In Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, a pivotal plot point is the story of the fictional 20th Century Motor Company in the fictional town of Starnesville, somewhere in the American Midwest. Rand recounted how the previously prosperous automobile manufacturer collapsed when the new owners, the founder’s children, introduced the policy of paying their workers according to need, rather than according to ability. The immediate effect the policy was that their most important engineer, (whose identity I will for now keep secret so as not to give away too much, should the reader have a spare three months in which to read it,) quit his job and walked out, on the spot.
Subsequently, the next most productive employees steadily departed, as they realised that their productivity was rewarded with less and less, as they were clearly less needy than their inferior colleagues. A poisonous atmosphere developed where each worker was always looking over the shoulder of the man in front, to see whether his neighbour had more, in which case he could claim his neighbour’s wage as rightfully his, as his need was greater. Simultaneously, he was always watching his back to ensure the man behind him didn’t have less, and so lay a claim on his own hard-earned ration.
Thus, as the incentive for hard work was removed, the factory went bankrupt, and the town of Starnesville which it supported became a ghost town. This story serves as a microcosm of the entire book, whereby Rand predicted that the implementation of socialist economic policies would lead, one way or another, to total economic collapse. (That the protagonists of the book accelerate the collapse is beside the point – such a catastrophe was, according to Rand, inevitable. They merely acted to preserve their own lives.) As such, Ayn Rand was one of the the only academics in the West to predict (at least allegorically) both the collapse of the Soviet Union, and its cause.
The story of Atlas Shrugged, and the real life example of the folly (not to diminish its horrors) of the USSR, serves in contemporary times as a word of warning to the PC establishment of our political, academic and media class. The recent threatened boycott of the Oscars by black actors and actresses must have come as a rude shock to the self-styled inclusive socialists of the Hollywood elite. Whether rightly or wrongly, the appointment of David Morrison as Australian of the Year has been met with criticism for being yet another politically correct appointment. But to be criticised by the transexual runner-up for referring to him by his male name rather than his chosen female name gives an insight into the ravenous PC beast that, once fed, wants your fingers too.
Ending domestic violence, (against men and women,) equality of opportunity, equality before the law, tolerance – if by tolerance we man not taking our differences too seriously – are good things, but that is not the point here. It is highly likely that Malcolm/Catherine McGregor and David Morrison will in turn be criticised for speaking up for women’s equality when they don’t truly understand the needs of women, because they are not “real” women. Then again, on one university campus, feminist heavyweight Germaine Greer was unwelcome for expressing something along these lines, so establishing where they stand in the PC card deck is difficult to tell.
But this is the point. In the game of political correctness, what you think is your joker can always be trumped by another joker. On yet other campuses in the US, administrators who for years have been advocates for inclusivity and tolerance have been shouted down for suggesting that perhaps this whole PC thing is getting a little out of hand. As I have mentioned before, we are witnessing the equivalent of the purge of the Mensheviks, (the 1930’s purges of one faction of the Communist Party in the USSR by another, the Bolsheviks,) in that we are seeing a generation of ever more intolerant leftists coming to power in academic circles, and their intolerance is steadily being spread throughout society.
They surely will have to watch their backs. The fact that “intersectional feminism” is even a thing tells us something: you may think you have a right to affirmative action, a right to redress of grievances; you may think of the sub-group you “identify” with as being the victim of oppression; but one day, someone, or some group, will come along with a stronger claim to victimhood than you, and they will take everything you have, and there will not be a thing you can do about it.
Whether it all comes crashing down or not is another matter. If it does, I’m bringing popcorn.
Photo by ghatamos