The New Clarion

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A 52-Year Old Glimpse At the Near Future

September 1st, 2009 by Myrhaf · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Tom Bowden posts a passage from Atlas Shrugged that I had forgotten about. As Mr. Bowden sets it up, “one of the characters recalls what happened after his company medical plan started allocating medical care on the basis of collective need:”

“In the old days, we used to celebrate if somebody had a baby, we used to chip in and help him out with the hospital bills, if he happened to be hard-pressed for the moment. Now, if a baby was born, we didn’t speak to the parents for weeks. Babies, to us, had become what locusts were to farmers. In the old days, we used to help a man if he had a bad illness in the family. Now—well, I’ll tell you about just one case. It was the mother of a man who had been with us for fifteen years. She was a kindly old lady, cheerful and wise, she knew us all by our first names and we all liked her—we used to like her. One day, she slipped on the cellar stairs and fell and broke her hip. We knew what that meant at her age. The staff doctor said that she’d have to be sent to a hospital in town, for expensive treatments that would take a long time. The old lady died the night before she was to leave for town. They never established the cause of death. No, I don’t know whether she was murdered. Nobody said that. Nobody would talk about it at all. All I know is that I—and that’s what I can’t forget!—I, too, had caught myself wishing that she would die. This—may God forgive us!—was the brotherhood, the security, the abundance that the plan was supposed to achieve for us!”

This is why people are buying a 52-year old novel more now than ever before (a publishing phenomenon). The novel reads like — well, I was going to write that it reads like today’s newspaper, but newspapers have given up reporting anything that makes the Democrats look bad. Let’s say it reads like the more interesting stuff on the internet.

One Comment so far ↓

  • Billy Beck

    That ain’t the half of it:

    “Then there was one old guy, a widower with no family, who had one hobby: phonograph records. I guess that was all he ever got out of life. In the old days, he used to skip meals just to buy himself some new recording of classical music. Well, they didn’t give him any ‘allowance’ for records — ‘personal luxury,’ they called it. But at that same meeting, Millie Bush, somebody’s daughter, a mean ugly little eight year-old, was voted a pair of gold braces for her buck teeth — this was ‘medical need,’ because the staff psychologist had said that the poor girl would get an inferiority complex if her teeth weren’t straightened out. The old guy who loved music, turned to drink, instead. He got so you never saw him fully conscious any more. But it seems like there was one thing he couldn’t quite forget. One night, he came staggering down the street, saw Millie Bush, swung his fist and knocked all her teeth out. Every one of them.”

    (“Atlas”, p. 619)

    Watch what happens to interpersonal ethics under all this.

    If you think America has never sounded more like a bar-fight, you haven’t seen anything yet.