If you havenâ€™t read the 1957 classic novel â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€, or seen the movie, now is the time. The brilliant author, Ayn Rand, emigrated from Russia in 1926 at the age of 21. In this novel, she explores a dysfunctional United States where societyâ€™s productive citizens are suffering from crushing government regulations and increasing taxation. She describes a world in which a bloated government asserts more and more control over individuals and industry, leading to the collapse of society. Businesses are closing. Industries are disappearing. Unemployment is high. The most productive citizens slowly disappear. Wesley Mouch, the dictatorial character, is the enforcer of the destructive regulations.
Societyâ€™s most dynamic and creative citizens refuse to be exploited by overwhelming taxation and government rules. They fear more government power, interference and control of their lives.
The heroine, a powerful railroad executive Dagny Taggart is the operating vice president of Taggart Transcontinental, her grandfatherâ€™s giant railroad company. Her effort is mostly spent fighting these suffocating government regulations to save her company.
Check out the DVD (Part One of the â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€ Trilogy), available through Netflix. Parts of the movie are filmed right here in the Colorado mountains. You can download the â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€ iPad app from the iTunes Store. Or search YouTube for the video â€œWhy Atlas Shrugged Changes Livesâ€.
â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€ is a timeless novel that has become even more popular today than it was when it was released in 1957, because believe it or not, the events she was describing are happening today. We are coping with the current destruction of industry, the closing of businesses and severe restrictions on domestic oil exploration causing more dependence on foreign oil. With all this uncertainty, teens and young adults are drastically limited in finding meaningful work. Along with this, our tremendous debt to China has added to our worries. Healthcare costs are beyond the reach of many, which has lead to a government takeover of the healthcare industry.
We have a meaningful parallel example of intrusive government healthcare regulations that exist right here in Fort Collins. Rulon Stacey, Ph.D and president and CEO of our local Poudre Valley Hospital has written the book â€œOver Our Heads — An Analogy on Healthcare, Good Intentions, and Unforeseen Consequencesâ€.
In it, he uses an analogy of a fictional family grocery store, and regulations that are progressively enacted, which destroy their private business operation. At all points along the way, Dr. Stacey shows how the events directly relate to actual laws enacted by politicians in Washington D.C. that have caused the ever-expanding medical costs in America.
Government over-regulation has created a healthcare monster. The goal was to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, but instead has made a system so complicated and complex that elected officials canâ€™t predict how the plan will play out. The result is escalating confusion by medical providers. Government appointed bureaucrats will decide who gets what kind of care. Ensuring good health care is the mission of our devoted doctors, nurses and other health care providers, and should not be over-ruled by non-medical politicians.
In the administration today, we have a band of elected and unelected â€œWesley Mouchesâ€ who persist in their attempts to restrict private-sector business, redistribute wealth, spend far beyond their means and slowly diminish our positive role in the world.
I heartily recommend reading both of these books to recognize how intrusive our government has become in our lives and to understand that the insanity has to stop. â€œOver Our Headsâ€ and â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€ are available through major bookstore outlets.
Lee Parsons is a retired RN living in Fort Collins.