Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life imitates art

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. Patience, faith and unity — that's the recipe for progress.

We must stand united among ourselves and united with the rest of the world, as a great big happy family, all working for the good of all. We have found a leader who will beat the record of our richest and busiest past — it's his love for mankind that has made him come here — to serve you, protect you and take care of you! He has heard your pleas and has answered the call of our common human duty. Every man is his brother's keeper! No man is an island unto himself! And now you will hear his voice, now you will hear his own message! Ladies and gentlemen, John Galt — to the collective family of mankind!

The camera moved to Galt. He remained still for a moment. Then, with so swift and expert a movement that his secretary's hand was unable to match it, he rose to his feet, leaning sidewise, leaving the pointed gun momentarily exposed to the sight of the world — then, standing straight, facing the cameras, looking at all his invisible viewers, he said:

Get the hell out of my way!

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I defy you, without looking it up, to spot the point where I stopped quoting Tuesday's inauguration speech and started quoting from Mr. Thompson in Atlas Shrugged.

We live in interesting times.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous sunni said...

Eep. I thought I'd be able to do it, even though it's been over ten years since my last reading of Atlas Shrugged, but I couldn't. I've a guess, but it is nothing more than that ... and I don't want to share it, just in case I'm right.

You will reveal the answer at some point, yes? (Please?)

11:22 AM  
Blogger B.W. Richardson said...

Well, if you insist - Rand kicks in beginning with "Patience, faith and unity ..." but I would guess it started feeling like Atlas Shrugged long before then.

5:34 AM  

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