Police Strike in Baltimore!

Front cover, 'Atlas Shurgged'

The philosophy of Ayn Rand can be confusing to everyone alive today. So let me be clear: the philosophy of Ayn Rand is confusing to everyone alive today. It is not easy to tie a communist-hating Russian émigré’s philosophy to the English Bill of Rights [1689] and the US Bill of Rights [1789]. These personal philosophies and legal documents are connected, with perhaps a shorthand tag for these three expressions of liberty being the ‘hatred of oppression’, the ‘hatred of oppression’ and the ‘hatred of oppression’ respectively.

In the philosophy of Rand the “strike” is where good, honest and hard-working people voluntarily give up their right to pursue happiness. This is the God-given right, activated in the English Bill of Rights, given academic strength through John Locke, and strengthened and enshrined in the Declaration, US Constitution and its first ten amendments, the US Bill of Rights. We, as people, as citizens, as human beings in fact, have the God-given right to pursue our own dreams as long they don’t conflict with the individual dreams of someone else. This is the “strike”: to voluntarily give up this right, this right that cannot be taken away by any other living person.

In Atlas Shrugged (the working title of which was ‘The Strike’), Ayn Rand attempts to juxtapose good, honest, hard-working people voluntarily giving up their right to pursue happiness with a coercive and tyrannical state that seeks to take advantage of these same people exercising this exact same right. So let me be clear: the situation where we have a state which can seek and advance its own power, by using people exercising their rights to pursue happiness, represents oppression. From this, so the philosophy goes, the breakdown of a good civil society is guaranteed.

We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one’s happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt. [Ayn Rand, ‘Atlas Shrugged’]

So should policemen in Baltimore go on strike? Perhaps work slower? Perhaps refuse to arrest more often? Perhaps limit who gets to go into prisoner transportation? Perhaps refuse to enforce “unrewarded duties”? And a thousand other things. In other words limit the life and profession they have chosen to pursue. Good police. Hard-working police. Honest police. And if they do strike, by all accounts (not to mention the Atlas Shrugged account), it will be very, very bad, and will only end up with an extremely long speech by John Galt and the breakdown of the civil society. Neither outcome is good.

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