In 1998 I had a vision. I could see back then than America had been infected with a dangerous virus. It was a cult, really, organized around the worship of Ayn Rand and her objectivist ideology. The cult was expressed in the anarchist take over of the Republican Party and its subsequent crusade to overthrow the U.S. Government. The Republicans wanted to establish a nation where the rich and powerful were free to prey upon everyone else without any laws or institutions to interfere with their hunting. The conspiracy was in its infancy then. But I thought it out to its logical conclusion, and had a vision of what America might look like in 2098. I expressed this vision in a novel called I and You.
I and You takes place in a Divided States of America, with the majority socialist block fragmented by an eight-state theocracy in the South, and a four-state free market republic in the West called "The Randian Republic of Atlantis" (RRA). It was inspired by the chapter in Rand's Atlas Shrugged in which the capitalists go on strike and form their own society. The citizens of the RRA also pay homage to Ayn Rand's novel Anthem, in which the pronoun "I" is banned by law, by dismissing the pronoun "we" from their vocabulary and replacing it with the ideologically correct "I and You." Its heroine, Sara Storm, is a firm believer in the objectivist ideals of selfishness, greed, and unbridled ego. Her ideology and her republic, however, are not prepared to deal with the realities of human nature, the tide of history, or the complications of falling in love with the wrong person.
America was not ready for "I and You" in 1998. By the late 2000s, however, I began to notice a very disturbing phenomenon. The evening news was honing in on my story. The conspiracy born in the 90's matured into the Tea Party and started to threaten our government and our democracy in an organized fashion. Petitions for secession were sprouting up everywhere, and a propaganda network that rivaled the Soviet Union's had created a bubble where lies were more believable than facts and truth. The U.S. was living out the prequel to I and You.
At the same time, publishing underwent a revolution, and the graphic novel exploded out of its traditional super-hero genre. I decided that the story was best suited to a graphic format. So with the help of a very talented young artist in Michigan, Lucas Duimstra, I published it as a graphic novel in August 2013.
And now the Randian cult has taken the entire U.S. Government hostage, threatening to bring down the government and democracy itself if it doesn't get its way. I find the timing and confluence of these historical events with I and You alarming. I set out to write a novel, not to prophesy a real dystopian future for the United States.
Hopefully, this is all just a remarkable coincidence. Could I just be paranoid? Or am I a reluctant prophet?
Could this be the precursor to a new Randian Republic of Atlantis? In I and You some government does exist. It is a democracy with elections and a loose, but well-defined legal system. But while the RRA's problems stem from too little government and too much control by the private sector, this article seems to imply that Thiel plans for NO government. Perhaps the article is wrong about this. Perhaps time will tell.
Are we witnessing the birth of the Confederate States of New Jerusalem? Perhaps not, at least not exactly. I and You's CSNJ is founded primarily upon religion, while the League of the South group seems to have mostly secular aims. Though as a former resident of the South, I know that you cannot separate the region from its main cultural anchor, and that anchor is fundamentalist Christianity. At any rate, it will be interesting to see what Thorvaldsson comes up with.