Atlas Shrugged: Cherchez la Femme

You're the only one who understands me.

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIAfter the disastrous ending of Jim Taggart's wedding party, Hank drops Lillian off at the train station, telling her he has to stay in New York for some more business appointments the next day. Then he goes straight to Dagny's apartment for that hot capitalist lovin' he missed out on earlier. Later, their pillow talk wanders to the subject of Hank's wife:"Dagny, what do you think of my marriage?""I have no right to think of it.""You must have … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Pump and Dump

BurningMoney

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIAfter Francisco's big speech comes to an end, a suitably impressed Hank Rearden comes over to talk to him:"Before I met you, I used to wonder how you could waste a fortune such as yours. Now it's worse, because I can't despise you as I did, as I'd like to, yet the question is much more terrible: How can you waste a mind such as yours?"Francisco parries that he doesn't think he is wasting it. Rearden asks Francisco why he doesn't practice what he … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Three-Fifths Compromise

AntiSlavery

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IILet me make one thing clear, to begin with: I don't think Ayn Rand was an unintelligent person. She was fiercely dogmatic in her opinions, quick to anger, possessed an enormous ego, and rarely if ever forgave. She also had more than a few intellectual blind spots, which I've been pointing out throughout this series. But I believe she put real thought into her moral system, flawed as it is, and had a genuine desire to be taken seriously as a … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 5

This is part 5 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Andrew,Thanks again for making the trip out to my neck of the woods the other week. I thought the turnout for our second live debate was excellent! I was surprised by how many people told us we should do this again, so maybe that's something to consider for the future.Personally, I could go on about the roots of morality forever. But since I … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Catholicism’s Demonic Revival

My latest column is up on AlterNet, Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan? In it, I sum up the Harvard Black Mass fracas and place it in a wider context, showing how Pope Francis and the Catholic church are pushing a major revival of belief in the demonic. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:The Harvard Satanist fracas shows the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic church and its spokesmen. In their battle against the contraception mandate, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Offshore Accounts

TropicalIsland

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIAll the movers and shakers, including Hank and Lillian, have showed up for James Taggart's wedding in New York. Dagny is also there, and obviously she and Hank have to keep up the pretense that there's nothing between them. This makes Hank grit his teeth at his inability to, I don't know, have sex with her right there on the ballroom floor:...he wondered why he stood here, he wondered who had the right to demand that he waste a single irreplaceable … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Marital Contract

WeddingRings

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIFollowing his illegal meeting with Ken Danagger, Hank Rearden is still in his hotel room in New York, eagerly anticipating a night of adulterous sex with Dagny, when he has a surprise visitor:When the door of his room flew open without warning, he did not quite hear or believe it, at first. He saw the silhouette of a woman, then of a bellboy who put down a suitcase and vanished. The voice he heard was Lillian's: "Why, Henry! All alone and in the … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Black Lung

AtlasMine

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIBecause of the looters' Fair Share Law, Hank Rearden can no longer choose his customers. In particular, he can't legally sell to Ken Danagger, the owner of Danagger Coal in Pennsylvania, who badly needs Rearden Metal to brace the shafts of his coal mines. But Hank knows that Danagger needs the metal more than the looters' crony businesses do, so he decides to sell to him illegally:They had had to meet furtively, like criminals who could not be seen … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand vs. Carl Sagan

Voyager2

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIThe decay of Colorado is accelerating. Men that Dagny knows personally, men who love their jobs and swear that they'll never leave, that they'll resist whatever blandishment or temptation is claiming their fellows, or at the very least that they won't disappear without an explanation, are vanishing one after another without a word. Since I'm nothing if not scrupulously fair to Ayn Rand, I'll cite this passage as a well-executed example of building … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Gini Coefficient

Monstrance

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IAfter Hank chases off the government crony who wants to buy his metal, the chapter shifts to a series of vignettes with him and Dagny. They're arranging increasingly frequent liaisons whenever Hank is in New York, and as the looter-run economy contracts around them, Dagny looks forward to her time with him more and more:The only pride of her workday was not that it had been lived, but that it had been survived. It was wrong, she thought, it was … [Read more...]


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