Atlas Shrugged: The Survival Instinct

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IXWhen John Galt curses out America on live television, the ballroom erupts in chaos. The broadcast is instantly cut off, and some guests scream or flee in panic, while others freeze in terror. The thugs guarding Galt hustle him away. Seeing Mr. Thompson and the other looters make a hasty departure through a side exit, Dagny follows unobtrusively and listens at the door:She found them huddled in a small, private study: Mr. Thompson was slumped in an … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Collateral Damage

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IXThere's one scene from the previous chapter that fits better here. While John Galt is being held captive, there's one person he asks to see: his old teacher, Robert Stadler. Stadler, who sold his soul to the looters long ago, is hysterical with terror at the prospect and begs them not to make him do it, but they shove him into the room anyway:Across the long room, he saw John Galt sitting on the window sill, a tall, slender figure in slacks and … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Passion of Eddie Willers, Part I

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIAs we've seen throughout this book, Eddie Willers is by far the best character in Atlas Shrugged.Unlike the other characters, who are mostly millionaire heirs with superhuman competencies and inhuman emotionlessness, he's the only regular joe. He's more loyal and devoted to his job than even Dagny is: when she quits the company in a fit of pique, and then later vanishes for a month into Galt's Gulch, both times Eddie steps in and keeps the company … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Open Borders

My recap of the Maryam Namazie-Sam Harris exchange spurred a debate about open-border policies, so I wanted to write a post focusing on that topic. Unfortunately, I believe this is only going to become more relevant, not just because of the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, but because it's likely that the next few decades will see millions of people forced to migrate by climate change.On a first pass, it's hard to see what argument could be made against open borders. Shouldn't travel be … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIWith Mr. Thompson's failure, the rest of the looters are taking turns appealing to John Galt, trying to convince him to step in and save the world. Needless to say, it's not going well:"I... I'll just throw myself on your mercy, Mr. Galt," said Chick Morrison with a frantic smile. "You're right. I'll concede that you're right — and all I can appeal to is your pity. Deep down in my heart, I can't believe that you're a total egoist who feels no pity f … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Golden Parachute

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIThe looters have captured John Galt. Given their incompetence at everything, including villainy, you might think they'd construct a prison that he could just walk out of, Idiocracy-style, or even one that he could stage a daring escape from. However, because the narrative now demands it, this turns out to be the one thing they're good at:Three floors of the Wayne-Falkland Hotel had been evacuated and transformed into an armed camp. Guards with … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: America’s Most Wanted

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIThe looter government's radio appeals to John Galt are getting desperate. They promise to meet whatever terms he sets, to follow any orders he gives if he'll just help them, but there's no hint of an answer. The bad guys keep badgering Dagny in the (entirely justified and accurate) hope that she knows something:"Miss Taggart, we don't know what to do," said Mr. Thompson; he had summoned her to a personal conference on one of his scurrying trips to … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Work of Depressions

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIIn the aftermath of John Galt's speech, the last few businesses left in the country are grinding to a halt. Stores and homes are found empty, abandoned by their owners and gutted of everything useful. The plant of Rearden Steel, whose operations had been suspended after no one could be found to run it, goes up in flames; the fire is set by an elderly worker who confesses that he did it "to avenge Hank Rearden". (He was a Good Capitalist, but he was old … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Loose Lips Sink Ships

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIJohn Galt's massive, multi-hour speech finally comes to an end. As I mentioned earlier, because Randian protagonists have the superpower of being able to deliver gigantic monologues without interruption, everyone in the TV station is still standing in the exact same places:"It wasn't real, was it?" said Mr. Thompson.They stood in front of the radio, as the last sound of Galt's voice had left them. No one had moved through the span of silence; … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Imagine No Religion

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechThere's a character who's missing from Atlas Shrugged.His name is Father Amadeus, and while he was part of Ayn Rand's early outlines, she jettisoned him from the final draft. He was to have been a Catholic priest affiliated with the Taggarts who heard James' confessions. In the denouement, he would have realized that John Galt was right and that forgiveness is evil, and when the bad guys came to him one last time, he would have refused to … [Read more...]