Friday, February 08, 2013

Makers Shrugged

Right next to City CafĂ©, Murfreesboro’s iconic dinner, is the office of the Republican Party. I was walking by the GOP HQ the other day, passing a couple of older men standing outside the office reading the You’re a Republican if… poster, and talking about Makers, Takers, and Ayn Rand. As I walked by I said, “Who is John Galt?” This is the secret password of Randians. If you don’t recognize it read Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
“Which are you,” the shorter of the two men asked, “a Maker or a Taker?”
“A Maker,” I said, explaining that I made content for books, magazines, and websites. “And you?” I asked.
“Were Makers, too,” the taller man said. “We build Nissans.”
“And yet I bet all three of us are also Takers: tax breaks, Veteran’s benefits (the shorter man wore a Vietnam Vet hat), and when we’re eligible Social Security and Medicare as well. So who are the real Takers?”
“People who just sit around and do nothing except collect checks.”
“Like the CEO of Nissan? He probably has no clue how to make a car. Or people who just make money off of money: what do they really make? The real Takers are people who get huge salaries, tax havens, and golden parachutes without producing a damn thing. After all, what did Mitt Romney actually Make?”
 “Sounds like you're a so…”
“I love Atlas Shrugged,” I interrupted so as to avoid being called a Socialist. “And I think we Makers ought to shrug just like in the book. How long do you think the real Takers would last if the real Makers stopped making their food, clothes, homes, and cars, or stopped cleaning their houses, picking up their trash, teaching their kids, trucking their goods, stocking their shelves, delivering their mail, cable, water, and electricity? If the real Makers shrugged maybe then we would value work rather than wealth in this country, and pay people for making rather than taking.”
I expected an argument, but both men just burst out laughing. I laughed with them. It was never going to happen. The real Takers have won by convincing the real Makers that they should win. What else can you do but laugh, even when the jokes on us?