Contrary to the prevalent views of today’s alleged scholars, history is not an unintelligible chaos ruled by chance and whim—historical trends can be predicted, and changed—men are not helpless, blind, doomed creatures carried to destruction by incomprehensible forces beyond their control.
There is only one power that determines the course of history, just as it determines the course of every individual life: the power of man’s rational faculty—the power of ideas. If you know a man’s convictions, you can predict his actions. If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society, you can predict its course. But convictions and philosophy are matters open to man’s choice.
There is no fatalistic, predetermined historical necessity. Atlas Shrugged is not a prophecy of our unavoidable destruction, but a manifesto of our power to avoid it, if we choose to change our course.
It is the philosophy of the mysticism-altruism-collectivism axis that has brought us to our present state and is carrying us toward a finale such as that of the society presented in Atlas Shrugged. It is only the philosophy of the reason-individualism-capitalism axis that can save us and carry us, instead, toward the Atlantis projected in the last two pages of my novel.
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Is Atlas Shrugging? Pages 181 and 182
[It is trivial to see the dystopia Rand wrote about in Atlas Shrugged in the world around us. It is also trivial to see her utopian correction to that path is not being, and probably could never have been, followed.
I’m usually accused of being too, if not insanely, optimistic. And even looking through those rose colored glasses I only see a tiny hint of a mirage that might be a path to recovery without going through an extremely dark place and time. I fear we went speeding past our exit years, if not decades, ago and our economic and personal freedoms will suffer violent abuse without realistic hope of recovery without extreme suffering and great loss of life.—Joe]