Ed Hudgins

Atlas Shrugged: Now Non-Fiction

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Atlas Shrugged: Now Non-Fiction
By Edward Hudgins

September 12, 2014 — Atlas Shrugged Part III, the concluding installment of the film trilogy of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, is now in theaters. Its producers are on the mark to promote the film as “Now non-fiction.”

A reason for the resurgence of interest in Atlas Shrugged over the past decade is that its plot of a collapsing America parallels the sad situation in the country today. As important, the novel reveals the moral causes behind our world’s crisis.
In Atlas Shrugged, Rand paints a picture of two types of business people. There are creators who grow rich because they run efficient, productive enterprises or invent and manufacture revolutionary products. They thrive in a system in which individuals trade goods and services with one another based on mutual consent. In today’s world these are the real capitalists, such as the new tech entrepreneurs like the late Steve Jobs or like Elon Musk, creator of private rockets and the Tesla cars.
And there are the “crony capitalists,” those who use the government to secure special taxpayer handouts or regulations that cripple their competitors. They battle in a system in which raw political power determines who survives or parishes. In today’s world they are found in “green” companies like the energy firm Solyndra that cannot make products that actually works, in Wall Street banks that make reckless investments, and in auto companies like GM that build cars that are too costly to sell without massive subsidies. They are the corruption in our system.
In Atlas Shrugged, Rand shows the creators demonized as “selfish” because they love their work and grow rich through their own honest efforts. President Obama’s whole ideology is based on whipping up envy against the “one percent” and even belittling their achievements with “You didn’t build that. Someone else made it happen.” By contrast, the cronies pose as friends of the downtrodden, even as they destroy the morality of enterprise necessary for anyone who wishes to improve their lot in life.
In Atlas Shrugged, Rand shows the results of this anti-individualist dogma and the policies that follow from it: businesses, banks, and cities collapsing into bankruptcy and ruin. In today’s world, can you say “Detroit?”
In Atlas Shrugged, Rand also shows the creators who refuse to sanction their own destroyers, who refuse to be sacrificial victims, who refuse to suffer as they hold up the world for those who condemn them taking the only moral action they can. They go on strike. They shrug. One outstanding entrepreneur after another quietly disappears, leaving the looters to fight over what few crumbs are left.
In today’s world, we more and more see Atlases shrugging. We see investors sitting on perhaps $1 trillion in capital that they refuse to put into productive enterprises that are vulnerable to Obama’s jihad against the “wealthy.” We see businesses moving from high tax states with heavy-handed regulations to more friendly jurisdictions, for example, a flood of firms moving from California to Arizona and Nevada.
We see American enterprises setting up legal residency in other countries to avoid the rising American tax burden, as Burger King recently did by becoming a Canadian company. Obama and the Democrats are desperate to stop this “tax inversion” because they are running out of victims. And we see medical doctors taking early retirement or going on a cash-only basis to avoid being under the weight of Obamacare.
And in Atlas Shrugged, Rand shows that the path to a free, prosperous society and to personal happiness is a philosophy of rational self-interest. Individuals must assert their right to their own lives and to the liberty to pursue values, careers, family and friends that fulfill them. They must take pride in their achievements, whether nurturing a child to maturity or a business to profitability; whether writing a song, poem, or business plan; whether designing a building, laying its bricks, or arranging for its financing. They must never be guilt-tripped into servitude.
Only then can we live in a world as it can be and should be.
---
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.
For further information:
David Kelley, editor, Atlas Shrugged: The Novel, the Films, and the Philosophy. September 2014.

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nurturing a child to maturity

Oh jeez, you mean like to middle age? My stock broker is paying for two kids in grad school, cars, apartments, the whole works.

Private elementary, middle school, high school, and college cost him at least $1 million. Two of the dumbest kids I've ever met.

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nurturing a child to maturity

Oh jeez, you mean like to middle age? My stock broker is paying for two kids in grad school, cars, apartments, the whole works.

Private elementary, middle school, high school, and college cost him at least $1 million. Two of the dumbest kids I've ever met.

Well of course, they are "the victims" in life...

I see nurturing a child to help that child become self sufficient, independent of mind, courageous in

their decisions and possessed of integrity.

After that, they are on their own.

A...

My parents did not pay for my college education...which made it truly valuable to me...

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There's another problem with Ed's narrative. Elon Musk is a government looter.

When you donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-election campaigns and push more hundreds of thousands of dollars through lobbying, you expect a little more back than the measly $95.6 million that SolarCity received in stimulus grants. The company, chaired by none other than Elon Musk, had applied for $325 million in federal aid in the same program that 'helped' Solyndra (and Tesla) and is now, according to the Wall Street Journal, suing the government for underpayment of green-energy subsidies. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-08/elon-musks-solarcity-sues-government-more-subsidies

Even with the support of federal and state politicians, Tesla would still be reporting losses were it not for its ability to profit off of other auto manufacturers in California. In the first quarter of 2013, Tesla reported its first-ever quarterly profit by using special credits from California's Air Resources Board, which rewards auto manufacturers for the production of "zero-emission" vehicles. So far this year, Tesla was able to turn what would have been a $57 million loss into an $11 million gain by selling $68 million worth of these credits to other auto manufacturers in California. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/06/03/teslas-success-is-the-result-of-political-favoritism

Both of Elon Musk’s companies, Tesla and SpaceX, survive on government subsidies to the tune of $465M for Tesla and $278M for SpaceX, for a grand total of $743M or nearly 3/4 of a billion in tax-payer money... With Mr. Musk’s background, track record, and connections, how could he not be able to line-up the hundreds of millions of dollars he will need to complete Falcon 9 and the Dragon capsule? ... Perhaps the market suspects that SpaceX’s 2-year delay in launching Falcon 9, eerily reminiscent of its Falcon 1 experience, presages other delays? And lest anyone forget, Mr. Musk is a billionaire—so why not fund SpaceX out of his own pocket? http://www.americaspace.com/?p=2816
At year-end 2012, SpaceX had over 40 [future] launches on its manifest representing about $4 billion in contract revenue—with many of those contracts already making progress payments ... government (NASA/DOD) customers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s rocket test that ended with an explosion over Texas may slow a U.S. decision on a contract to take astronauts to the International Space Station, an aerospace analyst said. The company led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk said the F9R vehicle self-destructed automatically after an “anomaly” following the Aug. 22 launch in McGregor, Texas. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is nearing a decision among contenders including SpaceX for manned missions to the station by 2017. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-25/spacex-failure-seen-slowing-nasa-pick-on-capsule-contract.html

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Ed, Perhaps your children, the "Dagnys of the future, " will be running the Hudgins-Taggart Transplanetary Shuttles to a new "Atlantis" on Terra Planitia https://www.google.com/search?q=mars+terra+planitia&biw=1366&bih=604&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=qUkTVNfqJoWsyATQxIAY&ved=0CDkQsAQ (unless, of course, they build in the Valles Marineris, Then, they would truly be in Galt's Gulch! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valles_Marineris

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In Atlas Shrugged, Rand paints a picture of two types of business people. There are creators who grow rich because they run efficient, productive enterprises or invent and manufacture revolutionary products. They thrive in a system in which individuals trade goods and services with one another based on mutual consent. In today’s world these are the real capitalists, such as the new tech entrepreneurs like the late Steve Jobs or like Elon Musk, creator of private rockets and the Tesla cars.

And there are the “crony capitalists,” those who use the government to secure special taxpayer handouts or regulations that cripple their competitors. They battle in a system in which raw political power determines who survives or parishes. In today’s world they are found in “green” companies like the energy firm Solyndra that cannot make products that actually works, in Wall Street banks that make reckless investments, and in auto companies like GM that build cars that are too costly to sell without massive subsidies. They are the corruption in our system.

Meanwhile, in the real world, these distinctions are starry eyed idealism. If you have a society with lots of business activity, then you are inevitably going to have some "crony capitalists", too. It's impossible to fully eliminate them, so the best we can do is curb their influence. That a capitalist society may have corruption does not negate its status as capitalism: it's just capitalism with corruption.

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It's pleasant to imagine that if a shining Galt's Gulch is ever created in our world, it will not be darkened by black clouds like Wolf.

Good double joke, that facts are black clouds and that Galt's Gulch was (or ought to be) shiny.

I hesitate to be blunt, but the truth often is. Your daughters were born in New Rome on the Potomac?

My daughter was born in Galt's Gulch.

chaiseoutdoor.jpg shown here in a teak recliner I designed and built, her mom sewed the cushion

She was never put in suburban kiddie daycare (as yours apparently are) and she's on her third passport, traveled to five continents.

Her pilot's flight bag is in the living room, a heavy black vinyl thing on wheels with zipper pockets stuffed full of manuals and checklists and maps and flight calculators; no different than the flight bag you'd see a commercial pilot wheel along into the cockpit of his 747.

She completed aviation ground school in four months, the youngest candidate at age 12, and now has 5 hours logged as Pilot Flying with her instructor as a co-pilot. She learned to do the complete pre-flight engine, fuel, and control surface checks. She did her own taxiing and takeoffs and landings, sitting on a pillow so she could see over the instrument panel. I watched her take off in a strong crosswind. My heart was in my throat as her plane wobbled aloft.

When she was 10 years old, I watched her trot and canter and jump a huge stallion over four-foot fences, keeping his head high, whipping him to keep pace and leap again. We don't grow children by keeping them safe.

[COGIGG, p.19]

It would serve you to be more curious than proud.

51xqnoRvGFL.jpg

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Jerry - That's the plan! To get them started I took them to an event where Buzz Aldrin--who has a chapter in my space book--was signing his new book on going to Mars and introduced my girls as the first twins who would visit either the Moon or the Red Planet! After they charmed Buzz they wouldn't turn to the camera for a photo op so I did a little cutting and pasting.

By the way, in the his chapter in my book, Aldrin outlines his design for both a Moon-Earth and Mars-Earth "cycling" system which would have spaceships doing gravitational swings in a constant cycle between those bodies. Aldrin did his Ph.D. before he went into space on orbital rendezvous.

Buzz-twins-2_zpsb5c4d0fe.jpg

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Jerry - That's the plan! To get them started I took them to an event where Buzz Aldrin--who has a chapter in my space book--was signing his new book on going to Mars and introduced my girls as the first twins who would visit either the Moon or the Red Planet! After they charmed Buzz they wouldn't turn to the camera for a photo op so I did a little cutting and pasting.

By the way, in the his chapter in my book, Aldrin outlines his design for both a Moon-Earth and Mars-Earth "cycling" system which would have spaceships doing gravitational swings in a constant cycle between those bodies. Aldrin did his Ph.D. before he went into space on orbital rendezvous.

Buzz-twins-2_zpsb5c4d0fe.jpg

Ed,

Great pictures, great kids, bright futures!

BTW, I had included a link to pics of Terra Planitia, but I really meant Utopia Planitia, a reference to the Star Fleet orbital shipyards and proposed colony on the surface. Upon looking Utopia Planitia up on Google, I found that there are links to elaborate plans and detailed "photos" of the orbital shipyards. Nice to plan ahead! Maybe we'll get there if this society gets its priorities straight! One step at a time, I guess!

- Jerry

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In Atlas Shrugged, Rand paints a picture of two types of business people. There are creators who grow rich because they run efficient, productive enterprises or invent and manufacture revolutionary products. They thrive in a system in which individuals trade goods and services with one another based on mutual consent. In today’s world these are the real capitalists, such as the new tech entrepreneurs like the late Steve Jobs or like Elon Musk, creator of private rockets and the Tesla cars.

And there are the “crony capitalists,” those who use the government to secure special taxpayer handouts or regulations that cripple their competitors. They battle in a system in which raw political power determines who survives or parishes. In today’s world they are found in “green” companies like the energy firm Solyndra that cannot make products that actually works, in Wall Street banks that make reckless investments, and in auto companies like GM that build cars that are too costly to sell without massive subsidies. They are the corruption in our system.

Meanwhile, in the real world, these distinctions are starry eyed idealism. If you have a society with lots of business activity, then you are inevitably going to have some "crony capitalists", too. It's impossible to fully eliminate them, so the best we can do is curb their influence. That a capitalist society may have corruption does not negate its status as capitalism: it's just capitalism with corruption.

It would thus be reasonable to consider the legitimacy of the legal entity which is the corporation.

--Brant

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