Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
The date of publication of Atlas Shrugged is the twelfth of October. October 12, 1957…fifty years ago. Here’s where I found out about that…
Even though many reviewers weren’t impressed with “Atlas Shrugged,” it still left a major mark. Ayn Rand inspired many, many people; most of them highschool or college students when they first read it. Although it’s not a literary masterwork, it still sells some 150,000 copies each year. People’s lives continue to be changed by it. And for that, Rand should be respected.
Damn straight. And it’s a sad, tragic thing that it is become more and more relevant to our lives with every passing day.
You know about the world of Atlas Shrugged? It takes place in a dystopian future in an unspecified year, in a sort of alternate universe wherein the world is caught up in an industrial revolution, but one in which air freight was never possible and never implemented. In this world, the entire world has gone drunk on socialism, and America remains the sole hold-out…descending threateningly into the molten scrap heap that has already engulfed all the other countries.
I’ll quote one paragraph. Just one. If this doesn’t raise some eerie similarities with the reality plane you get to hear about each evening when you click on the news, each morning when you read the paper…well, you should probably move on to the next subject. But give it a read first:
We’re all one big family, they told us, we’re all in this together. But you don’t all stand working an acetylene torch ten hours a day – together, and you don’t all get a bellyache – together. What’s whose ability and which of whose needs come first? When it’s all in one pot, you can’t let any man decide what his own needs are, can you? If you did, he might claim that he needs a yacht – and if his feelings is all you have to go by, he might prove it, too. Why not? If it’s not right for me to own a car until I’ve worked myself into a hospital ward, earning a car for every loafer and every naked savage on earth – why can’t he demand a yacht from me, too, if I still have the ability and have not collapsed? No? He can’t? Then why can he demand that I go without cream for my coffee until he’s replastered his living room?…Oh well…Well, anyway, it was decided that nobody had the right to judge his own need or ability. We *voted* on it. Yes ma’am, we voted on it in a public meeting twice a year. How else could it be done? Do you care to think what would happen at such a meeting? It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars – rotten, whining, sniveling beggars, all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the family,’ and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘need’ – so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because its miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm – so it turned into a contest among six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that *his* need was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done? Do you care to guess what happened, what sort of men kept quiet, feeling shame, and what sort got away with the jackpot?
See anything familiar?
If you think you do, or if you think you might…it’s six bucks.
Timeless. I wish it were not.
Update: Here, the date of publication is listed as October 10.
Should try to pin this down. Whatever the exact date is, over the next two weeks there will likely be a mild uptick in the hubbub among the group-minded about what a dreadfully tedious book it is, and everyone should be advised to pronounce it juvenile and boring without actually reading much of it, or any at all.
With it’s tangled hodgepodge of interrelated sociopolitical themes, this “magnum opus” is actually pretty simple. It’s a manifesto that says some people are horrified at the idea of accomplishing something useful, or allowing anyone else to do so. And that in any organization or society in a decline, those people end up running things. Excellence and mediocrity switch places. This makes the decline more certain and inescapable.
I’m repeatedly instructed to believe, especially after having read the book, that I should find it to be a silly, meandering and pointless treatise, invariably by people who have not read it. Basically…that I should dismiss it. What keeps getting in my way, is that the core theme dovetails so nicely with what I’ve observed about people myself: When they do little to distinguish themselves, they get peevish and cranky about the very idea of someone else doing it.
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