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...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Descent of Man

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechJohn Galt is still talking. In this section of his doorstopper monologue, he lectures about Rand's views on human nature:"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a … [Read more...]

Jimmy Carter Is Better than the God He Worships

The world needs more statesmen like Jimmy Carter.Since his presidency, he's been an unflagging advocate for human rights. Through his Carter Center, he's worked to oversee fair elections, release political prisoners, and negotiate peace accords in conflict-torn regions like Haiti, North Korea, Palestine, South Sudan and Bosnia. He's well known for his work building homes for the poor with Habitat for Humanity. At the age of 91, after beating brain and liver cancer, he's still going strong. … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Author Filibuster

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechA brief promo before we get to today's post: I was on the Feminist Coffee Hour podcast to talk about Ayn Rand and gender roles in Objectivism. Check it out! (Full disclosure: one of the co-hosts happens to be the person I'm married to. There were also some minor cat-related technical difficulties midway through, so apologies for that.)* * *Last time, we heard John Galt commandeer the airwaves to explain his grand plan to destroy the … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Do Not Adjust Your Set

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIThe morning after the riot at Rearden Steel, Dagny is woken out of a sound sleep by the insistent ringing of her doorbell ("She had worked at the office till four A.M. and had left word not to expect her till noon" - such shameful weakness! since when do Randian protagonists require eight hours of sleep?). When she answers the door, it's Jim, in a panic:"He's gone!" he cried."Who?""Hank Rearden! He's gone, quit, vanished, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Fanfare for the Common Man

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIThere's a scene in this chapter that I'm going to pass over briefly. In it, Hank Rearden is invited to a conference in New York where a cabal of prominent looters proudly announce their Steel Unification Plan, in which every steel maker will be paid based on the number of furnaces he owns. Hank points out that this plan will force him to produce at a loss, since he owns fewer furnaces but produces more steel than his competitors. Since he knows that they … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Antiheroism

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII've been contemplating the concept of the antihero in literature. It's always struck me as an odd term. Just going by etymology, you'd think it meant the opposite of a hero, but it doesn't. All it means is a different kind of hero - someone who has more obvious character flaws, or a different moral code, than traditional, white-hat, truth-justice-and-the-American-way heroes.What would it mean for someone to really and truly be the opposite of a hero? … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Randian Fidelity

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIn her days as a Hollywood screenwriter, Ayn Rand met and later married an actor named Frank O'Connor, apparently for no reason other than that he was classically handsome and fit her conception of what an ideal man should look like. O'Connor was never a household name, and his acting career fizzled out. He lived the quiet life of a househusband, devoting himself to gardening, painting and especially to drinking, while Rand supported them with the income … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Damn the Humanitarians

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VDagny is at a formal dinner with Jim and the other influential looters, since that's where all major policy decisions are made now. The collapse of civilization is barreling toward them like a freight train, and everyone in the room knows it, but the bad guys are carefully avoiding the subject while insisting that all their problems are minor and there's still a chance to turn things around:"There's trouble in California," said Wesley Mouch sullenly. … [Read more...]

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...]