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Sunday, March 15, 2009

SOUND FAMILIAR?

Much is being currently written about the events in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's masterpiece on what happens to a society based on collectivist- statist principles and altruistic ethics.  Many are writing that we are seeing the events in Rand's novel played out today, in a frighteningly all too real  display of altruistic collectivism implemented by the state (federal government). 

In one part of Atlas Shrugged, the story centers on the ruination of a bank- Community National Bank, run by Eugene Lawson. Rand had Lawson labeled in the story as the "banker with a heart." His actions in running his bank were guided solely by altruism;  "need" was the only standard for which decisions were based. The results were predictable. 

From Atlas Shrugged, here is Lawson explaining how the bank went under: 

“They [the borrowers] were perfectly good men. They were a perfectly sound risk—though, of course, I am speaking in human terms, not in the terms of cold cash, which you are accustomed to expect from bankers. I granted them the loan for the purchase of that factory, because they needed the money. If people needed money, that was enough for me. Need was my standard, Miss Taggart. Need, not greed. My father and grandfather built up the Community National Bank just to amass a fortune for themselves. I placed their fortune in the service of a higher ideal. I did not sit on piles of money and demand collateral from poor people who needed loans. The heart was my collateral. Of course, I do not expect anyone in this materialistic country to understand me. The rewards I got were not of a kind that people of your class, Miss Taggart, would appreciate. The people who used to sit in front of my desk at the bank, did not sit as you do, Miss Taggart. They were humble, uncertain, worn with care, afraid to speak. My rewards were the tears of gratitude in their eyes, the trembling voices, the blessings, the woman who kissed my hand when I granted her a loan she had begged for in vain everywhere else.”

The bank crashed.

Sound familiar?

Credit: We adapted this post from the post "The Banker with a heart" by Henry Mark Holzer, who was Rand's lawyer for many years in the 1960's and 70's and runs his blog here.

The idea to post the particular except with regard to the current problems we are experiencing today, along with the closing line "sound familiar?"  were his. 
We did this because he, and Rand, were right. 

7 comments:

Once a Judge... said...

rumpole - it sounds like a jimmy stewart character. those days of "compassionate lending" are over as wall street and bankers only care about their bonus package and not about anyone else.

very sad statement about greed and one can only hope that television news starts telling stories of hope, kindness, compassion and love. maybe, we can hope for a global shift to random acts of kindness and less emphasis on buying bentley convertibles, bigger waterfront homes and wearing the newest and flashiest rolex?

in the end, only kindness matters as jewel sings in the song "hands"...

do something kind today and act with love - let's all start today! we don't have much time...

Anonymous said...

funny you didnt print my critique of your stupid post you idiot

Anonymous said...

Reading this post takes me back to my senior year of high school when I was looking to a variety of sources to find intellectual justification for the visceral feeling that I didn't want to die or kill for my country in a land twelve thousand miles from home. Later I discovered that visceral reactions usually beat the hell out of intellectual rationalizations. But I sure learned a lot about Western Civilization looking for a way to explain my feelings to myself.
Mostly, however, this post reminded me how much I enjoyed Rand and her profoundly unrepentant, God-awful prose.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, you are fired.

We will be taking applications for a new blog moderator.

Must be able to write clever, funny, skits on a daily basis.

Able to keep identity hidden from the public.

Must be a hack.

Must have a short temper.

Send resume to:
Judge Stan Blake
REGJB

Anonymous said...

More importantly, the city of opa locka pd has sweet rims on their new chargers

South Florida Lawyers said...

Reminds me of that great line from Anatole France:

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." (from The Red Lily, 1894)

real fake blecher. said...

Rumpole_-every day I have a soup, salad, and sandwich for lunch. Hot sauce in the soup.

Is there something wrong with me or is that OK?