Atlas Shrugged: Big Soy


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VWith d'Anconia Copper gone and the last few copper mines in the U.S. perishing for lack of machinery and spare parts, it's become almost impossible for Hank to keep making Rearden Metal. But as he tells Dagny, a bigger problem is looming. He's been selling as much metal as he can on the black market to the wheat farmers of Minnesota, who desperately need new farm equipment:"Dagny, I was in Minnesota last month. I've seen what's going on there. The … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 15

This is part 15 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,I think Haidt's work on the five foundations of morality has a lot of validity, although I'd argue that the conservative, "beehive" values tend to work better in smaller and more homogeneous societies. Large, multicultural civilizations, by their nature, need to rely first and foremost on the "contractual" values of harm/care and … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Job Creators


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VHank Rearden has moved to Philadelphia, seemingly to live on the grounds of his steel mill, and hasn't seen or spoken to his family in months. But he's still paying their bills, which makes no sense given his attitude at this point. He decided two chapters ago that he should run his personal life the same way he runs his business, meaning that he owes his family nothing and has no reason to support them. But Rand inexplicably has him put off acting on this … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Too Much of a Good Thing


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIt's now been two months since Dagny returned from Galt's Gulch. Taggart Transcontinental is suffering through an agonizing, protracted collapse, with breakdowns halting trains and snarling schedules all across the country. The few spare parts they can get are being stolen and sold on the black market by Cuffy Meigs, the looter official from Washington who's now the sole one making decisions for the railroad.Dagny is in Jim's office, where he's pleading … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Kill the Redshirts


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IVWhile his wife is away, Jim Taggart has a caller. It's Lillian Rearden, and she's come to plead for help. Hank is pressing ahead with a divorce, and by means of rampant subversion of the legal system, he's winning:"It's set for next month. And when I say set, that's just what I mean. Oh, it's cost him plenty — but he's bought the judge, the clerks, the bailiffs, their backers, their backers' backers, a few legislators, half a dozen administrators — he … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Horseshoe Theory


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IVHere's this chapter summarized in two sentences: Jim Taggart's wife Cherryl finds out that he's not the great businessman she thought he was, but one of the worst of the looters, and that he married her for the sadistic pleasure of crushing her spirit. In despair, she commits suicide.That's really the only thing that happens. It has no larger importance, but Rand spends an entire chapter on it, piling on the bathos and melodrama, just to emphasize what … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Full Disclosure


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIIAlmost as soon as Dagny returns to work, Jim comes to her in a panic. He insists she appear on the radio that night, on a talk show hosted by Bertram Scudder, to reassure the people that she hasn't quit and that she believes the government's policies are working. She flatly refuses. But a little while later, she has another visitor, and it's Lillian Rearden.Lillian asks Dagny if she knows why Hank surrendered his patent on Rearden Metal. Dagny says … [Read more...]

What Is the Economy For, Anyway?


Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Consumerism Gone Wild. Read other perspectives here.The Guardian ran a column on a group of unsung heroes: the therapists to the super-rich, whose job it is to help their clients deal with the stress and strain of having all that money. According to one of them, Clay Cockrell:"I shifted toward it naturally," he said of his becoming an expert in wealth therapy. "We are trained to have empathy, no judgment and so … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: A Most Mundane Resurrection

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIIThe sky had the stagnant breath of a furnace and the streets of New York were like pipes running, not with air and light, but with melted dust. Dagny stood on a street corner, where the airport bus had left her, looking at the city in passive astonishment. The buildings seemed worn by weeks of summer heat, but the people seemed worn by centuries of anguish. She stood watching them, disarmed by an enormous sense of unreality.It turns out that John … [Read more...]

Against Religious Fatalism

Last month, construction was in progress at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, the holiest mosque in Islam, when a heavy crane collapsed in high winds and crashed through the roof of the mosque. Over a hundred pilgrims were killed and almost 400 were hurt or trapped beneath falling debris. An employee of the Saudi Binladen Group, which had been operating the crane, said this about the disaster:"What happened was beyond the power of humans. It was an act of God." (source)But this wasn't … [Read more...]