Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If I could tell a story ...

... I think I'd write a sequel to Atlas Shrugged. In my novel, I would explore what would happen in the real world if all the Talented People "went Galt".

Namely, it would stumble a bit, right itself, and go on without them just fine, thank you. 

Some lesser lights would appropriate their places; some Talented People whose ability to achieve was repressed by the absentee talents would finally get a chance to make their marks. Some would find their fortunes in jeopardy, diminished or embezzled because they weren't around to exercise due diligence. Some would be able to recapture their positions only after an exhausting, costly struggle that, in two or three cases, would prove to be Pyrrhic victories. Some would discover how much of their privileged positions depended on the assistance of other people exercising their own unique skills ... people no longer available to them for different reasons. And some would have missed at least one crucial opportunity and find themselves unable to regain their momentum. Only one or two would be able to step back easily into their positions and resume their lives as if they'd never left — leaving them to wonder exactly what their absence accomplished (other than a long vacation).

The protagonist, and maybe three or four others, would be capable of enough growth to understand the moral of the story: In the real world, no one is entitled to their position, not even by talent.

A more realistic novel than Atlas Shrugged would be premised on a virus, administered by agents of a hostile power, that simultaneously struck down administrative assistants, personal assistants and chiefs of staff in key businesses and agencies. The absence of these generally underpaid and overworked geniuses would create an unholy chaos that would threaten to destroy the nation, as the Big Wheels they serve struggled to find critical information and reconstruct their business and social calendars.

Well, it would at least be more realistic than the self-same Big Wheels simply walking off their jobs and disappearing into some strangely uncharted land, to enjoy a nice vacation full of cocktail parties and ego reinforcement while the nation totters helplessly without them.


  1. Thought provoking! I also wonder how the story would have changed if Rand had been a parent.

  2. I've had some time to think about it. It's really a question of whether she would have been able to strangle any motherhood instincts.

    Possibility 1: She has children only to preserve her legacy; so far as they mean anything to her, it's for that reason alone. Any stray mothering instinct would catch her by surprise, but would be an irritating puzzle and an irrelevancy to her. Outcome: No significant difference to Atlas Shrugged.

    Possibility 2: Mothering instincts kick in with a loud roar, opening her up to grace and to the experience of others (and of the Other). Objectivism falls apart under the onslaught. Outcome: Atlas Shrugged never written.

  3. Yep! I imagine you are correct. If you rewrite Atlas Shrugged, rewrite it in the context of Isaiah 49:15.