Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Scary Thought Experiment

Here is an experiment for you. Grab your copies of 1984 and Atlas Shrugged and meander though their pages. Now read the headlines of the day. Are there any differences? Any at all? link

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged yet, but I should. 1984 terrifies me. It, and Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative, explain why I believe in limited government and why I am most assuredly not a liberal. They explain why I was against the porkulus package, why I weep for California, and why I consider myself more of a conservative than a Republican.

9 comments:

Ellen K said...

Read "Alas, Babylon." It's a little outdated, but it discusses the potential for nuclear holocaust. It discusses from the first hand views of the survivors. There's a Cold War mentality, but then again, I am pretty sure we are headed back to some similar type of stalemate. God knows Obama won't say boo to them.

Babbie said...

Try "Brave New World." It seems even more prescient than "1984."

Ellen K said...

If you can find them, read "Gideon" and "The Clowns of God". They are both sci/fi sort of, but "Gideon" is especially interesting since it deals with a very flawed president. The writing style is similar to Grisham. It's about seven years old, but you can probably find it used.

Erica said...

I didn't read Atlas Shrugged until a few years ago, as I usually don't read/watch things that seem to have a lot of hype (took me six years to watch Pulp Fiction for example).

I was floored. It's very well worth reading. Even through the 100-page long speech at the end.

Luke said...

There are some sci-fi books out there that take today's events to a logical, but extreme end. Tom Kratman's "State of Disobedience" and "Caliphate" have different starting points, but in the end, both have the same conclusion, that the US as we know it will end. "The Last Centurion" shows the folly of sticking to the talking points regardless of the facts, and the logial end from there. These books don't require the a lot of the suspension of disbelief that many sci-fi books require. Read them, they're scary.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I'll second "Alas Babylon" over "1984" and "Brave New World" although not because one has more claim to prescience then the others. I just think "Alas Babylon" is the least pedantic and most human of the three.

I think all of them are pretty convincingly dated although not quite dated enough to be charming.

"Alas Babylon" is red meat for survivalists who don't need any encouragement and the other two are pretty clearly on the ropes philosophically with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the capitalismization of China. Contrary to the benefits imputed to authoritarianism, it turns out that democracies are more efficient, authoritarian government being a reliable way to impoverish a country.

China's at that awkward age, stuck between the adolescence of authoritarianism and the adulthood of democracy with the success of capitalism irresistibly pushing them towards democracy.

"Atlas Shrugged" was all the rage in high school way back when but I never read it then or since.

gentlyhewstone said...

I'm with Babbie: Brave New World may not be economically relevant, but it did a far better job of predicting the future than 1984. Every time I see a kid fiddling with a cell phone or MySpace, I think of Soma.

Fritz J. said...

Darren, should you decide to read "Atlas Shrugged," be aware that from a literary standpoint the book has some serious flaws. The characters are rather one dimensional, people are portrayed as all good or bad with nothing in between, and the thing is long, very long. Having said that, if you look upon it as a philosophical rant and think about what Ayn Rand was trying to say, the book is fascinating. Could she have said the same thing in fewer pages? Most assuredly, but I don't think the book should be judged on a literary basis, but rather on a philosophical basis. When it comes to good writing she will never rank with such people as Steinbeck or Hemingway or Uris to name a few of my favorites. Instead, judge the book by the message it presents. For me it is probably the single most influential book I've read in terms of influencing my current beliefs regarding the role government should play. I highly recommend it provided you are willing to think about what it portrays. And to be honest, it is a lot better rant than Moby Dick.

MikeAT said...

I’m in the middle of Atlas Shrugged and it’s an epic read. But it’s worth it. And I’m reading about politicians and bureaucrats who know better than you, that (to paraphrase) “we’ll take the fruits of your labor because it’s better for everyone and only we know what is good for everyone.”

Scary…it sounds B Hussein Obama et al.