The Atlas Analogy

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I may be one of the few people in the world who actually watches Joseph Robinette Biden on TV, and I don’t do it very often. But whenever I do, what I see, standing right beside him, is the thin gray figure of Mr. Thompson, the Head of the State in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Thompson was probably modeled on Harry Truman, whom Rand must have seen as a cross-section of the American population, the part of the population that she disliked. But that’s clearly what Biden is. He’s the guy who’s always hanging out in the bar down the street, the guy that everyone tries not to talk to, because right away he’ll be boring you with long stories about the supposedly interesting things that he never did, and picking fights with you if you seem to question the virtues of his deadbeat son and his snotty, stupid wife. He’s as common as dirt, as common as Mr. Thompson in Ayn Rand’s novel.

Mr. Thompson, the Head of the State, was a man who possessed the quality of never being noticed. In any group of three, his person became indistinguishable, and when seen alone it seemed to evoke a group of its own, composed of the countless persons he resembled.

Where are the brilliant geniuses who are striking in protest? Where are the great scientists, engineers, bankers, and academicians who, by reason of their brainpower, know what has gone wrong and how they are going to fix it?


Biden’s friends are all in the novel, too — the crony capitalists; the puritan preachers of statism, constantly outraged at other people’s sins; the heads of government agencies who got there precisely because they had no idea how anything works. Together, they have engineered an Atlas Shrugged situation, in which the state, acting by emergency decrees, has managed to cripple the economy, throwing millions out of work and interrupting the cycle of production and exchange until, part by part, the machine is seizing up. Strange how actions have consequences. These people’s solution, as in Atlas Shrugged, is a demand for “more powers.”

But there is one thing missing from this analogy. Where are the brilliant geniuses who are striking in protest? Where are the great scientists, engineers, bankers, and academicians who, by reason of their brainpower, know what has gone wrong and how they are going to fix it?

I don’t see them — do you? And it’s not because they’re on strike. No, not at all. It’s because they’re busy competing for government grants, scheming to find new ways of tracking dissent, using their intellectual positions to stifle whatever dissent they find, and snatching as many billions as they can from the gravy train before it crashes at the next broken switch.

Sorry. I don’t have much good to say.


  1. Art Thomas

    Describing the shit and the shitters hitting the fan is nothing to be sorry about. You speak your mind and do a good job. Biden and the rest of the tapeworms be fucked! I hope you are finding enjoyment in your personal life.

  2. Michael F.S.W. Morrison

    You have done it again, Dr. Cox! Excellent commentary.
    One reason I feel so much like withdrawing from public discourse these days is how many people invoke the name “John Galt,” who claim they are “going Galt,” yet in fact do no more than talk, or post.
    No one I know of is actually on strike. And many of those who self-proclaim “going Galt” are actually employed by a government!
    I analogize by pointing out how many parents are downright rabid that their kids are forced to wear a mask at school … but don’t say a word against those kids’ being forced to attend school.
    Sure, God-fearing, patriotic, red-blooded, rational United Statesians will — must! — oppose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but are they offering anything better? Are they only complaining?

  3. Chris

    The answer to the question you pose is in the very end of the novel. That is, in the fictional world John Galt, genius that he was, had invented / discovered the holy grail of modern life: free or nearly free electric power. The closest we can come to a perpetual motion machine. Hallelujah! That’s not how the novel ends, though, not on that hopeful (fantasy) note.

    In the real world we inhabit, that invention has not yet come to pass. There is no free electricity. There is no perpetual motion. There is no Galt’s Gulch (another invention of the novelist), so no place or way for the lesser geniuses to escape to and kickstart another civilization. All we have is the one we’re stuck in.

    Instead, the economy is pushed forward, such as it is or can be, by the Dagnys of the world who won’t give up … and the journeymen ‘good guys’ like Eddie Villiers will end up stuck in the desert on a stopped train with no fuel, no tools, no special skills … and no hope. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the train.

    I don’t have much good to say tonight, either, but the train is still running by fits and starts, so I’ve still got some hope.

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