The allegoric lesson of Twentieth Century Motors is much more instructive for the country as a whole, however, than for another automaker, because it is about how "hope" and "change" can motivate people to make choices that lead inevitably to "despair" and 'stagnation."
A former worker at the plant, now a lonely tramp, tells the story years later of how the workers let themselves be inspired by the company's new owners to work for the common good. "They told us that this plan would achieve a noble ideal."
Yes, a noble ideal, a way to help each other, something no one could possibly oppose. But there were few details on the table when the company's workers were asked to vote on their future, just these vague promises and a few catchphrases on which to pin their hopes."
None of us knew just how the plan would work, but every one of us thought that the next fellow knew it. And if anybody had doubts, he ... kept his mouth shut -- because they made it sound like anyone who'd oppose the plan was a child-killer at heart and less than a human being."
And so the workers voted overwhelmingly to follow the new plan, which would mean that no worker would fall through the cracks -- everyone would take care of everyone else. "We thought it was good," the tramp says wearily. "No, that's not true, either. We thought that we were supposed to think it was good."
Is this today? No, this is Atlas Shrugged. Read it. Written 1956.
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