Atlas Shrugged: Guns and Butter


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIINow that we've finished our tour of Galt's Gulch, we're back in the outside world with Dagny. From this point on, Atlas Shrugged is less of an economic-philosophical diatribe and more of a straightforward adventure story, so I anticipate that the rest of the book will go quicker. But there are a few more points to be made along the way.This chapter opens with a scene about Robert Stadler, the once-great scientist who's thrown in with the looters. As … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Motive Power


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIFrancisco's copper mine in Galt's Gulch, even though it has super-advanced mining robots to replace human laborers, still depends on mule carts to carry his ore. It's not because his inventive genius petered out at the entrance to the mine; it's because Rand's characters, following the invisible law of capitalist demarcation, stick strictly to their own fields and don't try to compete with each other. This gives Dagny a chance to show off her specialty, as … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Rise of the Machines


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIFor all its fixation on economic theory, Atlas Shrugged shows a dismal, incurious ignorance of how the economy actually works. When Ayn Rand's capitalists gather in sufficient numbers, consumer goods just spontaneously materialize around them. By all rights, the inhabitants of Galt's Gulch ought to be living like primitive pioneers - wearing furs, dwelling in shacks, subsisting on a diet of salted meat and hardtack. Instead, they inexplicably have a fully … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Kinder, Küche, Kirche


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter III've mentioned the missing women of Atlas Shrugged, but there's another omission that's even bigger. Although the men far outnumber the women, we have Dagny as a main character, plus there are a few other women to provide representation, unequal as it is. However, there's a hole that has no such compensation: the almost total absence of children.Despite all the sex in Atlas - Dagny has long-term sexual relationships with Francisco, Hank, and later John … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Screw You, Shakespeare


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IILast time, John Galt told Dagny that while she was living in the capitalists' valley, she could attend concerts or plays, just not his super-secret physics lectures. She takes him up on that suggestion:[S]he sat among rows of benches under the open sky, watching Kay Ludlow on the stage. It was an experience she had not known since childhood — the experience of being held for three hours by a play that told a story she had not seen before, in lines s … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Marketplace of Ideas

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIAs Dagny's life in the Gulch settles into a routine, she notices that John Galt leaves the house every other night, returning at midnight or later. Notwithstanding the fact that Randian protagonists are supposed to bow out graciously when the person they love finds a better capitalist than them, she feels an unaccustomed "savage resentment" and "dread that there might be a woman in his life". Finally, one night at dinner, she asks him:"What is it … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 14

This is part 14 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 always like it when people come to our debates and tell us afterward that neither of us was who and what they were expecting. I take pleasure in confounding expectations!I like your mention of the public school system, which is one of the best things that the government has done: a great equalizer, a stirring rod of the American … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Problem of Original Property


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IINow that his brief moment of genuine, appropriate emotion is over, Francisco goes back to doing what he does best - delivering Randian Monologues. In this one, he explains to Dagny how he joined John Galt's conspiracy:"Dagny, when I took over my father's business, when I began to deal with the whole industrial system of the world, it was then that I began to see the nature of the evil I had suspected, but thought too monstrous to believe. I saw the … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Missing and Presumed

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIDagny has only been in Galt's Gulch for a few days, but she's having a grand old time. Between buying stuff with gold coins, getting constantly lectured at about capitalism, and being John Galt's subservient housemaid, she's got everything a female Randian hero could want. However, an unwelcome realization is about to spoil her fun:Owen Kellogg arrived on the afternoon of her third day in the valley....He descended among a group of men, he saw … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The New Feudalism


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IILast time, John Galt told Dagny that because she trespassed in his valley, he's going to hold her there for a month, just because he wants to. He also tells her that he's going to bill the account that Ragnar established for her at the Mulligan Bank for her accommodations:"If you don't claim it, some part of it — a very small part — will be turned over to me in your name.""In my name? Why?""To pay for your room and board."I quoted this p … [Read more...]