In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, the meaning of the books namesake refers to the two characters Francisco d’Anconia and Hank Rearden discussing of what Hank would tell Atlas when the world bears down on his shoulders. Basically the titan represented in this case is every one of the highly intellectual, great minds and producers of the world that without them, the world would collapse. More so, Government control bad! Individual power good! This is also the kind of book that became a quintessential bible for douchebags that are gods gift to the world and to hell with everyone else. But that’s not the issue, that was the intro to the following: If all the intellectuals just suddenly stop society would come down and the masses would be screwed. What is the opposite is true?
Think about that for a second. The great minds and producers, how did they came to be really? Did the book ever define who made them what they are, who teaches them the ebbs and flows of the world in order for them to take it all and make it for what it is. No? Then… hehehe shut the fuck up! I’m talking about everyone else. Let’s not talk about the government taking all for the public good or the bright minds providing the needed jobs and services who are not bright or productive. I’m talking about the masses, the people who both the government and the bright individuals take advantage of in order to swing their way. Those who have nobody to blame for but themselves for their shortcomings, those who are bright but not bright enough to change the world but to feed themselves and families. This leads to an interesting question: Is there a titan for those who create the great minds and producers? Who represents the minorities (not ethnic, just the generally under-represented)? Who is there to represent the “those who can’t, teach” crowd that makes the successful that would turn around and say “To hell with them!” because he/she doesn’t work to better himself.
Overall, who is there to make sure that the world Atlas is holding in his arms from turning into a big ball of shit? Sadly the answer is, there isn’t, but wish there would be one. Because we are convinced that we need them more than they ever will need us. Without the grab-all, and deliver to the poor from taking from the rich, who would defend us from foreign enemies, other states and even from ourselves? The companies and mighty corporations? And without those great thinkers no goods would be produced and who would have to cover for it then? The matter is both sides would be screwed if the masses were to leave. The people who claim that they want to keep what they produce ask yourself this: Who made that happen? Also and I nearly forgot anyone mentions protections and patents, well yeah, you have government-enforced patents to thank for that and every service that has been fought for. To the government who the thinkers don’t want their goods taken and given to the un-producing masses without the masses how would they keep afloat or stay in power?
The fact of the matter is, both sides gain power because of the regular, unmotivated, un or undereducated, benefit-sucking, cogs of society and the people who want to work but know that they can’t make it all the way up to the top and have to stay where they are. It’s all you’re gonna get, be happy with what you got. The government would have no power if the masses leave or have become so complacent they can’t take it anymore with them. The only way they can get it back is through force and fear because the opposite is anarchy and no one wants that. For the thinker, he/she fails to realize that no one gets to where they are on their own without some impact by someone else sacrificing their time and energy to get them where they are and the worst they can do is fire you and be replaced with someone else but make sure you convince them that its worth it or else they’ll leave and you won’t have that power to be, and that’s all you’ll have left.
Going back to Atlas as he holds the world on his shoulder being the mightiest thing that without him the world would fall. Who would be there to keep the ground he stands on sturdy? Who would be there to put ben-gay on his aching joints? Who would be there to keep the world clean because it would get dirty with time. The lowly candidate (theoretical of course) who didn’t get to be the guy who runs the world but had to settle with being the dead-end maintenance guy to the titan. A position that governments would take advantage of and the thinker sees it as degrading but can’t shake the fact that they can’t exist without him. Atlas would shrug if someone wasn’t there to undo it. So, like before, is there a titan to represent the rest of us who has to drive to make the world what government and producers have made? Not really. But they can’t deny that they wouldn’t be where the were without us. Like it or not guys we are really are all in this together.
Oh and a sidenote…
Doesn’t it sound a bit hypocritical that the corporations need government to enforce their rule on the masses that they can’t do themselves since ? That’s something for a new post that deals with the theoretical scenario of what happens if a corporation becomes the government.