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Too Prescient for My Taste II: The Open Mouths of Altruism

May 12th, 2010 by Jim May · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

As the Greek crisis unfolds in Europe, the latest chapter involves a potential bailout from the IMF — about 17% of whose total funds come from this country.  This prompted my recall of the following quote (with one word updated):

What are all those people counting on? If a [Greek] factory goes bankrupt, the equalizers will find another factory to loot. If that other factory starts crumbling, it will get a loan from the bank. If the bank has no money, it will get a loan from the government. If the government has no money, it will get a loan from a foreign government. If no foreign government has any money, all of them will get a loan from the United States.

What they don’t know—and neither does this country—is that the United States is broke.

–Ayn Rand, “Egalitarianism and Inflation”, June 1974

That one led to this one, echoing the same theme:

What were they thinking now, the champions of need and the lechers of pity?—she wondered. What were they counting on? Those who had once simpered: “I don’t want to destroy the rich, I only want to seize a little of their surplus to help the poor, just a little, they’ll never miss it!”—then, later, had snapped: “The tycoons can stand being squeezed, they’ve amassed enough to last them for three generations”—then, later, had yelled: “Why should the people suffer while businessmen have reserves to last a year?”—now were screaming: “Why should we starve while some people have reserves to last a week?” What were they counting on?—she wondered.

Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged” Part Three/Chapter V

Those who cannot say no to the open mouths of altruism, shall be swallowed thereby.

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Kyle Haight

    Anybody who wants to understand what’s going on with the economy today needs to read this essay. Another prescient extract:

    It is at a time like this, in the face of an approaching economic collapse, that the intellectuals are preaching egalitarian notions. When the curtailment of government spending is imperative, they demand more welfare projects. When the need for men of productive ability is desperate, they demand more equality for the incompetents. When the country needs the accumulation of capital, they demand that we soak the rich. When the country needs more savings, they demand a “redistribution of income”. They demand more jobs and less profits — more jobs and fewer factories — more jobs and no fuel, no oil, no coal, no “pollution” — but, above all, more goods for free to more consumers, no matter what happens to jobs, to factories, or to producers.

  • Harold

    “…if no foreign government has any money, all of them will get a loan from the United States”

    Yes, I know it’s crazy! I was thinking of that exact line recently.