Monday, May 20, 2013

Freedom is Fragile

I recently read a book by Ayn Rand called We the Living, which I highly recommend. She wrote it after fleeing from Soviet Russia, as a warning to the rest of the world. Here are some highlights from the commentary about why she wrote it in the first place:

We the Living (First Novel by Ayn Rand)

Having escaped to the United States, Ayn Rand had to get Russia out of her system -- by telling the world what was actually happening there. A young Russian had said to her at a party in 1926, just before she left for America: “When you get there, tell them that Russia is a huge cemetery and that we are all dying.” We the Living told them. For example, these bits from what she heard at mandated Party rallies:

  “This is not a funeral, comrades, but a birthday party! We are not celebrating the      death of a comrade, but the birth of a new humanity.”

  “The most dangerous, the most insidious, the most evil of human words is the word
‘ I.’ We have outgrown it. ‘ We’ is the slogan of the future.”

Hers is a story about dictatorship, any dictatorship, anywhere, at any time, whether it be Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or — which this novel might do its share in helping to prevent — a socialist America. She shows that the primary communist principle is that Man must exist for the sake of the State, rather than the other way around. She experienced it first-hand when her family returned to what was once their home. All private property had been confiscated. Many families inhabited what were once single-home families. These inhabitants were assigned -- you as the former owner of the residence had no say whatsoever. Rand is an eyewitness to the essential issue, that the communist principle is evil, and that it can lead to nothing but evil.

Rand knew that the American public did not understand the nature of communism, but she did not know that she was trying to publish the truth at the start of The Red Decade, as it was later called. An anti-communist librarian had told her, when she was still working on the novel, that “the communists have a tremendous influence on American intellectuals, and you will find a lot of people opposing you.”

Rand’s original title for We the Living was Airtight, the meaning being that under dictatorship, man cannot survive. In it, she intended to answer the many-too-many advocates of collectivism, and answer them in a manner which would not be easily forgotten.

Rand says she wrote the book because she believes “that man will always be an individualist, whether he knows it or not, and I want to make it my duty to make him know it.”

Do we know it yet, even this late? Do we know the nature of a dictatorship as it grows ever more visible in the land of the free?

I offer these highlights at a time when a monster tornado has ripped through the city of Moore, Oklahoma as if to shake us from our national complacency and slumber. It seems like America has been asleep at the switch. And I believe there is a SWITCH that has been turned to ON. Class warfare is ON; Statism is ON. Rand's first novel, We the Living, shows the inevitable results of what always happens (whether in Bolshievik Russia, Nazi Germany, or behind the Iron Curtain) once that switch is flipped. I got my copy on Kindle.

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