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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for March, 2009

Atlas Shrugged

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I took a stroll down memory lane yesterday and started cataloging all my non-medical books.  To my delight, I found a copy of  “Atlas Shrugged,”  by Ayn Rand.  I had read it twice––– once during my service as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps in 1957 and again, several years later.  This book is unbelievably pertinent today despite the fact it was published more them fifty years ago.
The book should be required reading for President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi ( although I doubt any of them would do so).  It also should be required reading for all members of Congress, since the present administration and Congress are committing the same acts of economic lunacy discussed in “Atlas Shrugged.”
The book tells the story of politicians who, responding to crises (often created by them), initiated new government programs, laws, regulations, and increasing taxation that invariably produced more crises, chaos, and poverty, resulting in more programs, etc.–– a Catch 22––ending finally in economic collapse–– all in the name of fairness and equality.
The book features the effects of wealth redistribution instituted by programs with such bizarre titles as the “Anti- Greed Act,” the “Equalization of Opportunity Act,” the “Anti- Dog-Eat-Dog Act,” similar one might say to our new “Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act,” the  “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act,” and the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.”
The administration’s economic strategy is akin to the lunatic strategies parodied in “Atlas Shrugged.”  The more incompetent one is in business, the more bailouts are provided by the politicians––i.e. two trillion dollars doled out to banks, investment houses, and automobile companies.  So, the incompetants are viewed as victims while successful businessmen are villified as recipients of “illegal windfalls”––– e.g..the oil companies.
The protagonist of the book, John Galt, proposes that the government abolish the income tax––– a really great idea, huh? That’s a true economic stimulus. But the present administration and Congress want to raise the taxes on the so-called “wealthy” in order to be “fair” and “redistribute the wealth.”  And, Obama wants a cap and trade program that will produce such high energy prices that any tax relief for those who aren’t “wealthy”  will be wiped away. Good Lord! Reality mimicking fiction.
“Atlas Shrugged”  is a classic––– even more timely than it was in 1957. Hey, Prez and all you mental midgets in Congress–––read it!!

In Other Rooms/Other Wonders

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I have just finished reading a most interesting and unexpectedly entertaining small book.  Its title is “In Other Rooms/ Other Wonders,” by Daniyal Mueenuddin.  The author comes from Lahore, Pakistan and Elroy, Wisconsin.  He now lives on a farm in the southern Punjab of Pakistan.  In essence, the book is a succession of short stories about life in Pakistan.  Each of these stories provides a keen look into the culture, psyche, and day-to-day life of Pakistanis from even the homeless and the humblest farmers to the great merchants, entrepreneurs, and politicians.  The writing is occasionally a bit difficult to understand when the author uses terms that are unique to the Pakistani culture. However, the storytelling is a joy–––filled with surprises and timeless insights that are universal in nature.  This young author is a fine talent, and one should expect more literary gems to be produced by him in the future. I heartily recommend this exceptional piece of literature.


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