"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities," Mark Twain said. Obviously, when conspiracy and deception are involved, the truth can be particularly strange — and it can also be particularly hard to unearth and then make widely known. Such is the case regarding the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
Some of us remember our first reading of Atlas Shrugged like our first time behind the wheel of a car: intoxicating but inexplicably discomforting in spots. The 1,000-plus pages of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus positively pulse with the sorts of stuff that those of us in the freedom camp embrace: heroic capitalists, a strident anti-collectivist cant, and the unapologetic championing of individual rights.
Something is terribly wrong. The Dow has dropped below 4,000, gasoline (when available) costs $37.50 a gallon, the nation's infrastructure is deteriorating, businessmen are wearing sandwich boards asking for work. Government's response to the enervated economy is to impose even more regulations and forced wealth-redistribution on already-highly regulated business and industry. A gray palpable pall hangs over the land. Meanwhile, the nation's most productive citizens begin to disappear voluntarily, one by one. But why? The question is answered by another question as mysterious as the disappearances themselves: "Who is John Galt?"
Those of us — of Tom Brokaw’s greatest generation — who attended the public schools in the 1930s and '40s remember our classrooms as quite barren, immaculately clean, quiet and orderly. There was a portrait of George Washington on the wall, and cursive letters were on a printed strip across the top of the blackboard. That was it. No fancy posters.