Life Imitates Atlas Shrugged, Baltimore Edition

Atlas ShruggedThe other day I came across an article by Allen B. West titled “The dirty little secret no one wants to admit about Baltimore.” The article discusses the protests and violence in Baltimore sparked by the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Mr. West makes a good case that it is progressive policies that have caused the bulk of the problems facing America’s urban areas. He points out that “every single major urban center” is controlled by Democrats, and largely have been for many years. In Baltimore, for example, it has been more than 40 years since there was a Republican mayor. He summarizes his position with:

Yes, the dirty little secret that no one wants to admit is that Baltimore, and so many other urban areas and inner city communities in America are a reflection of the abject failure of liberal progressive socialist policies as advanced by the Democrat party.

As I read his article, I thought I had come across this sentiment in the past. As if I had read something like it before. Then I remembered where I had read it. The following is from Galt’s Speech in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.

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.

You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection. You have fought for it, you have dreamed of it, you have wished for it, and I—I am the man who has granted your wish.

In Baltimore, as in Ferguson and elsewhere, issues such as prejudice and poverty often are blamed as causes of the violence, but few take time to look at why such issues exist in these areas in the first place. Is it any wonder that when politicians, Republicans as well as Democrats, work so hard to separate people into groups and pit them against each other that these groups view each other with distrust and resort to violence, even when violence is not productive or even harmful? Is it any wonder when politicians, Democrats especially, demonize “the rich” and seek to force them to “pay their fair share,” despite already paying the majority of taxes, that the rich choose to live elsewhere, taking their tax dollars with them? Is it any wonder when businessmen are labeled as “greedy” and taxed and regulated to within an inch of their existence that they would choose to move or expand elsewhere, taking their jobs with them?

All these policies have ended in just the results one might logically expect: strife between factions, poverty, and unemployment. Why are they now crying, paraphrasing from John Galt, “No, this was not what we wanted!”