Saturday, March 05, 2005

Don't Go Back to Starnesville...


Over at Stones Cry Out, Rick has posted a sad tale of debauchery as a testiment to the dehumanization of collectivism. Recent events in Angers, France revive recollections of Ayn Rand's fictional illustration of Starnesville from her novel, Atlas Shrugged - an excerpt of which can be read below and the entire account here.
"We voted for that plan at a big meeting, with all of us present, six thousand of us, everybody that worked in the factory. The Starnes heirs made long speeches about it, and it wasn't clear, but nobody asked any questions. None of us knew just how the plan would work, but every one of us thought that the next fellow knew it. And if anybody had doubts, he felt guilty and kept his mouth shut - because they made it sound like anyone who'd oppose the plan was a child-killer at heart and less thana
human being. They told us that the plan would acheive a noble idea.Well, how were we to know otherwise? Hadn't we heard it all our lives -from our parents and our schoolteachers and our ministers, and in every newspaper we ever read and every movie and every public speech? Hadn't we alwasy been told that this was righteous and just? Well, maybethere's some
excuse for what we did at that meeting. Still, we voted for the plan - and what we got, we had it coming to us. You know,ma'am, we are marked men, in a way, those of us who lived through thefour years of that plan of the Twentieth Century factory. What is itthat hell is supposed to be? Evil - plain, naked smirking evil, isn'tit? Well, that's whatwe saw and helped to make - and I think we're damned, every one of us, and maybe we'll never be forgiven...

"Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there's a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you can pour, and each bucket you bring breaks thepipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours per week, then forty-eight, then fifty-six - for your neighbour's supper, for his wife'soperation - for his child's measles - for his mother's wheel chair-for his uncle's shirt - for his nephew's schooling - for the babynext door - for the baby to be born - for anyone anywhere around you -it's theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures - and yours to work,from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothingto show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but theirpleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope,without end.... From each according to his ability, to each according to his need....

"God help us, ma'am! Do you see what we saw? We saw that we'd been given a law to live by, a *moral* law, they called it, which punished those who observed it - for observing it. The more you tried to liveup to it, the more you suffered; the more you cheated it, the bigger reward you got. Your honesty was like a tool left at the mercy of the next man's dishonesty. The honest ones paid, the dishonest collected. The honest lost, the dishonest won. How long could men stay good underthis sort of a law of goodness? We were a pretty decent bunch of fellowswhen we started. There weren't many chiselers among us. We knew our jobs as were proud of it and we worked for the best factory in the country, where old man Starnes hired nothing but the pick of the country's labor. Within one year under the new plan, there wasn't anhonest man left among us. *That* was the evil, the sort of hell-horror evil that preachers used to scare you with, but you never thought tosee alive. Not that the plan encouraged a few bastards, but that it turned decent people into bastards, and there was nothing else it could do - and it was called a moral ideal!

Hillary Clinton's noble vision is Ivy Starnes' legacy. And the reality of that legacy is that it takes a Village "to turn decent people into bastards" and children into livestock. (Edited 03.05.05:19:26)

No comments: