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“Who is John Galt?”

That’s how Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand starts off. I’ve been hearing about this book over and over for the last year, so I decided I had to read it. I finally finished the book. It was no easy task as it is 1,070 pages long. Hello!

As the book goes on it reveals who John Galt is. Is he a myth or legend? Is he real or an archetype? All are true.

Atlas Shrugged was an amazing book. Should I ever make a list of my top ten books it will definitely make it. The book is set in the late 50’s but it is completely relevant to today. In fact, it scared me as I read on because it was almost prophetic in its fictional depictions and predictions.

It tells the story of a world of countries and leaders that have succombed to the temptation of larger and larger government policies in order to ‘fix’ the problems of society. All under the guise of helping the people, power hungry officials suffocate the creativity, productivity, and individuality of the citizens.

The last outpost and final straw in these world events is America. But in the story, it is barreling toward socialism as hunger, crime, and disease increase.

Rand paints a picture set against the backdrop of a fictional story that projects what may happen should Marxist philosophies prevail on a large worldwide scale. I found it to be very intrguing and terrifying at the same time. The end result is that there are less jobs, less opportunity, and less safety and comfort in the lives of the citizens.

The solution? More government and regulations. It’s a familiar cycle: government makes the problem, and then decides the solution is more government…

As individuals are guaranteed jobs and income not tied to performance, behavior, or creativity it falls apart. In an effort to promote this new enlightenment, the nation’s people actually devolve. And the more this new morality is promoted the less integrity people possess. Productivity, self-worth, and responsibility begin to crumble.

People actually get worse, not better, in an effort to protect individuals from disappointment and failure. As government tries to protect the citizens from themselves, it fails to realize that what the people need is to be protected from the lofty and misguided ideas of government itself.

Sound familiar?

A quote by Thomas Jefferson kept coming to mind as I read. He said something like, “When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.”

I couldn’t believe how relevant this book was for today. And I guess I’m not the only one. There is an Atlas Shrugged movie in the works!

Read it. I highly recommend it. It was incredible.

Don’t shrug it off. Meeting John Galt was quite an experience.