What would Roark do?

Take a moment to take a deep breath and ponder a possible policy decision that won't result in life-or-death concerns, family ruptures, or exploding debt. Other things DO happen in our lives that fail to capture media attention, yet indicate the characters (elected and non-elected) in our governments.

Consider an event from late January 2020 when the GSA's Chief Architect and Director of the Design Excellence Program resigned his post. The title is a mouthful, but the job description is pretty straight forward. He managed a team responsible for how federal buildings look. Seems something happened that upset him enough to drive him to resign.

Seems like ages ago, but the impeachment trial was going on. Remember that? No. The Chief Architect didn't appear as a fact witness or threaten to do it. No, he didn't reveal scandalous secrets and leave to avoid scrutiny. What then? Seems the White House was pondering a change to guidelines written in 1962 called "Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture". What changes? They were pondering an executive order called "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" that would require architectural conformity leaving all future federal buildings styled like Greek or Roman structures as we used to do decades ago. Essentially, the EO would rule that national values were reflected in the older style. No newer style of architecture would be allowed.

The current guidelines require that architectural choices 'must provide visual testimony to the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American government'. So does the draft EO, but it goes a step further by declaring Brutalist and Deconstructivist styles 'fail to satisfy these requirements'.

See? Just a style squabble, right? Not the end of the world, right?

The amusing thing for Libertarians, though, is that Ayn Rand actually described a similar scene in one of her books. Fictional, or course, but it does raise an interesting question. The scene involves Ellsworth Monkton Toohey and Howard Roark. What was Roarks profession? What was Tooney doing to oppress him? Heh.

So…in this situation… what would Roark do?

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