The Colbert Report

Season 5 Episode 35

Howard Fineman

Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Mar 11, 2009 on Comedy Central
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Episode Summary

Tonight Stephen welcomes Newsweek correspondent and author of The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates that Define and Inspire Our Country, Howard Fineman.
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      • Stephen: Tonight: Republicans turn to a classic novel for inspiration. It was the worst of time, it was the worster of times. And: The Supreme Court issues a costly ruling against a major drug company, but a much cheaper ruling against a generic drug company. Then my guest Howard Fineman has written a book about great debates. My rebuttal: No he hasn't. Hey, Dr. Manhattan! Where's your glowing blue medical degree? This is the Colbert Report.

      • Stephen: Now luckily there's a way to fight back and it is tonight's Word: Rand Illusion. Folks in these times of uncertainty, many of the power elite are turning to the wisdom of a visionary.

        [Video clips: Glenn Beck: One book that is just phenomenal, because it make the author look like a prophet, is Ayn Rand's book Atlas Shrugged.
        Chris Matthews: The Ayn Rand stuff, I love the idea, it's romantic….
        Woman: You gotta let the Ayn Rand characters rise up and rebuild the nation.]

        Stephen: Author, philosopher and female comb over pioneer Ayn Rand. Now, Rand wrote about an out of control government siphoning the profits of the rich in her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged. (So did book critics) And according to The Economist, sales of the book have risen sharply since Obama's election, surging every time he announces another spending plan. That's right, things have gotten so desperate Americans are actually reading. In the novel, all of the country's great titans of industry begin to disappear, but there's a twist. (It's not because they're indicted) It turns out these business leaders were just disgusted that their earnings were going to the needy, or as Rand calls them: "…the moochers who claim your products by tears…" Just another example of the little guy trying to keep the man down. (Latest example: Giving him $787 billion) So, what happens is, all the successful people go on a strike. ("Hell no, we won't C.E.O.!") Now the mastermind behind the strike is John Galt who bravely spends the last sixty pages of the book praising selfishness. (If you read that far, the world does owe you) He is the hero who tells the poor quote: "You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you." Nation, this book is like the conservative bible. (Preachy and can be used to justify anything. Now, Ayn Rand has some pretty powerful fans, including Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan and the author of The Satanic Bible, Anton LeVey. And conservative are using Atlas Shrugged to spur a movement.

        [Video: Michelle Malkin: Going Galt, and this of course is a reference to the famous Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged, where the protagonist John Galt called a general strike among the wealth producers of society…]

        Stephen: Well said, attractive humanoid lifeform. Yes, "Going Galt," rich people scaling back their productivity so that the lower downs can't get their grubbered fingers on our stuff. There's even a website, Its creator is calling for "a calculated work slowdown." It takes a brave man to call for a work slowdown, particularly when he site prominently features and announcement that he's looking for work. Now, in Atlas Shrugged, all the movers and shakers leave the country and form their own countries. (U.S. of A-Holes) So, business elites, if you're as tired as I am of propping up the losers, let's find an island. (Shaped like your own head) Here's what we do: We start a new nation made up of just the people who make society work. (Mexico?) You know what I'm talking about: The CEOs, hedge fund managers, House Republicans and of course TV pundits, all the people who made this great country. (And an even greater depression) A nation of self interested, type A, me firsters where none of you will suffer the indignity of having to work in the interest of anyone else. (My country 'tis of me) Now as for me, I'll be along as soon as you've created a wonderful, new society. (Or the Island of Dr. Moreau)

        But first, I'm going to teach a lesson to the moochers, I am Going Galt and putting my show on hold. [Presses remote and hold music starts playing] (Your viewership is important to us, please hold) Alright, alright, that's enough! I think I've proved my point. (That you can't stop talking for 5 seconds) And folks, I think I can speak for everyone out there advocating following the advice of a fifty year old novel, set in an America that never existed, that when millions are losing jobs, losing homes, and losing hope, there is nothing more important than putting yourself first. (Rand illusion)

        And that's the Word.

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