Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Rand’s mind was conditioned in pre-revolutionary Russia and honed in the USA. Having been witness to the bloody birth of Communism, then migrating to the most capitalistic country on Earth, it is no great leap to understand how her mind works; in a nutshell – Socialist bad, Capitalist good. She built an empirical philosophy based on this (which even enjoyed some popular support for a time) but the obvious flaw to her idealistic cause was its undemocratic core (it favours Meritocracy). Even in plutocratic America such radical thought finds little long-lasting purchase. With the dilution of Communism that has taken place worldwide since the book was published in 1957 her dogma could be considered simplistic, idealistic and impractical. That said, Rand does successfully draw attention to some of the flaws that persist in liberal and socialistic thinking and her arguments towards the acceptance of personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and a high work ethic, are commonly accepted and adopted today.

The setting is a dystopian USA where an undefined event has caused changes that result in a communist-style government. Orwellian pigs govern from Washington and citizens are brainwashed to become almost drone-like. Continue reading

Blight

He surveyed his domain from the hillock behind his family’s one-room, thatched cottage. The landlord’s domain to be precise, but for the four generations preceding this year of Our Lord, 1845, his forefathers had paid the rent that made it theirs to call home. All three acres and only half of it rock and stone.

He pulled his knit cap down to shelter his immaturely balding pate against the mountain wind and focused his steady grey eyes on the troop of Redcoats on the shore road far below. He released his breath when he realised they would not bother the family today.

He set off to the potato patch, his smock flapping noisily in the wind, his legs kept dry from the mist by coarse leggings. His bare feet found purchase on clod and stone with a dexterity that told of familiarity with the exercise. He moved neither quickly nor slowly, just with the efficiency required by the task in relation to the sinking sun. Continue reading