue because only the black-market e-cig products, the demand for which is created by FDA regulation, cause health problems. Otherwise, e-cigs are remarkably unproblematic.
But, of course, the FDA can’t accept that conclusion. Nor can any other regulatory agency. In the views of those agents and investigators, only freedom is to blame. So, the Wesley Mouchs of the world have to step in and solve all our problems by creating yet more problems. That’s what always happens when the government tries to solve problems that should be handled by individuals. To actually solve problems, we need freedom from bureaucrats. Not more bureaucrats and agencies.
Also, I thought Stossel’s article was great because despite being written in 2010, it still holds true today. Although Trump’s deregulation spree has helped lessen the burden of bureaucracy somewhat, the problem still exists and is a significant burden on American prosperity.
Conclusion to Atlas Shrugged and Freedom from Bureaucrats
Bureaucracy is a great threat to continued America prosperity. In fact, many of the other problems I’ve recently written about, such as Democrat corruption, FBI and DOJ misconduct, Liberal Fascism, and Bernie’s communist ideology, all relate to the bureaucratic state that America now is.
If we were still free from government regulation and had the freedom from bureaucrats that we need to thrive and prosper, then none of those above issues would be a major problem for society. Corruption and misconduct wouldn’t really matter because the government would have so little power to abuse. Progressives’ fascist roots also wouldn’t matter because even at their worst, they’d have little power over America.
Alas, that’s not the case. We’ve allowed the government to continue expanding year after year for decades now. So, naturally, it has immense power and that power is wielded by unelected bureaucrats, the Wesley Mouches of the real world.
Luckily, there is a solution. As you might have guessed from the title of this post, “Atlas Shrugged and freedom from bureaucrats, the solution is found in Atlas Shrugged. What is it? Freedom. Freedom from bureaucrats. With freedom, we can prosper and not have to worry about overzealous regulators or idiotic government rules. Without it, those rules impose significant costs on our economy and throttle economic growth.
To me, the answer is obvious. We need to disempower the government and empower the individual to decide what is best for him- or herself. By doing that and giving Americans freedom from bureaucrats, we’ll crush the bureaucracy and its problems.
By: Gen Z Conservative
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