As is my custom, I celebrate the birthday of Ayn Rand by opening one of her novels to a random page and reading. Any passage is a great inspiration. Here is what I read today, from Atlas Shrugged, Part One / Chapter IX (thanks to Phil Oliver and his Objectivism Research CD-ROM for making it easy to copy quotations):

“Oh, I know, you think it’s great, don’t you?—that Taggart boom and Rearden Metal and the gold rush to Colorado and the drunken spree out there, with Wyatt and his bunch expanding their production like kettles boiling over! Everybody thinks it’s great—that’s all you hear anywhere you go—people are slap-happy, making plans like six-year-olds on a vacation—you’d think it was a national honeymoon of some kind or a permanent Fourth of July!”

The young man said nothing.

“Well, I don’t think so,” said Mr. Mowen. He lowered his voice. “The newspapers don’t say so, either—mind you that—the newspapers aren’t saying anything.”

Mr. Mowen heard no answer, only the clanking of the chains.

“Why are they all running to Colorado?” he asked. “What have they got down there that we haven’t got?”

The young man grinned. “Maybe it’s something you’ve got that they haven’t got.”

“What?” The young man did not answer. “I don’t see it. It’s a backward, primitive, unenlightened place. They don’t even have a modern government. It’s the worst government in any state. The laziest. It does nothing—outside of keeping law courts and a police department. It doesn’t do anything for the people. It doesn’t help anybody. I don’t see why all our best companies want to run there.”

This passage captures my feeling about living in a red state after having lived in blue states for half a century.