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Atlas Shrugged a Requiem?

Posted by rbroberg 5 years, 3 months ago to Politics
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One of the most interesting points discussed in Objectivist circles is, of course, the prediction of how the current USA compares to that depicted in the novel. The question that arises quite consistently is how far the US can slide into the Peoples' State before the dramatic end to that system. I have heard predictions from others, some of whom never read AS, that we are slated for a financial crash, an oil drought, a terror attack, martial law, etc. How true or likely is this claim? And can we, as educated Objectivists, lend insight to when or how this could occur?


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  • Posted by dwlievert 5 years, 3 months ago
    Time and wisdom has informed my thoughts on such things. Had I been alive in the thirties, possessing the perspective that I had gleaned from reading Rand's profound and seminal novel (impossible of course), as well as other of her works, I would have concluded, "this is it! It's over"........

    Of course, as history has unfolded, that would have thus far been an expression of ignorance rather than wisdom - a dropping of context while claiming the embrace of same.

    Baring nuclear exchange, the ideas that gave birth to our beloved America, continuing in their obscene destruction, will precipitate the endless injustices associated with our suicide.

    However, human nature and our ability to take advantage of it, individually and collectively, will continue to make the rot as "slow" as possible. That "slowness" after all, is what Galt hastened.........

    Will there be a sudden economic collapse that precipitates any or all of the dire consequences cited by others who understand the folly underway? Perhaps. On the other hand and contrary to views of many, those who now wield unprecedented political power know perfectly well what is underway. They will continue to do whatever is necessary to prevent such a sudden disaster.

    However, no one can control what will, at some point, become uncontrollable.

    Meanwhile, each of us should live our lives to the fullest, as we try to teach our progeny while setting examples for our fellow citizens. Examples that demonstrate REALITY - in its most naked and "innocent" of lights.

    To my fellow Objectivists: Lead with your life not just with your mouth. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an example is worth ten thousand.

    Never give up to such an obscene and impotent foe - i.e., as Roark replied to Toohey, "but I don't think of you Ellsworth."

    Dave
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    • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
      Our money is worthless in fact now. Imagine if your assets denominated in dollars just weren't there. Business would stop. The government would let you exchange dollars for "new" ones, backed by nothing. Gold would be illegal again. The NSA would tap everything and prevent any organized resistance. The Clinton and their hacks would declare ultimate government power. Rand was right in predicting the crash. It's the only way. Look at how trump is treated fighting the establishment. If he is defeated, who else is ever going to stand up and fight politically again?
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  • Posted by JuliBMe 5 years, 3 months ago
    To me, as a lover of our Exceptional Nation, I still hold out hope that we, as a people, will turn it around. There has never been a nation like this one founded on the natural right of Individual Liberty. So, it stands to reason that somehow we will be able to avoid the complete destruction depicted in Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand's warnings years ago have been disseminated the world over. Surely, since only 10% of the population participated in the American Revolution, there's enough people who will stop this beautiful country's complete slide under a criminal government's thumb?
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    • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 3 months ago
      Like you, I also love this nation and the principles upon which it was founded. If America falls, it will only be because enough of the people supported a descent away from the original ideas that made it great in the first place.

      Where I take hope is that it is only in the largest cities where people are largely divorced from the realities of life who overwhelmingly vote for Progressives. I also take hope in the fact that the Progressives are severely undermining one of the major groups that they would need to effect a major takeover in the Police Departments. By supporting the BLM ilk and their rioting and looting, they alienate one of the single greatest groups they would actually need. The other are the armed forces, which because the US runs on a voluntary military are staunchly patriotic. What the Progressives would have to do is to create their own army of brown-shirts (hailing back to Stalin/Hitler) and literally create civil war in order to really take over.

      Or they can simply do what they have been doing for 100 years: persuade stupid and thoughtless Americans that they can invent money and jobs out of thin air. Why change what works, right?

      Of course, what I really think they are doing is intentionally creating the circumstances for a wide-scale economic collapse so they can ride in like saviors, impose martial law, and force everyone into a re-enactment of the feudal system where they see themselves as the ruling class.
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    • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
      The problem is that the US dollar is already bankrupt in fact. It is backed by nothing just like the stock market- and both can crash at any time the trust in the system is lost.
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      • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
        Whether the dollar is backed by a commodity or not, it is only worth what receiver of the dollar believes it to be worth. It is worth only the promise made by an honest person, just as when you purchase something there is the promise that what you are getting is not some worthless junk. Dollars are worth what you can exchange them for in your own mental comparisons. No different than bartering. Dollars can become worth less, not necessarily worthless, if too many are printed and too few goods and services are available to trade them for.
        Earlier you wrote "Our money is worthless in fact now". Why are you still able to exchange it if it is worthless? Kind of a dishonesty there if you are doing a con job on ignorant people by giving them something you know to be worthless for something of worth. Buyer beware is not something to take advantage of with those who do not understand with your great wealth of wisdom.
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        • Posted by JuliBMe 5 years, 3 months ago
          I agree. Plus, if this economy is unleashed as was originally intended, some of us might be completely surprised at how big the proverbial "pie" gets.
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          • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
            Maybe better would be personal wealth rather than some kind of collective pie as seen by what looks like a majority today.
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            • Posted by JuliBMe 5 years, 3 months ago
              Okay, you're getting in the weeds. The "pie" references neither collectivist nor personal wealth.....it is a METAPHOR. Yes, the proverbial "pie" is referenced by statists and collectivists as in wanting their piece of it (or ensuring their voters get their piddling piece of it by THEFT) as in the size of it is static, which it is not. When I referenced it above, it's obvious I am talking about how the pie GROWS.
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              • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
                The whole purpose for the 'pie' metaphor is the idea that a pie can be divided and for the growing pie there can be either larger pieces or it can be divided in to more pieces. The economy is just the individuals gaining their own economic values, i.e., their individual wealth, which sometimes is a divisible real pie since a metaphorical pie is not divisible outside of the conceptual realm and is not able to be reified. There is no 'how the pie GROWS' since there is no collective pie in the first place, just individual wealth. Of course that can grow depending on the individual and the degree of government interference.
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                • Posted by JuliBMe 5 years, 3 months ago
                  You know, I'm sorry. It's a reference used by Rush Limbaugh all the time that I understand completely when he is saying it and has worked its way into my automatic thinking. I used it wrong because I, obviously, am not chatting with people who listen to him. Apologies.

                  My only reason for using the "pie" reference is to disparage STATISTS who have NO dynamic thinking or understanding how the economy works. Of course, there is NO PIE. THEY think there is, so they must steal from ALL to get theirs. Because if they don't, they will get NONE due to their being a bunch of malcontents and complete inability to think of work as anything other than LABOR rather than OCCUPATION.

                  Yes, the economy grows when the conditions are set for the government to stay away as I was referencing above in my first "pie" comment. The economy shrinks when government, in all its INFINITE (delusional) WISDOM inserts itself into it.
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                  • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
                    All thinking is dynamic by definition. Life is dynamic, else it dies. Statists have what can be termed wrong premises about rational animals. They consider them as part of a group and think from that premise, which is purely a concept in their minds and not part of the real world. Individual rational animals work from premises made from percepts which come from sense data and reference actual existing real things. They are capable of distinguishing existing things from what appears to be groups of them and understand that they are the directors of their own actions, while the collectivists see group action and believe that the dynamics is due to the group as a whole rather than due to cooperation among individuals.

                    Real pies are interesting and mirror what happens in a governed system. As a group, a family, say, has a mother, a father, children, and possibly other live in persons. In my family, as a child, my mother made good chocolate pies with a tasty whipped topping. As a child I could see no good reason to wait to eat it as a desert but mother was the governor and kept rules as to how to use the pie so that there was no runaway in the family economy. I and my siblings and especially my father would have had the pie gone before desert time. Government is that way, a way of keeping a country from overheating and coming apart in warring factions. Wouldn't want all those little real pies to be ruined by others before the owners decided what to do with them.

                    A little hint. No SHOUTING is necessary for emphasis.
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                    • Posted by JuliBMe 5 years, 3 months ago
                      Adding capitals to static one font textual words is precisely MY way of EMPHASIZING and is NOT shouting. THIS IS SHOUTING!

                      And, no all thinking is NOT dynamic. Here is a definition I found that explains it well:

                      Dynamic thinking is the study of the interconnected relationships on an event and the impact of those interactions upon the outcomes of the system.

                      Leftists don't know nor care about the impact of their group-think "sacred cows". 56 Million aborted babies quite likely slowed the progress of MANY things not least of which might have been real cures for terrible diseases. Someone not born from the 1970's quite likely could have or would have found the cure for lung cancer or breast cancer or leukemia. Leftists SAY they care about others and curing diseases. However, they never think about the genocide they promote with their lock-step "choice" to kill the unborn. Though I LOVE babies, it is some comfort to me that it is quite likely mostly future leftists being aborted rather than conservatives. Cruel thought but true.

                      The Congressional Budget Office (CBO - an acronym, not an emphasis) as far as I've heard, ALWAYS score tax cuts without taking into account my point above, national happiness (which can't be quantified) and the boost in productivity (which ALWAYS happens but also is very hard to quantify). This is why the leftists and statists ALWAYS use CBO numbers to state that ALL tax cuts COST the government money when that CLEARLY is NOT the case. This is also why it is SO much easier to THINK and argue like a leftist than it is for conservatives to make their points. DYNAMIC thinking is too hard for leftists to understand and is even harder for conservatives to try to explain these things to the dullards. There are some conservatives very skilled at teaching, but they also must have a healthy dose of courage in this climate.

                      I think you and I mostly agree but tend to butt heads on some fine points. LOL, have a nice evening!
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        • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
          The dollar is a promise backed by nothing at all except the government's ability to extract something from other people to back it up.

          What really backs it up currently is basically blind trust, thats all. Trust can evaporate overnight and result in your dollars become worthless. Check out the venezuelan money- same thing.
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          • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
            So can desire for some hard currency evaporate, especially with inflation of the supply of it. Nothing has intrinsic value. All value is created in the minds of rational animals and then their working to find out whether there is agreement with others, if not, then it only has value to the holder of the currency giving personal bankruptcy. Today's money is still valued by a belief that a god's hand is behind the printing press and so all is well, the 'In God We Trust' money and not the 'E Pluribus Unum' money of many decades ago where the USA was behind the money.
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            • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
              But the trust people have in the dollar is misplaced when our government simply debases it by printing more of it and then spending it. Once that trust is lost the basis of the money is lost also.
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              • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
                Reality never promised rational animals anything. Seeking trust is the main thing that drives human action together with others. Trusting the exchange media is key to economic exchange but there is no way to guarantee individual valuation of the exchange media.
                If dollars held by foreigners return to the US economy, it will depend upon what they buy. If new industry and labor though some price rises by suppliers. If competing with domestic dollars for goods, then like an inflation of the money supply since those dollars have already been duplicated by the FED, there would be price rises and some loss of trust in the currency. Suppose gold or some other commodity were held by others outside the domestic economy. Then when it was exchanged for good, it would act as with currency and gold investments might lose some trust due to loss of trust if it loses exchange value. Trust is very dynamic.
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                • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
                  I lived through the inflation of the 70's and 80's. People just accepted the government's claim that inflation was caused by suppliers raising prices, so the government escaped responsibility for it. This time around, they figured out how to print money without it showing up in their inflation index. The inflation of the money supply is there anyway but its hidden but is being hidden by companies laying off workers and buying things cheaper from chinese suppliers. In certain industries, like restaurants, and other things which are actually made in the USA, price inflation is showing up anyway
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                  • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
                    Much of the inflation (increase) of money supply is being held overseas and will enter the US money supply when interest rates raise. At present, with interest rates held low by the FED with the belief that not enough money is available to support the economy, money is printed and hidden away in possible profit earning investments which help create some bubbles which need to eventually burst into recession or depression. Businesses collude with government to hide price rises and their causes while thus making the inflation worse by the appearance that all is well except that you get less at the same old price. They also make it look like real wages and salaries are rising. But workers tend to expect more income, even though with less value, and always complain that the higher income is not enough. In a way, citizens are responsible for their government choosing inflation to keep them from complaining. Would the citizens want to deal with hard currency with the latest generation not wanting even to make their own breakfasts because it is easier to order them out. They would have to pay attention in early school to figure out gold or silver coins, etc. Short of a complete redo of human beliefs, I do not see anything but future human laziness from the masses.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 5 years, 3 months ago
      "since only 10% of the population participated in the American Revolution,"
      I agree. I suspect at least 10% today are still willing to risk our personal wealth and safety for the cause of liberty.
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      • Posted by JuliBMe 5 years, 3 months ago
        LOL, since "wealth" isn't a factor for me and safety is becoming "iffy" anyway, where do I sign up?

        By the way, since political hacks have destroyed the concept of Sacred Honor, where do the American people go to get theirs back?
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  • Posted by Bbrigham 5 years, 3 months ago
    Remarkable how prophetic Ayn was, including Wyatt discovering how to get oil from shale. The collusion of private interests with government, as Ayn warned us, is creating compounding distortions that in my view will inevitably lead to extremely volatile corrections, that will be blamed by the perpetrators in government on capitalism to justify ever more intervention. The Fed's manipulation of markets is unsustainable and I believe disastrous, possibly as early as 2017.
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 5 years, 3 months ago
    Great, common question. I am guessing we'll either have a terrorist attach and/or biological scare (like a bird flu) that will trigger martial law. This, of course, will all just be theater and manipulation. I think it comes down to how ready the public is to accepting martial law. Frankly...I think they're damned close now.

    Hillary will be our next President. There's your answer...
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  • Posted by Blanco 5 years, 3 months ago
    I have absolutely no doubt that America and the world will experience economic depression within a decade. However, there are simply too many variables to make any prediction more precise than that. Whether good things will come out of the chaos or just more bad things, again it is impossible to accurately surmise.
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  • Posted by $ mminnick 5 years, 3 months ago
    Read "1984" and compare it to how the Deocrat/Progressive wing (read as all) of the Democrat party is doing and moving. They change history at the drop of a hat, remake entire scenario and then lie about it to one and all. Given the progressive control of secondary and college education, the growing minority and soon to be majority of people will have been educated (brain washeda0 into the progreswsive way of thinking and acting. Once that tippinmg point is reached, it's all over.
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  • Posted by sgtbilko 5 years, 3 months ago
    We are not descending into socialism. We are descending into fascism. There has been dicussion about transitioning into a cashless society by eliminating all bill larger than $10. An id numberfor all payment (ss#) is sure to follow. Gold and silver will be illegal.
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    • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
      Fascism is one of the forms of socialism where government, though it does not outright take ownership of business, it directs business operations. Capitalism is the same as freedom of action in business and in ones own economic life.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 5 years, 3 months ago
    I'm in the 10% will lay it on the line. Since I don't have the financial resources to promote a revolution, I do have my voice and I can write my thoughts on-line. If Clinton get's elected in November I will add to my firearms. She could lead this nation done the rabbit hole. I don't know if the all the others in the 10% of the population will be able to get together without the govt knowing about it.
    Let's say the govt can't meet it's obligation on paying the interest on the debt, the Fed Res keeps manipulating the markets and the bubble that a lot of the financial manager's keep talking about bursts then in the ensuing chaos the conditions will right for the 10%. The other alternative which I believe in is that Secession of the States will occur.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 5 years, 3 months ago
    I am certain there will be economic crises, energy crises, and sneak attacks. They've been with us throughout history and will not stop. I'm concerned that the US is complacent. People think Thomas Jefferson and George Washington set up a country based on liberty, and there's no risk whatsoever that it's a 300-year blip that history will view as "the industrial revolution and golden age of personal liberty". I don't think that will happen, but we should have a healthy fear. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, I bet most people didn't think it would become an expression meaning when something is really lost and past the point of getting back.

    I'm still optimistic, though, because in many ways we've moved forward in personal liberty. We're much less tolerance of bigotry and violence. We've moved forward in those areas. When the next big human crisis hits, let's say when someone sets off a crude nuclear bomb in DC, and we are ready to turn over all liberty to the gov't, I hope the same impulse that has reduced violence and bigotry will make us not give up freedom.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 5 years, 3 months ago
    If Hillary Clinton becomes President, the kleptocracy will become standard. Pay for play will become as ubiquitous as the old policy of baksheesh in the Ottoman empire, an entity we seem to be following into collapse.

    Empires collapse from within, but outside events, not infrequently encouraged by the perception of weakness and corruption in the empire, can accelerate the collapse. Russia senses an opportunity to regain a more prominent position on the world stage, convinced the U.S. will always shrink from serious confrontation. China also smells American fear, but is conflicted about endangering its best customer. One driver toward a clash with China is the imbalance between male and female sexes in China, with over four million young men in excess. Such a testosterone driven pool of resources cries out for violent conflict. Battles with China's neighbors, like India and Vietnam may be the outlet, but America can't remain distant from such clashes.

    We will remain the primary target for Islamic terrorism, and a Clinton open borders policy will invite a larger population of terrorists to inflict an increasing number of casualties. Even if we successfully stamp out ISIS in the Middle East, there will be a diaspora of experienced terrorist fighters eager for revenge.

    Clinton's hawkish attitude, arrogance, and stupidity in foreign relations will leave us further buried in conflict, deeper in debt, and without allies. Even if she does not succeed in implementing all of her policies, civil conflict will grow quickly, possibly leading to martial law and the end to American liberty. A new civil war will be slow to start, given the American public's implied consent to growing government power, but a tipping point toward violence is possible.

    Trump is not invulnerable to events out of our control, but he stands a better chance of avoiding catastrophe. Whether he can be effective enough to save the republic is hard to say.
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    • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
      Trump can delay the inevitable result of socialism. But he is our last shot. Look at what he goes through to fight the establishment. If he loses, no one else is going to stand up with their own money and try it again. Like him or not, we need to elect him
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  • Posted by gcarl615 5 years, 3 months ago
    When ever I hear this question posed, I always think of the saying "I'm dancing as fast as I can". I think that is exactly what our government is doing now. Dancing just as fast as they can to delay the inevitable, if even only by one day. Their lives depend on it.
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  • Posted by Eyecu2 5 years, 3 months ago
    While I do not believe that it will come to the appolcaliptic position of the book. I certainly believe that it is nearing a major turning point.
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    • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
      Just check out Venezuela. When the government spends our wealth in US dollars , the same thing will happen here
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      • Posted by Eyecu2 5 years, 3 months ago
        Agreed; however, even the things that are going on in Venezuela are not as bad as in AS.
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        • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
          not yet. the government is into the nationalizing of industry. Companies that dont subject themselves to bankruptcy unless they help prop up the government are being taken over. Basic staples are essentially unavailable to the average citizen. It will get worse there if they dont just kill off Maduro once and for all.
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          • Posted by Eyecu2 5 years, 3 months ago
            Agreed. I expect people to look out for their own best interest before it gets as far as the book.
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            • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
              I wonder about that. Look at the support for Hillary. She is as crooked as they have ever come, and all hillary supporters think about is how much worse it MIGHTbe with someone who is anti-establishment. If Trump wins, I grant your argument. If he doesnt win, I say its going to have to get a LOT worse. Hillary will put us in cement shoes with her crooked cronyism if she gets elected.
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              • Posted by Eyecu2 5 years, 3 months ago
                I agree but even as HORRIBLE as Hillary is I don't think America will get as far down this road during the time that Hillary might be in office.
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                • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
                  We will have $15 minimum wage, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, an easy path to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens, continual trillion dollar deficits and probably a total 40% total inflation of the currency, not to mention paid maternity leave and sick pay along with free college and substantial write offs of existing college debt. Also expanded Medicare/Medicaid for everyone.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 5 years, 3 months ago
    I'm beginning to think that waiting for the coming collapse is like the impending second coming. Even though all the signs are there and more and more everyday...no one knows for sure. The fact that it hasn't already is bewildering, it's a mystery...Or...maybe that's what they want us to think...?
    There you go...full circle and still no definitive answer.

    Maybe...just maybe...it'll collapse when "We" stop adapting, when "We" give up...it'll collapse when "We" collapse...Maybe? Just a thought.
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    • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
      We will all fight to keep our lives going. We only have one life to live. But we can either move to somewhere else or just become independent or simply hide in plain sight and not support the establishment.
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 5 years, 3 months ago
        That is a major premise of mine...what happens if we just Stop doing business with them?
        It would be "they", the system, the establishment, the paradigm...,... that would collapse.
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        • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
          But that means we have to essentially stop living for the most part. The book ALONGSIDE NIGHT is an interesting alternative- hiding in plain sight. I like that idea.
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        • Posted by lrshultis 5 years, 3 months ago
          That is, if that were possible. In the Soviet Union, when politics did not dictate, there was still excellent math and physics being done by those who were not forced to think. Thinking goes on in many, even if it has to be secretive. When politics tries to direct thinking you get something like Trofim Denisovich Lysenko and his theory of acquired characteristics which set back Soviet biology for many decades. He was not directed into creating the theory, but politics made it the accepted theory. Here, we have for several decades, through several incarnations, the politically accepted climate change non discussion with fear of job loss or funding cut.
          Over the fifty years since I first read Atlas Shrugged, I have sometimes thought that the end was near, but even today, for it to come near to conditions in Atlas Shrugged, it is not even close. For the citizen, it is possible to freely do most anything which the government in its great wisdom has not outlawed do to being too dangerous, including loving, frying ones brain with legal drugs and with every known irrationality, eating too much, and every other thing that some still cannot get banned. My recommendation would be for everyone to stop pretending that there is a really essential difference between harm from accidents and from intentional acts. For example, the killing of 20+ children in a school shooting was intentional and considered reason to clamp down on individual rights, while on average weekly the same number of children of the same age group have their lives snuffed out by automobile related accidents without a call to stop the freedom to drive. Death and accidents are just one of the risks for deciding to live one life. Improvements in the rates can be had with thought as in medicine, new ideas, etc. Just do not give up liberty and the free will that goes with it.
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  • Posted by chad 5 years, 3 months ago
    When I was young I often thought there would be a point where it was obvious to the masses that prefer slavery that slavery is a bad idea. There would be some 'tipping point' where people would realize their were better off free. We have passed many such mile posts without so much as a whimper and proceeded toward the totalitarian state without hesitation. It is more likely America will slowly drown and is nearly there now. If a disaster were to materialize the masses will demand even greater control so their lives won't be so frightening. At this point there is little hope that any such thing as liberty will return, there are too many who want to be slaves who would not allow it. The best hope of living free is to live unobserved, unreported and slip away without being noticed.
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  • Posted by philosophercat 5 years, 3 months ago
    Venezuela is 18 years into its decline under socialism but its collapse is not looked on as a consequence of the idea of socialism. Cuba is 50 years of a 90 mile away example to the USA just as East Germany was to West Germany but intellectuals did not see that the idea of socialism necessitated the consequence of economic collapse and totalitarianism. Rand wrote AS because unless you know what the good is and why you should fight for it, you cannot defeat evil. As Miss Rand said we need a moral revolution before we can have a political one. You can only have a moral revolution if you can solve the analytic/synthetic dichotomy and show how matter can have thoughts. If you want to change the world study Locke. We owe the last remnants of freedom to him. We owe the future to Ayn Rand and our hard work.
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  • Posted by term2 5 years, 3 months ago
    Going to be a long time. A lot of wealth to squander first. I will estimate 40-50 years of continual decline. The NSA will prevent revolution. Socialism works until the other guys money runs out
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