Atlas Shrugged

If I was a character in the Atlas Shrugged world, I’d be a taker, and not a doer (I forget how Rand characterizes them). I would know how to operate things, but not how to fix them. I would not be in the ranks of the Hank Reardons or Dagny Taggarts of the world. I would be one of the huddled masses cowering in the cities with no electricity and whatever other staples of life I take for granted once the people who actually run things take off and join John Galt in that hidden valley, waiting for people like me to die off or otherwise disappear so they can make a triumphant return and get the world going again. On their terms, of course.

I pulled up my blog last week and discovered a note from WordPress telling me I had to update my current version of PHP for, among other things, security purposes. Okay–I get that. WP was kind enough to provide more information about PHP and what I should do to update it. First, it said, I should back up my page. A list of back-up plugins was presented, from which I should pick one. I chose the first one because, well, it was there. So, following the directions given, I start installing the plugin.

My blog disappeared.

All I saw on the screen was a string of random-looking numbers, letters, and various symbols, two lines of this gobbledegook. The rest of the screen was white. Yes, I panicked. Ten-plus years of blogging–gone. I wrote to WP, screaming for help. No response. I took to FaceBook, bemoaning my loss. One of the commenters told me to call my host. I had to think about that one for a minute–who would my host be? I eventually figured it out and called GoDaddy, and they fixed the problem. Well, they’re still fixing it–apparently, I had a shitload of malware on my site, and they still have some other stuff to do, too.

It proves, however, my point. I am one of the people Atlas shrugged off. When it comes to information technology, I’m at a total loss. I simply can’t get my head around it, and I’ve tried–I took a C++ course and have had lessons in basic programming. It didn’t stick. Hell, I didn’t even understand it at the time.

But then, I don’t have to know how to do everything. If I want to re-side my house (and it needs it–bad) I’d call someone who knows how to do these things. I wouldn’t try to do it myself. Same thing with auto repair–I’d take it to the shop (though I do know how to change the oil). And so it will be with information technology from here on out. I have a problem, I call somebody. Yes, I will have to pay for it. But it’s better than going through a week of panicked hell.

I wonder, though. When Hank Reardon and Dagny Taggart return to the world, who will help Hank manufacture steel and who will help build Dagny’s trains?

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