A Man Chooses. A Slave Obeys.
Ima tell you this story before I can tell you the next ‘un. (If you’re impatient, jump ahead to 3:24 on the video.)
Way back in 2008, Irrational Games came out with a first-person shooter video game called Bioshock. (If you haven’t played it, and you know that you’re inclined to like first person shooters, you should. It’s an amazing game.) The setting of the video game was what made this game so very, very engrossing. It was an Objectivist city, built in the ocean, underwater, and you had shown up on the doormat right around the time that everything was hitting the skids. (The city was full of lovely little touches including, but not limited to, ammunition vending machines placed at regular intervals.)
The city was full of hints lying around talking about the moments from just before everything went to pieces… doctors giving speeches about how people should have the right to change their sex or their race because, after all, “it’s yours to change!”. Speeches from artists who were discussing getting bored with the old limits. Speeches from botanists who weren’t above selling the oxygen from their plants… and, yes, a downright chilling speech from Andrew Ryan Himself in which he explains the title to this very post.
Well, without getting too deep into the various strawmen built by the game (there was talk of problems with “smuggling”, for example), the game was a brilliant discussion of objectivism. The ideas explored were like nothing I had seen outside of a very few, very small corners on the internet. This is the background I hope you keep in mind when we start discussing Bioshock: Infinite in a couple of days.