In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand wrote possibly her most iconic passage of fiction. It is a monologue spoken by a mysterious figure that comes out of the shadows after withdrawing from public life some twelve years earlier. During those twelve years of self-imposed exile, he formed his own community of talented, like-minded people he’s enticed to go on “strike” from an ungrateful society consumed with taking their achievements for their own. As a result of the strike depriving society of the inventors and entrepreneurs who made it run, the world has fallen into a state of disrepair and despair. Near the end of the story, Galt returns to explain his actions is this famous monologue known to us as “This is John Galt Speaking”.
One of the chief themes of Galt’s speech is the idea that society had begun to hold sacrifice as its highest virtue, but Galt points out that in society’s twisted morality, societies concept of sacrifice was not that of noble self-sacrifice, it was responding to the demands of others that was held as a virtue. Virtue, in this fallen system, was to accede to the demands of others, even to the point of going against one’s own best self-interest. This “virtue” of sacrifice stemmed from or perhaps caused a widespread sense of entitlement. People had stared to believe that they were entitled to the efforts of others.
“You have heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis. You have said it yourself, half in fear, half in hope that the words had no meaning. You have cried that man’s sins are destroying the world and you have cursed human nature for its unwillingness to practice the virtues you demanded. Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster. In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.” – John Galt, in Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
The downside of writing off student loan debt. The idea of writing off student loan debt sounds good to those who owe, but how about for the rest of us? What are some of the unintended consequences of forgiving student loan debt, or pushing student loans in general? Those who celebrate and demand the forgiveness of these debts condemn the next generation to continuing soaring tuition costs. It also encourages young people do pursue degrees that don’t give them marketable skills.
Until next time,
Stay happy, healthy and free!
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